11.29.2006

Secrets beneath the Garbha Griha

Its might appear very strange and intriguing that Shiva Lingas get unearthed at construction sites or any place when people dig the earth up. There have been remarkable moments in Indian History where the Paramacharya Sri Chandrashekar Swamigal Himself has pointed to location where there were sure possibilities of an ancient Shiva Linga within the earth. To name a few would be the Shiva Linga unearthed at Madhya Kailash, Taramani Chennai and at the Shankara Matt at Thiruvanaikkaval Srirangam.

The Shiva Linga at Shankara Matt is particularly beautiful. Its claimed to be a Panchamukha Linga, though only four faces have been visibly sculpted into the shaft of the Linga. The fifth, typically on the top has not been carved in this case. The characterestic features of the faces takes us way back to the late Pallava, early Chola era. The pointed features and benign appearance of each face, remarkably similar such that they seem to belong to the same person rekindles the imagination With the world of the ancients.

The question now is, how did these Shiva Lingas get past the ravages of time with endurance?

Temples had a lot of thinking going into them before the very first stone was placed for its making, endless calculations not just based on how to build the temple, but to sustain it and keep it standing for the years to come. Decisions were taken to safe guard the main sanctum and more importantly the idol and its various elements from any danger of destruction.

The Garbhagriha is not constructed on the ground. It is built over another chamber which has enough sand packed into it. This chamber has four pillars that hold up the floor of the Garbhagriha over them. The floor hosts the main idol as well as its elements that constitute the idols "power". Once the Idol has been brought to "life" the temple is proclaimed a living temple and the main idol is put over to cover the secret within. Subsequently the idol is "appeared" to be worshipped while the actual worship is done for the idol as well as the elements below. The idol is a visual representation of a reality contained in the elements, today unknown to all of us, well almost unknown.

The Kumbhabhishekam is done to protect the temple and the idol from any natural disaster as well as those created by humans. Should there be trouble on a vast scale, and should the life of the "Worshipped" be at stake, the temple is designed to cave in. In cases of natural calamities, the main temple falls apart, pillars scattered after mandapas have crashed down.

At the Garbhagriha its a different story. The first to fall are the pillars right at the bottom, below the Garbha griha. They are designed to fall outwards such that they give room to the floor to fall downwards and out giving way to the Shiva Linga and its various elements to fallen through into the sand packing without being harmed or damaged. Once the Shiva Linga has fallen through it gets covered by the surrounding sand and then later by the rest of the rubble that crashes down rendering it buried safe till its unearthed at a later date.

A lot of thought and consideration went into the making and the prevention of any destruction to the Shiva Linga. This unique form of the Lord, subtly designed carries more to itself that what meets the eye. Thought went into safe guarding it, protecting it and leaving it within the lap of the earth to be dug up later for the world to see an ancient secret alive, evergreen.

25 comments:

JC Joshi said...

Hi Kavitha,

The linga, in physical form, symbolically represents the undying Formless Creator (Shiva or Earth - as model of the Supreme Energy or Soul), a component of which believably exists within each human being too. However, the physical animal form (apparently made up from the same elements that are found on earth too) is temporary – as everyone knows it, but fails to accept it as long as the form apparently remains under animation... That’s the universal truth…The ancients, therefore - 'based on relaization by Yogis’ or thoughts received by the ancient scientists who developed communication with the ‘immortal soul’ within - apparently attempted to indicate the Truth through their creations/ stories, which remained passed on from one generation to another from time immemorial (Sanatan kal)…

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, Of course, one might like to add that ‘passage of time’ and limitations in personal capacities of different individuals would have resulted in losses in communication and hence the apparent confusion as it is apparent in the ‘present’ – unless some particular rare individual develops connection with the soul within afresh (or maybe vice-versa), as apparent Historical figures, viz. Buddha, and many more, reportedly did at certain given points of ‘time’…

JC Joshi said...

