Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Orhodoxy in Hinduism and beliefs 03

Please read my first two parts of  this post. 

The orthodox Hindus across India, though their beliefs are similar, there are some variations from state to state. The following are the facts that  may need emphasis:

01. Prohibition of wearing upper clothes for men in some temples:  In some temples, in  particular, Thiruchendur Murugan temple, at Chidambaram Nataraja temple, before entering the Kanaga Sabha and in all Kerala temples, male devotees are not allowed to wear upper dress - shirts, etc. Only a  peace of  cotton cloth  across the shoulder  called Anghavasthiram is allowed by the temple dress regulations. The philosophy behind it, "no matter who you are, how rich you are, before the almighty everybody is equal. No distinction between the rich and the poor." As for women, they are allowed to wear saris, Salvar and Kameez. No flashy dresses that might mar the sanctity of such places.

02. Once inside the temple, devotees should chant the Bhagavath Naama - God's names or chant mantras. Must avoid engaging in gossips, politics, verbal duals, splitting, urinating, etc. Further, speaking loud on the temple premises is not a good  habit. So is jumping lines and proceeding to the front with out following temple norms.

03. Visiting temples in the early morning and in the evening is good. Wearing just upper cloth while praying in the temple shows our capacity to accept renunciation as we will be approaching middle age soon.
 

04. Allowing women during ''period'': 

Lately it has become a controversial issue because of women's rights and empowerment. However, in the past women during period were not allowed darshan inside the temple. Such an act will affect the cleanliness of the place.  In the past and also at present normally  most women, on their own accord, do not enter the temple for prayer when they go through the mensuration cycle. However, a section of women objected to it on the ground that it is an act of discrimination against women.

05. Going round the Prakaram in the temple: 


After prayer inside the main shrine, people go round the temple for two reasons: 1. To concentrate on chanting mantras on deities, 2. It is a kind of physical exercise to walk along the rough granite stones. Normally one can go round the temple one time or thrice or nine times (nine represents Navagraha). In many Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu, the prakaras are long.

06. In some temples of Shiva devotees are   not allowed to go round the Garbagrha or 'Sri Kovil'. Some barricade will be there to prevent the devotees to enter beyond that point. According  to the Hindu mythology the river Ganga has her origin on the Sirasu or head of Lord Shiva and flows down  round the inner Prakaram of Sri Kovil or sanctum sanctoram. Ordinary mortals like us, it is believed, should  not either interpret  her path of flow. Or is it advisable to trespass the barricade despite the warning. Yet another theory is Lord Shiva's long  flowing jaadamudi - matted hair  lies across the path behind the 'SriKovil.'

07. The purpose of visiting temples is to unload our frustrations, worries, mental agony, etc. In the Western society highly stressed  people go to 'shrinks' clinic and lie on the table, shell out hefty bills after unloading their frustrations and strange fears, etc. Fortunately we have numerous temples where we can share our feeling with the god and off load our mental agony and stoic sufferings.

To reduce your stress in the temple, fully concentrate on the innumerable deities there and  light up oil lamps  before  small shrines. This way you can lighten up  your worries and improve your positive thoughts and make the shrines shine in the radiance of light better. This way  "light" will dispel our unnecessary fear and ignorance and instill confidence in us. Yet another advantage is our stress gets reduced when our mind is focused on something.

08. Worshiping in front of the Kovil - temple entrance:

It is not a sign of true devotion to offer prayer right in front of the temple. However, one can stand on the sides for worshiping. It is believed that the Jiva Sakthi  flows from the main shrine in the form of a serpent straight through the center of the entrance. On the sides when we stand with our hands in supplication Jeevasakthi, it is believed, passes through our finger into our body. Boomi(earth /ground) Sakthi through small finger;  Aaksh Sakthi -air (For aathma balam/strength) through thumb;  Agni (fire) sakthi (mental prowess) through center finger; Jala (water) Sakthi (for body strength) through ring finger;  Vaau Sakthi (strength of feelings) through index finger.

09. Does Tulsi Teertha gives us benefits?  In all temples, especially, it has been a tradition to give Tulsi Teertham in Vishnu temple. This Theertham is collected from the abisheka water and is purified and not polluted. At home one can drink Tulsi water by gently boiling water in a vessel with several leaves of Tulsi. It is good for cold and cough.

10. Temple Flagstaff: 


There is no temple in India that does not have a flag staff - called Dwajasthambam.

Main sannadhi (shrine) view with Dwajasthambam,. veludharan.blogspot.com
either made of an alloy of five metals or copper. In some rich temples they are gold plated. In any temple before the commencement of major temple festival, tradition has it, before that event, the temple priests on an auspicious day hoist the temple flag amidst chanting of mantras. Flagstaff is considered an integral part of the temple the bottom of the flagstaff has close connectivity with the Sri Kovil/ Garbagraha and the middle part with Sri Devi. Kodimaram or Dwajsthambam standing  vertically is symbolic of Kundalani Sakthi atop the staff; upward movement of Jeeva Sakthi through Pranayamam.

      (Minir corrections made: March 05, 2016)