Thursday, for me, like for most others, is synonymous to the ‘Raghavendra Swamy’ day. It is said that Raghavendra Swamy, one of the most popular saints in 17th century, with main Brindavan in Manthralaya, entered the Brindavan on a Thursday, and thereon, Thursdays are said to be good days. A day, for me, of visiting the Mutt, if in vicinity.
It’s funny how it began in the first place. Being like most others, I truly believed, and still do, in fact, that one’s interpretation of the Supreme is in one’s mind. With God well and truly within one’s own mind, there really is no need to visit places of religious faith and worship, like temples or Mutts. But there occurred a small yet significant incident in my life which revolutionized my Thursdays.
It was a time when I was in my teens. I was suffering from an illness for quite some time. I used to suffer continuously on and off and no medication seemed to immunize me. My body, in a way, had become extremely sensitive. It was on one such occasion that my mom, exasperated about my health, remarked on one fine Thursday that I should visit the Mutt (which happens to be in the vicinity of my house) every Thursday, like how she does. I dismissed the remark and waved the suggestion away. Told her, God is in one’s mind. It’s not really necessary to visit temple to pray and thank the Lord.
Back then, (sometimes even now, in fact) if I was stuck in a tough spot, and wanted to choose something, I would ask Him, and I expected Him to reply in a way I chose. Like for instance, if I had a choice between A and B, I would associate a current event’s outcome to either A or B, and thus, obtained His response to my quandary. So, when my mom told me about visiting the Mutt every Thursday, it left me in a dilemma. So I had a personal conversation with Him in my own way and asked Him if he really wanted me to visit Him every week. And since, there was India v Sri Lanka ODI series cricket match going on, I associated His response as No if India won the series and Yes if India didn’t. India lost. Hence, I started going to the Raghavendraswamy Mutt every Thursday from thereon!
Although, initially, I used to go more for the sake of it than anything else, it gradually grew onto me, and now I am in a state in which, just like how some look forward to Friday night boozing, I look forward to Thursday morning Mutt visit! The visit to the Mutt brings unto me a serenity and peacefulness and calmness, as if someone putting a Healing Hand on my head. It’s really got nothing specifically with any one God or Saint, but it is more of a weekly status update (and off-loading of heaviest burdens!) with the Creator, and his Healing companionship! I do not stay there for long, it might just be about for about 10-20 minutes and in that span of time, I feel refreshed, rejuvenated and rekindled!
Due to office constraints, the coming-home-time becoming unpredictable, I made it a habit to visit the Mutt early in the morning before heading off to office. At 7 am, the Mutt is pretty much empty. The priest is washing the idol (It somehow gives this metaphorical feeling that everything that is bad is being washed away). The old flowers are being removed, and new ones being put. The decoration invariably is always innovative. The place is clean and tidy. And quiet, the quintessential part of feeling one with Him. There is a low hum of a religious chant which enchants me during the pradikshanas after the theerth and manthrakshath, followed by the genuflections reflecting life’s push-ups, of the effort needed by Man to survive and excel. There is a beautiful smiling photo of the Swamy in front of whom one can sit and enter the realm of the Universe where the land is peaceful and white and above the clouds, filled with utmost silence yet an atmosphere of joviality and frolic, of kids playing around merrily, of innocence flowing from everywhere, of a place where there is no ill-will or negativity. In that state of meditation, it is almost as if you are one with the Universe, and somehow, automatically, you will be left with a smile on your lips!
At times, I am forced to visit in the evening. Although the serenity of the early morning is lost in the evening crowd’s hustle-bustle, the evening has its own charm. The Mutt will be brightly lit. The crowd adds to the geniality of the situation. The instrumentalists add festivity to the day. The standard chanting of the slokas. The idol being taken around the sanctum sanctorum for three times. The idol being kept on the swing, juxtaposed with the singing of my favorite ‘Thoogire Rayara, Thoogire Gurugala…’ And the Aarthis, one after the other, done by the priest in a devout and disciplined manner, replete with respect, amidst the resounding and reverberating bells. It is almost as if one is purified just by one’s presence, in mind and thought! I then proffer a small offering to the Hundi with traditional saying of ‘Kereya neeranu kerege challi…’ The same goodbye of ‘See you, same time, same place, same day, next week’, sometimes added with ‘At least, at a more appropriate time’ if something is amiss! And another small offering to my ‘friend’ on the streets watching my slippers! That ends the Thursday routine!
I missed it as long as I was in US, but a time has come now wherein I just cannot miss the visit if I am in hometown. Whether it is raining, or I am swamped with work. Come to think of it, even if it is my own brother’s wedding! If I happen to come home at 10 pm, dead exhausted, and it is raining, my mom, who was the main driver behind this whole thing, forbids me to go, but I wouldn’t dream of missing.
I still suffer some illness or the other on and off. My body is still sensitive. I still feel there is no real need to visit temples or Mutts because one’s interpretation of God or of Supreme or of Creator is in one’s own mind and subject to individualistic opinion and views. However, for me, Thursdays have added charm and purity to life. Something, I very much to look forward to, every week…