Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chronicles of a lone blogger - 5

The sempieternal form of the Lingam symbolizes the primordial form of the omni present, omni potent and omniscient formless (arupa) Eternal Creator from which everything merges or dissolves. According to Saiva sidantham (which is based on the doctrine of Pathi (Paramatma), Pasu (Jeevatma) , Paasam (Delusion) ), the Eternal Creator or Pathi is formless (arupa) . But for the sake of the Pasus, he has taken the form of the Lingam which is considered to be both formless and form (arupa-rupa). The Lingam is also called as the Sada Shiva Murthi. Lord Shiva has also taken 25 other forms called the Maheshwara Murthis.

As I see the Lingam, images of past sins inundate me from all sides. As I spread the sacred ash on my forehead, a pellucid picture of my final moments on planet earth flash before my eyes. Besieged by volatile gushes of repentance, newly born droplets of tears trickle down my chin, washing away my sins. As I walk out of the garba-giraham, I make a plethora of resolutions conceiving a new beginning to life - a life that is meaningful. But do I stick to it is a different question :P lol.

As we come out of the garba giraham, we head to the navagrahas which is located on the left hand side. After circumbulating the navagrahas, I head alone to visit my dear friend. My dear friend is none other than a Pillayar statue which is next to the navagrahas.

I always had a soft corner for this particular Pillayar. He has been sitting all alone in complete darkness, deprived of proper robes and food for so many months and wears one old dirty white robe. Inorder to make sure I dont go empty handed, I buy him a ghee lamp. As I light the lamp and give a pat on his thoppai (stomach), I see golden beams of light gently caressing His obscured eyes :).

(The journey continues..)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Chronicles of a lone blogger - 4

As we walk through the inner praharams, what strikes me most is the sereness of the temple. Tiruvanaikaval is one of the very few temples in Tamilnadu that allows me to be in solitude and contemplate on the divine. Except on an auspicious day, you rarely see this temple being crowded. The Tiruvanaikaval temple boasts some of the finest mandapams in Tamilnadu, which includes a 1000 pillar mandapam that resembles a chariot. There is also a 100 pillar mandapam and several other small mandapams.

A temple's metaphysical architectural significance needs mention here. A temple is designed based on the Upanishadic perspective, in which the Eternal soul is analogized to an embryo within a womb. Befittingly thus, this inner sanctum sanctorum is technically known as the garba-graham. A temple's praharams and mandapams through which a devotee passes to reach the inner sanctum or the garba-graham are symbolic. They symbolize the phases of progress in a man’s journey towards divine sanctification. If you notice carefully, the architectural and sculptural details vary as we progress through to the inner sanctum. These architectural details gradually prepare the devotee to face the ultimate truth awaiting in the inner sanctum sanctorum. The mental transition that happens while we progress through to the inner shrine, mirrors the four-phased spiritual evolution envisaged in yoga, namely the waking state, dream state, the state of deep sleep, and finally the highest state of cosmic awareness known as the turiya state.

Before we enter a temple, we bend down and touch the main gateway. This initiates the devotee to start his spiritual transition from his worldly life towards divine beatitude. As we enter the temple, we see sculptures of secular figures on the outer walls. These secular images symbolizes the mortal manifestations of the divinity that is enshrined inside the garba-graham. One such eg., is the sculptures in Khajuraho. These secular images awaken the devotee to a state of mortal existence. This is the waken state. As you proceed, you would see carvings of mythological themes, mythical animals and birds etc. These carvings uplift the devotee from the waken state to the dream state. The foyer before the garba-graham, is restrained in sculptural decorations, and the darkness that prevails suggest the sleeping state. Finally the small garba-graham with no air and light, and devoid of any ornamentation, leads the devotee to a state of semi-tranquility. This state is considered to be the highest achievable state of consciousness, known as the Turiya state. This state of bliss is the pinnacle of all spiritual activity.

With a special entrance fee of Rs 2/- (if I am remember right), we get the privilege of having a private audience with Divinity. The garba graham has no pillars, windows or ventilators. In addition to the metaphysical representation of the dark womb, this shutting of light and air was meant to preserve the icon from the ill effects of weathering.

Inside the garba-graham, lies the primordial form of the Divine, the Lingam, standing in all its perpetual glory.

(The journey continues..)