THE UNIQUE TEMPLE – Part I
Last week end, I returned after over a month-long stay in Pomona, New York attending the 7th year Brahmotsavam of Sri Ranganatha temple there. You may wonder what is so special about a Brahmotsavam which is being celebrated in all temples, not only in India but elsewhere also.
This write up will tell you how it is so special here in Pomona which other temples do not seem to have. To the best of my knowledge and belief, I am cataloguing some unique features of Sri Ranganatha Temple, Pomona, New York. I am subject to correction, if anyone could provide similar features existing in any other temple in the USA.
* This is the ONLY temple constructed at the specific command of the Sage, the 44th Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt, who built the Rajagopuram by converting the old tower known as “MoTTai GOpuram” (Bald tower) because it stood half-completed for CENTURIES – an achievement that even Azhwars had not attempted.
* This is the ONLY temple which shares the honorific of being a replica of Srirangam Temple Ranganatha temple otherwise known as “BhoolOka VaikunTam”
* This is the ONLY temple that even though Aagama Saastras do not prohibit kshudra Devatas being accommodated as “Parivaara Devatas” adorning the temple towers (Raja gOpurams), this temple does not have any Sannidhis for Kshudra Devatas either inside or even as Parivaara Devatas outside. Thus this represents the ultimate resort for mumukshus (those desirous of “mOksham”)
* This the ONLY temple that does not indulge in “anna vikriyam” (selling food) which is specifically prohibited as heinous sin in the Saastras. In fact, FREE food is served 24/7 for all Sevarthis, irrespective of the number, age or gender discrimination who come for Darsanam. All that is required to enter the MaDappaLLi is that one should be in “Svaroopam” (with grihastas in Pancha-katcham and Sumangalis in MaDisaar Sarees + the religious marks on the forehead).
*This is the ONLY temple with a “NO TICKET” system under which no charges are levied for various services including Archanas, AbhishEkams etc. but the temple also provides the Archana offerings (fruits etc) ABSOLUTELY FREE. Of course, the temple is not averse to accepting and acknowledging anything that is offered out of free will and whole heartedly, – even that under the principle of “YATHAA SAKTI” (according to one’s capacity and willingness)
* This is the ONLY temple that arranges during festivals FREE transport from and to the Airports/ Bus Stations etc by chartered buses / cars of volunteers etc to serve outstation devotees for attending the temple.
* This is the ONLY temple that arranges for FREE accommodation (to the extent possible) in or around the place where the temple is located.
Thus, this temple stands apart distinctively from so many other temples in USA.