Walk the talk – Temple tales


“I am an Atheist”. He said.” I do not believe in organised, ritualistic religion or God “.

I believe temples are the biggest wealth hoarders  and should be termed as business houses if not anything else and for that matter even the churches , mosques, gurudwaras and all other so-called places of worship. Can we use RTI  to question all these people who are amassing wealth in the name of religion?

I can not believe in anything that doesn’t exist like ‘ God”  if super powers are what we are talking of then I can a name a whole pantheon of superheroes who are more real to us than some non entity that lives in an abyss . I would rather  respect Nature for that matter.

Long ago before this whole class division etc happened people simply revered the nature around them then some men  devised this concept of heaven and hell to  put fear in masses and used it as  instrument of power. People use it because it is comfort beyond compare for those who do not have faith in their own abilities and a sure shot way to richness and power. Those modern-day worries have made people use religion as a crutch and that is the reason they blindly follow those babas, gurus, yada yada to the highest degree of stupidity.”

I decided to listen. It is a wonderful thing to do. A lost art too. “I would rather believe in Good than God ” I said.

“We live in an increasingly gender-neutral, technological world then how can we believe in a sham like religion.”  Except for the temples of Khajuraho I detest them all. Noisy, their air dripping of communal ism  and class/gender differences. I hate the priest who fleeces the zombies who visit these places ..zombies for they are bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli.

” The “God” sits there smeared with various things,  adorned with finest jewels and watches this crap or in some other religions He is conveniently formless. All that milk which is poured on the shivlinga can feed hundreds of malnutritioned kids.  Wonder if God knows that. I find this whole Abishekam and shringaram rituals pathetic. Such waste, and to think people pay hefty sum to be a part of this, to watch God bathe. Yikes!

People do not have faith in themselves , they do not have love for themselves and their fellow being , animals, trees , things that sustain life but they would draw blood and commit the most atrocious things like child sacrifice for a belief they can’t even explain properly. They are like those terrorists, fundamentalist who have blinkers on and one agenda – their supremacy.

I was impressed at the use of vocabulary.

“Losing an illusion is better than finding a truth”- Ludwig Borne

God loves you and he needs money.

“What made you talk about this suddenly?” I asked.

“I refused to enter the temple where granny had taken me and that brought hell right on earth at the doorstep of the temple. He laughed. “I  was lectured on how I would burn in hell for offending Him. Ah, well , who cares.All that fasting had made her irritable and in my opinion she needed food than God at that time. The best thing to do was listen and text to bro for a fake call which came promptly to my rescue.” lol It was my turn to laugh.

“Also I watch our house help pray religiously for her husbands long life and well being and in returns she gets beaten up, abused sexually, emotionally, mentally by  that drunkard day in and day out and I say to myself surely her God is deaf and pro rich and pro men , someone who can  listen only when some seth or sethani is playing raunchy bhajans based on latest film songs  by a loud speaker and offering him a big notton ki gaddi. This poor woman’s tear streaked voiced drowsed by pain and sorrow doesn’t reach his ears.  It makes me sick. ”

“I don’t see any relevance of these grand structures. Mosques, temples ,churches , I love the architectural, cultural or historical aspect  but beyond that, nothing.  It is a height of conceit to clothe some non existent God in human form and  ascribe to them our petty vanities and jealousies. Rituals, beliefs in Horo(horrors)copes, gems, stones, astrology, numerology anything that gives people that illusory hope and a name in His good books is lapped up whatever the cost may be. Sad isn’t it that we have no compassion for living but we can go to any length for some abstract thing/ person or an ambigu­ous con­cept that is not well-defined?”

“True, I hear ya”, I said munching the roasted chana( good choice, when thinking) .

“Religion is the root of all the mess in this world and the most racist, sexist , discriminatory vice of the society and the viral root cause of all evil in this world. Society will rot if this doesn’t end. Religion is a refuge ground for all the unscrupulous people, politicians,business men with number do ka paisa, criminals and many such others. I don’t think I need their company. It is a tool for gender inequality mainly oppression of women. I am perplexed at  how even eman­ci­pated women pre­fer to stay within their reli­gious faiths and strug­gle against oppres­sion, and not choos­ing to dis­card religion? Glad you discarded it long back. ” He heaved a sigh of relief.

I told him about an article from Guardian ,” Religions do a good job of training people to be obedient and loyal to the authorities and women in particular are raised to be both devout and submissive. Religions are sticky: they are hard to abandon and that is doubly true for women, given that subordination and unshakable fidelity are their chief duties.” { LINK }

Fanaticism is at t he core of all religion. A man kills100+in Oslo & is termed as “Gunman” “attacker” “Assailant” by media but If he were Muslim he would have been declared a Terrorist. Somehow the word terrorist is conveniently associated with Islam but I feel everyone who has deep-set ideas and beliefs that are rooted with age-old dogmas, rituals, religious norms has a potential terrorist trait.

