Sunday, April 07, 2013

The uniqueness of Rameshwaram

My solah somavar vrat was approaching the final lap when our relatives were planning a trip to Ramaeshwaram. ‘We would like your company,’ they told. We also like to be with them, since the head of the family reads Puranas every day for two hours for the past two decades and we get so much information during conversations with him.

Train tickets to Madurai were booked, but our numbers were way down in the waiting list. ‘If the tickets get confirmed, we will go’, we decided. The trip was supposed to be on 27th March, just after my last ‘solah somavar’ Monday (25th March).

The waiting list numbers came to 2 and 3 by 24th. But a 24 hour train journey cannot be undertaken without confirmation. Any way we did the packing and waited, and waited. On 26the evening at 5 pm, our tickets were confirmed!

So we set out on our journey, remembering to carry the Ganga jal that we had brought from up North years ago. One is supposed to do abhishek with Ganga jal on the idol at Rameshwaram. The visit to Rameshwaram was finishing our ‘Char Dham yatra’ too.

Reaching Madurai on 28th early morning, we rushed to the hotel where our relatives were put up, had a quick shower and got ready to visit the Meenakshi temple. After having a nice darshan, finished our lunch and started for the car ride to Rameshwaram. By night fall, we reached the hotel that our friend had booked. He told us to be ready by 5 am next day morning to go for ‘Sphatik Shivling’ darshan, which is possible only from 5 to 6 am. This Shivling was gifted by the Raja of Nepal 900 years ago.

Before the darshan of the main idol, we had a dip in the sea, in the ‘Agni Teerth”. Then we went around the 22 teerths, which are wells established by different sages. When we stand near the well, the person responsible for that particular well will draw water and pour over our heads. It is supposed to wash off sins. Since our hotel was nearby, we went back and changed.

Taking our Ganga Jal with us, we went to the main sanctum Santorum. Our Ganga Jal was poured into a big bucket of water and the pujari poured the water over the idol of Shivling. It was such a bhakti filled moment, I got goose flesh. My eyes closed automatically and I got the feeling of weightlessness. It was an amazing experience!

What is unique about Rameshwaram? The Vaishnavites and Shaivites meet here. It is told that when Lord Rama was asked what is Rameshwaram, he replied, ‘Where Rama’s eshwar ( Lord Shiva) resides.’ On putting the same question to Lord Shiva, his response was ‘Where Rama is Eshwar (Lord Shiva worships Rama).

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