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..)

19 Comments:

Blogger Radhika said...

Beautiful, Arjuna!!! I was transported to this divine temple by your words...God willing, would like to visit this temple and the other one that you mentioned in Tiruvannamalai during this lifetime itself...
Continue the good work...

9/4/06 16:24  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Thanks a lot Radhika - I am happy that this blog has served its purpose :)

10/4/06 02:05  
Blogger Parvati said...

This is a favourite blog, Arjuna. I truly like it immensely.
And this post is excellent. The pictures are out of the world. Made a very happy reading.

10/4/06 02:46  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Thanks a ton Parvati - and u know y I am writing this blog :)..just to please my dear friends :)..

the pics are not mine Parvati - they were taken from the web..writing this blog involves quite a bit of research :)..and I am luving it :)

10/4/06 03:05  
Blogger Jeevan said...

Nice to know about the Tiruvanaikaval and its inner mandapams and garba-graham. The photo’s are very good, I like the pillar mandapam.

11/4/06 02:49  
Anonymous vidhyalakshmi said...

Hi Arjuna anna,

This is VidhyaLakshmi. Hope u remember me.
Ur blog is really superb !!!
i read ur whole blog twice. The way you narrated is fantastic. I ve strong belief in traditional things. So i can say that ur blog really impressed me a lot.
That too ---- abt the crimpon sky.... i remembered the song " vaanam enakoru bodhi maram, naalum enakoru sedhi tharum". Beautiful song, wonderful meaning.
Enna vitta naan ezhudite iruppen, eagerly waiting 4 ur next blog....
:-)

vidhu

11/4/06 03:55  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Thanks a lot jeevan :)

11/4/06 06:25  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Hi Vidhyalakshmi (Queen of Forwards ;) ) - lol

Ungala eppadi maraka mudiyum - unga daily forwards thaan en mailbox-a nerapitu iruku :P - unga forwards-a vachu thaan naan inga en valkaiyai ottitu iruken :P
lol

Thanks a lot for reading my blog with interest and putting down ur comment :)..En blog-ai rasichu padichathuku romba nandri..Ho itha thaan naan erkanave english-la soliten illa :P lol

11/4/06 06:28  
Anonymous Shuba said...

Hey your description was so good that i can visualise the temple...Real good.Have an intense desire to visit it.

14/4/06 12:37  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Hoi Shuba,
Naan post pottu oru vaaram aachu - ippo vanthu comment poduringa - grrrrrrr!

15/4/06 01:11  
Blogger krishna said...

Dear friend

Wonderful

Even our ancestors always recognized the greatness of such temples to such extent that they even modelled their homes like that. (recalling a traditonal agraharam house).

YOu wont find fancy curtains, fakingly natural plants and other show items.

17/4/06 14:33  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Dear Krishna,
After such a long time :)..thanks for remembering me and coming in here to comment :)..thanks once again :)

18/4/06 05:25  
Blogger ambi said...

Wow! excellant narration. i felt as if i'm entering into the temple.
btw, i like the name "Arjuna_speaks" in vishnu sakasranaamam arjuna Uvaachaa comes..
happy that U've deep trust and good knowledge too in hinduism.
"Dharmoo rakshathi, rakshithaa!"

23/4/06 01:19  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Ambi - romba nandri :)..yeah that is y I gave myself that name based on the Gita :) - thanks once again :)

23/4/06 11:59  
Blogger வேதா said...

hi first time here. i have gone to thiruvaanaikaval once. but reading ur narration, i have the feeling of entering into the temple again. if i am rite, this temple is a 'neer sthalam',
that is, the main deity in the karpa kruham is always drenched with water. i remember that when i entered the sannidhi, my feet was drenched with water and they are still trying to make out from where the water is flowing here. am i rite?

23/4/06 18:55  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Veda - yes ur right..the appu lingam was actually built using the kavery water..I think its the river kavery that flows underneath the lingam..:)

26/4/06 23:43  
Blogger வேதா said...

danks for clarifying yaar:)

27/4/06 20:51  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Veda - ur welcome yaar :)

28/4/06 05:06  
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14/2/07 14:56  

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