Mahabalipuram and Room Service..!

A moneyed friend of mine had just come back from a holiday he’d spent at Mahabalipuram, the temple town a few kilometres from Chennai. Since I’d been there a few times, I’d told him about the carvings, the sculptures and the temples, and was quite eager to hear his own experiences, “Bob,” he said excitedly, “The place is fantastic! It is so huge, it stretches for hundreds of metres!”
“Which temple?” I asked him puzzled.
“Not temple, but the hotel we stayed in. What a fantastic place. It has got everything inside! You don’t have to go out for anything!”
“Did you see the remnants of the ancient temple slowly being engulfed by the sea?” I asked him.
“What room service!” said my friend, “You just lift up the phone and order and ten minutes they’ve brought it! Dharu, soft drinks, apple juice, pine apple juice, cocktails, mocktails, ten minutes flat Bob!”
“Did you visit the Shore temple?” I asked, “I believe the Tsunami that struck did no damage to the structure!”
“The gym is equipped like a Olympic one Bob, and the swimming pool has a bar in the middle. You just wade in the water with a drink in your hand!”
“Did you visit the beach?” I asked.
“Bob, they have even brought white sand and created a beach inside the hotel!” said my friend, “You don’t have to go outside, you can play on the sand inside!”
I spent the rest of our time together, not hearing anything about King Rajasimha who’d built the Shore temple, or about the Pallavas, the dynasty he belonged to, nor about the Cholas who continued with the architecture of the temples, nor even about Marco Polo who was supposed to have visited Mahabalipuram and called it the Seven Pagodas, but I learnt all about the luxury hotel he had stayed in!
When I’d visited Spain and Portugal a few years ago, I would visit ancient majestic churches, architectural marvels and as I moved inside, would join visitors looking with interest at arches, domes, pillars and statues, then I’d sit on one of the wooden pews and wonder whether I or anyone had seen God?
Are we so lost in exquisite packaging that we don’t look for content; lost in lavish wedding receptions that we lose the sanctity of marriage, publicizing a project that we don’t hear the cries of the poor or hungry, covering ourselves with glistening jewelry or expensively tailored suits that we don’t see the rot of corruption within?
He flew a thousand miles to see Mahabalipuram, yet all he came back with were memories of a hotel. What do you and I see when visiting a monastery, church, temple or mosque?
Do we see God?

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4 thoughts on “Mahabalipuram and Room Service..!”

  1. Exactly Bob. We’re into a culture where we give undue importance to externals that we forget the internal which has accumulated lot of dirt and dust over the passage of time. We’ve given lot of importance to rituals that we have forgotten the God of love and justice. Time to wake up and notice the essential and meaningful aspects of life and spirituality.

  2. Well, when u went to Goa for the first time, I stayed in a big resort but saw :-
    The big Foot.
    Spice plantation.
    Mangeshi temple
    And two of the oldest church present in that area apart from hordes of old and new things.
    We should not forget where we come from though we have money.

  3. Totally agree Bob! We find this in so many aspects of life today. Externals are given so much of importance that we totally forget about the crucial essence of the internal. Superficiality is sadly the name of the game. Instead of joining in, we must stand out and make a change. Happy Sunday 🙂

  4. Perhaps the interest of the person was totally subjective that he focussed only on what he likes not p able to open eyes to other direction.

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