Although I have a strong belief in God, I have never quite been able to surrender completely to his divine will and this "faith" has eluded me so far. But my better half possess' immense faith in the almighty and I keep telling her that that is a secret brahmastra that she carries with her. One thin I do often when visiting temples is to look at other devotees praying and more often that not, I come across persons who are able to completely surrender themselves to god and this, to be honest makes me feel jealous. I wonder how much longer this 'complete and total faith' will elude me. Strange are ways of the lord indeed!
Coming to the lord the family is back from a fantastic trip to Tirumala, abode of Lord Venkateshwara. Once again the trip was made possible by my dear brother Maruthi who had tickets for the Thomala Seva and Archana on July 14th. We left Bangalore by my car on the 13th afternoon and it took us a good hour just to cross Whitefield. The construction of the bridge at Adugodi is still not over (another wonderful example of how pathetic our Project Management skills are especially with infrastructure building) and all light and heavy vehicular traffic has been diverted via the road that goes to Chikka Tirupathi. The journey to Tirumala took us about 6 hours (by the way, the four laning of the road from Bangalore to Mulbagal is still on-going but has been completed in certain stretches).
We reached Tirumala at about 10 PM and after settling into the rooms, I went over to tonsure my head and luckily we did not have any lines this time around and I was back in bed by 12. We got ready by about 2:30am and were at the gates of the temple by 2:40. We had tickets for 6 of us but much to our chagrin, the arrogant guys at TTD refused to let the 6th person enter citing that the rules had changed and only 5 people were allowed for the darshan. Maruthi's mother opted to wait outside and I could only fold my hands in reverence to such a selfless soul. Since we were asked to stay back due to the confusion with the number of persons permitted to enter, we found ourselves at the end of the line when we reached the main compound.
Once again the grace of the almighty was abundant and one of Maruthi's neighbors in Tirupathi who handles security at TTD, got us in through a short cut and we found ourselves waiting right behind a group of VIP's! The darshan that followed, was the best I have had in my life. We spent a good 1 hour in front of Lord Venkateshwara and all I could do is pray for the well being of everyone.
There is a an inexplicable energy that flows from the Lord and I am indeed a fortunate soul to have witnessed such a fantastic darshan, all made possible purely by his grace. I did feel very bad for Maruthi's mother and the only consolation I could think of is that maybe it just wasn't to be for her. The family, however is forever indebted to her for giving us a chance to witness such a darshan. Lord Vekateshwara has been very kind and generous to us through the years and never have we had to stand in line for hours to get a glimpse of him. He has always ensured that we get to spend at least 5 mins in front of his divine presence. There cannot be a better gift for someone like me who still has not been able to fully surrender to him. But maybe these are subtle ways through which he makes his point! We returned home on 15th night after visiting Alamelumangapuram and Srinivasamangapuram on the way. I had driven approx 600 kms in 24 hours and a good nights sleep was in order.
The missus' family is visiting us but the circumstances are not so great with her grandmother battling for her life. I however got to meet my brother-in-law and even took him out for a movie yesterday (Knight and Day - Total time pass!). The whole family is praying for her grandmother and the in-laws' visit has been cut short and they leave for Hyderabad tomorrow. The house will feel a little empty once again.
Hari Om Tat Sat!