For an ordinary person like me who has still not graduated to the higher realms of worshiping the 'nirguna Brahman'; the atributeless and shapeless, 'saguna' worship is the other course available for experiencing peace. Visits to temples form part of such worship.
After all, if I start pouring out my tales of woe and suffering to another person, he or she will listen only for sometime and thereafter start narrating his or her own woes making me feel more woeful.
Visiting temples is the safe prescription for people like me.
Over many years, come the 1st. of January, I was visiting the famous temple on Simhachalam along with my family. Simhachalam is contiguous with the city of Visakhapatnam which is my native place. Varaha Narasimha is the presiding deity in the temple. For us the people of the north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and also the people of south coastal Orissa, this temple is the fountainhead of spiritual solace. There are many legends associated with this temple.
As for me, there are many pleasant memories and experiences that attach me emotionally to this sacred place. The gardens there are resplendent with the seasonal glory. The fruits and flowers seem to be greeting each piligrim by name! The chirping birds provide the music and it always appeared to me like a grand opera conducted by the Lord himself!
The waters of 'Akash Ganga' cool the body and calm the senses!
A darshan of the Lord in the sanctum sanctorum is sheer ecstasy!
The Moola Virat (main deity) appears like a 'shivalinga' because of the shroud of sandal paste applied yearlong over the idol of Narasimha - a manifestation of Vishnu. This form always reminded me of the truth that 'Shivasya hridayam Vishnur Vishnoscha hridayam shivah'.
The Lord appears to be hinting to the devotee 'Hey, look for me within'; within yourself!
This year, I could not visit Simhachalam on the 1st of Jan, as I am in USA along with my wife. The Lord perhaps ordained that I should sometimes practice 'nirguna' worship in which I indulged involuntarily chanting the verse 'Lakshmi Nrisimha mama dehi karavalambam'.