Tough climb to divinity

Negotiating the steep climb up the hill to what is popularly known as ‘Monkey Point’, out-of-breath, I look up to see if I’ve reached at least halfway.There is Alka Pande, art curator and consultant, already waving from the top of the hill, way ahead of us – mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, who says it is good to take brief pauses in between and yours truly, wishing I were several kilos lighter.
The climb ends dramatically as we reach the top of the hill – the highest point in Kasauli at some 7,000 ft – to face an Indian Army helipad, close to the temple entrance that overlooks a brilliant view of Chandigarh below. Hanuman, also known as Maruti, needs neither helicopter nor helipad, since the Wind God’s son flew all the way from Lanka to the Himalayas and back, carrying with him the entire Sanjeevani mountain, full of healing herbs, to save a wounded Lakshmana.And during the journey his foot touched the top of this hill and hence the name, Monkey Point.
Some say it is Man Ki Paath, that is, in remembrance of the divine incident that leads one to reflect within. So this is an Air Force Station, a high security zone – which is why we had to leave all e-devices behind. Yes, a high-security zone for the home of a God who is known to provide safety and security to all his devotees, the giver of courage, the remover of fear! A God who we’ve all beseeched for courage and security in times of distress, via the Hanuman Chalisa! Another surprise greets us at the sanctum sanctorum. Shutting my eyes to distractions, I send up a silent prayer to Hanumanji, then open them to see a beautiful painting of the ‘Monkey-God’on the wall, right behind the deity.The portrayal conveyed all that Hanuman stands for – utter devotion, humility, and tranquility that come from great inner strength and conviction.
It was only when Devdutt smiled at the painting that it dawned on me: OMG, this was his painting! Did he give it to them? “Oh no,” says Devdutt – who was in Kasauli for the very first time – pointing out that this was the image he created for his book cover.Someone had done a great job of copying that, and now it was here, occupying pride of place in the sanctum sanctorum.”Aren’t you thrilled, isn’t this a wonderful surprise?” I gush even as Devdutt now has his eyes closed, perhaps in prayer. The priest tells us that the painting of Hanuman, was made by a local person who liked to sketch and paint, and he often gave his works to the temple.
This was one such offering.I watch as the faithful file past Hanuman, sending up their own private prayers, as they circumambulate the house of god before bidding him goodbye. I no longer feel guilty for ‘bunking’a couple of sessions on the third and last day of the Sixth Khushwant Singh Literary Festival (October 6 – 8) – that had brought us to Kasauli, KS’s favourite haunt.

editorial article 1
Comments (0)
Add Comment