The ancients apparently attributed this confusion among different human characters on earth at different times and locations on the globe to apparent different controllers, (as ‘images’ of the one and only ‘illusory earth’, the ‘Truth’ or ‘Shiva’, as the perfect physical model of the all rounder Formless Creator or ‘Supreme Soul’), one each for the eight cardinal directions, interacting with each other with the apparent resultant hierarchy reflected through different characters while the Formless controlled the apparent plus and minus range of human reach, to cover the apparent ten directions, depending on the Era or Yuga concerned…

The ancient Yogis or ‘scentists’, i.e., ‘Palmists’, ‘Astrologers’ etc., through apparent communication with the normally dormant soul within, appear to have understood human being as an ‘instrument’…And, although, uiversally realized by the ancients, man remains ‘His image’ or ‘model of the universe’ at all times, yet due to the inherent characteristic property of 'time' he finds it difficult to reach the ‘Absolute Truth’ or the one and the only Formless Creator – called Naadbindu or the point source of unlimited energy that used part of the sound energy for the apparent ‘creation’ that continues to display the variety and hierarchy through eternity, for it is realized that energy doesn’t get destroyed, though it can get transformed…

Shivalinga thus reflects the thought of immortality of the mysterious Naadbindu…

JC Joshi said...

The ancients apparently attributed this confusion among different human characters on earth at different times and locations on the globeto apparent different controllers, (as ‘images’ of the one and only ‘illusory earth’, the ‘Truth’ or ‘Shiva’, as the perfect physical model of the all rounder Formless Creator or ‘Supreme Soul’), one each for the eight cardinal directions, interacting with each other with the apparent resultant hierarchy reflected through different characters while the Formless controlled the apparent plus and minus range of human reach, to cover the ten directions, depending on the Era or Yuga concerned…The ancient Yogis or ‘scentists’, i.e., ‘Palmists’, ‘Astrologers’ etc., through apparent communication with the normally dormant soul within, appear to have understood human being as an ‘instrument’…And, although, uiversally realized by the ancients, man remains ‘His image’ or ‘model of the universe’ at all times, yet due to the inherent characteristic property of ‘time’ he finds it difficult to reach the ‘Absolute Truth’ or the one and the only Formless Creator – called Naadbindu or the point source of unlimited energy that used part of the sound energy for the apparent ‘creation’ that continues to display the variety and hierarchy through eternity, for it is realized that energy doesn’t get destroyed, though it can get transformed…
Shivalinga thus apparently conceptually reflects the thought of immortality of Naadbindu…

anil joshi said...

Kavitha,An interesting bit of information indeed!The temple of god vithoba in Pandharpur was in danger of an attack from Aurangzeb.At that time the statue was physically removed & hidden in a well in a small town near Pandharpur.I strangely remember the type of construction of the Taj Mahal at this point of time & the claim of it being a shiva temple.

JC Joshi said...

‘Religion’, besides the planet earth, exists not because of man. It is only the lack of overall knowledge, or Supreme Knowledge reflected by ‘Nature’, that is the root cause of the ‘present day’ misunderstanding or ‘Maya’ in the words of the ‘wise’ ancients.

When a ‘breakable material’ item and a man (naturally containing the spirit that is matured to different levels within each and hence the resultant hierarchy) are allowed a free fall from a high tower, experience tells that only a ‘miracle’ or ‘good luck’ can save the ‘mortal’ part in either or both. Thus the observation of the phenomenon and ‘development of technology’ and therefore balanced ‘economic development’ together with ‘mental development’ over many generations could help the still evolving present day man to think of providing a parachute (or a strong rope – as in ‘bungee jump’) to slow down the speed of fall for soft landing – although the inherent weakness due to characteristic property of ‘material’ and the ‘mechanism’ involved, besides lack of knowledge of the individual concerned (both related with ‘time’) might still not help him…

Naresh Hampiholi said...

Hi Kavitha,

This is an amazing peice of information you have published. The engineers of the olden days were far more smarter and technically advanced though they had no Autocad to help them.

I am working in the construction industry and this info' is mind-blowing.

Great Job

Regards

kavitha said...

Thank you Nareshji.

I believe very strongly, that our ancients knew a lot more and the complexity of these ideas has rendered most of these concepts unavailable today.

Anilji, I wouldnt give too much to the story of the Taj Mahal hosting a Shiva Linga below it. Maybe true, may not be true...

Shiva is within our hearts, in the mind, a reality in our faith..

It takes the mind's eye to see Him, isnt it :)

Joshi Uncle, what would you like to say about it?

