In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of an important discussion on “Teertha-Yatras”, and what are some prerequisites, benefits, etc. that we should understand with regards to this context. In these lines, we’ve witnessed how visiting all our expansive Indian temples are in a way an opportunity to increase our “Adrishta-Phalam”, wherein our “Punya-Karma” keeps silently increasing. Moreover, visiting a temple regularly washes away our sins that we’ve done earlier in our past births as well. This is with regards to the spiritual aspect of it. Also, walking around the temple premises and by circumventing the presiding deity of the temple gives us indirect physical exercise and fresh oxygen to breathe. In many temples we would be able to witness massive “Prahaaras”, wherein there would be countless numbers of trees planted on either side. This is collectively referred to as “Nandavanam”. While circumventing the deity through this “Nandavanam” gives us fresh oxygen, and gives us a break from all the polluted air that we’re breathing every passing day. Moreover, if we’re circumventing the deity for a specific number of times, it serves as a good way of burning all our excessive calories which we’re accumulating every day because of our erratic food and sleeping habits. Thus, visiting “Punya-Kshetras” is also an antidote to many lifestyle diseases that we talk about in today’s context, and readers should make a note of this seriously.
Moreover, to add further to this important point of discussion – Many of us are suffering from some peculiar physical ailments today, such as obesity, overweight, etc. So if we’re into these things, what would be our immediate course of action? We would go to the gymnasium immediately and start “working out”, so as to reduce the fat content in the body. The gym trainer would also immediately prescribe a strict diet for us to follow regularly. This diet plan would be highly restrictive in nature and would entail us to eat only fruits / vegetables / food with a lot of fibre-content, etc. Rice would be completely taken off the radar as it simply keeps adding carbohydrates! Thus, we follow all these instructions carefully and for instance if I’m weighing 85 Kgs, after months of working out and with strict dieting control, I can reduce it to, say 65 Kgs. However, this is not the end of all! If I sit down and relax for a few days by losing out on our control on diet and workout, we would immediately put on weight and reach 85 again! 🙂 We would keep wondering, “Oh wow! We had spent 6 months to one year trying to lose 15 Kg of weight, but within just one month, we regained this much weight!” However, if we come for “Yatras” constantly and if we keep walking continuously, automatically our calories would come down, wouldn’t they? If we go on “Yatras” frequently, we would automatically restrict our diet, because the focus would be more on visiting more temples and worshipping the presiding deities there, rather than on the food that we consume. Thus, automatically, the purpose is getting served, isn’t it? This is what we’ve to understand here.
If we look at our Sanaatana Dharma tradition, “Teertha-Yatras” have been something that has been intertwined with our regular way of life. If we look at the “Alwars”, “Nayanmars”, etc. who had dedicated their entire lives to Bhagawan Vishnu and Bhagawan Shiva respectively, there are instances of these people travelling to various places to sing in praise of various presiding deities at various “Punya-Kshetras”. All the 108 “Divya-Deshams” of Bhagawan Vishnu across our entire Bhaarata Desha have been visited by Thirumangai-Alwar singlehandedly. In addition, many other Alwars have visited several of these “Divya-Desham” temples at various time periods and have sung in praise of the presiding deities over there. Similarly, amongst the “Nayanmars”, people like “Appar”, “Maanika-Vaachakar”, “Sundarar”, etc. have travelled extensively across our Bhaarata Desha to sing in praise of Bhagawan Shiva. This is why, similar to the 108 Divya-Deshams for Bhagawan Vishnu, there are 276 “Shiva-Sthalams”, including the various “Jyothir-Lingas” all across India. In fact, it is also believed that Maanika-Vaachakar has even swam across the Bay of Bengal to reach Sri Lanka and has sung in praise of Bhagawan Shiva at Anuradhapura, Kandy, etc.
Hence, we can see here that “Teertha-Yatras” assume enormous significance in our “Sanaatana Dharma” and we should ensure that we make use of this golden opportunity given to us by Bhagawan to embark on a few! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and we shall continue this discussion further in the next episode as well to witness more! Stay tuned! 🙂