Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hardwar in Chicago

Hardwar or simply put Hari Ka Dwar (Hari is one of the many names by which Lord Vishnu - The protector of the Universe is called in Hinduism and Dwar means Gate so Hari Ka Dwar means Gateway to God) is a pilgrim, a Holy city, located in the northern India, for majority of Indians who believe that a visit in Life is all you need to cleanse all sins of life and be free of evils.

Fortunately, I was lucky to have lived in the midst of such a religious place and complete my Masters. Before you go way ahead in imagining things, I didn't do my Masters in Religion or Spiritual Philosophy :), just that my college was located near this Holy city. People who have been to Hardwar know that living there means breathing, eating, walking and sleeping with Religion and Spirituality. You need it or not, you will get the taste of The Almighty in some or the other way. You step out few blocks in any direction and you will see temples, shrines and schools teaching and preaching religion and divinity. After spending an entire year in such an environment and away from home during my Masters, I kind of became used to it but somewhere down the lane I lost the importance of this realm. For me it was all routine and day to day thing, nothing fancy-shwancy about it, in fact I used to go to Hardwar only to feel relaxed and enjoy the site of the great river Ganges and feel the serenity by the touch of Ganges water on my skin.I must say that attending the evening Aarti (prayers) near the banks of Ganges is worth a Life achievement and one should at least be a part of it once (not necessary to be standing amongst millions of people, you can stand far at distance and still enjoy it).

After I completed my Masters and returned home after 3 years, I got sucked up by the city life, long travels and boring work routines but never got enough time to look back and miss anything. Then I moved to US and my destiny brought me to Chicago, The Windy City. This has been my base for last 5 years and who would have thought that I would find a little Hardwar in Chicago, thousands and thousands of miles away from India. The place I live, is all surrounded by Churches and it would be no exaggeration if I say all 4 corners are gated by God. I don't even have to walk 2 blocks and I have God's home.

If I am still missing him (The Almighty), I just have to drive few miles in any direction and I can be with the Indian version of Gods. Six miles to South West and I have Sai Baba temple (an old church turned into temple),

12 miles south and I have Venkatesh Temple (built by South Indian community but dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara (another incarnated form of Lord Vishnu or Hari),

12 miles west and I have Swaminarayan Temple (BAPS of Chicago Suburban) again dedicated to primarily Lord Krishna along with other Hindu deities.

And if I drive a little far for about 35 miles towards South East, I have The Hindu Temple of Lemont (again dedicated to Lord Krishna and other Hindu deities).

At approximately 10 miles, there is a huge Jain temple (Jainism is another religion, I would say a philosophy like Buddhism but older than Buddhism on timeline) and then there are mosques and cathedrals, etc. all around.

I sometimes wonder if I am sleeping and dreaming and when I would wake up, I'll find myself back in Hardwar. I wonder if I ever moved anywhere or is it The Almighty that is following me everywhere I go.



anjugandhi said...

very few people are lucky to have God within reach.u are one of them
and when i say God within reach i mean the symbolic presence in the form of mandir/church/gurudwara etc
and although God is every where but there are times when going to the abode of God gives special peace , strength and confidence

Poor In Java said...

Oh, I agree with you on that AG, being in that place of zen for even 2 minutes gives such a peace to the disturbed mind, I can't tell or express.

Anonymous said...

even i agree with anju gandhi you are truli the chosen one... Lucky you.. People like us just keep thinkin or at times craving to be there but dnt get a chance to even feel him inside..

Post a Comment