Apparently is it considered a great punya if you offer pooja to Lord Shiva during the Shravan maasam and especially if it is at one of the Jyotirlings. And apparently yours truly is now due for some heavy duty divine blessings because she went and did the above-mentioned thing.
Totally unknowingly of course. I mean I knew it was a good time to go and do the pooja but the Jyotirling and Shraavan maasam thingie had escaped me entirely. It just happened to coincide with the 15th August holiday at work.
There are more things which bear looking into it seems, regarding this entire divine matter. For the past many years I’ve been looking for a shiv ling. I don’t worship at all! But somehow it seemed right (?) that I have a shiv ling with me to keep. This time around when the entire gang of relatives were wandering around the temple , the gentleman who had arranged for the abhishekam was talking to me and when I mentioned I was looking to buy a shiv ling, had been for sometime, he asked which month I was born in. The English dates naturally popped out first, but when he wanted to know the Hindu calendar dates I told him it was Chaitra maasam. Apparently Shivji has a strong connection with both Shraavan and Chaitra both. Don’t ask me why though.
So he seemed happy, divinity was guiding my hands throughout the years. And me an agnostic to boot!
But the entire trip somehow seemed contrived. The head priest barking out mantras like a runaway train, unctuous younger priests practically guiding your hand while the kumkum abhishekems are done and the way that the masses are practically herded near the sanctum sactorum and then shoved out of the way for the next bunch was kind of pathetic. I’m sure Baba Jatadhari never gave an edict saying that’s how his devotees were to view him.
But the place by itself was quite pretty. The Krishna river was in full flow and the waters of the dam created huge mists for miles around and we all mistook the water for rain until we crossed the dam and saw the clouds of water rising up from the reservoir.
There’s another interesting spot, Patal Ganga. It’s not a ganga at all but very much still the krishna. You have to traverse around 1500 steps and get to the spot where there’s yet another shiv ling in the waters. This gets hidden when there’s excess rains and people just make the journey to get some paavan pani to take home. Never mind it’s turbid and people bathing in it may have left it slightly less paavan than anticipated :o)
So I’m off to the office in a little bit. With aching leg muscles (patal journey, remember?) and a glow of divinity around me.
Btw, I found a nice shiv ling this time around. Just have to figure out what to do with Ye old ascetic now.