Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Man's Car is Another Woman's Temple

The shiny new-ness of a new year usually wears off by the first quarter. I feel like a really jaded bitch because I'm already bored and weary of 2010. The malaise has extended itself to writing...anything. I was drafting off of my end of 2009 push to write the 12 Days of Christmas here, in the hopes that it would propel me into blogging more frequently. And ideas flit across my brain like fireflies...Ideas that seem brilliant in their brief burst of inspiration but then sift through my fingers like sand or water or sandy water. Because there is SO much out there. Now that literally everyone has a pulpit from which to vomit their usually pedestrian, misspelled, mediocre missives all over the internet...well, it hardly seems worth it.

In my continuing quest to shake things up in my try and figure out WTF I'm going to do next, I've taken to the old fashioned remedy of going for a drive. Driving is very conducive to calming and thinking. Notice how babies always fall asleep in the car? It's the closest I've come to true meditation. I admit, I haven't driven for pleasure in ages. I forgot how thrilling it is to navigate winding roads with sheer drops. To have the windows down and feel the breeze in my hair and the sun kissing my face. And to be able to allow my imagination to run wild, for my brain to explore thoughts and ideas without immediately rejecting them out of hand. On Monday, I ended up at the Hindu Temple in Malibu Canyon.

It's an amazing sight when it comes into view among the bucolic rolling hills. The Eastern architecture in strong contrast to Western landscape. But, I realized that they didn't just plop it down on any old plot of land. This temple was built for Sri Venkateswara, the presiding deity of the Tirumala Hills in Andhra Pradesh, India and a manifestation of Vishnu. Tirumala Hills means Seven Hills and Venkateswara is also known as the Lord of the Seven Hills. The Malibu temple sits among seven hills as well. You're not supposed to take pictures of him but are you kidding me? I'm alone in the temple with my tiny digital camera...what would you do? I had turned off the flash before getting out of the car. Is that malice of forethought?

The smell of incense and flowers lingers in the air and it's very quiet and peaceful. But my spirit was too restless to sit. In the courtyard are several smaller temples - very much like private mausoleums - that house other deities. I didn't get all of their names but I believe this one is Kanyika Parameswani. She is said to have fulfilled the wish of an ardent devotee by being born into his family. Once she became of age and the family wanted to marry her off, she let it be known that this wasn't part of the deal and immolated herself in holy fire to return to her spiritual form. Ouch. Why must there always be fire?

These two lovely ladies are across the courtyard from Kamyika. They all seem to look that wrong?

The temple is covered in intricate carvings. I especially liked the great elephant carvings on the outer wall.

The photo at the very top of this post is a close up of one of the life sized sentries that guard the entrance to the temple. We were eye to eye.

Finally, I put my shoes back on and got into my car. Out on Malibu Canyon Road again, I became in tune with the energy flowing through my open windows. I felt at peace and close to happiness...which is pretty close to a miracle.

Just goes to show you...One man's car is another woman's temple.

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