The setting is quantitatively and qualitatively similar. A grand musician say, an Ustad Zakir Hussain with Pandit Rakesh Chourasia giving rendition of their virtuosity in say a Royal Albert Hall or the Sydney Opera House. You enter from the dazzling world of the outside. Inside is all dark but for a very faint blue light heaping itself over a central stage further accentuating the sheen of silk draping the humble musical props.
The attendees wind their way through to the main arena for the concert through aisles & halls viewing details of the performing artistes, their high quality history and what could be expected during that day’s performances. This exactly the way the devotees of The Lord make their way through Angkor, or for that matter any Temple. Then once the attendees are all in, there are a few outlines if humans that become visible on the stage. Your eyes get used to seeing the dark with dilated pupils. Then you try to focus on the centre and find two musicians who begin to slowly find their paces and then get into the right groove and bless the entire gathering with their enchanting music. There would be nothing more precious, nothing more soothing, nothing more Godly.
Slow transition from the harsh daylight into the soothing dark inside the Garbhagriha, the space of the Presiding Deity in the Temple. So being the case regards performing musicians.
The temple is exactly the same. God is the Musician there. Especially in large temples such as Angkor, the devotee slowly taken through deliberate movements from outside to the ambulatory spaces inside. He takes a peek at the sculptural happenings which slowly become dark caressing his eyes. He does not even realise but his communion with the God gets slowly established through the well sculpted figures on the outer surfaces, on the walls inside, on the ceilings and on the columns. His movements around and within the monument become more out of inquisitiveness. He wants to quickly reach and check out who is emanating such energy, such signals, such thoughts, such feelings through the walls and long corridors unto him?
He gets a little nervous, a little possessed a little stunned. Just as was the case in a musical event, as the Musician furthers into his ragas, settles into his rhythm, the onlooker get so mesmerised so absorbed that he forgets where he is. He sees nothing other than a few frail human figures who have come from somewhere, who with the magic of their fingers are drenching his soul with the sounds of their music. He knows and feels nothing else for those moments. He becomes possessed as if in a state of trance. For those few moments nothing matters – his daily battles, his family, his job, his losses and
gains – nothing. Only that moment becomes him and his life alone.
Something exactly similar happens when The Lord becomes his centre of attention, his main attraction. Slowly the devotee gets into a rhythm and as he reaches the inner sanctum and comes face to face with The Lord, he even forgets who he is, why has he come there. The fragrance of insurance of burning oil la.os, of flowers bedecking The Lords’ holy feet that the devotee inhales, he gets transported into a world of utmost bliss, His world.
This is what happens to perhaps everyone who visits the abode of the Lord, in any religion. At Angkor, such a feeling gets more and much more intimate because, there you are amidst a crowd where no one knows the other. There you are and He is. You are listening to Him and His Music alone. And even He leaves no stone unturned in giving you his pure attention; to each one of His devotees present there. The union is a very strong bond, for those few moments that bond becomes unbreakable, inseparable. That is what the devotee had gone there for. He gets what he wants from his Lord. He gets His unstinted Love. Bliss he had never known hitherto.
I felt that bliss of union with my Lord. I did feel that bond with my Musician Lord. Every time I was there. I bathed in that bliss then. I bathe in the same bliss even today; every time I close my eyes.