Faith of the Faithless

pradakshinaa: one full revolution of the temple.

On a rather chilly early morning of a Friday morning, I accompanied my friend, his mom and his sister on a visit to the Chilukur Balaji Temple. {Every knowledgeable citizen of Hyderabad should have known about this.}

The presiding deity at this temple is Lord Venkateshwara(Balaji). This god is also known as the ‘Veesaala Devudu'(God of Visas). Actually he became famous by this sobriquet and it still sticks to him. No wonder you get to see young college graduates and parents of would-be graduates at the temple asking for boons, for their or their children’s visas to get accepted.

Gods become famous not by what they are; but by what they can give to you. And since as ubiquitous as the shrewd business sense of people can be, no wonder, god was never left to rest in peace.

And this is how it works: this business association between the god and the devotee.

Phase 1. Submit the application form .
First,ask a desire of yours. That is by doing 11 pradakshinaas of the temple.

Phase 2. Processing
Now wait for your desire to get fulfilled.

Phase 3. Post Processing
In case it does,you do 108 pradakshinaas of the temple.
In case it doesnt, you dont.

This is what I knew/learnt about the temple, during my numerous inquiries before and during the journey.

But what I saw there left me confused, laughing and thoroughly amused.

It was 4:30am and there were already people flocking the temple which was not yet opened. And as soon as it got opened, they rushed in.Since i had never been inside this temple, i decided to go have a dekko after half an hour.

And there was the sea of humanity. Arms reaching out at the next corner to help move fast. Eyes darting feverishly searching for the gap in the front to squeeze in. Lips moving continuously not involved in chanting but counting the number of pradakshinaas they did. And the legs doing their bit by running around.

All minds are involved in one single motive. To complete the 108 rounds. Neither a lip goes chanting; nor the eyes close in Bhakti. The rat-race is alive. Very much alive. In a temple!

Im a believer[I want to be a believer]; but for all my beliefs/observations; Ill always be an athiest.


5 thoughts on “Faith of the Faithless

  1. Reminds me of a story my dad narrates of his college friend… who used to maintain an “account book” of coconut offerings to Lord Ganesha. If what he prays for gets fulfilled, he would make an offering of one coconut, if it doesnt – he would debit one from the running account. Every three months – he would check his account book and make the offerings as per the balance on that day.

    It is said that… Lord Ganesha still owes hundreds of coconuts to the good old man 😉

  2. Nice !! Business cycle 🙂

    Well, this process of Pooja/Karmkanda itself was purposefully made like this… where most of the people come either with a fear or in want of something … and generally the actual benificiary used to be the priests..

    But there are many examples of devotion without any expectation from God… Most of the Bhakti poets chose this path only.. where the devotion was mainly either for the soul searching or in Chaitanya/ Jaydev’ case a path to peace and love…

    By the way Kopos, me too joining Oracle this summer…any suggestions… do they have some training, how is job life, the workload etc… or any advice you would like to give !!!

    plz mail me at kumar.rakesh[at]

  3. @RL: Lord Ganesha must be in neck deep debts now.

    @Rocky: Peace & Love.

    Get one mark less and ppl start doubting the existence of god :O Such is the sanity.


  4. Interesting we had a similar discussion about God over at our blogs recently.In the end we developed several interesting varieties of God’s each different from the other…

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