Heritage Study Program || |
Companion to the Study of Hinduism - Part I
and Practice of Hindu Dharma
Level - 2
Paths of Religious Practices
of Rituals, Devotion, Prayers and Surrender
of Sanctums and Deities in Temples
Rules normally followed in the traditional Practice.
Most Hindu Temples
are built following some traditions as stated in Agama texts, to locate the Sanctums
of various Deities. However, the rules change with certain Purana stories of the
city called "Sthala Puranas." The rules also could not be followed when
a new Sanctum is built much later after the main temple. Some rules of "seniority"
is always followed. The main Deity of the temple and most others face east. In
all Siva Temples, the main Deity is found as Siva Linga.
Only the sanctum of Sri Ganesha is built to
the right side of Siva and all others including Sakthi [Parvathi] and Vishnu will
be on His left side. However, in Madurai where Sri Meenakshi is the queen of the
land and Siva being the guest, Siva Sanctum is on the north side, to the left
of Meenakshi. Sri Subramanya sanctum is built
on the left side of Siva and Parvathi. In Siva temples, Ganesha is on the southwest
side, forms of Vishnu will be at the west gate with Lakshmi on the northwest and
Navagraha on the northeast corners. There will be Nataraja on the north side facing
south Durga on southeast facing north.
only Temple for Sri Maha Vishnu in the world
[also the largest] is Angkhor Vat in Cambodia. All Vishnu temples in India are
for one of His Avatharas. Most of the times, the sanctums of Lakshmi is in the
outer circle of temples. Until about 600 years back, there were few sanctums built
for the female Deities in main temples of Siva or Vishnu, when a movement of Sakthi
worship became popular and the sanctum for Parvathi and Lakshmi were added to
the existing temples in south India. Parvathi and Lakshmi will always be on the
left side of Siva and Vishnu. In Vishnu Temples with both Sridevi and Bhoodevi,
Sridevi being 'senior' will be on right side. Similarly with, Sri Rama, Lakshmana
will be on right while Sita will be on left. With Sri Krishna, Rukmani is on right
and Sathyabhama on left. In Srirangam, the main Deity Sri Ranganatha faces south
due to the story of promise to Vibhishana that He will face the kingdom of Sri
Lanka. In Meenakshi Kalyanam, Vishnu being the person giving the gift of the bride
to Siva, stands on right side while the 'gift receiver' Siva stands on left side.
While doing prayers or doing namaskarams, for similar reasons, the husband stands
on the left side with wife on right side.
Manthra - - OM
the Meaning and the Significance.
kaaram Bindhu Samyuktham; Nithyam Dhyaayanthi Yo'hinah: |
Shaiva; O'mkaaraaya Namoh Namah: ||
Manthra - - "OM" is pronounced as
"AUM" with a long vowel sound. Om
is the comprehensive, Universal, holy Sound Symbol and Signifier of the Supreme
Infinite Reality. The Universe is said to have been created with the Supreme Reality
manifesting first as the Ether or Space of the Pancha Bootham [Five primary Elements]
and comes in the form of "Sound" - "Om".
It manifests as the totality of existence on four Cosmic and Spiritual planes;
Physical, Psychical, Causal or potential and transcendental. Thus OM represents
the Supreme Reality and all His manifestations and creations. Sri Ganesha, as
God manifesting and being represented with the face like an elephant is symbolic
of the shape - - Om and is called "Pranava
The Goal which all Vedas proclaim, which all austerities and meditations seek
and desiring which the sages lead the life of Brahmacharya -- I tell it to thee
in brief -- It is Om."
[ Katha Upanishad
What is Om, O' Sathyakaama, is verily the
higher or transcendental Brahman and the relative or personal Creator-God Brahmaa.
Therefore the knower attains either of the two by this means."
... Verily, with this Om-kara as the support, the knower attains what is peaceful,
undecaying, immortal, fearless and Supreme - Aathman / Brahman."
[ Prasna Upanishad.
Pranava - the Mystic sound Om - is the bow; the soul within, the arrow; and Brahman,
the target. One should hit that mark with an undistracted mind, and like the arrow,
become one with It."
[ Mundaka Upanishad.]
All this cosmic universe is the eternal word Om. Its further explanation is this:
the past, the present, the future and everything is just Om. - And whatever transcends
the three divisions of time -- that too is just Om.
- - Thus the Word Om is verily the Self [Aathman]. He who knows this, with his
self [Jiva], enters the Self [Aathman].
Excerpts from: "Om Gayatri and Sandhya" - by Swami Mukhyananda.
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