I have set for myself some rules for visiting Temples.
I do not go to temples regularly, for that matter, nor do I perform Pooja regularly at home.
I perform pooja/ visit temples when I feel the urge.
Then I go all out.
Pooja may extend upto three hours and at the beginning I would not be sure which Mantras or Pooja I shall perform.
Similarly visiting temples.
I go when I feel like and choose temples ,generally more than 500 years old.
Nor do I list the temples and plan.
I start with one temple ,suggested by some body or one which is quite old.
As I visit the temple I get suggestions from strangers for the next temple.
And I do not use private transport, car,special bus.
I travel by public transport.
I leave by 5 30 am and return by 11 pm.
Food , I normally get offered mostly by temple archakas of the temples in their homes.
Otherwise I do not take food at all.
I travel alone.
During the time between 1 and 4 pm ,when the temples are closed,I sleep in the temple premises.
This way I have been able to cover even 11 temples a day.
I have posted articles on all the temples visited.
My children make fun of these practices.
Their grouse is that I could plan better,stay in comfort.
But I continue my practice.
I get good darshan despite my refusal to have darshan by making payment for special darshan nor do use my contacts.
Exception to these practices are when I accompany my children to have the Grandchildren’s hair to be tonsured and for the their Ear Piercing ,Karna Bhushana in temples.
I do not like to use the term ‘ear boring’
In these cases, my children plan everything in advance and we cover the places in car and stay in very comfortable and, in my opinion, costly rooms.
As a grandfather I keep the child in my lap for these ceremonies.
My children keep away unable to bear the child’s pain and cries.
This 26h and 267th(January) I had been to Thirupati to have my daughter’s second son’s hair tonsure.
My son in law was trying to get the best Darshan at Thirupati through his contacts who are vey influential.
My daughter,to be on the safer side, asked me to get darshan organised through my contacts.
All my sources informed me that they could have organised , had they been informed earlier.
I have a bitter experience of organising my Thirupati trip through my nephew .
The last trip I made to Thirupati was in 1989,when I my daughter was 6 years.
I have visited Thirupati, after 29 years, for her son’s hair tonsuring.
My nephew,sister’s son, organised my trip in 1989 through some of his very high level contacts in the Goverment.
When we left Chennai , he calculated a total of 10 hours for traveling to and fro to Thirupati and Darshan.
Six hours for traveling ,to and fro, four hours for climbing by walk and darshan.
I told him not to set time for God.
He laughed at me saying I was superstitious.
We reached Thirupathi and joined a special queue and we were informed that the darshan will be over in about half an hour.
And my nephew looked at me conveying how ridiculous my statement that one should not set time to God.
After five minutes or so, we were informed that the darshan may be delayed as some VIPs were expected.
And we were made to stand in thexsteel enclosure for….
17, seventeen hours before getting Balaji’s Darshan!
Me,with a six year old who has to eat, use toilet, and stuck up I. Iron brarricade unable to move out!
This time around,my son in law arranged for darshan for some special programme and told me that it would take about 3 hours to have Balaji Darshan.
I said fine but suggested that we conduct Kanyana Utsava for Balaji as I felt like doing it.
He told me that it was too late and that his contact could not change what he has arranged.
And my son in law wanted to know if he wanted me to reschedule the programme.
I already have my experince of being made to stand in the queue in 1989 with a child of 6 years constantly asking me for food, for Toilet facilities when I had a tough time in managing.
So I told my son in law to leave the whole issue of Kalynanatosava to Lord Balaji.
If He wants me to perform it,HE shall have it done.
Or it means He has not given me permission.
We went to Thirupati and as we were about to leave for Darshan from the room,my son in law got a call from his contact that the special darshan he has planned for us has been canceled and we were being allotted special Kalyana Utsava of Lord Balaji!
We had good darshan and I could get a whole of 4 minutes to see Him!
The name of the cottage allted to us was ‘ venkata vijayam’, visit of Venkata, name of Lord Balaji,Venkata Ramana.
The name of the Care Taker of the cottage..
My name is Venkata Ramanan.