God and People
The path was challenging with no roads but only slippery red mud on our feet, but our ambitious soul inside us wouldn’t just let us down until we reached our destination. It was a day walk from the nearest available road section with half of the path through the big treacherous jungle. I, along with my two close friends were moving towards the famous Pathivara temple(a Hindu temple devoted to the Goddess Pathivara who is a manifestation of the divine feminine) located at a top of the mountain at the height of 12448 feet. This temple is generally flocked up with people from all over Nepal and India as it considered that if you show up in front of this temple and ask for a wish, the Goddess will grant you that wish.
God; this word has always puzzled me. It amazes me how people go to the temples, ask for something by offering many things to the God, and yet they always have to come to the temple again as if the offerings weren’t enough to the God. I have always wanted to see the devotion that the people show towards their respective Gods and Goddesses, and so I thought this journey would also be a great opportunity to witness this devotion, and thus we were here in our path. We had walked for around 3 hours, the path was full of people; old grandparents, young grandchild, romantic couples, joking around guys, just married couples, it was a mixture which is hard to find around elsewhere. Most of the people would gladly be at their sofas and watch TV than walk through these difficult rugged paths, but I saw that there was a different sensation in them as if they were happy and excited to walk this path. I had a strange query inside me when I saw all these mixtures of people sharing the same path, the same destination, “Is it the God who is bringing them together as one or is it their greed to fulfill some wishes?”. I had to get this query of mine answered which I intended to find out before that journey ended.
The weather was harsh, the path difficult; there was no lighting in the path nor there were any signs of houses, the cold rain was pouring down upon us and the path under our foot was as slippery as ice. For all the planning and preparations we had done for this journey, we never thought that this would be the longest scenario and as a result, we didn’t even have a torchlight to compete with the vast darkness. But, we weren’t alone in trying to fight with this darkness. Hundreds of people were on the way , and we holded onto a couple who had two bright torchlights, hence we moved forward with them. The couple told us that they were going to this temple for the third time in five years. Learning this I thought “Weren’t their wish fulfilled by their God?” ,”Are they here again to thank their God?”, “Are they here again for asking another wish to their God?”. I asked them but they only told me that reaching to that temple everytime gives them some sense of accomplishment,but I knew from their face that they didn’t want to told the truth.
I saw kindness and help all along the way. Someone offering a raincoat to one who had nothing to protect his head from the rain, someone giving extra torchlights to others, someone showing others where to walk carefully; the people were walking towards the same destination like brothers and sisters without any ego and greed. After 4 hours of long walk, we finally reached a small locality, which only had 2 hotels. Some of the people stayed there, some moved on forward, and we were glad to get a small bed in there. It was small, but when there’s nothing, even the smallest thing can be the greatest thing to have, and hence we slept on after a long and tiresome walking.
In the dawn, we started walking again to our ultimate destination, and the path was already filled with people. The scenary we beholded was majestic;the golden sun rays were all over the mountain and the sky, the himalayas seemed like they were not cold icy mountains but the golden mountains, the zenith felt like it was so close to us, and we could see all the mountains to the end. It felt like we were revived for the surrounding was so pure, so simple that we longed for a long time and wished that the time just stopped there. People were capturing the scenes, posing for photos, and then everyone was off again towards the destination. Most of the people had a long stick in their right hand to support in their walking and on the left, they had a rope which was tied to the neck of a goat. These poor animals were being taken to offer as a sacrifice to their Gods.
After another long 5 hour walk we finally reached the temple. The bells ringing was echoing all over the place and the scents of incense sticks were all that we could smell. Red was the most vibrant color in there for it was on the forehead of all the people as tika, the bloods on the ground from the sacrifices, and on the sculptures of the Gods. People were praying and singing the chants of their gods and goddesses. The place was lively as we had heard from a long time. The mountians seemed tiny, for we were at the height of above 12000 feet, and the breathtaking scenaries of mountains, forests and endless rivers took our exhaustedness ,tiredness and rejoiced our soul again.The first sight that enticed me was the beheading of a goat; it didn’t even take a second to take away its life, dark red blood spilled all over the stones, the innocent creature died but at the same time the people rejoiced for they were happy that their Gods and Goddesses will be happy for this sacrifice and their wishes will be granted. Who was at fault in killing an innocent creature like this? Was it the God who stood there or was it the greed of the people? I stood there as a spectator bewildered by the tragedy that I just witnessed. Is it necessary to kill a soul to get your greed fulfilled? To get something, everyone needs to work for it, but these people were opting for a shortcut; just reach the temple, kill an animal, offer it to the Gods, and behold your wish is granted, you got what you wanted for. This superstition was not a mere fact of illeteracy for there were educated people all over the place doing the same rituals. It seemed their greed and desire had already taken their soul. After finishing with the sacrifice and praying the chants, they moved on towards their normal life hoping that their gods will fulfill their wishes, and if that doesn’t happen, they will come there once again with a poor animal again.