The Next Temple

by Gautam Chikermane - Aug 5, 2020 05:11 PM +05:30 IST
The Next TempleThe Tirumala Ram idol flanked by idols of Devi Sita and Lakshman. (Wikimedia Commons)
Snapshot
  • Here is a poetic tribute to Lord Ram as the temple in Ayodhya takes shape.

Bhakti doesn’t need a face
Yet, faces capture bhakti
It doesn’t need a premise, a chant
Yet, they invoke and express it

Bhakti doesn’t need a religion
Nor followers, nor books
An ethereal bond in a material world
Bhakti is Bharat, the land

Bhakti is Bharatiya, the people
Bhakti is an aspiration sublime
Bhakti builds the temple
Bhakti is the temple

Rising from the depths of a billion souls
Linked to time eternal
Situated in space infinite
The material and the mental bound

Descends in this a consciousness tangible
Recreates an idea incorporeal
Bound into a form, physical and mental
Enclosed in a body spiritual

A oneness of a boundless faith
A platform of constant movement
A convergence of the nation
The temple its premises

The sacrificial pyre its expression
Bhakti enters this pyre
Body, mind and soul
An alchemy of the worlds beyond

Turns it into a billion pillars
On these pillars stands the temple
From the temple shower blessings unique
— to the politically astute, a unity
— to thinking minds, a questioning
— to the devotionally wounded, a healing
— to the nation, a unifying spirit
— to the civilisation, a resurgence

The temple stands on bhakti
The temple supports bhakti
The temple reverberates
To the sound of an ideal ancient

The ideal of the sattwic man — Ram
Not in the 2.77 acres of Ayodhya
Not in the centuries of struggle
Not in the perseverance of faith

Ram sits in countless temples
In sanctuaries of life and breath
Beyond the processes of bells and death
Living, breathing, evolving

Rivers of blood, sweat and tears
All offerings to the hawan
Ayodhya temple, it rises again
It will stand in the glory of devotion

Give shade to the parched
And yet, after the pralaya and the new creation
This is a beginning, the first step
Towards a deeper foundation

Of the next destination, the temple within
We need the courage to build it
The strength to seek it
The humility to surrender to it

This new temple houses a sattwic ideal
This ideal will build the temple
A nation of seekers
Of all shapes and expressions

Across all layers of evolution
United at a single point — Ram
— Ram the man perfect
— Ram the avatar
— Ram the idea
— Ram the ideal

The temple has spaces for all
Those who see Ram and those who don’t
Those who build and those who block
We bow to this temple

This symbol of aspiration
Then, lay the foundations of the symbol
In the temples that thrive in our souls
These temples we must now build

Establish a new sattwa
Manifest the ideal of Ram
And from the burning flame
The rise of a new aspiration

Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram.

Gautam Chikermane is a writer tracking the world of money, power and faith. Currently Vice President at Observer Research Foundation, his latest book, Tunnel of Varanavat, was published in March 2016. Views are personal. Twitter: @gchikermane

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