Indian Culture · Indian Religion · When a Picture Leads

Stone Worshipers

Sometimes when you are browsing through the photo folder on your computer, you come across some old photograph which takes you on a little meditation of sorts. Bringing you to an insight, an understanding or a realization perhaps, but more like a remembrance of something. Something you had read long time ago. Something you thought you had understood. Sort of. But something that means so much more now. Something that has now revealed a newer meaning.

Has it happened to you? 

It happened to me that afternoon, not so long ago. 

This is the photograph. Of the ruins of an old temple. In the sleepy little town of Tharanagmbadi, Tamil Nadu. 


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Photo by Suhas Mehra


As I sat staring at this photograph for a few minutes, one part of my mind started doing what it always does – question. 

How was this old temple destroyed? Who destroyed it? Was it only an act of time or nature or mere neglect? Or something else? Perhaps a destruction of a way of life in the name of Holy War? What happened to the gods and goddesses of this temple? Who took them? Where are they now? 

But thankfully, this part was soon silenced by the serenity of the ruins. In their silence and solidity these ruins made me think of all those who might have once upon a time offered their worship and prayers there. Of all those Stone Worshipers, as some religious fanatics in their ideological blindness of ‘my God is the only True God’ might have called them.   

Stone Worshipers. 

And then I remembered this…

You can’t explain even a stone in spite of your science. Everything is not material but mystical at bottom.

(Sri Aurobindo, Evening Talks, recorded by A. B. Purani)


It all became silent. For a few moments at least. It felt as if right then was revealed to me not only the mystery and the mystique of the ruins, but also of worshiping a stone.


To see more posts in the series When a Picture Leads, click HERE.

Linking with ABC Wednesday, M: M is for mystery, mystique, meditation.

24 thoughts on “Stone Worshipers

    1. Of course, it is the faith of the devotee that makes that stone into god. And yet, the stone in itself has a divinity that is hidden deep within. Which again I think only a devotee can feel.

  1. i think we all recognize that sensation whilst looking through old photo’s … its a good thing, i think, i shows us the things we’ve learned or should be learning still

    Have a nice abc-wednesday-day / – week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

  2. It’s an amazing post. Beloo !!! I moved into tears on seeing that photo and reading your post ….. I too have questioned my parents why I have to worship a stone … But now my son hopefully don’t ask this question …. Thanks for such an intelligent post with simple but profound words……!!!

    1. Thanks so much Vasantha for this heartfelt comment. I am grateful and humbled to hear that this post was a moving experience for you. Your words suitably convey how the essence of what I wanted this post to convey resonated deeply with you. Thank you!

  3. Beautifully expressed, Beloo.
    Also loved the quote from Sri Aurobindo…”mystical it is”
    Ultimately, it boils down to your faith, your belief…

    Pleasure to have you on board of Abracabadra.

    1. Thank you, Ruchira! I am glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, it is ultimately about one’s faith. But in some way it also matters where we put our faith in. Those who terrorize the world in the name of religion also say that it is the faith that drives them to such mindless actions. I suppose that’s why the masters and rishis have always spoken of the power of right discernment, viveka.
      Thanks for the welcome 🙂

    1. Or even a water container in which leather is being washed can become the river Ganga, with faith. Remember the story of Sant Ravidas, who was a cobbler by profession?! Something my grandmother often used to tell us. He was supposed to be the guru of Meerabai. It is all about that deep faith and sincerity within. Thanks Bhavya for stopping by! Appreciate your comment.

  4. A post after my heart/ Having come to finding the presence of the divine in temples and in the murtis (a stone worshipper ) so lovingly worshipped and adored by devotees, after giving up on them for years, I can understand how even the picture of temple ruins can make you meditate on God. The picture brings on a sense of peace and calm as one gazes at it for a while. Suhas has captured the essence of it so well and your words bring it alive. What a great combo 🙂 And thanks for the lovely lovely quote of Sri Aurobindo.

    1. I am so happy to read your lovely words, Zephyr. Isn’t that quote amazing?! It had been on my mind for so many days, weeks perhaps and then I happened to see that picture in my folder. And it all made perfect sense. It was actually a sad moment when we chanced upon these temple ruins at Tharangambadi. There was no sign or anything to suggest that some organisation was involved in taking care of it. There were even some assorted pieces of destroyed murtis lying around. Some village group and a few heritage enthusiasts have done some work to restore the main Shiva temple there (Masilaamani Nathar temple) after it was further destroyed during 2004 Tsunami. But there this was other temple which was totally neglected, perhaps there is no interest in reviving/preserving it. We couldn’t even find out anything about this temple as there was no one there we could talk to. Stories these old temples ruins can tell….Anyway, I should stop before I end up writing another post right here in this comment 🙂

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