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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What can I demand that you don't know already?

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In March of 2002 I visited Tirupati Balaji with my friends. Tirupati temple is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimages in India and receives maximum number of visitors and donations in the world. Line for entering the temple can run as long as a day and temple boasts of efficient queuing system to accommodate between 50,000 to 100,000 visitors everyday. As I was waiting at final waiting hall before entering to temple premises, I started to wonder what should ask God for? After all, it is not everyday I get opportunity to pay homage to such esteemed and famous deity and I must seek His blessings for something important to me.

Initially, I felt that there is nothing that I can ask God here which I couldn’t have asked elsewhere because even if this is most popular pilgrimage of Lord, He is after all omnipresent. As He resides in this rich ornate temple so does He in murti at shrine in my home. My this feeling of calm reverence was soon shattered by the ambience. As devotees proceeded to march towards deity, fragrance of sandalwood and incense permeated my nostrils, chants of Hail Balaji and sounds from gongs and bells reverberated my ear drums, and piety in the crowed seeped in my skin. As I approached closed to Sanctum Sanctorum my eyes got watery with respect, devotion and surrender.

I searched my mind to find appropriate prayer and request. While I was quite happy student with perfectly happy family, there were many things in life which worried me and which I was apprehensive about. As I went on rummaging my brain for the most important request, I found myself discarding everything. How dare I bother the Almighty with my insignificant fears and inquisitions, I chided myself. Will it be appropriate use of my opportunity if I just ask Him to ward off trivial problems of my life? Shouldn’t I be seeking His support on things worth His esteemed stature? What specific question I pose to Him that He didn’t know answer of? As my thoughts progressed, I questioned if I can limit my request to only my betterment? Why not ask Him about welfare and betterment of all my family members? Thinking in this direction just escalated. Why not ask him for solving problems of all my clan members? All my country men? All the humanity? More I delved deeper inside me, more I found myself selfish, small, petty and incapable of asking Him to solve my problems. When I reached in front of Him, only thing that I found worth asking that may Lord please do whatever you deem well for the world at large.

From one angle, my journey from personal desire to global wish and specific question to general broad request can be interpreted as sign of my greediness. But didn’t I have right to ask as much as I want from the only One who had capacity to give infinite of everything? From another angle, my act can be understood to have wasted an momentous opportunity by seeking generality from the Almighty himself. I don’t know…

Recent song Arziyaan from Dilli 6 captures this emotion in very apt way and was provocation for this post.

अर्जियाँ सारी मैं चहरे पर लिख कर लाया हूँ,
तुमसे क्या मांगूँ तुम खुद ही समझ लो
I come with yearnings written on my face yet what do I demand from you as you yourself know everything?

सर उठा के मैनें कितनी ख्वाहिशें की थीं
कितने ख्वाब देखे थे, कितनी कोशिशें की थीं
जब तू रूबरू आया नज़रें ना मिला पाया
सर झुका के एक पल में मैनें क्या नहीं पाया
I desired for many things, I dreamt of so much. But when I faced you I couldn’t look you into eyes. As I surrendered to you, I found everything.