Regds
Kavitha

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, I have earlier also indicated certain incidents that turned me into a ‘seeker’. I give below extracts of my thoughts to another blogger:

“…Jiweshji thought someone else whom he knew had entered the comment. I told him to visit Kavitha Kalyan’s blog on indiatemple to read more of my thoughts on Hindu Mythological stories as I have interepreted the likely communication in some of the stories in light of some of the present day scientific findings. The renowned British Cosmologist crippled by a muscle disease at the age of 21 years, Stephen Hawking, also in response to whether he believed in God or not said that he would like to enter the mind of God! And, ancient Hindus apparently had realized God the Omnipresent to reside within each!”...

"Yes, no doubt it’s a beautiful creation by a particular human being with a view to communicating the ‘Truth’ as he perceived it based on ‘spiritual’ thoughts prevalent at a certain period of time in the past when “Chritianity” and the so called “Hinduism” apparently were closer in their general concepts about ‘creation of physical universe from energy’...
A Hindu yogi by thought could perhaps primarily visualize it as the ‘third eye’ of Shiva - the believable ‘simple and the superior most God’ and the fulfiller of all basic human needs. That is, in fact, ‘our planet Earth’ as the ‘perfect model’ of the universe or the universal energy believably concentrated at a point, or ‘image of God’, that contains within it ‘Shakti’ or power symbolically represented generally by an ‘eight-handed female human figure’ (representing eight cardinal directions), Parvati, as the independent creator of her son representing an apparent dormant energy, Ganesha, that one needs to awaken through Yogic exercises so as to concentrate the total energy at a point in one’s head, together with those contained in ‘eight hands’ of his mother, or in the ‘essences’ of selected eight number planets of our solar system, to realize the ‘Absolute Truth’ or the overall knowledge spread all over ten directions of the infinite space…"

anil joshi said...

Kavita,The reference to Taj was probably misinterpreted!A beautiful ancient monument can not be studied due to clash of the so called faiths & that really hurts!

JC Joshi said...

It is a fact that ‘creative man’ apparently ever gives more importance to his own creations/ works, which apparently are meant to (selfishly) make day-to-day life on earth convenient for all humans only (maybe at the cost of some other humans/ other life forms ‘due to factors beyond human control’), but due to lack of overall knowledge/ financial resources, and so on, at any time these fail to serve the desired purpose for long. The society as a whole keeps Historical records of human achievements at different times and places vis-à-vis the record of the ever changing environment, for, almost as a rule, all human creations are seen to generate inconvenience too and also risk to the existence of the human life itself as a whole, besides having naturally limited life-spans. And thus there is a constant churning undergoing in human minds to achieve ‘perfection’ (or ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ among men)…and, at ‘present’ at least, the goal doesn’t seem to be anywhere near. In fact the gap between the ‘haves and havenots’ in the ‘present’ is apparently widening rapidly with the passage of time…

The ancient yogis who apparently withdrew to isolated places seem to have realized the apparent creator of the physical universe as Formless and the apparent time related events as His dream while Himself remaining detached from the different illusory characters - for He alone apparently is aware of the ‘Truth’ (analogously man also partly knows the truth of illusion of day-dreaming and dreams in sleep - only when one is conscious. And only a rare character who attaches itself with Him can believably realize it, i.e., gain super consciousness and perhaps exclaim, “Shivoham!)…

JC Joshi said...

Anilji, once one can accept - in the mythological stories – ‘Shiva’ in human form in Satyuga as a typical model of our ever perfect earth (maximum achievable potential 100%) and all human forms on earth to also be His models; but with much reduced efficiencies and different characteristics at any other time, because of the inherent design related with time, such that there always exists apparent hierarchy in ‘Nature’.

Thus, when time is apparently moving down, in the beginning of Tretayuga, ‘Lakshamana’ could represent earth as its model with efficiency redued to maximum 75%; and at the beginning of Dwaperyuga, similarly, ‘Yudhister’ to represent it as its model with efficiency further reduced to maximum 50%…Thus in the present one could perhaps visualize each human being, or other life/ physical forms also as models of Earth, but exhibiting different characteristics.

With the above belief, seen with a detached view-point, all forms could be believed as temples of Shiva, maybe having different forms and names given to each!

