Hinduism originated in  India about  4000+  years ago and is the world’s  oldest existing religion. Hinduism then spread across the shores with people being attracted towards the wonderful tenets of Hinduism which include – Dharma, Samsara, Karma, and Moksha.

The  Hindu temple  is a  place of  worship for  Hindus with  its rich  architecture attracting millions of people from around the world. Badrinath temple, Brihadeeswara temple, Somnath temple,  Kashi  Vishwanath temple,  Tirupati  Balaji,  Srirangam temple and  Vaishno  Devi temple  are some  of the eminent temples in India.

Scholars regard  Hinduism as a  fusion or  synthesis of  various  Indian cultures  and traditions, with diverse  roots  and no  founder. Hinduism preaches  peace and  calm and  Hindu holy texts comprise a large percentage of philosophical information.

There are innumerable rituals in every temple which have been followed from ages. All of them have a cultural and scientific significance which have gone astray especially in recent times.  We  follow  those  customs  and  practices  our  elders  ask  us  to  follow  without understanding them fully. Here are some of the information  about the temple rituals and their significance.

1. Bath before going to the temple

A temple is a place which is clean and full of positive energy.  Bathing before  going to  a  temple avoids carrying  germs and also  calms your nerves and refreshes you while preventing you from getting distracted.

2. Do not eat  non-vegetarian  food

Non-vegetarian  meals  are  rich  in  fat  and  protein  content and  increase    metabolism    thus    disturbing    your    inner    peace. Concentration is required during religious rituals hence non-vegetarian food/curries, hot spices and spicy vegetables like onions, garlic should be avoided.

3. Removing footwear before  entering  the  temple

Temples  are   in  places  where high magnetic  values  are  available;  when  you  enter  a  temple  barefooted,  the  positive vibration  transfers  into  your  body.  Removing  your  footwear  also  helps  to  retain  the temple cleanliness.

4. Observe the magnificent Gopuram

Gopuram is a pyramid-like structure built at the entrance of the temple which is   artistically  designed  with  numerous  sculptures  narrating  the  mythical  stories  of the chief deities. A temple is a place full of positive energy and the structure of Gopuram helps to store these positive energies and also the Kalasam placed on the top of   the Gopuram   prevents   the Praharam   from    lightning.   The Gopurams of Meenakshi temple, Thanjavur temple and Shiva temple at Chidambaram are   famous.  The  symbol   of   Tamil  Nadu  government   represents  the Gopuram of Srivilliputhur temple.

5. Prostrating in front  of  the  Dhwajasthambam  (kodimaram)

We  prostrate  in  front  of the  Dhwajasthambam in  the  north  direction,  as  north  is  considered  to  be  auspicious  in India;  by  doing  so  we  surrender  ourselves  to  him  and  seek  his  blessings.  Prostrating helps to increase the flexibility of the spine, neck and shoulders, expands the chest, and develops  the  leg  and  arm  muscles  and  strengthening  womb  and  also the  energy  from earth passes into their body. Panhanga  namaskaram  is  performed  by  women  in  a  way  that  her  knees, elbows,  head  representing  mind  and  speech  touches  the  ground .  Woman’s womb  and  breast  are  not  to  be  touched  to  the  ground  as  they  bare  fetus  and provides nourishment to the newborn. It is a way of providing respect to women.

Sashtanga  namaskaram  is performed  by men  in a  way that  the head,  eyes, shoulders, chest, feet touch the ground.

6. Ringing the bell

It is  our  traditional  belief  that  ringing  bell  resembles  knocking  God’s entrance  and  also  it  keeps  the  negative  forces  and  negative  thought  away  from  the temple.  The  bells  in  the  temple  comprise of  various  metals  like lead,  copper, cadmium,  zinc,  nickel,  chromium  and  manganese  in  such  a  proportion  that,  when  it  is rung, it produces an echo lasts for  6 seconds. A well-designed bell would produce om sound.  The  sound  produced  by  the  bell  creates  the  unity  of  your  left  and  right  brains and also awakens your senses thus helping you attain the state of trance.

