I believe that things happen when you don’t make a big deal out of them. They tend to work out for you on their own. The same happened when I planned my trip to Rameshwaram. One thing leads to another and before I knew I was packing for Rameshwaram. It is one of the coveted chaar dhaams of Hindu Religion. I totally remember how it was such a big deal for my grandparents and how they always fancy visiting the temple someday.
Though there are many things to do in Rameshwaram but performing the 22 Kund Snanam and visiting the Ramanathaswamy Temple is something which is a no brainer. Generally, people do the Sphatik Mani Darshan , 22 Kund Snanam and then visit the temple, all in one visit. But I did the 22 Kund Snanam and the temple drashan together and Sphatik Mani Darshan the next day. When I left the temple after 22 Kund Snanam and darshan I noticed that the main door of the temple had huge black marble on both the sides. There were a lot of things written around the main door but these two huge marbles had something interesting. They had Swami Vivekanand’s message inscribed on it. I stood there for long and read the whole message. I decided to jot down the whole message. So when I went for Sphatik Mani Darshan I carried a pen and a notepad and wrote it all down.
This post is just about that message.
The message conveys what it actually means to be religious. And how important is be a better human being first and indulge in religious activities later? I was moved by the message. I felt the need to spread the word. Because in today’s world we have forgotten the basic fact that God resides in every single person’s heart. The words are not mine, it is totally copied from the message at the temple. I am giving the whole credit to Swami Vivekananda Ji. And in no way claim my right over a single word written down below.
“It is in love that religion exists and not in ceremony; in the pure and sincere love in the heart. Unless a man is pure in body and mind, his coming into a temple and worshiping God [Siva] is useless. The prayers of those that are pure in mind and body will be answered by God and those that are impure and yet try to teach religion to others, will fail in the end. External worship is only a symbol of internal worship, but internal worship and purity are the real things.
Without them, external worship would be of no avail. Therefore, you must all try to remember this. People have become so degraded in this Kali-Yoga [Iron Age] that they think they can do anything and then can go to a holy place and their sins will be forgiven. If a man goes with an impure mind into a temple, he adds to the sins that he had already and goes home a worse man than when he left it. A place of pilgrimage is a place which is full of holy things and holy men. But if holy people live in a certain place, and if there is no temple, even that is a place of pilgrimage. If unholy people live in a place where there may be a hundred temples, the holiness has vanished from that place .
And it is most difficult to live in a place of pilgrimage, for if sin is committed in any ordinary place it can easily be removed, but sin committed in a place of pilgrimage cannot be removed. This is the gist of all worship—to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees God [Siva] in the poor, in the weak and in the diseased, really worships God [Siva]. And if he sees God [Siva] only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man, seeing God [Siva] in him, without thinking of his caste, or creed, or race, or anything, with him God [Siva] is more pleased than with the man who sees him only in temples.
So you will bear this in mind. Let me tell you again that you must be pure and help anyone who comes to you as much as lies in your power. And this is good Karma. By the power of this, the heart becomes pure, and then Siva [God], who is residing in every one, will become manifest. He is always in the heart of every one. If there is dirt and dust on a mirror, we cannot see our image. So ignorance and wickedness are the dirt and dust that are on the mirror of our hearts. Selfishness is the chief sin, thinking of ourselves first.
He who thinks “I will eat first, I will have more money than others and I will possess everything”; he who thinks, “I will get to heaven before others, I will get freedom before others,” is the selfish man. The unselfish man says, “I will be last, I do not care to go to heaven, I will even go to hell if by doing so I can help my brothers.” This unselfishness is the test of religion. He who has more of this unselfishness is more spiritual and nearer to God (Siva) than anybody else, whether he knows it or not. And if a man is selfish, even though he has visited all the temples, seen all the places of pilgrimage, and painted himself like a leopard, he is still further off from God (Siva).
I believe in every single aforementioned word to bits. I am a huge believer in the fact that respecting and caring for humans around you is more important than anything else. If you serve people around you, you are invariably serving God. We push people in the darshan queue, so much so that we even utter cuss words just to get the glimpse few minutes before the other person. Do you think God wants us to do that, to conduct ourselves in such inhuman way? I resonate so much with these words that I wanted them to be part of my journey and hence I have documented it here. What do you think, what is your take on this?
So the next time you head to Rameshwaram, make sure to spare some time and look for this message at the temple entrance.
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