When you reflect on your experience, you make some meaning. It stuns you!
I visited Aurangabad. The garden outside the airport was well maintained, and green.
The driver said that Ghrushneshwar, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, temple was just about 30 min drive so we decided to visit. On our way and soon after we left the city behind, we sighted the Daulatabad fort. This is where Mohammed Tughlak moved his capital. The entire area was lush green. With everybody talking about the drought in Marathwada, I did not expect to see greenery anywhere. Pleasant surprise.
The driver drove us to Bhadramaruti Mandir. He parked our car about 300 feet away from the temple. I removed my shoes in the car and walked barefoot. That was a terrible thing to do. Stones sharp and small were strewn all the way. For a city born person like me, unaccustomed to walking barefoot, it was quite a punishment.
This is what wikipedia says about Bharamaruti temple: ‘In ancient times the Khuldabad was known as Bhadravati and the ruler was a noble king named Bhadrasena, who was an ardent devotee of Rama and used to sing songs in His praise. One day Hanumanji descended in the place, listening to the devotional songs sung in praise of Rama. He was mesmerized and without his knowledge took a reclining posture – called ‘Bhava-samadhi’ (Bhava samadhi is a yogic posture). King Bhadrasen, when he had finished his song, was astonished to find Hanuman in Samadhi before him. He requested Hanuman to reside there forever and bless his and Lord Rama’s devotees.’
As I approached the temple, I entered a pandal where this group was singing bhajans [devotional songs].
I thought that they must have come there to thank the lord for satisfying their wishes. I was wrong! Or perhaps for praying to grant their wishes. I was wrong!! They had walked 80 kms in two days from Nandgaon near Nashik to offer prayers. Why all the way so far, I asked. “We do not have any purpose except offering our ‘bhakti’ [devotion]” they said. Only to sing Bhajan and offer they walked 80 Kms! For a city born this was another jolt!!
On our way back, the driver told us that we were passing Khuldabad, and that Aurangzeb’s tomb was in Khuldabad. Why was it named Khuldabad, I asked our driver, Raees. He did not know. But Google knows! I searched. ‘Aurangzeb, was described in official writings by the posthumous title of Khuld-makan (‘He whose abode is in eternity’).’…. [The Kabr] was erected by the Nizam at the request of Lord Curzon, then Viceroy of India (who was shocked by the simplicity of the tomb) in the year 1911.
The ‘darshan’ of Ghrushneshwar temple was not-so-happy experience. There was a big rush. It appeared that the devotees had come from the Rajasthan. Long queue for darshan. There were barricades. And also dirt all the way. People standing near our car said ‘They have come from Nashik, after the Kumbh-mela.’ I decided not to stand in queue and go inside temple.
‘Simplicity, surrender and devotion’ was the divine message I received from this visit. It was delivered through the old men from Nandgaon who did not come to the temple to ask for favours from the Lord. It was delivered by the knowledge of history. Aurangzeb died in Ahmednagar but had chosen Khuldabad as his burial place. Reason? He wanted his burial place to be near the dargah of his ‘guru’ Sheikh Zainuddin.
Old Hindu penniless devotees, alive and singing, and a dead Moghul Emperor – both chose to be at the feet of their respective Lords.
Yes, I got the message, my Lord!!
Vivek S Patwardhan
NOTE: All my photographs. Except the photograph of Aurangzeb’s tomb – courtesy internet.