7. Temple inner doors

The  doors  of  a  temple  prevent  the  positive  energy  of  the  temple From diminishing. Huge doors built for the temples prevented many barbaric Islamic invaders from harming the idols.

8. Moolavar and Uthsavar

Moolavar is the  main deity  placed in  the Garbhagriha and cannot be  moved whereas Uthsavar is  the smaller version of the main deity and is taken around the town or village during the Uthsavam or festival.

9. Puja Archana

It  is a  process of  offering  flower petals  to the  deity and reciting his  names  108  times.  Devotees involve  themselves and  pray to  God  during the Archana and it is believed that the prayers of devotees with pure heart come true.

10. Arathi

Arathi is respect paid to God by offering various things representing the elements of earth. Flower and cloth representing the element of earth, water represent the element of  water,  the  ghee-lamp  represents  the  elements  of  fire,  yak-tail  fan  represents  air, conch is the sound  and  the  bell  represents  ether,  emotional  involvement  in  the  songs  sung and mantras represents intelligence and obeisance to the soul.

Arathi helps to rouse the  five senses,   hearing –  ringing the bell,  sight – camphor,  touch  –  touch camphor fire and pressing  your palm over  your eyes,  smell –  flowers,  camphor, and incense  sticks and finally the sense of taste by drinking Theertham.

11. Applying holy ash

Applying holy ash reminds humans of the mortal life and  is believed to  free  us  from  the  sins  and  keep  us  away  from  danger,  and  provide  us  with  prosperity. The  holy  ash  is  prepared  from  cow  dung  or  the  remains  of Havan  Kund.  This  increases positive energy, prevents headache and allergies and also regulates the seven chakras of the human body.

12. Applying Kumkum or  tilak

Kumkum  is  prepared  from  turmeric-lime  and  mercury metal.  Mercury  is  excellent  in  controlling  blood  pressure,  stress,  and  strain.  Applying Kumkum between the eyebrows which is the major nerve point of a human body is said to  prevent  loss  of  energy,  it  also  helps  to  improve  concentration  and  enhance  blood circulation in facial muscles.

13. Teertham

Teertham is  water stored in copper  vessels which  has Tulasi leaves in  it. Tulasi is an antibiotic and  helps to increase  immunity level.  Having Teertham cures a sore throat, fever, and common cold coughs and prevents heart disorder, and kidney stones.

14. Satari

Satari is a crown made up of copper or gold designed with the Lord’s feet on top of it.

Satari is  placed  near  the  chief  deity  in  the Garbhagriha  where  the  positive vibrations  are  excessive.    When  the  priest  places  the Satari over  the  head  of  the

devotees,  there  is  a  rotation  of  these  positive  vibrations.  Hinduism  asserts  that  we  are mortals  and by  bowing  towards  god  and  placing  his  foot  on  our  head,  we get  liberated from our sins.

15. Pradakshina

Pradakshina  is  a   process  of  slowly walking  around  the Garbhagriha or Moolasthanam  thrice.  The Arathi takes  place in  the Garbhagriha and  thus it consists lots of positive energy, when you walk around it, you absorb the positive energy.

16. Prasadam

Naivedhyam  is a  process of  offering foods to  god,  thus the food receives spiritual enlightenment  when  God partakes  it.  The remaining  food is distributed  as Prasadam, which enlightens and nourishes you. Coconut bits, fruits, jaggery, honey, and ghee are used in the neivedhyam.

Hinduism is the only religion that has a sound scientific basis for its rituals yet anti-Hindu elements deride its followers without rhyme or reason. How can we know  the scientific  and traditional significance  of our rituals  unless we start reading and hearing about it? Hence this article.

Trust is  the essence of life. Observe all these rituals the next time you visit the temple, it will mesmerise you. Share your Tirthayatra experiences and let others partake in the blessings of our noble Gods and Goddesses.

Thanks and regards.

Nandhini Arunachalam, Content Writer at Opteamize Cloud Solutions


Published by srinath