Kapaleeshwarer of Mylapore - a standing monument of faith of nearly 2 crore of the Chennaiites, also my most favorite temple in Chennai which I have been worshippping from my childhood. In fact, its to this temple too, to which I owe my clearing CA. I still remember the sunday morning in March'04 when a family friend wrote me down a shloka of Lord Dakshinamoorty (Lord for Education), especially the one at Kapali, and asked me to worship him with due respects. And then started my conquer over CA, which I finally made it in 2006 and the final examinations went with a lot of promises of abhishekams, breaking coconuts etc. From then, Lord Dakshinamoorty was my Hero. Nearly 3 years now after I had cleared and on one visit to the temple sometime in Jan'09, I started to bethink my fulfilling of the pre-CA promises and zeroed on booking an abhishekam on my favorite Lord D'moorthy. Rs.300 was the charges and date was fixed on the forthcoming sunday morning 10.
The bright day came no sooner and my entire family assembled @ 10. And then started the discontent.
To start with, we were made to wait for over half an hour as some other person(s) who had booked for an abhshekam on the same day, same time had not yet turned up. I had to literally pull out a poojari (priest) to attend us. Finally, they gave up the wait and started to perform for us. More than the wait, frustration was heaps due to the discomfort the priest displayed to perfrom the ritual only for us.
Next event was even more arresting - it was the Abhishekam itself. Name a fast thing - Yuvraj's 6 6s, Yousuf Pathan batting in 20-20, Bullet Train, Bajaj Pulsar, maybe even the lightenng, honestly I tel you, this abhishekam was no slower than the things I listed above. I cusnt believe my own eyes, in less than 10 minutes, the entire event was over. My God, O Lord, I am so sorry. These temples had commercialized things so much, that even the most important ritual for the God had become an event spanning the time of finishing a plate of sambar idly.
I hardly felt the abhishekam being performed, milk, water, honey, vibuthi (holy ash) were poured, applied, smeared with the background of mantras or words sounding so by the priest and then the aarthi was pointed to me, JUST IN 10 MINUTES....God! where is this city heading to?? Even paying to get the God's time doesnt happen...Pathetic than this was that after everythign was over, suddenly 3-4 priests gathered from all sides and started asking for Dakshina (holy tips), even the sweeper, i ddint notice her in my entire 1 hour inside the temple. Money is what everyone was behind. It looked like the entire temple's sanctity had been swept under the wave of money and commercalisation.
My parents and me left the temple with a really heavy heart, felling cheated a lot. Never expected this to happen in the most prominent temple of the city. Consolation or solace of some sort was the amount of prasadam that we got for the abhishekam but that too was shortlived as the person delivering the prasadam only left after I compensated his torments with Rs. 20.
Money that I had spent didnt matter to me a lot as I blow away 10 times the charge for abhishekam at cinema malls, bowling every month. But the real questions that were left in my mind were - was it worth to spend on such activities on God in temples? Is city life become to fast for even simple rituals to shift to fast track mode? Are priests arm twisting in the name of God and faith? Or our spending natures fed these leeches?