It is Friday – Devi’s Day ! And so Therefore – this incredible shot of a Havan underway at the Hinglaj Mata Shakti Peetha … rendered, in its way, all the more incredible when we consider that this is, in fact, taking place in the midst of Pakistan.
And, further, that the site itself is customarily to be approached only via a lengthy pilgrimage though the desert, involving the propitiation of Lord Shiva via making offerings at the sizeable Chandragup mud volcano which stands in watchful guardianship of Her.
As we had said in a piece penned some time ago which was illustrated with the striking photograph of a pilgrim at Chandragup – whenever we feel like ‘faltering’ upon our path of piety, or that we ‘cannot be bothered’ to get up and go to Temple or carry out the proper and pious rites … we ought remember those pilgrims.
They are in the heart of a decidedly hostile land for the faith (indeed, this has somewhat dramatically affected the Hindu community directly attached to the Shrine in recent years); they must walk through physically foreboding and inhospitable terrain; they then spend four days out there to be in Her Presence – for rites such as this to be conducted.
From afar – we can only admire their courage and their resolve. To keep their own ancestral undertakings, understandings, and traditions alive … in a place wherein it would be decidedly ‘easier’, and most certainly much less (humanly) ‘hazardous’ to ‘go with the flow’ and abandon them.
But, then, that is what ‘convictions’, ‘values’, faith and actual, authentic religious sentiment, zeal most truly is.
The things that we do not abandon when it is difficult to continue to uphold them.
The things that we continue to adhere to, the Gods Whom we continue to Worship … even, and perhaps precisely when it is seemingly perilous that we ought persist in so doing.
Because if our religious enthusiasms were the sorts of things that we might conceivably ‘abandon’ or quietly halt when it had no longer become ‘convenient’ for us to continue with them … well, as somebody once sagely observed – they would not really be our religious values and principles, would they.
They would instead be more akin to ‘hobbies’.
And for Her – well, that just simply shall not do.
We may not be in Pakistan. Many of us (out there in the audience) may not even be Hindus … yet I think that there is clear inspiration for all of us in contemplating this most blessed of images.
Jai Mata Di !