Nestled on the banks of the Cauvery river, around 30km from Mysore, a new temple construction has, for months, been attracting curious devotees and architecture enthusiasts by the dozen. The eager villagers on the streets were more accurate than my phone’s GPS in helping me track the road to this much-talked-about Vishnu temple.
The narrow winding road led to the very edge of the Cauvery. The river took a sharp turn towards the KRS dam. At this curve, stood the new temple in majestic glory, with the river giving it a protective hug from the back. Though the temple was not formally opened, it was drawing visitors in carloads. I was taking in the beauty of the carvings in the inner temple complex, when I overheard a man explain to a couple that he is one of the sculptors of the new temple. He waxed eloquent about the different construction styles and also about the science of temple construction.
Temples were not originally designed for prayer. They were powerful energy centres where believers went to recharge and feel energised and ready to face life. Hindu temples are built with the aim of conserving energy and radiating this positive energy to visitors. The science of temple construction is called Agama Shastra, the sculptor explained. He also gave the scientific explanation to the actions of devotees when they visit temples.
Why devotees walk clockwise around the garbagriha.
Temples are located strategically at a place where they can attract and retain maximum positive energy through magnetic and electric wave distributions. The sanctum sanctorum or garbagriha, where the idol of the temple’s reigning deity is kept, is where this energy is concentrated to the maximum. In Hindu tradition, when a temple is built, copper plates inscribed with important Vedic shlokas are buried directly beneath where the main idol is kept. These plates absorb the earth’s magnetic waves and radiate them. Therefore, a person walking clockwise around the garbagriha is said to absorb these positive energies. Repeated visits to the temple to absorb this energy promotes general good health of the visitor, it is said.
Why men don’t wear shirts and women must wear lots of ornaments.
Devotees believe that it’s most auspicious to get a glimpse of the idol as soon as the doors are opened after decoration and lighting of oil lamps within the garbagriha. This is because the concentrated energy gushes out and is easily absorbed by devotees. Some temples ask that men don’t wear shirts. It is said that women wear more ornaments because this energy is absorbed by them through the metals.
Bells, oil lamps and theertha
People believe that the bell is to call for the attention of God so that the devotee’s wish is granted. The scientific reason for the bell in temples, and most places of worship, is to control the human mind and not allow it to be distracted. If the mind is full of things to do, places to go, people to meet, worries, fears, anxieties, etc, the ringing of the bell calms it down and forces it to the present.
The oil lamp inside the garbagriha radiates heat energy and, apart from providing light inside the sanctum, it adds to the high energy levels.
Water that is used to wash the idol is given as theertha to devotees. This also contains the energy from the sanctum. The magnetic radiations give it medicinal values. Tulsi leaves are also dropped in the water enhancing its health properties.
A visit to the temple is known to attract positive energy. The mind, however, should be free of doubt and prejudice. Going with the flow and an open mind will also add to the spiritual-science experience.
The writer is a Bangalore-based commentator.