Ādhyātmic Journey to Ichhāpūrtī Ganesha Temple

Text Image: Adhyatmik Journey to Ichhapurti Ganesh Temple

The summer, this year, with the temperature 40 plus degree centigrade, has made the life unbearable. Increasing temperature causes health problems and the mind cannot relax at all.
The mind wants to escape from this heat wave to find some solace. For the past fifteen years, I could not manage to travel just for enjoying the nature. It is hard to believe, but the life is unpredictable and full of surprises which are sometimes good and sometimes complex to handle, so I could not even consider unwinding at some peaceful place. It is still very difficult for me to manage long journeys. 

So, I decided to plan small outings to nearby places, which can be completed within one day or even within a few serene hours.
The biggest benefit of the search for such short duration trip planning was that I could discover many places like temples or spiritual Ashrams in nearby villages, which though are not tourist spots, but worth visiting to lighten up the heart.                   
The Ichhāpūrtī Ganesha temple, which is 7 to 8 KM away from Dhule district in Maharashtra, is one such discovery which I found more peaceful than I could imagine before reaching there. The Ichhāpūrtī Ganesha temple is on Surat – Nagpur national highway (NH6 highway). It is located in a small village called Vaar- Kundane.

The Welcome by Smiling Crops:

This small trip was so special and beautiful that all my stress was gone away, while reaching there as the route had farms of different grains and fruits on both the sides. Due to hailstorms this year, the destruction of the farms is very serious. My mind was prepared to see the damage. But, to my great surprise, the crops in many farms were cheerfully singing and dancing on the tunes of the wind even in the scorching sun. The crops cereal grains like Jawar, Bajra and wheat, fruits like pomegranate and the plants of different flowers, all were smiling, as if there were welcoming me. I felt like they were waiting for me for a long time. I felt the delight like that of meeting old friends after many years. With the beautiful morning, everything was just beautiful. 

Now, I realized why the Rishis of the ancient times, loved to inhibit in the jungles with the nature, trees and the birds. The nature is the best friend for the spiritual growth.

The Architecture and Surroundings of the Ganesha Temple:

I knew this temple since the area was not developed entirely. Now, it is growing like a tourist spot. Tall trees surround the temple. It is not crowded daily except Chaturthi and the festivals like Ganesh Jayanti and Ganesha Chaturthi. The very moment we enter the temple, the world of serenity calms down our mind, stopping all the worldly worries. Although, this temple is on the national highway, thanks to the big trees, we get freedom from the noise and air pollution instantly. The temple has a small Garbhagruha – adytum and only the Murti of Lord Ganesha. The Garbhagruha is very clean and the architecture of the temple is also very brilliantly designed so that there won’t be any suffocation in the small area of the Garbhagruha. Murtis of Ashtavinayak - eminent eight shrines of Lord Ganapati in Maharashtra- are carved on the eight directions of the top of the Garbhagruha. Facing the Garbhagruha, there is a Sabha Mandap for the purpose of Dhyana. People are not permitted to sit in the Garbhagruha, so every devotee can have Darshana peacefully. Sabha Mandap is kept open having the roof and small walls only. When we sit there for the Dhyana, the quiet and beautiful atmosphere helps us to realize the existence of LordGanesha in our hearts that is present there in the form of the Ganesh Murti. The trees bring the wind converting it in a cool breeze. We don’t have to control or focus the mind for Dhyana. We don’t need to forget the worldly thoughts. We actually don’t need to do anything, because this world of Ganapati Bappa does all that to take us in the deep Dhyana. When we are with Him, there is no possibility of any evil to touch us or to agitate our mind. :- )

Ichhāpūrtī Ganesha means the Lord Ganesha who fulfills our desires. The wishes fulfilled by the Bhagwan are those which are confined to the Dharma, the wishes which are destructive, those which are Adharmaic are never fulfilled. The Darshan of Lord Ganesha -  The Vighnaharta tells us that He is here to understand our troubles, to resolve them, to eliminate the obstacles in achieving our ambitions, and to fulfill our desires. Therefore, I think, the temple is open from 5 AM to 10 PM, the whole day without any time to rest for Ganapati. It’s not even closed in the afternoon, unlike many other temples. Different temples and trusts have their rules for opening and closing the temple for valid reasons. But I personally think, temples should be open, if possible to manage easily, for the devotees at least during the daytime. I never thought that I would find any such temple, before meeting Ichhāpūrtī Ganesha, my wish is heard by Him. We go to temples to meet the Bhagwan and it’s so great if He also stays there with us to talk, to listen, and to heal the wounded hearts.   