“I never believed in religion. I cringe at the fact when someone says “Hindu child” “christian child” so on and so forth. I never took mine to a temple to force religion on them.  I encouraged to ask Why? and take their own stand in life, to choose what is right and acceptable to them. Today it seems I made the right choice by taking a conscious decision of not to indoc­tri­nate my boys and fill their impressionable minds with my aesthetic beliefs.

I remember a huge debate that rocked our home when my FIL decided to build a temple in his ancestral village and a room at Badri Kedar . The question which we raised was “whose temple is it anyway, yours or God’s”? It was funny to me but to the family it struck like a bolt of thunder. It also sparked another fire when I asked how a family can fast for seven days, chant bhajans in praise of the goddess, light a lamp twice a day and abuse , insult the DIL of the house ? Does the Devi grant permission for that? The question evokes responses which the Goddess  herself is still wondering about  but her devotees have forgotten conveniently.

I detest the gaudy display of wealth in these places of worship where we see the names of  people who have given “DAAN(offerings)” . It looks so crude. Is this some “name to fame”  kind of show? Something to brag about for generations to come. Birla Mandir is one such example. Poor God has been left sitting quietly on his pedestal. It is not something new, it began from the times of kings.

“People can go through an entire lifetime without questioning”, I said ,’  It’s impossible for me to believe in any of the anthropomorphic gods, because they are simply ridiculous. They are obviously the fantasy-projections of scientifically ignorant minds.”  I winked at him and said, ” may be we can believe in “Hoobanog”. “What’s that ? ” He gave me sharp look. Well Don’t ask , it is beyond explanation, a kinetic energy that I believe runs the entire show of the universe .” He laughed . ” you just coined a new term. ya well, we need to label our beliefs.”

Jokes apart I am good without God. I said as we neared the gate of our building.  I am in awe of the universe itself, and very grateful to be a part of it. That is enough..When will we grow up and be cured of this illness of  our unfounded belief  in religion and face the real tragedies and pleasures of life?

“How is your writing going? Any new assignments which will pay?” He asked suddenly.

“Huh? No, not so lucky I guess. ” I replied.

” Hey why don’t you become a priestess? It would be damn cool.. ” Tiku – the high priestess of Delhi. She has the divine power . ”

I laughed out loud ” ya,sure and trust me I will have no shortage of wealth. ”

“Absolutely, that’s the point. All you need is a few strings of rudraksha, some rings with colorful gems, a robe ( the Osho maroon is cool), a crystal ball and such other stuff plus a swanky office in posh south Delhi. How cool is that !”

“We are such fools.Adam and eve must be crazy to sow the seeds of human race”, He smiled. “Were they” whites” ? ” How come then we have so many colored people?” ” Something went wrong”?

The sun was setting behind the high-rise shopping mall across our balcony and I wasn’t in a mood to indulge in another discussion.

” Our obsession with white skin must be the by-product of that. Did anyone commit any sin to get brown, yellow, black skin?”

I  decided to enter my sound cave by putting in the ear plugs. He hugged and got busy with the laptop. That God for small mercies.. oooooops :p

Thoughts mentioned are personal and I do not wish to offend any religion, belief  or viewpoint. 

A Gateway to the Belly of Earth : Patal Bhubaneshwar


My thirst for travel took me to one of the most amazing ancient creations in the Himalayas. A legendary cave complex is full of natural stalagmites and stalactites which is a must watch for any traveler to this region. The caves are made of limestone.

We were staying in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand when the wanderlust lured us to this beautiful place called Patal Bhubaneshwar situated at the height of 1350 meters in Pithoragar district known as “Dev Bhumi” (abode of Gods) and “little Kashmir” for its virgin natural beauty. Its distance from Ranikhet is 115 km. and the nearest town is Gangolihat. The drive is awesome as the roads are smooth and the view captivating.

Mesmerizing landscape, exotic flowers, the sweet scent of pine and mighty Oak trees were the first welcoming sights as we maneuvered the twisting, turning, dusty so called road from the main town. We had gathered enough information and were really excited to see the nature’s wonders.

