I got up early in the morning of the 27th and turned on my back. There was a dim light peeping through the small window up above on the wall in front casting a hypnotic spell on the darkness inside. The people, who matter in the ashram, were up and about. The sound of the ringing bell was trying to drive the remnant of last night’s sleep away from my eyes. I savoured the bliss of wakefulness of the moment. Having sensed that I was yet to fully recover from my sickness of the previous night (I threw up in the middle of the night, due probably to the irregular diets of the past week), Jaya, my wife started twisting and turning in the bed as well. Soon she was up and getting dressed to go down for the lunch coupon.
Once she was back up, we decided to visit Jagannath temple for one more time. We went bare-footed like most devotees do. The fear of the pandas still nagged me, but the happenings of the past one week were an eye-opener of sort. My faith in the Superior Power guiding our destiny has been rekindled, if not doubled. From the time we got inside, despite my inhibitions, till we came out and bought some more Prasad for our relatives, nothing untoward happened We entered the main temple, were blessed with a favourable darshan of Lord Jagannath, went round all the other temples on our way back to the main gate; unopposed, unchallenged. I was so tension-free inside the temple that for once I looked up to have a clear vision of Lord Jagannath in all His grandeur and munificence, right after one of the purohits ( priests) had put a tika (vermilion mark) on my forehead. It was at that precise moment that I stretched out my hand unhesitatingly to offer the dakshina (offerings in the form of money), and prayed for all my siblings and their families.
I realized then that all these hassles and harassment are manmade and the Great God encompasses it all to test the conviction of His worshippers. One can easily get inside the main temple for darshan, if one has enough faith and confidence in the ways of The Almighty.As we boarded the Kolkata-bound Howrah-Dhauli Express on the 28th, the realization dawned on me that this Puri trip was laid out in the scheme of things long before, by the One, who is beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals like me. The lessons I learnt from the visit to this holy place are so many that it is too early to write about them. If during the course of the next 2-3 years, yours truly here turns out to be something different from the adamant, arrogant, ignorant, impatient, immature and impractical being that he has always been, a lot of credit has to be given to my second trip to Jagannathdham in Puri, And not to forget a great lady, who always tried to inculcate the belief and faith in the One, who is omniscient and omnipotent, besides instilling an unwavering faith in and love for the basic goodness of humanity.