Devotees keep visiting here for the Darshana, but the peace doesn't get disturbed, as silence is expected here for the Dhyana and devotees also unsurprisingly don’t want to talk much.

Lord Shiva Temple:

In front of the main Garbha gruha, but outside the Sabha Mandap, there is a small temple of Lord Shiva. This small temple is an open temple covered by the roof only. The ShivaLingam and Bhagwan Nandi appear as if they are in the deep Sadhana from the immemorial times here. He is protecting, caring the world, but he is not attached to it. He is doing everything, without doing anything. Such natural surroundings tell the meaning of Shrimadbhagwadgeeta which is beyond the words. The essence of Advaita which cannot be taught by the discourses entirely as it is a subject of experience, just flows from the heart becoming the bliss! Lord Shiva is the first Guru of Mahayoga. This Darshana enlightened me that yes! He is always in the deep Sadhana, being the Guru doesn’t mean that Sadhana should be stopped. Sadhana is the journey within, which is eternal.

While writing this, I was again lost in that world of Sadhana. Yes! the temples, Murtis and Pujas are for realizing the Bhagwan who is actually within us. So, the temples, rituals, Murtis, and places of worship of Sagun- Sakar Bhagwan are absolutely necessary, they are more than just beliefs and customs.

The daily work of the temple seems to be maintained and managed by only a few people. Actually, I could see only two of them, one for registering Poojas, taking donations etc. and the other for cleaning the area. Though, only two men were to take care there, devotees had maintained the rules and silence there.

The Cows and the Birds:

I came across a cow there. The birds, trees, and animals are always our best friends; even they are not pets or are a stranger to us, they befriend with humans easily. The cow, I saw was wandering here and there, I think she was hungry. She was very beautiful, must be a desi breed cow and her eyes were very expressive. The people were scolding her. At first, I felt it very unkind and she also gave a touching expression,  like, ‘Everybody scolds me..I am so innocent and tolerant, never show my anger’. I felt sorry about her condition. She asked for water to the worker and he immediately gave a bucketful of it, which showed the bond of affection between them. Then, I realized, the scolding is just by the love and she is also showing the expressions, just like the human children do. Cows are holy and they are very expressive than other animals, but I have never seen such a childlike cow.

Common Mainas and crows are the birds, mainly seen in the temple region. Crows are in a large number; and they fly just near the ground. I felt this very strange. The place must be safe for them. Though the crows are very common, I never saw crows so closely so far in the city. I thought, if crows would be rarely spotted, we would consider them as very special and beautiful, just like the sparrows who, when began to vanish from the urban regions, made us seriously notice their absence and importance.       

Capturing photos are not permitted here, so I couldn't get the joyous moments with me. Actually, this rule is good. Nobody was disturbing the divine atmosphere by the clicks of cameras and mobile phones. I also had the desire to meet the Lord Ganesha, with the total surrender of the mind, where capturing photos could be a distraction. However, I would surely love to click photos if it would be permitted, but then I wouldn't be able to realize the deep peace there.

Touching Experience:

While returning, I saw an old wrinkled woman outside the temple, one of the unfortunate people, whom we call as beggars. I gave her something very little, whatever I could give, with the guilt of being unable to do something to improve her life permanently. I know, I can’t change her life ….but one thing I could give is ‘the smile’. I smiled at her. She didn’t even look at what I gave. It wasn't important for her. She wouldn’t even get surprised if I would ignore her completely. But what surprised her was the smile with the love. Her reaction was such that I have given her something, which she couldn’t ever imagine to get. She was showering her blessings again and again with both the hands. She also smiled with the love. I felt, like my life is going to be with the incredible achievements and the love in future…because of her blessings. Only one thought was wandering in my mind, ‘Should I call her beggar?’…

She didn't ask for anything but she has given me the blessings for my entire life.

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