The Deific Cycle of Bholenath – A Tale of Divine Intervention

Him and The Pillars:

The thousands of pillars that stand letting the roof guard the tens of thousands of people in the temple strike a smiling similarity between what I think of my own life. Pillars – they are architectural monuments. They stand defeating the sands of time. They mark the existence of a temple even after a millennium. In decaying deserts, in the depths of seas, in the jungles that breed death, pillars stand, like lone rangers who doesn’t belong to time, but who do not surrender to the threatening tornados of it. Such pillars are what I have seen on that day.

Pillars, like they were built for gods. Not the idol of god or idea of god, but for God himself. Pillars which ran towards the sky like they were ramming it. Pillars like frightening the sun himself, it might be something like this, “Mahadeva,” The Sun would say to the Graveyard God, “The pillars of your son’s temple are going to cover me up and shadow the Earth,” Mahadeva would smile without opening his meditating eyes, “I need you to do something about it; it is for the well sake of the humans on earth,” the pillars would have stopped growing, but by then, they should have grown really huge, wouldn’t they? Such pillars are what I have seen that day.

When was the temple built? No one knows. Who built it? It was covered in the unremovable dusts of lies which are weaved into myths by the sage heads of the ancient generations. “Vishwakarman,” an old priest would say, with his sagging skin and trembling lips, with a voice so deep, which might make us believe almost everything he says, “The Grand Architect of Brahma has designed this,” the eyes of the priest would be too wise to mistrust him. “He is ordered by Indra – the god of all elements to build a temple for Ganesha, the King of all Ganas,” we would just be listening with an enchanted sight and the story will not leave our heads for the next few weeks.

“The beautiful goddess on the pillars are no less than Apsara of Indra,” the enchanting, curvaceous ladies on the pillar rocks would ooze out life from them at that moment. “Vishwakarman wanted the Apsara always to pay their oblations to the lord,” you’d only then observe the sensuousness of the dancing hips and luring detail of the polished torso of those statues. Strangely, men would find their male ‘libido’ thriving for a moment and women would blush with both shyness and heat. “All the animal imagery is the procession to the lord sitting in the altar,” it’d be hard to avert the gaze off those voluptuous ladies, yes, but when you look out for more carvings, you’d find animals like elephant, lions, and many masked horrific faces and creatures which resemble crocodile and hippopotamus, each of them carrying a different philosophical meaning.

The priest would explain why only that creature or why only that animal. The priest would argue why a few non-existent and unrelatable creatures were carved. Starting from the homosexual and strange animal-vehicle of Chandra (Moon) which comes to Earth for mating, the priest explains the details of the queer animal-vehicle of Gruha (Mars) which is obliged to bear the impotency curse of Indra to let Indra produce a child to kill an Asura after the old priest explains everything, which cannot be understood by anyone around; instead would be a burden and would leave the feeling of ignorance of our own culture and traditions, he would chuckle with pity looking at your dizzy expressions.

Besides those, there would be men too on the pillars with four arms, six heads, hooded by thousand headed snakes, with heavy ornaments, with different weapons, with striking canines, with musical instruments. Who are Asuras, who are Devas, who are Yakshas, who re Kinneras and who are Gandharvas, what is the meaning of each of their poses and how their hierarchy has been represented through the places they were set? All the things conjure up the heads of people who would care to look at those ancient pillars and sky-high temple walls filled with these.

“Is it Angada or Hanuman?” someone would ask, looking at a particular carving. People who have half-knowledge and over-confidence would argue it is Hanuman even without knowing who Angada is. Some people will shrug off admitting their ignorance. People who know would debate, “Hanuman is the one who goes as a messenger and to teach Ravana a lesson, he asks them to move his foot first to fight with Lord Sita Ram later,” some would agree, some wouldn’t. “Hanuman is taken before Ravana with bounds, because he accepts Brahmasthra paying it respect. The time he opens his bounds is only when his tail is set on fire.” The real known would chuckle but would be silent. “But this is a court,” someone would say, “See, it is clearly visible,” they’d point out little details from the desolating stone, “This can’t happen outside.” Then, clearing his throat, the priest would say, “After reaching the shores of Lanka, Lord Sita Ram wants to have another talk of peace with Ravana,” everyone would listen intently again. “Even when Ravan’s brother who turns as a bakth of Lord Sita Ram tries to explain that the effort would be futile, Lord Sita Ram was very observant that another trail of peace should be ensured, keeping the mass loss of life in his manas,” everyone would nod their heads, waiting for him to continue, “This time, not any messenger, Lord Sita Ram wants Angada, the son of late-Vaali, the price of Vanara-Sena to go and set the deal proper and right.” Then someone would get excited and yank the story off the wise man’s mouth. “So, then Angada goes again and the treaty doesn’t go well, and then he challenges someone at least to move his feet before going to a fight with Lord Sita Ram,” everyone’s eyes stick to the carving, looking at Angada, a heroic warrior and a worthy son of the great warrior. “The grandson of Surya (Sun) himself,” someone would add and everyone fill their heart with a proud feeling.

