Sunday, January 21, 2007

But Why Mommy ?

When I grew up, I was never given a choice or permission to ask Why. The word ‘why’ was considered as an act of impudence, challenge to the authority. This practise continued from home, school and slowly it has imbued in my system to accept whatever has been told by elders and teachers to be the absolute fact and the truth. Now the world has changed, George Bush policy of advocating democraracy and freedom of speech may or may not reach Arab world, but it is seeping through young generation of Indians and they have started asking ‘ But why mommy’ without any inhibition. I am sure today's parents and teachers must be grappling with answers that can satiate childrens curiosity of ‘why’.

Indians living out of India, carried the essence of Indian spirit, culture and tradition and ensure that this has transcended through generations. is one such blog that neatly compiles answers to many ‘why’ for some of questions pertaining to Hindu rituals. Here are some neat ones :

Why do we ring the bell in a temple?

Is it to wake up the Lord? But the Lord never sleeps. Is it to let the Lord know we have come? He does not need to be told, as He is all knowing. Is it a form of seeking permission to enter His precinct? It is a homecoming and therefore entry needs no permission. The Lord welcomes us at all times. Then why do we ring the bell?

The ringing of the bell produces what is regarded as an auspicious sound. It produces the sound Om, the universal name of the Lord. There should be auspiciousness within and without, to gain the vision of the Lord who is all-auspiciousness. Even while doing the ritualistic aarati, we ring the bell. It is sometimes accompanied by the auspicious sounds of the conch and other musical instruments. An added significance of ringing the bell, conch and other instruments is that they help drowned any inauspicious or irrelevant noises and comments that might disturb or distract the worshippers in their devotional ardour, concentration and inner peace.

Why do we do pradakshina (circumambulate)?

We cannot draw a circle without a center point. The Lord is the center, source and essence of our lives. Recognizing Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of pradakshina.

Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the center. This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality.

Why is pradakshina done only in a clockwise manner?

The reason is not, as a person said, to avoid a traffic jam! As we do pradakshina,the Lord is always on our right. In India the right side symbolizes auspiciousness. So as we circumambulate the sanctum sanctorum we remind ourselves to lead an auspicious life of righteousness, with the Lord who is the indispensable source of help and strength, as our guide - the “right hand”.
Indian scriptures enjoin - matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava.
May you consider your parents and teachers as you would the Lord. With this in mind we also do pradakshina around our parents and divine personages.

After the completion of traditional worship (pooja), we customarily do pradakshina around ourselves. In this way we recognize and remember the supreme divinity within us, which alone is idolized in the form of the Lord that we worship outside.


Anonymous Lakshmi Mareddy said...

Hi Milind.. Nice compilation..

Now this means that all bells in all temples should have same tone of OM.. But this is not the case in real life..

Interestingly the circu,ambulation is universal.. Like when we draw chalk circles for exorcism, and try to bind the force within the spell zone ?

Likewise the clockwise convention. Hmmmhhh.. Wonder why this is so universal?

Good read, nevertheless..

5:03 AM  

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