Sacred Space - Zoe's Dish

Sacred Space - Zoe's Dish

Sacred Space Hinduism Mandir A mandir, or house of God, is a Hindu temple. It is often the most prominent building in a village or town and is decorated with images of gods. Mandirs are symbols of the

Universe, designed to draw the individual in to engage with their god in a special way. A site for a temple is chosen with great care and includes factors such as the soil colour which can determine the caste. The floor plan of the temple reveals a holy pattern and combines basic geometric shapes to form the compacted body of the god of the building.

Exterior The exterior of the temple is covered in elaborate images of deities that represent the infinity of being. At the centre of the temple is the garbhagrha, or womb house, where the murti (image) of the deity is installed. The path to the garbhagrha is spiral so that the worshipper moves in a clockwise direction so that the left side of the body, which is considered impure, faces away from the image of the divine.

Above the garbhagrha is the shikhara, or tower. The tower symbolises the sacredness of the space and represents the leading of the mind towards liberation. Interior The Mandir is considered a sacred space, and purity and propriety are important issues for devotees and visitors. Worshippers must remove their shoes and prostrate themselves before the deity in the Hindu mandir. The soles

of the feet must always point away from the sacred image. Modest clothing must be worn and many cover their heads as a sign of respect. Women who are menstruating and members of the lowest classes are banned from entering the temples. Interior roof of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto. Puja

Hinduism does not commonly express itself in congregational prayer, and therefore individual, domestic, devotional worship is more common. Puja is the ritual that Hindus perform on a variety

of occasions to pray and show respect to gods. Shrines are built everywhere from the steps of the Ganges River to a small room in a home, in cars, and even on roundabouts in the middle of roads. The word puja means paying respect or homage to God through various actions that express the wish to serve the deity and receive blessings in return (Goldburg, 2009, p.194)

A Hindus chosen deity is treated as a guest in their home, and as royalty in shrines and temples. The household shrine traditionally includes statues, pictures or images of gods and goddesses. Puja is performed at the shrine each morning and evening. Items used during puja include;

incense, sandalwood paste, fruit offerings, lamps, bells and flowers. Puja Actions Those taking part in puja bathe and dress in clean clothes that represent outer and inner cleansing. A bell and prayers invite the deity to be present. A special seat is offered to the deity while a water offering is made Deities are bathed and given clothes that fit the image.

Red kum-kum powder, turmeric, sandalwood paste and rice are put on the deity as a symbol of relaxation. Flowers are laid in front of the deity or placed on them. Incense is lit to symbolise the destruction of selfish desires. A ghee lamp is waved in front of the deity. Fruits and foods are offered.

At the conclusion of puja the arti ceremony is performed. Worshippers show that they accept the light and blessing of the god by passing their hands over the flame and then over their head. This indicates their desire to receive enlightenment. Take a virtual tour http:// ndex.htm References

Gwynne, Paul. World Religions in Practice: A Comparative Introduction. Blackwell Publishing, MA, 2009 Goldburg, Peta. Investigating World Religions. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2009.

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