Naresh Hampiholi said...

Hi Kavitha,

I have read about the Taj Mahal being a Shiva temple (TejoMahalay) built by Raja Mansingh. This place was then seized for the burial of Mumtaz. More details are available on www.hindunet.org.

Naresh

JC Joshi said...

Kavitha, I give below my reaction to a presentation on a National TV
channel:

God on earth was a good, short, and sweet presentation.

However, at the end of the day one fails to know what is right or what is wrong.

Krishna was a thief, who was apparently got naturally reformed after attaining maturity.

Yudhister was a gambler and was still called “Dharmaraja”.

Buddha abandoned his family and is still considered Mahatma.

And, so on.

Thus whoever be the ‘real God’, on earth or in Heaven, He must be very mischievous!

But, the question that will perhaps ever remain unanswered is: What is His purpose in this eternal fooling of man?

JC Joshi said...

Personally - with the background information indicated in the mythological stories that even Brahma and Vishnu couldn’t reach either the beginning or the end of the Shivalinga and, therefore, the ancients indicate the Formless Creator to be unborn and unending – I can only imagine that His purpose is to try various permutations and combinations of forms to reach His origin, or Mother, as indicated in the universally observed attachement between the ‘Mother& Child’, although there might be certain exceptions...

JC Joshi said...

Another view-point could be as follows.

The Hindu Philosophy of ‘Vedanta’, that the real one and only ‘perfect’ or super intelligent being in the whole ever changing universe is formless, a ‘dot’ that is, therefore, related with zero space and time. And, that the rest, perceived by it as innumerable physical forms, are its own relatively inferior or ‘imperfect reflections’ or ‘images’ (as in constantly changing magical mirrors), or ‘models of the illusory universe’. The images are believably related with an unending cycle (Kalchakra) of imaginary or ‘apparent time’ (and hence the advice to remain unmoved under all circumstances).

Thus the above-said implies that the void of the apparently infinite universe - as apparently realized by ‘wise’ ancients - is a museum where the formless creator is apparently watching eternally its different images or creative works vis-à-vis humans, its superior most creation - as they are related with different locations and time on the globe as its ‘near perfect’ inert image. Earth is of course one of the members - of our solar system - that reflect the apparent hierarchy among themselves, with the mysterious Moon, that has no atmosphere of its own and moves such that only one of its face is seen from earth! Earth-Moon therefore apparently were seen as Shiva-Shakti (or Parvati) by the ancients as reflecting the 'material' and 'spiritual' faces (the two sides of the coin)of the inert Creator!

JC Joshi said...

Another viewpoint could be as below.

‘Garbhagriha’, literally means ‘the womb’ – apparently present only in the female form. The ‘wise’ or ‘elevated souls’ among the ancients had realized man as the model of the universe (with common Chakra at the tail-bone end in both sexes, called “Mooladhar”) which is understood as innumerable forms within an infinite void today. However, they also communicated the physical forms to be illusory only, like thoughts or dreams (‘Maya’ or illusion), with Shiva (Earth-Moon) only as the ‘Truth and the beautiful most’...

We also know that the concept of a model suggests an ‘essence’ or ‘satva’ of a prototype, such that even a much smaller scaler model helps in visualizing the prototype. For example, if one has seen a multi-purpose project - say for providng water, an important life-givng element out of the ‘Panchatatvas’ - for drinking purposes; irrigation for food; electricity for power; and maybe also providing flood protection etc to a large area, could visualize it just from its photograph even – like the photograph of an individual reflects the true likeness of that particular individual, but apparently cannot perform actions like him/ her. The ancients, like Adi Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna and so on also realized independently at different times, also indicated all the forms to be reflections of the one and only Formless Nadbindu…and apparently used the pictures of individuals for ‘tele-therapy’ or treatment from a distance, just as in the present it is realized that fluttering of its wings by a butterfly can cause some effect anywhere in the environment!
I give below a quotation appeared in the newspaper today - credited to Sri Ramakrishna. And in Gita Krishna (with Earth as His Supreme form - as we saw earlier) says the entire Nature is copying Him!

There are three classes of devotees. The lowest one says, “God is up there”, and he points to heaven. The mediocre devotee says that God dwells in the heart as the “inner controller”. But the highest devotee says: “God alone has become everything. All things that we perceive are so many forms of God”.