Patal Bhubaneshwar (Patal means Hell) is an ancient cave temple complex, a subterranean shrine of Shiva. The place was retrieved by Adi Shankaracharya in around 8th or 10th Century A.D. It is believed to be the replica of the mythical underworld of Hindu religion. One has to go through a narrow tunnel to view the underground stone carvings. It is about 200 steps and straight 90 ft down. The place is said to be abode of thirty-three billion Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

We had to crawl in a single line by holding the protective chains through a very narrow crevice to reach the cave. The lights are feeble and Photography in any form is not allowed inside the cave so one has to see it to believe it. The whole place is enshrined in mystery and mythology. I was enchanted by the giant birds, serpents, ghostly figures and human forms which looked so seemingly alive. It was a sight I will never forget. We were bare feet as shoes are not allowed and the slippery ribbed floor gave us an eerie feeling. I thanked my stars that we had an ASI guide with us, for the place sure gave me goose bumps. The only drawback of having him around was the constant flow of legends and stories which distracted us from observing the amazing beauty of the place.

The main temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and one can also see the Narsimh (half lion half human) incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Legends say that Lord Bramha comes to this place with the other gods to worship Lord Shiva who resides in this place. A little ahead is the natural rock formation of Sheshnag holding the heaven, the earth and the world beneath. There is a thin stream of water along the tunnel. One has to go through several small caves to reach the sprawling interiors. Each cave unmasks some deep secret buried in its belly. The lime stone stalagmites that emerge from the walls all over the complex are known as the Jatas (locks) of Lord Shiva.

The sanctum sanctorum gives you the feeling of being at the center of the earth. It is said that the tunnel is the backbone of Sheshnag the mythological serpent God with thousand heads. As we reached the middle of the cave we found a beautiful Ganesh statue. There was a lotus flower engraved on the ceiling right above it and water tricking from the lotus fell directly on Lord Ganesh’s head. The water made different shapes and the legend says that these shapes are that of various Gods and Goddesses from Hindu Mythology.

The cave has the replicas of Badrinath, Kedarnath and other four important religious places and due to this it is highly revered by the Hindus. The place also has some features from the Indian Epic Mahabharata. It is believed that the Pandavas stayed and meditated here during their last journey to the Himalayas.

The priests of this complex, who have been part of the shrine for more than twenty generations, are a treasure-house of legends, folklore, anecdotes and information about this holy place.

Some of the stone carvings of Gods and Goddesses depict them in erotic forms. It sure proved to be a surreal experience. The sheer unspoiled charm of the area that surrounds these wonders is awe-inspiring.

After this breathtaking experience we came out to inhale the fresh air fragrant with  scent of incense sticks and flowers. We decided to walk about the place and after going just a little further got a spectacular view of Himalayas stretching over the horizon. It was an enchanting view of almost 600 km long mountain range stretching end to end from Garhwal to Nepal. Apart from the magnificent mountains our hearts were also captivated by the terraced fields and houses in the valley.

A hike in the Deodar forest revealed tiny caves scattered here and there that were the mini replicas of the big cave. It was a journey worth taking and we enjoyed every moment of it.

The evening sun was in its splendor and we relaxed on the green carpet of soft grass to enjoy the most beautiful sunset we had ever seen. It was also our last one for the trip. Filled with nostalgia and awe we drove back to Ranikhet. Silently watching the dark misty landscape.

The whole experience left unforgettable memories in our hearts.

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Temples Of Khajuraho


A visit to Khajuraho takes one into the land of super consciousness. It is a journey everyone should take. The temples of Khajuraho have the most erotic, sensuous, and graphic, sculptures that can not be found anywhere else in the world. The facade-walls, windows, pillar brackets, and ceilings are intricately carved with figures from mythology and history. All the figures are perfectly proportioned though they are not masculine like the Greek sculptures.

The innocent depiction of love and sex and the celebration of women are the main theme of these sculptures. Various facets and moods of women, her beauty, seductiveness, compassion, love, desire and innocence is depicted beautifully in each sculpture. Each temple depicts the creative energy of ‘Shakti’ who is considered to be the feminine counterpart of Shiva and all the other Gods of the Hindu Pantheon. There are about sixteen types of female figures engaged in various activities like tying anklets, looking into the mirror, carrying a baby, writing a letter etc.

The female nudity is considered as a potent fertility charm. The Jain, Buddhist and Hindu religious sect all believe in the fertility cult and erotic symbolism can be seen in their art forms everywhere. Here in Khjuraho, it is more evident and open. Fertility has a deeper meaning than just procreation. It means happiness, wealth, prosperity, and auspiciousness.

I learned some important lessons of life and developed a new way to look at the most common thing everyone talks about-Sex. Through these sculptures immerges a deep sense of energy that changes one’s outlook towards sex and meditations, religion and worship. In my opinion each town must have one such temple so that people can rise above the beliefs and norms that they have set about sex. This will also end the suppression of sex which has made the society so ugly.

During the construction of these magnificent temples the artisan lived in a society free from inhibitions and they were also secular craftsmen. All the activities of human life were celebrated and one can see the love for life in every sculpture here. They got their inspiration from the world they lived in.

