Satatyanarayanaswamy Temple in Tampa Florida is on a hillock and you have to climb nearly fifty steps to reach the temple walls covered with carvings and statuary . The statues of Jaya and Vijaya, on your left and right welcomes you at the entrance.The earth-toned gopuram, which breaks above the tree line, the walls of the same tone but enriched with elegant statues, the open space around with a banyan and neem tree pair sheltering a snake temple and a navagraha group opposite to that provides a distinctly unique charisma to the complex. A team of ten from India spent ten years for completing this architectural achievement. A serene lake with a single swan on the side, adds beauty to the artistic extravaganza.
Crossing the ‘kodimaram’ or flag post, you enter a spacious hall with high roof around which, there is a ‘prakaram’ for ‘pradakshianam’ or circumambulation. Facing the entrance is the main diety of Satyanarayana, in His resplendent grace, opulently ornamented and to His right is His Divine consort Mahalakshmi and to His left, the Mahlingeswar. In between are the shines for Sree Rama parivar and Radha Krishna love birds. Before you approach them, turn left, take the blessings of the Vinayaka swamy , move ahead pray all the Gods at your front, collect prasadam, turn right and enjoy the Valli, Devasena sametha Sri Subramania swamy’s elegant kalyana kolam and take the blessings of that celestail celebrities too. Columns on the south and north walls exhibit figurines of the avataras of Vishnu and Siva. The interior of the spacious shrines are covered with glazing black marbles, all the deities are richly ornamented and draped with velvety apparels. No unwanted sounds , inside or outside, no tit bits anywhere, neatly maitained, purohits are courteous as in all other temples I have seen in USA.
I was however, sad to see the single swan in the adjoining pond roaming alone without a companion. I do not know whether that lovely bird is a male or female but when I saw it , dipping its head inside the water and lifting it up elegantly and swimming all alone , I wished how happier it would have been had it a companion to rub its lovely body and twist its neck with that of another one. In the moonlit nights, that single bird would have longed for a mate so that it could tell stories about the shy stars silently hiding behind the silvery veils of the clouds, while the moon approaches with smile and satisfaction of their presence. When the winter winds shakes the water and makes the bird cooler and cooler every time it dips its body into it, how can you blame it for asking for a warm hug from another co-species ?
After all, was this bird not known for its helping attitude towards one of the ever green lovers of mythology , the lovely Damaayanthi, whom even the celestial kings longed for and Nala who underwent untold miseries, though born as a prince. The immortal picture of ‘ hamsa -Damayanthi by Raja Ravivarma still illumines my mind as well as the kathakali padams of ‘Nalcharitham’.
” Oorjithasaya parthipa vara jan, upakrama cheyyam
Orthu kandolam uthamanam nee,upama thava nahi moonnulakilum”
” Oh, the great king, your are honest and upright with no equals in all the three worlds. I will help you”
I could not help looking up and asking the Divinities in the second floorSri e ” “Ithu nyayama ?’ Is this proper ?
Guess what they replied