Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Gilroy Hanuman temple

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Hello all. It’s been a while since I blogged. But the place I visited last Saturday (4th Nov) was so good that it really inspired me to do so. My friends & I usually go to some temple every fortnight. Last Saturday when we started to the Gilroy Hanuman temple, I never thought it would be such an appealing place. I will try to verbalize my experience to the best possible level.

When we entered the area, the first thing we saw was the presence of lots of people who looked like from other faiths, mainly Christians, moving around in the area. Initially, I thought they must be visiting the some place nearby, because the place is called Mount Madonna County. But when I saw a lady doing namaskar to us it was a little bit surprising. We started walking towards the shrine; we could see the name of the LORD RAMA written in Hindi in several places. At the shrine we had the most pleasant surprise. The person who you can see in the photo was the archaka of the Sankat Vimochan Hanuman temple. He was chanting shllokas in Sanskrit and offering puja to the GOD. He called each one of us to the shrine, chanted shloka, loudly said “Jai Shri Ram” and gave us prasadam. When my turn came to receive the prasadam eyes were full of tears with immense delight. He then described about the different places in that place, from which I came to know that the place is more like an Ashram. The Ashram was started in 1970s by Baba Hari Dass, a Sawmiji from Northern part of India. The Place has kuteer, meditation centers, yoga centers etc. Meanwhile few more people came for Lord’s darshan. The archaka performed the puja and gave prasadam to them as well. Take a look at the photos that I have uploaded.

Then we started towards the construction area where Baba ji was present. At the construction place Baba ji was also working along with others. I remembered “malladihalli swamiji” who used to work even when he was 100. Before reaching the construction area I thought they must be constructing a building or something in those lines. But they were building a stone bund (It indicated the lack of funds on the part of the Ashram and the seva manobhav of the Ashram people). Again, I was pleased to see several foreigners doing seva (helping in constructing the bund). We were told that Baba is a mouni and he either writes or uses symbolic language to communicate. We talked to Baba (while he wrote) for 5 – 10 minutes. We then left the construction area to go around the Ashram. Throughout the Ashram one thing that was standing out; all the rooms (may it be kuteer, guest house, yoga center .. anything) were named after the Lord; like Ram-1, Ram-2 etc. We then visited the Ashram stores. It was very similar to a Ramakrishna Ashram stores with books, idols, CDs etc. All the books that we found were on Hinduism, yoga, meditation etc.

By this time we were hungry and we went to the dining place. We had a satvik food. I saw one more interesting element; photos of the people who had served the Ashram. Many of them were of different faith initially, but have changed their faith and have become part of the Ashram. I have put one such photo in the blog. After food, we went to the kalyani & the Lord Vishnu temple. We spent few minutes then and started back home.

Though this is looks like a narration of a day’s event, I have tried to highlight one element. Presence of people who were initially from a different faith, but started following Hinduism after they came to the Ashram. I had always heard about Hinduism welcomes everyone, forces no one. I was pleased to see it in pratyaksha. We don’t lure any one, we don’t force any one. We don’t stop any one either from following our faith.

To know more about the temple please visit http://www.mountmadonna.org/

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