Monday, August 11, 2008

The Sanctum Santorum - Garbha Griha

Information from Wikipedia gives the definition as follows
Garbhagriha or garbha griha is a Sanskrit word meaning the interior of the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple where resides the murti (idol or icon) of primary deity of the temple. Literally the word means "womb chamber" from Sanskrit word garbha for womb and griha for house. Only priests are allowed to enter. Often associated with Hindu temples, it is also found in Jain and Buddhist temples.

The Architectural Science behind this place states that the main idol of the temple is kept exactly under the "Spire" of the temple. The spire can be a conical shape [or] pyramid-like shape [as in Brahadeeshwara Temple, Tanjore]. The spire in line with the garbhagriha chamber is said to form the main "Vertical Axis" of the temple. Garbhagriha is also said to be also on the main horizontal axis. If there is a cross-axis, then it is at the intersection of these axes.

What I feel, thought and gathered about Sanctum Santorum is here...

The main powers of the temple area get focused at the intersection of these axis and thus all powers streamline to focus this chamber, where the main idol of the temple is kept. To streamline the power the temple structure is kept in a conical or pyramid-like shape, which has the tendency to attract positive vibes and disperse into the garbha-griha. This place is thus more pious and pure in the whole of temple, where only the priest enters to perform their religious offerings to God.

The Sanctum Santorum is usually dark. With today's technology, we see lot of lights inside the Sanctum Santorum, which I feel should not be done. People say that there was no electricity in olden days which is why the maim chamber was dark and now that we have electricity, it is good to have it bright. This could be a fallible vision.

Lot of temples in Kerala, had provisions for oil-wick lamps to lit the exterior walls of their temples with good light. When they had this option, why didn't they light the garbha-griha to make it look bright? This has an insight definitely!

The word 'garbha' in Sanskrit means 'Mother's Womb'. The place where life begins is Godliness and this place [the Womb] is dark indeed. So Garbha-Griha by its appearance is a powerful place that is dark as well. For example, when we see lightning and close our eyes, do you still perceive the image of it, inside your mind for sometime atleast? When something appears to us in a black background, the subconscious mind gets a clear image of it. I can compare the ‘mind’ and ‘image’ to the 'Photo' and 'Negative', where a black negative when developed across a 'white photo paper', gives the image's reflection. Subconscious mind exhibits the same effect.

Thus the garbha griha with the idol is purposefully kept dark. When the priest lights the camphor and shows light on the idol, our subconscious mind can easily register the image against the dark background. It is thus even said not to close our eyes and pray when the priest shows camphor in front of God. We should actually admire God in that camphor-light and register his image on our minds.

I hope you see a difference when you stand in front of The Sanctum Santorum, the next time!

Yours Spiritually,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fire - The Element

I was sitting in front of God, to offer my prayer this weekend. It is my usual practice to switch off the lights and sit to meditate in silence, with just the oil-wick lamp lit in front of God. The view of God looks so pleasant and powerful in that light.

I was observing the light when offering my prayers and my thoughts started to digress [but towards the good]. I saw the wick in the lamp was a bit bend but the light [or fire] was still upright. It’s a well known unique property of fire that fire is always upright. We can’t see fire flaming downwards. It’s always high in esteem. I started thinking more about fire then...

Fire, one among the FIVE ELEMENTS of nature, is more pious and is used in all religious ceremonies. Without a fire and offerings to fire, a prayer is not complete in Hindu Mythology. I have heard that Shiridi Baba also was doing offerings for Fire in his prayers and that too inside the mosque. Even after His demise, people keep the same fire going till date. It is also ’Nithya Karma' for a bachelor [Brhamacharya] in Brahmin community to offer his prayers to Fire and take its blessings. I have also done it few days [though it is a daily duty] to see how powerful it is. A lot greater about fire, we can add upon. But what makes it special?

I felt it to be pure. The air, water, land, space can all be polluted by humans or by evolution. But Fire is pure and there is nothing like 'Impure Fire' that exists. It either goes off [or] flames up. Till the time it flames up, it converts all that is put into it, into Fire again. We can't pollute fire. So is that given more importance? My mind was thinking...

Might be yes! Though the oil wick faces downwards, the light [or fire] faces only upwards always. Is a woman expected to keep the reputation of the family always high, no matter how irregular/erratic/downwards the family is? Is that the reason why a bride who enters her husband's house made to lit a lamp in front of the God, first?

Marriages are done in front of Fire, keeping it as the witness for the marriage. Does that symbolize “No matter what impurities/obstacles/issues happen in life, the married life [like the fire], should keep going”? I am not sure again!

But these questions came to my mind ... Possibly I thought right about 'Fire'. To the next generation kids, we can give this as a convincing explanation? I am not sure! They might have more questions :-)

Yours Inquisitively,