During the day you can see just how dirty this beach is, in the evening, people flock here to relax. But you have to see ‘relaxing’ in another context, it is rather a ‘distracted’ feeling from a everyday stress of a big city like this one in Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu in South India.
The Marina Beach is rather empty at four o’clock in the afternoon. A few retailers work on their mobile stores or repair them. Some stray dogs are running around, looking for food.
The interview with Prof. Jacob occupied me intensely. A little boy comes to me and wants to sell his ‘Chundal’ (cooked chickpeas) to me. I ask him, if he is going to school on weekdays. He nods and expects me to buy his Chundal. Who knows, in what kind of water, the peas are cooked, but I buy a bag to give them away later to a beggar. The Chundal boy is now sitting next to me as if he would check that I really eat the peas.
I get up and walk towards the city center, a hurriedly driven auto rickshaw driver asks me if I want to be driven to the Ganesha Temple. Why not, I say to myself and climb in.
As a child I often went to the temple when I was uneasy, but not to pray, but to sit under the Banian tree in the temple and to watch the people and happenings around me. Thus, I was mostly distracted and also on such occations found solutions to my problems.
Once there, I pay the Autorickshaw and enter the temple with the right foot, so as it should be. I see also the auto rickshaw driver entering the temple. He touches the first step of the entrance with his right hand and he sweeps his forehead with the right hand as a tribute.
Oh, now I realise, he wanted to visit the temple anyway and made me pay for the trip. Chuckling, I’m looking for the banian tree of the temple, but this temple does not have one. The priest rings his bell and announces the puja. This is a prayer ritual. I walk closer to the altar. The priest looked at me sternly and shows that I should go on the other side for men.
At this moment I see his shaved forehead till to the top of his head and I remember the conversation with my uncle decades ago. My uncle was constantly traveling as a pilgrim, he wanted to have visited all 108 Vishnutempels in India. When the talks were on temples, I was allowed to ask him anything about them.
The priest, he told me one day, should get up every day mourning at 04:30, to clean, bathe in the temple pond and recite the ’Suryanamaskara’, the Sun Salutation, to welcome the Sun God. By doing so, the priest must direct his forehead towards Sun God as long as possible to receive the first rays directly from the sun. For this reason, they have shaved till to the center top of their head.
Did the priests knew anything about the prefrontal lobe, I wonder. Or shall I on behalf of Prof. Jacob address this question to the world ?
I remember how I experienced it myself long ago. After the ritual in the temple pond I stood there with my eyes closed, waiting for the rising sun and recited the Suryamantra. Eventually I felt the first rays of the sun and the warmthness. At that moment I felt that an indescribable energy gently, caressing with a warm tone flowing in my head that woke up my mind. Unfortunately, this feeling disappeared after a few seconds. I did not dare to open my eyes and I tried to hold this wonderful feeling. It was nice, musically cleansing, made me happy and it touched my soul.
Dear readers, try this at leaset once in the morning. This is not a religious or spiritual act and you do not need to recite a Mantra for this. This is just nature. I wish that you would also experience the same feeling.