Saturday, October 7, 2017

Soulie Saturday #25: An Old House in Pandharpur... A Door To Life.


Old colorful house in the lanes of Pandharpur, Maharashtra
A rich vibrant colorful gate in the narrow lanes of Pandharpur.

Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road
that leads to life, and only a few find it.
~ Matthew 7:13-14.

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Two guards, clad in colourful attire, looked at each other as I readied myself to click a picture. I wondered if they were contemplating whether I could be trusted what with my intruding eyes and the deadly weapon in my hand - the camera! After all they were positioned there, at the door, not only to welcome visitors but also to watch out and keep the trespassers at bay.

I was heading out towards the main market of Pandharpur through one of the narrow lanes, making my way along the uneven stone paved path that meandered though the periphery of the Pandharpur temple - disheartened. Disheartened… as my attempt to place my head on the feet of Vithoba through the Padsparsha darshan entrance in the coveted Vithhal Rakhumai temple had just been foiled owing to the humongous queue of people inside.

This is just SO not done, I ramblingly complained to Him, my heart seething in sadness and pain.

The lane was lined with a series of houses standing close together. As I was tracing my steps back from the coveted Padsparsha to the common Mukhdarshan entrance, this door, half open, half closed had caught my eye.

There was no one near the door. A colourful rangoli pattern resembling the image of a flower decorated the floor of the entrance. Above, an equally colourful traditional string known as toran or bandanwar hung at the entrance to appease the Gods and the guests alike. To the right of the door was painted Suswagatham which means ‘Welcome’ in English.

The door itself wasn’t much, seemed normal enough and nothing out of the regular. No doubt it was old but it looked like the door had recently been painted fresh. The rich creamy tones punctuated in brown strips of wood caused it to stand out with the two durbans or guards staring at each other.

It was richly vivid and hid within itself a sea of stories oblivious to the ordinary human eye. The door drew me; I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I peeped in through the opening, which looked large enough for two children or one large person to pass through. An entire life peeped back through it: an empty chair as if saying - you are invited and a tiny light from the ornately decorated temple altar tried to grab my attention.

There was nothing fancy about the scene, nothing that could be deemed extraordinary and yet it shone as a bright ray of light piercing through the windows in my heart… here was a world replete with simplicity, rich vibrant culture and old ways of life and living. I peeped in again, the chuna coated white washed walls seemed to be peeling substantially but they gleamed and still looked gorgeous in the warmth that radiated in an aura of contentment and joy. My mind wandered to the thoughts of the people living inside...

How was the state of their life?
Were they happy with it?
Had they ever been out of Pandharpur?
Were all their desires and wishes being fulfilled?
Did they whine or complain in resentment?
Or were they simply content with whatever their beloved, Vithoba gave them?
... in His own time and in His own way?

The questions got me curious but I saw no one there except the two guards who still looked at each other. I looked at them, and it was now, in this moment of clarity, that I actually saw them... weren't they sporting a pleasing smile? Yes! they were and before I parted, I decided to borrow them. Soon, I was walking my way again towards the Mukhdarshan entrance but this time, with a renewed spring in my step, a radiant joy flickering in the temple of my heart and an enthusiastic smile rising on my lips.

Vitthala Vitthala!

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This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

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4 comments:

  1. Wow beautiful blog post you have

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post really made me ponder about the lifestyle of people inside the house. Pretty notable doorway!

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  3. In small lane and in a small space for life, how quietly Vithoba devotees at Pandharpur have been preserving our culture. Thanks Arti for unfolding the story of simple lives.

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