JC Joshi said...

‘Linga’, associated with ‘Shiva’ the apparently ‘male reflection’ of the unborn and unending or infinite but inert (Omnipotent) Creator, is just like seeing one of the faces of a coin only while remaining ignorant of the reflections of the two other sides - the opposite or the female reflected by His ‘Ardhangani’ (meaning the other half and perhaps 'better half') or consort’s genitals, or Parvati’s Yoni as the apparent ‘Truth’, not forgetting the blank side or the ‘Absolute Truth’ the Omnipresent.

In view of the above, hence the ‘wise’ ancients advised everyone to strive for achieving all round or integrated knowledge, i.e. “Siddhi”, and ‘to start from whole to the part and not from part to the whole’ - irrespective of time.

Jcj said...

Somnath, the foremost of the twelve Jyotirlinga Shrines of Shiva is located at Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra in Gujarat.
Dwarka in Gujarat is home to the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga temple. However, deodar forest, “daruka vane”, has also been interpreted for Jageshwar, also situated in the Himalaya. Daruka vane means deodar forest.
Mahakal, Ujjain (or Avanti) in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple. The Lingam at Mahakal is believed to be Swayambhu, the only one of the 12 Jyotirlingams to be so. It is also the only one facing south.
Srisailam near Kurnool enshrines Mallikarjuna in an ancient temple.
Bhimashankar, in the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra, contains a Jyotirlinga shrine associated with Shiva destroying the demon Tripurasura.
Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh on an island in the Narmada river is home to a Jyotirlinga shrine and the Amareshwar temple.
Kedarnath in Uttaranchal is the northernmost of the Jyotirlingas. Kedarnath, nestled in the snow-clad Himalayas, is an ancient shrine, rich in legend and tradition. It is accessible only by foot, and only for six months a year.
Varanasi (Benares) in Uttar Pradesh is home to the Vishwanath Jyotirling temple.
Trimbakeshwar, near Nashik in Maharashtra, has a Jyotirlinga shrine associated with the origin of the Godavari river.
Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu is home to the vast Ramalingeswarar Jyotirlinga temple and is revered as the southernmost of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of India.
Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga shrine, in Maharashtra, is located near the rock-cut temples of Ellora.
Deoghar, in the Santhal Parganas region of Jharkhand, is home to the Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga temple.

The above list of 12 Jyotirlingas that believably exist in India is provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. One could perhaps observe that all these lie at or West of the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga at Varanasi, the believable original abode of Shiva. And their numbers, in keeping with 12 months in a year, 12 houses in a horoscope, etc., also is 12…And, maybe coincidentally, these areas are richer in ‘material development’. The region East of Longitude 82.5 East in India, say Orissa, Assam, etc, though poorer in terms of material development, have still remained richer in ‘spiritual’ aspect to some extent, both in plus and minus or positive and negtive sides!

Jcj 1 said...

Sorry! There are factual errors, therefore, as exceptions are part of the natural design, please read ‘except the Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga temple in Santhal Parganas region of Jharkhand and the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple at Kashi all others are located West of 82.5 degree East longitude’.

Aswin said...

Hi Kavitha, thanks for the most informative post. I was glad to get the much need information on Garbagrahas. I sometimes wonder what our ancestors would have achieved if their period was not disturbed by Invasions from alien nations. We are slowly killing our culture by succumbing to the so called "Anti-superstitious forces" and losing knowledge about our own culture. Please do write a post on the ancient mathematicians like Bhaskara, Aryabhatta and physicians like Sushrutha and Charka (These two were believed to have performed plastics surgery during the year 3 B.C.)

ratna said...

Interesting

smartnlucky said...

Amazing info. But what is the source. I am sure there is more to know about temple architecture and its engineering. Can you point to any surviving literature ?

Nandish said...

It is been said that to reach god , our at-ma should be in human birth. We are been blessed by this physical form , intelligence by god so that we can give justice to all rest living being. May be all the temples want to say this.
Nandish Patil

Nishant Nakrumah said...

Well, this is no good that we can't get a glimpse of garbhagriha. So bad.. Wanna see it.. it is my strongest desire..