Thursday, June 07, 2007


Very often in my discussions with friends we look out for incidents and people who can really act as a good unifying factors in the country especially between the hindu and muslim communities.. Cricket as the most popular option (though I still remember many people cheering for Pakistan and celebrating on Sachin’s dismissal during the Ind-Pak in 2003 World Cup).. Abdul Kalam is a close second, though not interested in taking a second term as the President of India, which he rightly deserves, he was a very popular and is well known and admired people of all communities, all age groups and all regions of the country.. The third choice was Sania Mirza and I needed say any thing about her.. do i?? ;o)
Recently I visited the town of Shirdi which was home to godman Sai Baba.. learnt from the localites there that the town is getting more and more devotees in recent times and the curve is on a rise, reaching new heights every year.. Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) provides good bus service to Shirdi and especially from Hyderabad, organises various package tours providing number of options for people to choose.. We took a 3-day package; covering Shirdi-Nasik-Triambakeshwar.
After a 13 hour overnight bus journey we reached Shirdi, a nice cool morning breeze welcomed us to the temple town. Very quickly we got ready to go for darshan as we learnt that Sundays have peak rush.. My father even arranged special VIP passes for all four of us.. it was my first visit to the place but as my sis and mom were there already so they guided me and we got the darshan in just half an hour.. the main idol of Baba, carved out of milk white marble, was located at a big hall.. very beautiful and very peaceful..
Then while we were visiting the surrounding temples started the afternoon Aarti.. Suddenly all talks ceased and everyone started joining their hands and clapping to the tune.. it was so wonderful to see EVERYONE getting united in the act.. it was a long (compared to the regular om jai jagadish) and melodious tune.. But the best thing is that the moment u start thinking that its going too long the tune changes.. the Aarti prayer has several verses each having different tunes and the more uniquely – different clapping style which adds beauty to the prayer..
It is this Aarti at Shirdi that found as a great unifying factor.. people of all communities and all social and economic backgrounds shed all the differences apart and devotionally get involved in it.. Baba being a fakir himself, the place has number of fakirs still there and lot of Muslim devotees.. I also spotted few Sikhs(easy to recognise, thanks to their turbans) and few foreigners (either Christians or Hindu followers)..
There are 4 Aartis performed at Shirdi each differ form the other and are performed at different timings through the day..
So anyone wishing to have peace and wish to see a really secular India visit Shirdi and make sure u attend as many Aarti sessions as possible..

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