When we were children the major tourism activity people would indulge in was what is referred to today as ‘faith tourism’ ~ pilgrimage to various temple sites around the country. A recurring doubt that troubled us was why were most of these often located in remote, inaccessible places. Once in a while some one would offer an explanation by way of saying that there was a scientific reason behind it all, but that it had been lost in the sands of time. Some family elders told you that these temples are situated in locations where the earth’s magnetic power is maximum. It was considered good for any human being to be in such a place at least once a month for it improves blood circulation and gives a positive vibration. A friend had once shared how her grandmother would insist that they wore gold jewellery while going to the temple, as that gold absorbs the positive energy emanating from the temple environment. There is little doubt in my mind that most of these rituals and practices were backed by scientific study but it was all camouflaged as “ scriptural diktats and teachings” ~ traditions passed down by elders which needed to be obeyed as a mark of respect. In their wisdom the ancients probably felt that this would be less taxing for the common man’s brain than complicated explanations of energy and vibrations and their significance! Unfortunately for our generation, educated in principles of Western science that requires everything to be proved before being accepted as the truth, such traditions soon came to be viewed as mindless blind faith. And so the need perhaps to explore these rituals and practices to understand them in a more modern context.
There are actually hundreds of mesmerising temples across our country ~ temples in different designs, shapes, locations, some new and some ancient ones built as per Vedic principles. It may be pertinent to point out here that Hindus don’t visit a temple for the same reason Christians and Muslims go to a church or mosque. For Christians and Muslims going to a church (Sunday morning mass) or a mosque (the Friday namaz) is more about connecting with and building the “community”. For Hindus, a temple is a place for “darshan”, a personal activity. Community building is done at organised events like ‘kirtans’, ‘satsangs’ etc. A “darshan” itself implies more than getting a glimpse of the statue of the deity, for we all have personal shrines with similar statues at home; it is more about imbibing the energy field, the positive vibrations that surround a temple precinct. This i can vouch for that there are temples where you can feel the spiritual vibration, a kind of tranquility which the wise men say is both due to its location and due to the state of mind of the devotees who flock there. Everyone surrenders their ego and negativity for the time of their visit and this creates a wave of positive vibes around the temple area.
From whatever i have read and heard from those who have made an effort to understand the complexities of our ancient practices, the primary reason why temples are special derives from their location and structure. Stories and legends of how a place was ‘chosen’ can be found at every holy place. Temples are located strategically at places where positive energy is abundantly available from the magnetic and electric wave distributions of the earth’s north-south pole thrust. Many of these places are mountain tops or river confluences. The main idol is placed in the core center of the temple, known as “Garbhagriha” or “Moolasthanam”. In fact, as per Vedic directives, the temple structure is to be built after the idol has been placed. This “Moolasthanam” is where earth’s magnetic waves are at their maximum. Often there are some copper plates, inscribed with Vedic scripts that are buried beneath the main idol. These copper plates also absorb the earth’s magnetic waves and radiate the same to the surroundings. It was believed that a person who regularly visited a temple and walked clockwise around the main deity receives these beamed magnetic waves that are then absorbed by the body as positive energy. In Vedic science this was the positive energy required by all to lead a healthy life.
Even the structure of the temple has to be specific. Most temples are somewhat pyramidal in shape. Structures with pyramidal shape absorb more cosmic energy in comparison to ordinary structures. Some experiments even claim that a person meditating inside a pyramidal structure attains ‘enlightenment’ faster than a person doing so in a flat structure. If you notice, most temples and monasteries are located on the top of hills or mountains…structures that form natural pyramids and collect more cosmic energy than a plain surface, creating a high energy field that changes the state of our mind and brings in a sense of calm. A moment of spiritual tranquility, some soul succour is after all what one goes there in search of…
(Tomorrow…the science behind the temple rituals)