Sabse Bada RuppaiyaI was discussing today’s TOI article on waiting time for darshan in Tirupati with one of my colleagues who just happened to visit this holy place last weekend. I asked him how he managed to complete his trip in just two days when it is mentioned that the waiting time for even paid darshan is 60 hours right now. He just laughed & casually told that the waiting time is 60 hours who pay the standard paid darshan charge which is perhaps Rs. 60/- per person. There are some unofficial charges also & you get the entry as per the amount which you pay over there. He very casually told that he paid Rs. 600 per person & he managed to have the darshan in 5 hours. He had gone there with 5 family members & so he spent Rs. 3000 to have a darshan to the God!!! Then few other people also who were sitting with us cited their stories of spending some x, y, z amount of money to have darshan over there.
I think these days the concept of “paid darshan” is existing at almost all famous religious places where our famous Gods give the darshan faster & clearer to those who are willing to offer him bigger money. I haven’t personally visited Tirupati but have experienced something similar at all the famous religious places visited by me, be it Shirdi, Siddhivinayak or ISKON temple. I have visited Shirdi thrice, first two times with my husband & the last time with few of my relatives who had arranged some highly influential VVIP passes. First two times, we had to wait for 5 to 6 hours in a queue to have darshan & by the time we reached the Samadhi, the organizers just didn’t allow us to even stand there for few seconds for having a complete darshan. Everybody was passing in queues & some three to four queues are allowed to enter at a time near the Samadhi area. Those who were in the last queue didn’t get even the chance to touch the holy Samadhi of Sai Baba. First time, even I was in the last queue & hence I didn’t get the chance to bow my head or touch the Samadhi completely. Later on I was being told that “sab Baba ki kripa hai, woh unhi ko Samadhi tak aane dete hain, jinki shraddha sachchi hoti hai”. I was actually upset over the fact that even after waiting for so long I didn’t get the proper darshan. Second time, I went in the middle queue & finally got the chance to bow my head on the holy Samadhi & have a darshan. However, last time I experienced a completely different scenario. Because of this influential VVIP pass of my relatives, we got the chance to enter the place in few minutes only. Also to my surprise, we not only got a faster entry at the morning aarti time rather we were allowed to sit in the space just near the Samadhi & attend the complete aarti very properly. Infact there was a lady standing in the normal queue who was crying a lot to allow her to sit near the God’s Samadhi. She was having a small paralyzed child with her & she was standing there for the whole night to attend the early morning aarti & pray for her child. She wanted her child’s limb to be touched with baba’s Samadhi but she wasn’t allowed to do so as she was in the normal queue. I felt so guilty of sitting there with that pass that I actually offered to exchange my place with that lady but the security officer turned my suggestion down by saying that there was no place for me to move back & send the lady ahead. After coming out, I was just so disturbed by that lady’s wailing & was wondering on the concept of this “PAID DARSHAN” or “SPECIAL DARSHAN”.
I really get astonished on the power of money. Why is this concept of Paid Darshan existing at all famous religious places now? So much of corruption & bribe is happening in the name of these so called special darshan arranged by pundits & organizers of the temples. It has become so easy for those who have got money to have a darshan of these famous Gods whereas the poor & the needy ones are just left behind standing in the queue. Infact I think because of these special darshan facilities, the normal crowd has to wait longer & even after their loooong wait they never get the chance to have as good a view of the God as a special person gets. I think God is supposed to be unbiased & equal for all, then how come God is doing partiality with its devotees? Is money really that powerful that it can influence God & make even him partial???