A news article caught my eye two days ago. It said that the famous Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) plans to restrict the number of Darshans (devine viewing, being in the presence of the deity) to only one per year.
At present, 60,000 to 75,000 devotees visit the temple every day. In next three years, this number is likely to grow to 100,000 a day. Even today, the waiting period for the darshan is approximately 12 to 15 hours. And approximately 4000 devotees do the darshan every hour. And in an hour there are just 3600 seconds.
To control the crowd, TTD plans to use modern biometric technology. Every devotee will be finger printed and photographed, a la American consulate, and this biometric identification will be used to restrict the devotee to a single visit per year.
Many people are opposed to this move and they want to be allowed to visit the temple any number of times.
Reading this, a very different set of thoughts arose in my mind. I am a devout Hindu and a believer. We believe that the god is omnipresent. We also believe that god makes his presence felt in many different forms and all the forms are equally divine. Each one of us is representation of the divine.
Given this, I have never understood this obsession to visit a particular place of worship to do the darshan. People go to great extents to visit these places. In Mumbai, thousands of people walk long distances on Monday nights to reach Siddhi Vinayak temple, and them wait for hours in a queue. I respect all these people, their devotion, their feelings, but fail to understand the thinking behind it.
What do you think? Why do you think people go to specific places to offer their prayers?