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A piety-packed dawn

A piety-packed dawn
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A piety-packed dawn

Highlights

Morning-prayer is a wonderful way to focus our mind and time on seeking Almighty's grace for the day's chores ahead

Morning-prayer is a wonderful way to focus our mind and time on seeking Almighty's grace for the day's chores ahead. Peace, strength, encouragement, etc., whatever be our needs, God can meet us in a very real and pleasant way when we stand before Him with a humble heart. Staunch devotees seek God's presence each morning before they commence their day's multi-faceted tasks demanding energy and attention.

Along with this, Nirmalya darshanam coupled with abhishekam (ritualistic bathing) and deeparadhana (procedural waving of lit-camphor) in temples are the most important pious moments in a Hindu devotee's life. Such a pious experience at Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, is unfolded here.

I had been for long longing for the divinest rituals being performed daily at dawn for the Lord Padmanabhaswamy. That day, we (my sister, wife and I) got up at 2.30 a.m., had a cold water-bath and set out for the shrine bare-footed. Devotees were waiting at all the main gates. As soon as they were opened at 3.30 a.m., devotees - old, midle-aged, boys and girls – thronged sanctum-sanctorum by running on prakaram (corridor) so as to garner convenient position to enjoy unhidden view of Nirmalyam rituals.

The Lord visible in parts through three horizontal openings, blesses devotees in Anantha Sayana posture, the eternal yogic sleep on the serpent Adi Shesha. The left opening shows His graceful smiling face, in the middle we worship His chest and abdomen with Brahma seated on a lotus springing forth from His navel and through the third we have darshan of His golden feet.

Nirmalyam began. When a priestly assistant was arranging abhisheka ingredients and pooja things, the whole assemblage were watching in utter silence marked with deep devotion. The idols of Mahavishnu, Sreedevi (Goddess of Wealth) and Bhoodevi (Goddess of Earth) were taken out from the sanctum sanctorum and put on a specially-erected plank for bathing and oblations. Abhishekam began with water, milk, etc.,

When the whole session of enthralling rites ended with attiring, garlanding and deeparadhana at 4.45 a.m., the devotees seemed to have attained a state of immense ecstasy; so much so that almost all devotees' eyes welled with tears of joy. Not only in the past, even in the present days where human movements are fast and machine-like, we have young boys and girls visiting divine shrines with committed devotion.

With heart weighty with assorted miseries, we would enter into the shrine but the glorious dawn-rituals performed for the deities, gift us with a peaceful mind brimming with great confidence; like we have conquered the whole day, all thanks to delightful worship at dawn.

We would leave the shrine with a realization that rejoicing over worldly pleasures (ruptures?) with material acquisition, power, fame and wealth as sources of peace, content and happiness, is all merely myth and delusion. Coming out of shrine, we feel like the God is bidding farewell to us saying 'Relax, take a cue from me, life is a breeze'.

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