|The Hampi Viroopaksha Temple|
|Our group in Hampi|
We were going around the famed Viroopaksha temple. There was a bunch of noisy youth a few paces ahead of us. Being doomed to be Doctors, we were less noisy or perhaps relatively so. When we came to the western part of the temple, we were directed to a small dark corner room by some people. We all went there and saw this...
|The Pin Hole Camera !|
There was a sun burned unshaven man appearing to be in his seventies, sitting just outside that room. He had unkempt silver hair, shrunken cheek lined by sharp bony jaws to his face and a frail body. He was clad in worn off saffron robes with an equally weather beaten towel spread on the floor. That must have been white some time in history but looked brownish yellow. He was obviously begging and there were a few coins on his towel.
He suddenly got up pulling his towel in a hurry, scattering his coins all over the place in the process. He didn't seem bothered, but went directly to the young man and called him out to follow him. He crawled to the darker corner of the dark room and asked the youth to hold the other end of the towel so that it was positioned in front of the shadow. All of us could see the shadow of the tower appearing on the towel.
We couldn't see the face of that boisterous boy in the darkness that prevailed in the room. But a lot of darkness must have been driven away from his mind in that beautiful moment. Though I had a camera on me, I couldn't capture the magnificent moment on camera because it all happened in such a hurry and the darkness in the room just didn't allow me to click the event. Alas !
Coming out of the room, the saffron clad man gave a lecture to the youth and his friends. It was as good a lesson to all of us blinded by the arrogance of our modern life. He said, "Oh you the pant and shirt clad city bred youth of today, young men; pause before you proceed to mock anything that you don't know. This is a construction that is almost 1000 years old and has stood the ravages of time like many of those marvels in this great place called 'Haalu Hampi' [Ruined Place]. This was the Vijayanagar empire where gold and diamonds were sold in the road side shops. Over 50 generations of yours must have turned into ashes since this place was constructed. Look at every stone, pillar and idol of this place. They were constructed when there were no machines and cranes and such things. If they managed to construct such a magnificent place at that time, what does it say ? Those people were far more intelligent, wiser, stronger and talented than you, me and all of us. Never again make fun of our heritage. You are a nobody who has done nothing precious yet and will achieve nothing in life if you continue with this attitude. God bless you with better sense in future !"
I could see the pride in the eyes of the senior gentleman and the pricked prejudice on the sheepish face of the youth. And was I having goosebumps ? I still get them thinking of that day. Ever since, I have made it a rule not to mock anything that I don't know or understand. Questioning anything is fine, including the concept of God. No progress can be made if we believe everything without questioning. But before you sit on judgement, make sure you are qualified enough to do so and you know the truth. Else, it is better to be cautious. The world is a lot more intelligent and wiser than a single human being can normally aspire to be !