The origin of the name Khajuraho comes from the ‘Khajur’ or the Date Palm tree which is found in abundance in this region. It was the first capital of the Chandela rulers in the 10th to the 14th centuries. The Chandelas believed in the Tantras which called for a person to work inward from the erotic to the pure spiritualism. One can see the presence of both the Tantra and the puranic elements here.

There are different theories about why these temples have erotic sculptures on the outer walls and none inside the temple. Some people believe it to be the depiction of ‘Kamasutra’ while others think they were created as a part of educating the masses about sex but I disagree because there is much more to these sculptures that sex. One can find dancing couples, musicians, potters, farmers and other folks along with deities etched in stone. Only 10% of the Stone carvings at Khajuraho temples contain sexual themes. If we examine these temples carefully then there is more of a celebration here than education.

I was overwhelmed by the joie de vivre that can be seen in sheer abundance here. To me these temples are the finest examples of India’s glorious past. There is also a story about the Brahmin woman falling in love with the moon God and getting pregnant by him. The baby boy born to that woman founded the Chadela Empire, the creators of these awesome temples.

Osho’s explanation on this matter seems absolutely correct to me. He says, “These temples have, on the outer side, beautiful women, beautiful men, and all in love postures. Inside there are no love postures. Inside you will find the empty, not even a statue of God. The idea is that unless you pass through your sexuality with full awareness, in all its phases, in all its dimensions — unless you come to a point when sex has no meaning for you-only then you enter the temple. Otherwise you are outside the temple, your interest is there.”

Osho’s Quote is from his book ‘From Unconsciousness to Consciousness’ (Book Title)

The temples depict the energy which transforms sexual to super consciousness, from lowest to highest form. There is a serene calm on the faces of the men and women engaged in various sexual positions as shown in the sculptures. The idea was not to suppress sex but to use that energy to reach the ultimate level of consciousness.

Meditating in front of those sculptures frees one of any sexual desires and with that purity of mind, body and soul one goes into the temple. This was a path to Nirvana, a path of renunciation or ‘Moksha’, to leave the visual and sensuous pleasures and move ahead without attachments, desires and regrets. I feel that the logic was to show people a correct way of life through the enjoyment of ‘arth’ (material wealth) and ‘Kaam’ (sexual pleasures) while perusing the ‘Dharma’ (Duty) while on the way to enlightenment.

The temple town of Khajuraho in the state of Madhya Pradesh is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is famous for its remarkably intriguing erotic sculptures. This celebration of the carnal which weaves beautifully with the austere Jain religion is just amazing example of the level of super consciousness of people living at those times. Many of these temples are based on Hindu religion. These temples were built over 1,000 years ago. The unsurpassable stark beauty, grandeur, and art of these ancient temples leave one in awe of those who created them.

Khajuraho temples are set in an archeological park with mowed lawns and landscaped gardens which is very different from its original setting of semi desert like environment and palm trees which gave the place its name.

The intricate detailing and artistry of the sculptures is worth noticing. Each temple has a distinct layout and features although there are some common factors also. They are architectural delights made of granite and sand stones built on high platforms. All the temples have a sanctum sanctorum or ‘garbha griha’. The temples are constructed in famous ‘Nagada’ style of architecture dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The famous western group of temples which are entirely based on Hindu religion are the most exquisite among all. The figures have a unified design and a harmonious rhythm in them. The horizontal bands of carvings are in perfect alignment with the vertically towering main structure. All of them follow the strict convention of ‘shilpashatra’ (the epic text of sculptures) and temple art. There are cult icons, surrounding figures, ‘Apsara’ or the ‘Sursundaris’ (celestial beauties) and the erotic couples. There are many auspicious and luck bringing motifs.

There are relief panels depicting the king at court, the royal hunt, domestic scenes marching armies, dance processions, teacher and students, traders with camels, and sculptors at work etc among others. Nandi (Lord Shiva’s Bull), mythical animals, elephants and wild boars are some of the animals which are carved on the outer walls.

Some of the finest temples are that of Kandhariya Mahadev, the Chitragupta Temple that is dedicated to the Sun God, the Vishwanath Temple which has a three-headed image of Brahma (the Creator of the Universe) and the superbly decorated Lakshmana Temple.
The eastern group depicts the marvelous Adinath Temple whose lavishly embellished sculptures mesmerizes you the moment you set eyes on them and the Parsvanath Temple which is the largest Jain temple here.

The temples of Khajuraho originally consisted of eighty five temples of which only twenty two exist today. They are stunning examples of art and architecture of that period. Each temple is different from the other.

As I watched the beautifully chiseled faces of those human beings etched in time, a sense of calm began to seep in. Somehow one feels like withdrawing into complete silence and close the eyes to all that is momentary.

*( Image and material researched from  Google images/ search results. Full credit to the photographer. )*

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