Hinduism is a whirlpool of knowledge, that which cannot be understood at first glance. To be a Hindu is not just about being gifted, but it’s an experience we need to live out in accordance with the Shastras.
Walking through a temple might be an overwhelming experience, where we would believe the superior powers are embedded within the deity. Sure enough, but how did this power get there? How did the idol get a life and how are we sharing this power? Or rather...what is this power that we define as "the ultimate truth"?
The power of the stone is not generate within the stone itself but is generated through the mystical diagram that defines the nature of the deity enclosed within the shrine. Various "bija mantras" attributed to the deity are embedded within this mystical diagram. For now this is just a copper/gold plate that carries the lines that define the true nature of the deity.
The real play starts at the dwajastambha, the main pillar in front of the temple. The fire of life is ignited along a darbha grass rope that connects the main dwajastambha to the shrine within the sanctum. The dwajastambha itself is a complex flag post, which contains designs all of which are attributed of the enclosed deity. Fire and ghee ignite the life of the mystical diagram placed within the sanctum followed by a series of hymns that are sung rhythmically along the cardinal directions within the shrine chamber. The mystical diagram comes alive when the fire with the burning ghee falls on its metal surface.
After this ritual the deity is placed over the metal plate and sealed to the floor using a mixture known as "ashtabandhanam". The idol, made of a specific black stone is the carrier of this energy. This energy is maintained and enhanced by constant worship. Worship includes the bathing of the idol with water, milk, sandal wood, fruit mix, honey, oil, ghee and the like. Food is offered in the form of incense, flowers, fruit and rice to the deity.
The inner power of the idol is maintained by constant "pradakshinam" or circumambulation around the main shrine chamber and various prakaras. Only oil lamps should light the interior chamber and electricity is strictly prohibited. Flower garlands should be strung with banana fiber and not thread. Every thing that is offered to the deity is in its purest form. Hence the power of the deity is maintained.
What is the real nature of this "power"?
The nature of this power is strangely electrical, meaning it can produce anything from a mild shock near your elbow to making you shiver if you cannot cope with it.
The point is, we need to be ready to receive this power and for that the body and mind need to be prepared. Hence the various philosophies of detachment and zero desire so that we can concentrate on the Self instead of getting distracted by the world around us.
I know I made this sound really simple but this is belief as it stands today and no, Western science cannot prove this in a hurry.
Posted by Kavitha at Monday, August 28, 2006