Ambaji Temple – One of the Shakti Peeth

This is the principal shrine of the goddess who has been worshipped since pre-Vedic period. Situated near Gujarat-Rajasthan border at Banaskantha, this Shakti-Peeth draws devotees like moths to a flame.

It was originally built by Nagar Brahmins of Gujarat. The significance of this temple is that there’s no idol or image of Arasuri Ambaji. Some anthropologists like Ghurye (father of Indian Sociology), Kosambi and Sanyal are of the view that this underscores the long-standing fact that the Vedic or even Pri-Vedic Hinduism was purely monotheistic and didn’t believe in idol-worship because Shakti or Adi Shakti cannot be enshrined in a temple. It’s sarvavyapi (Omnipresent).

This temple is one of the 51 Shakti-Peethas of Hindus. Archaeological Survey of India, 1934, mentioned Ambaji Temple on the list and described it as ‘A powerful energy source for Hindus’ (Derek Neil’s erroneous understanding; Reference: The Statesman, Calcutta, 1967). Shaki Peeth is not mere energy. It’s the palpable presence of Divine aura in the form of a (Shakti) Peeth.

The same error was made by Pakistan Tourist Board’s manual when it described Maruteerth Hinglaaj (one of the Shakti Peethas of Hindus that’s now in Pakistan) as ‘Centre of Energy for Hindus’. This is a very misleading interpretation of Shakti-peeth and smacks of perfunctoriness.

This Shakti is Divine feminine universal aura. To some exegetes of Hinduism, a Shakti Peeth is gender neutral as Shakti cannot be pigeonholed into male/female, though it’s a feminine word in Sanskrit/Hindi.

Ambaji Temple is the pristine, primordial manifestation of Hindu consciousness and the advanced understanding of divine energy that pervades the whole universe.

The place is very accessible. Buses and trains from Ahmedabad, Mount Abu (Rajasthan) are frequently available. The nearest airport is Ahmedabad International Airport.

The experiences and reviews of this great shrine are unique in the sense that whoever visited this place, didn’t feel the spreading tentacles of commercialization at this place. In other words, it’s still untouched by the commercial requirements and paraphernalia of all shrines in India. Ambaji temple timings are 7 am to 9 pm.

Years ago, the writer read a devotee’s personal experiences of this shrine. He and his wife separately felt an indescribable feeling of divine aura engulfing their entities. There’s a belief that until Ambaji calls you to visit, you cannot visit. There must be a divine edict/decree on you to visit Ambaji otherwise, many people from Gujarat and nearby Rajasthan could never visit this shrine despite their earnest willingness to visit.

They say in Hindi, ‘Bulawa aaya nahin, jaana hua nahin’ (No invitation came, so no visit took place). So when you get Ambaji’s call (divine call), don’t ignore that. Only the lucky ones receive that!

Priya Harrison

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