Vishwas R. Gaitonde
Nobody remembered when the saint first appeared at the temple. Everybody agreed that it was within the last six months or thereabouts; no one had set eyes on him before that. He materialized so silently and mysteriously that they could not pin a date on when it had happened. But he soon became a familiar sight at the temple: a dark young man sitting cross-legged, his back lightly leaning against one of the pillars, the hint of a beatific smile playing on his face. Tears glimmered in his eyes as he listened to the pujaris chanting mantras as they waved oil lamps in gentle, circular motions in front of the deity.
The sanctum sanctorum of the temple was a small windowless room with the coal-black statue of the deity occupying most of the space. Worshippers could view the deity through the room’s single large door from a long passageway in front of it. Two steel railings ran along the length of the passage, creating an aisle in the middle. The devout lined up behind the railing on either side, leaning over and craning their necks to view the deity and witness the puja ceremony, at the end of which the… Read more »