Such are the pillars of that temple I have seen on that day.

Belur19 MukhDwar

The He:

“It seems like Vasanthi attha has also come with her whole family,” my brother (cousin) said, like he was looking for them.

“So what? Will you go out and search for them?” I said, not clearly interested in meeting them or something. “Look at the queue here, we are almost standing since the last five hours,” I lifted one of my leg, pressing my feel with my thumb for a brief while.

“He is not saying anything like finding them, he just said what he knows,” my sister, Usha said, defending our beloved brother. “You don’t get emotional, no one is going to ask you to talk with Gayatri.”

“In the name of. . . Come on, why do you connect things which are not at all related? That girl at least didn’t cross my mind.”

“Nani,” my mom calls out my name whenever she thinks I am ready to bring up some trouble.

“I didn’t do anything now, really.”

“Just stay silent and look at the temple architecture,” she said, looking around with awe-filled eyes.

“This temple is too big even to admire,” I mumbled. “Is this a temple or a mini-village? How come anyone on this planet build this?”

“Look at the number of people,” my brother said. Yes, there were thousands. The temple is the only thing which is in the eye-shot at every direction. It was like, there is only this temple on this planet.

“Look at the floors,” Usha said, looking up in the sky. There were floors. The mandapam of the temple has floors. That architecture is hard to be amassed by any normal human. “Thousands of people are carrying on with their poojas almost on these three floors.”

“Dad, how many priests would be there in the temple?” my brother asked our dad.

He frowned for a while, like he was counting and came up with a beautiful answer, “I don’t know. I can’t say.”

“Come on, just try,” my brother was probing him. “Around eight hundred priests?”

“What?” I turned to him in surprise.

“No, No,” my dad said, chuckling.

“Yes, that’s too high. . .” I was about to say.

“A thousand priest is a minimum,” my dad said, and I was utterly devastated. “Maximum,” he took up the same look again, “One thousand two hundred, not more than that.”

“Really?” I wanted to ask, but my sister did that before me.

“Ha,” my dad said, like she doubted the obvious, “Look at the floors and number of couples who are getting their pooja done. There is nothing like this in this world.”

“I don’t think there will be something like this in a netherworld too,” I mumbled under my breath.

In the meanwhile, my dad pointed out a few carvings on the pillars and temple walls and posed questions regarding their meanings, a few of which we could manage to answer, some he did and many, no one of us could understand.

After walking for a few more minutes, my dad, who was standing before every one of us, announced, “Hey, we are going to enter the temple building, everyone be in the line, if we miss it, we can’t come in again.” We all braced ourselves, “Where is Roja?” he asked. I turned back. She should be standing right behind me. Right behind me.

I was panicked. I looked at my brother and he immediately understood what I was asking. With a similar tension in his eyes, he gestured he doesn’t know. “Where is Roja?” my mom screamed this time. Before I can answer, “She is here till now, where has she gone?” my sister came in. I couldn’t answer. In a few seconds, we would enter the altar of the temple. Just like someone who misses the line cannot go and join inside, someone who enters inside cannot come out until the whole process of Darashan is done; the time it takes is uncertain. I abruptly bent and broke off the line. Even before someone can appreciate me or denounce the deed I have done, all my family was ushered into the temple altar and disappeared into the dark

“Where the hell has she gone?”

Where would I start searching for her in such a huge place. I was estranged. But I should search her somehow. Silently, I started walking through the people, through the crowd, through the strangeness. The place is too enormous, but the person is too precious.

Too many people.

What is it that I have felt? I cannot say. I do not remember. It was too hazy. It was all dizzy. I didn’t know if I was running or fell on the ground already. I was walking past the pillars, that much I know. It was all numbed inside. The heart, I didn’t feel it for a moment.

Frightened or tensed or what, I cannot say, I just have to find her. I did not want to run. Running frightens more. But I was running.

Too much dubiety.

From here the universe collapses. Nothing is clear or real. I run. I urge the security and police to let me enter the [laces where I should not be. I, ah, I lie about our marital status for that is the only seeming way to past a few gates. I run among the humongous corridors which are filled with couples doing different poojas. Hundreds of couples. I run through those corridors. Anywhere I run, I will end up in the midst of a crowd. The temple which I thought is very big even for anyone to chart down, I paced it all, just to find her.

Too many pillars.

But all in the while, as much as I remember, because it was a temple, I did not scream out of the name. Or, did I scream sometimes? It is like a dream which has never happened. Or maybe, I never want it to happen.

Too many demons.


