Long Queues, Devotion and Ganpati

He is the God of knowledge; he loves food, enjoys music and has a mouse as his ride. Now that’s a total dude God right? Mumbai’s favourite Ganpati temple is undeniably ‘Siddhivinayak’ at Prabhadevi. The temple sees A list celebrities, top brass politicos and a lot more. Every Tuesday, thousands of people line up to say hello (read ‘matha tekne’) to the deity they hope will take away all the worries from their lives. 

Today is Angariki Sankashta Chaturthi which is a mega event for all Ganpati devotees. And it isn’t very surprising that devotees lined up from early Monday morning to make sure that they got to see the Lord on the auspicious day. What’s surprising is the amount of people standing in that queue despite the scorching heat. There are senior citizens for whom it’s an extreme health risk, there areyoung professionals who probably have taken a day off work and there are children who are subjected to this torture in the name of God.

Now don’t get me for an atheist. I believe in God, I respect God and I appreciate God. Sankashta Chaturthi fasts are the only ones I religious maintain. I recite SankatNashana Stotra and all that, but I do not remember the last time I went to Siddhivinayak. 

Jayantrao Salgaokar, who happens to be my grandfather, is a Ganpatya (follower of Ganpati). He has done extensive research and study on the subject. “Ganpati never expects his devotees to give up their duty to come and see him. As long as you pray to him with a pure intention, it is immaterial whether you visit his temple or do it at your work desk.’ He tells me. ‘Of course, you need to have discipline in your ‘bhakti’ but taking 3 days off to just queue up at his mandir is not the ideal way!’

He admits that walking to the temple or queuing up long hours is a matter of faith, but when faith crosses the fine line and starts being insanity, we need to worry.

Today as I drove past Prabhadevi, I felt like it was completely insane. What’s even more insane is the fact that there are donor passes that give you faster Darshan. Are you telling me that if you’re rich enough to spare a couple of hundred/thousand rupees, God prefers to see you and if you don’t believe in paying, you don’t get so many ‘Aashirvaads’? I refuse…hmmpf



5 Responses

  1. lol you been thirupati?

    • Hi Shakti!
      U think this is only the case with Temples?? At some point in life people develop superstitions and then its the self fulfilling feedback loop… I know its not logical, rather its psychological. Hiding ones weakness behind religion is probably one of the worst kept secrets.

      * Abt ur last paragraph*

      I hate to see people with power (be it money or position in society) bypassing the commoners. But then, thats how life is. While i completely agree with this fact and your prognosis, i also think that the temple has their constraints. There are far too many ppl vying to take Darshan at the same time to be able to accomodate free entry for all.

      Have u ever experienced that, once u enter the ‘Garbhagriha’ of any famous temple, there are devotees, who (i think are) devoted only to pushing ppl out so that they don’t hoard the space inside? While it’s frustrating to stand in queue for hrs to get a glimpse for few secs, there is little a devotee can do. U have a definitive solution to that??

      Money or position (basically derived power) immediately enter the equation to provide recourse to Demi God’s accesibility. This is where Economics and Religion meet and contradict.

      Isn’t this phenomena similar to mumbai local trains pricing? Second class passengers are simply priced out by First class passengers. There is little else in terms of service that is provided to Ist class passengers. I know this is sick comparison but the thought just came to my mind.

      Life’s not Fair!! But who promised it is or will be???

  2. I like your gramps already!! Maazha namaskaar de tyaala… 😀

  3. It seems nice to hear that you believe in God!
    “The Blood Money” is started, if you would like to read that! If you point me any kind of errors, I’ll be more precise when publishing next chapter of the story…
    Bye, Take Care!

  4. Felt the same when i visited thirupathi for the first time last year……

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