Monday, June 16, 2008

A Divine Experience

I recently visited the temple city of Dwarka in Gujarat. It was part of a 7 day trip with my family through most of Gujarat. I've never been a believer in God, have never really prayed in my life, and look upon places of worship as examples of architectural styles from the past. So, as I was entering the main temple, I wasn't too excited about seeing what was inside.

We had to stand in line along with 100 or so devotees and wait for the darshan. It was plain irritating for me to wait for some stupid ritual which meant nothing to me to happen. I told my father as much, but he insisted I stay put and wait. Meanwhile, all the other people were getting more excited by the second. As I moved toward the front of the line, I was starting to feel the passion and eagerness around me. The excitement had reached a peak when the priests opened the gates that had concealed the stone idol from view. Just as this happened, I heard loud and dramatic drum music. I looked all around me. People were jumping and falling over each other to get a view of their God. For me, the God didn't matter. I was engrossed in the reverberating sound of the drums being played somewhere.

For a moment there, I felt the power that God held. I felt that the belief in God and the will to pray to him held a large part of the hearts of the devotees. I myself was not a believer, but I suddenly felt the people's belief in the Almighty without understanding it. It was magical. It was a divine experience.