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  • Writer's pictureMadhusudan

A bowing heart

Shiva Temple in Kharod

The moon was full and so was my heart… it felt a new beginning, a new start. On the steps of ancient shiva temple, at 4 am I started my bowing pilgrimage. Remembering my ancestors, my family, friends and the world at large I took a bow, prostrating fully in the ground. In gratitude for all that I have received, I took a bow. For being an instrument of love, I took a bow. And to open my heart more and more, I took a bow.

Villagers coming from far prostrating

The journey was short and yet it felt an eternity. A distance of 4 kms from the Shiva temple to the Vishnu temple in my village Seorinarayan. Many people from nearby villages make this pilgrimage when their wish comes true. Sometimes alone and sometimes with the entire family. I did not had any wish in particular to be fulfilled. An epiphany, a strong desire engulfed my heart when I had last visited here… it said.. come… come in this pilgrimage, bow down, bow down so low that you are one with the dirt and soil. All your thoughts, wish and ego will dissolve and may you find your self.

No doubt I was nervous, the task which didn’t seem so difficult before, now seemed almost impossible. So many times on the way I thought of quitting and yet found a courage to take the next bow. The road was concrete, and sometimes filled with stones, spit and dirt. Many a times a truck or a vehicle would pass filling my heart with little fear but the very next moment it’s passengers from the village would praise the god in loud voice to cheer me up. Sometimes in the front and sometimes on my back, I went on prostrating for two hours and then my body started giving up. My chest rib bones and body muscles started hurting extremely and each step was getting difficult, sitting next to the road I vomited, my head too started hurting and I was about to give up, this was the lowest point in my journey, doubts came in of futility of the entire pilgrimage, who was I trying to impress, was it my ego or just a fancy of mind to do an adventure. I felt weak in mind and body and that’s when help came in.  A little voice said, do what you can, god is not counting your steps but only seeks the life of your heart. My uncle who had dropped me in the temple early morning came again to check on me and gave me some water and glucose. It felt right to walk for next one km and then start the bowing.

With mother in Seorinarayan Temple

In the journey I passed my old home where I grew up , the streets where we played, and memories of my hidden childhood was again revealed to me. With rejuvenate hope and strengthened faith, I continued on the last leg of my journey. Inspite of a big crowd outside the temple, I went in smoothly, the guards didn’t stop me and it felt as if all doors were opening. By this time my anxious mother too joined me, bit worried but mostly pride radiating from her face. Darshan of god was brief and beautiful, I offered my coconut which I had carried all along and then that day later took a dip in the Mahanadi river.

Watching the flowing river, I reflected on what happened that day. Now if I think of the pilgrimage, it feels almost impossible, more because of physical strain. What was I trying to achieve, or is there anything to achieve ? Who am I, a pilgrim or simply a wanderer ? How am I contributing to this world, through any specific work or through my sheer presence ? Can I cultivate a heart so full, so open, so encompassing to embrace my self and others, can I be in so peace with myself that whoever meets me , meets his or her own peace ?

Full of doubts sometimes and yet with inner strength, I firmly believe that no matter how small but our every step towards love is never in vain and it’s this step that creates my world… the world.

Market Place

One of my Uncle Rajesh ji, who together with the help of community runs a kitchen to offer free food for the pilgrims.

Somebody clicked my picture and gave it to the local newspaper

A shop selling Shiva linga in village fair

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