Sunday, June 26, 2016

Places to visit / Teerthas of Rameshwaram: Lakshmana Teertham.

Lakhsmana Teertham, Rameshwaram

There is no sin that God cannot pardon. All we need to do is ask for forgiveness.
~ Pope Francis.



Among the 64 teerthams (holy water bodies) situated in and around the island of Rameshwaram, let’s visit Lakshmana Teertham today… a place awash with the reminiscences of a sinful Lakshmana asking for forgiveness from Lord Shiva.

Right across this board (picture above) in green is the entrance to a modest temple built in honour of Lakshmana's prayers to resolve his sins. Looking at the ornate colourful ceilings and walls of the temple, you can’t help but get transported to the era of the Ramayana... the great epic which literally comes alive not only in the teerthams of Rameshwaram today but more importantly in the nooks and corners of all believing hearts stitched in the threads of faith and reverence interwoven on the fabric of time.
Lakshmana Temple, Lakhsmana Teertham, Rameshwaram
The backside of the Lakshmana Temple.
View of the insides of the Lakhsmana Temple, Rameshwaram.
Take a sneak peak inside the bright and vibrant Lakshmana Temple.

A few steps down the temple is a holy pond, the highlight of the teertham, with the mandapam (elevated platform) rising from the center. A dip in this pond followed by penance to Lord Shiva is said to have resolved Lakshmana’s sin which he had apparently committed during the Ramayana war.

Beautiful Pond at Lakhsmana Teertham, Rameshwaram
The sacred pond at Lakshmana Teertham.

Today, a dip at the same place soaks all the devouts and believers with the good energy left behind by Lakshmana’s prayers.

The entire pond area was cordoned off by a wooden fence, I realised, while strolling around exploring the area. I wanted to sprinkle a few drops of water onto myself but found them out of my reach. Nevertheless, I still dunk myself in the silences of the environs soaking the tranquillity of the few moments that I was there...

Calm Pond at Lakhsmana Teertham, Rameshwaram
Gently rippling Lakshmana pond bordered by a wooden fence.

Like Rama Teertham, Like Lakshmana Teertham:

As I stood there, still, watching the gently waving ripples, my thoughts began wandering through the corridors of my mind taking me back to the era of the two brothers who were literally inseparable during their time. Lakshmana was not only a brother but also a close confidante, associate and ally of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita, (who were the protagonists of the epic) always following them in their trail no matter where they went, in the jungles to stay as a hermit or to wage a war. All he cared for was to keep serving Rama and Sita with all his heart for his entire life. Rama and Sita in turn held deep gratitude and respect for his younger brother.

How pure the relationship, how tender the bond
and how inspiring the union it must have been!

A complete contrast to this era and age where relationships have become increasingly fragile and are crumbling every single second due to increasing avarice, selfishness and a host of other alarming reasons.

My wandering thoughts were soon arrested by a wall of realization and I exclaimed in excitement -

... hey, isn't there an eerie semblance to the two teerthams of the two brothers?
Lakshmana Teertham and Rama Teertham!

Rama Teertham and Lakshmana Teertham ponds in Rameshwaram.
Rare is the union of beauty and purity ~ Juvenal.
(Pic: Rama Teertham to the left and Lakshmana Teertham to the right)

The two holy ponds...
two separate entities that alone are quite beautiful
but together make an astoundingly rich duet -
each complementing what the other lacks
while compensating for the others shortcomings.
Don't the teerthams reflect a beautiful relationship?
The tapestry of love,
in all its purity,
two offshoots of a single soul.

These were moments of simple reflection... but through the ponds in the two teerthams for the two brothers, I felt Rameshwaram trying to pay a powerful homage to a beautiful relationship that stood the test of time: a relationship reflecting eternal virtues like service, care, respect, gratitude and purity... the soul of which was rooted in the spirit of God.

It was in those moments that I also felt Rameshwaram was trying to speak, through an incognizable language perhaps, inspiring and urging all his devotees to be just the same.

Tips / Information for devotees:

- Morning 6:00 am to noon 12:00 pm, Evening 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
- There is a Naganathar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva just alongside the Lakshmana temple, as pictured below:

Naganathar Temple near Lakhsmana Teertham, Rameshwaram Rameshwaram
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