A couple of couple of weeks (yeah 4 weeks :-) ) before, I along with my parents decided to make a *trip* to Iskcon *temple* (Bangalore) after having considered many other options. We set out for the trip on a flashy sunday by around 8'o clock from Basavangudi. After a tiring journey of around 1 and 1/2 hour we made it to the temple. Initially I got awed by their professionalism with their well designed provisions for footwear, carry bags and stuffs, their provisions for security check and the cleanliness they maintained and the like. Later, the opinions got dislocated.

After attending the security check, we have been 'routed' to a couple of shrines where we don't have any kind of deepaaradhana (sorry i don't know what is it in English :-P) nor some kind of poojas. When you get yourself to the top of the queue, the only thing you will find next to statue is the hundial. Also, one thing you will notice there is that, you will be routed through all the shrines ( from shrine 1 to shrine 2).You cannot move between shrines willingly nor you can rest in any place.You have to follow the queue and it will take you all along to your destination. I suppose these people haven't seen meenakshi amman temple where you have to discover your way in and way out.(I can read your mind that I shouldn't compare these two. But still...) It gives you some kind of freedom i suppose.

When you make it to the main shrine, a big hall, you will again be directed to a queue.This is ,say, not a special entrance.This ordinary entrance queue will be some 2 mts away from the statue. If you would like to have a special entrance it will cost around 50 or 100 bucks (which i am not sure, but sure enough that its costly :-P) and this special entrance is none other than the other side of a metal separator between normal and special entrances.

Once you find your way out of the normal entrance, there will be a showcase of books and cds in very many languages. I just window-shopped those books on my way, where I have been stopped by a person. He called me "sir.. sir..". I just looked around wondering whether the voice is calling me.Yes, it is. A person fought out the crowd and handed over a small krishna photo to me and said hello. I responded. He inquired about me and my profession and then just started briefing about the books they have and their values.He just asked me whether I need any books. I told him that I have been to that temple a couple of times and I have bought several books and so I don't need any (in a traditional tone of  "I already bought this from u and so will contact you in case I need any more" to a general sales person for escapism :-)).But to that reply, he started asking what books I bought and how I felt about those and the like (oh no! :-)).It turned out to be a tough time to escape from him :-P. In this way, they keep on canvasing many people like me, which I felt is too bad for a temple. Selling of books is good.But marketing of those, doesn't suit the organization.

Apart from all these the highlight is that they have a nice food court.Oh sorry! they call it as prasadham :-P. The only thing is that a single ladoo of prasadham costs around 40 rs (too cheap huh :-)).I still remember our industrial visit to Bangalore where around hundred of us finished the breakfast in iskcon temple :-P. You may think 'whats wrong in that' ?but you will not feel so when you have already visited a temple like shirdi where they serve, a very big hall full of persons, 3 times a day and that too at no cost. Ah! don't tell me it got lots of funds and Iskcon is raising funds by all these above mentioned means so that they can start providing food for poor people one day, just like shirdi.For your information iskcon is a very big organization.

With all these kind of experiences, which although doesn't affect me in any way but still makes me to give a thought about, I am convinced that the temple near my pg hostel is a lot better than all these. You will come to know what is peace there (except for festive times when it is crowded). You will have a chanting box to soothe your ears, silence to calm your mind and place to sit and meditate (if really you r willing :P).

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28 March 2011

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