A few weeks back I had been to Gatikachalam near Sholingur, Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The presiding deity Sri Yoga Narasimha sits on the top of one hill and opposite to Him on another hill is a temple dedicated to Sri Yoga Anjeneya. The two temples on the hill can to be reached by climbing steps and on the way we have lots of monkeys and their antics for entertainment. It was a lovely place and the cool breeze on the hill was just enchanting.
As we climbed down the hill there were many street hawkers selling lots of articles, one particular item interested me. I normally do not purchase any religious relics but I could not stop purchasing this unique looking object, the FLYING HANUMAN. It was the engineering marvel behind it that made me purchase it. Whoever had designed it had taken care to see that the Flying Hanuman maintain the balance. The front of the Hanuman has the balance of the mace and the Sanjivini mountain he is carrying. A hook secured on the back of Hanuman happens to be the center point of buoyancy. By tying a thread to the hook Hanuman looks like he is eager to fly fast and save unconscious Lakshamana at the battlefield.
I had this Flying Hanuman tied to the interior rear mirror of my vehicle. Now, every time I hit a bump the Flying Hanuman banged on to the windshield. I tried to shorten the length of the thread but no help from it, finally I left it so. I wondered if Hanuman could get hurt every time I negotiate a hump. Oh! How silly I thought within a fraction of a second. Had I done Prana Pratistapana (consecration) to it, I asked myself. When I believe that everything is Him, yet there are few things which get that sacred marque because of consecration. My knowledge that everything emanates from Him should have a limit, if not I will think twice to kick start a scooter.
A few years back a moron posted a photo on Facebook just to anger Hindus. In the pic he was seen standing near a Shivalinga with one foot on the top of the Linga. Though there was outrage and the moron was arrested by police, I wondered what he was thinking. He believed that many Hindus believed the divinity to be present in that Linga which was a stone and by putting his leg over it he could anger them. In the first place he agreed that many believe that divinity was present in that stone hence he chose that particular stone. Secondly though he was showing disrespect to the stone by choosing that particular stone he was aware of the sanctity in it. Thirdly after posting that pic and after his arrest he was sure that a consecrated stone has indeed power to make his body turn black and blue.
I consider creativity to be a form of worship. A sculptor ascribe worth by duplicating the one he worships by giving vent to his artistic skills bestowed by the one who he is creating. I have visited many Hoysala temples and have been fortunate to see the architectural grandeur of those times. If not for the Khilji’s troops lead by its general Malikafur the temples which were 600 in number would have been standing examples for the work of art.
Can we not appreciate an art and its artist without moving toward idolatry? Perhaps the answer lies in understanding that art should be valued as such, it does not have ultimate value though it will be carried into eternity. This is the means of valuing art whether it encourages us to holiness and right living.
Was consecration a way to protect the art…….any views???