The She:

I looked at a stupa which has an incarnation of Sita being surrounded by asuras in the Ashokavana of Lanka. Everyone ignored it because it is something everybody already knows about. Some haven’t talked about it because they thought it gives no pride to talk about the same old story which everyone knows. Even though they start most probably someone else is going to reveal it before they actually complete it. Some people haven’t spoken about it because they know what happened in Ramayana, but they don’t know what exactly is happening in the scene. They thought it would be too ridiculous to say something wrong which makes everybody correct them immediately. In addition, they will narrate the scenes before and after it which adds insult to injury. So, they shifted their attention to the next carving. They were too involved in the stories to be conscious. I stopped at the stupa and gazed at it for a while. There is an old demon on the stupa with her saree draped without any symmetry which is revealing more than it actually should. She is wearing chains of beads parallelly. She is holding an armament which is an indicator of her demonic origin. I recalled her name. She is “Trijata” who has been old, wise and a loyal asura companion to Sita at those times of distress.

Sita was very much depressed at the fact that she is staying under the shade of another man which itself is death for a woman of her kind. Life or death, a woman should be under the shade of only one man, the man of her life, she believes.  Just because she has a physically moving body everybody is considering her alive which felt ridiculous to her. She wanted to end her life. Trijata was the demon who saved her life. Trijata was holding the armament in her hand with just the first three fingers which is showing her strength. Yet she is weak and a lean, sensitive, soft, helpless woman. Sita is waiting for “her” Rama to come. Ah, waiting. . . Such a painful thing. I remembered about the bird Wicky spoke about two days before. I wanted to talk about this with him. But where is he? Not anywhere in the bounds of my sight. Not just him but his family too.


I am lost!

I am not an active or talkative girl, so my presence or absence might not make a difference. So, they might have thought I am with them. Wicky was so lost in the stories and whenever someone talks about mythology he would be out of everybody’s reach. I blamed myself for not being an active girl whose presence and absence could be differentiated.  I walked a few steps forward. Mobile phones are not allowed into the premises of the temple, so we left them at the counter. I know, joining the line now further worsens the situation. I thought of doing pradakshinas so that I would not be too much away if they search for me. I walked ahead to find a sage who is taking the pleasure of hookah in his hand. He looked like a scavenger. His throat is fully wrapped in a scarf as if there is something in his throat which no one should see. When I looked at him, he is already looking at me. Surprisingly he smiled at me to greet me. I never return back the smile if I don’t know the person. He nodded his head asking me to go towards him. I didn’t want to go but I decided against it. Even though he wants to come to me he cannot come because he is too weak even to stand. His weakness shouldn’t be my strength. So, I walked towards him. The place around him smelled like a cremation ground.

“How are you my dear?” He asked me.

I said, “I am okay, but –”

Before I could complete, he asked, “you are okay?”  and then he smiled; his looks still fixed at me.

I was afraid if he was reading my mind. “Why would I not be okay?” I asked in a low tone.

“Where is the guy who should be with you?” he asked.

I became so dumb to answer the question. I said, “I am lost in this temple.”

“You are not lost my dear”, he said. “As long as you believe in me.”

He held my hand and made me walk around the temple to bring me to the same place again. There I found Wicky who is very tired of running and searching. I was preparing myself to be patient and cope up with his anger.

It was definitely my fault.

I tapped on his shoulder and he turned towards me.

To my surprise he wasn’t angry on me.

“Where have you been?”  He asked in a weak voice.

“I have been here all the time” I replied.

This time he looked angry. “Don’t try to hide something!” he said. He never says “don’t lie” for he believes in me too much. “I have been searching this same place again and again” He was panting. “No matter how much I run away from this. . .” he said, “How could I not see you?” again his voice felt weak.

“I was with this man,” I said and turned back to find no one.

{This is the first time I have properly collaborated with someone and I never, never expected it to turn out in such a beautiful manner. It went beyond my expectations and, the way we were able to understand the characters and the flow of the story was fantastic. The emotional balance, the pace, the way the characters have expressed the mutual affection, it is all fantastic.

The tale I can’t talk of it. Readers, you are the judges. I am just talking about the way two writers could perfectly fit in and make a beautifully balanced story.

I can’t talk enough and I can’t thank enough, of course, I don’t want to, for the pleasure is mutual in a collaborative-writing, but still, I can’t thank enough my partner. It is all well-rounded, well-balanced and proper just because of her.}

Collaboration Partner: Sarojini G

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Srinija Donkada says:

    It’s simply beautiful….!! And yes, as you said, it’s truly a beautifully balanced story….!! One thing that really stood out for me in this, is the part where she has described about the sculpture of sita….I was left speechless! After reading this, I’ve realised that I have very poor observational skills….from now on, I will try to observe and understand more from the carvings of the temples….I really thank you for writing this…..loved it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like it. Thank you.


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