Temples were not only a place of worship, but also a place of social function, social integration, social awakening, dissemination of art, education
-DR Ujwala Chakradeo
Shri Siddhivinayak, Mumbai
Pooja- act of worship is always for Supreme Nirguna Brahma, and there are many ways of performing it and many ways of offering prayers. Nirgun Brahma the ultimate one has no form, no face he is not to be seen, only his existence is experienced and presence to be felt. For a common man this is such a difficult task. How can the common man visualise Nirguna? So the path of devotion, that of 'bhakti' is for him. Having an idol in front of the eye automatically creates emotions in the mind. Eyes of the idol make it possible to penetrate to the depths of sentiment of bhakti. Hence the temple and the idols in the temple. Ask the devotee what is the satisfaction of going to Ganapati's temple and staring at Ganapati. Today the temples have been closed for several days due to the corona. We see devotees who are dismayed by the idea that they would not be able to see Ganpati on Chaturthi.
This entire Universe including the body of the human being and each and every thing created by him and not created by him is made up of Panchamahabhutas. Today, we know and have experienced what happens when the balance between the Panchamahabhutas is disturbed. Human beings must have worshiped these Panchamahabhutas out of fear of their wrath. An attempt is being made through this series of articles on temples to trace the journey of temples from then till now. This is not at all a straightforward journey. Let us try to experience this journey through its many dimensions.
The period from the ninth century to the twelfth century can be said to be the golden age of temple building in India. During this period many temples were built from north to south and from east to west. The economic, intellectual and spiritual splendor of the Indian society of that time can be seen in the construction, erection and structure of the temples.
Practical information about the construction of the temple is given in the articles and books on Vastu Shastra. According to ancient Hindu philosophy, the whole universe is one and its variables and constants are a part of that supreme Brahma. The concept of Vastu has emerged by addressing all of them. House or a building in it is always a part of the universe and is never to be treated in isolation. How can temples be an exception to that. The Samangan Sutradhara written during the reign of King Bhoj, Mayantam written by Maya, as well as Agnipurana, Mansar, Bhrigu Samhita, Shilpashastra, and many other books give information about Vastu Shastra and temple construction.
In ancient India, temples were not only a place of worship, but also a place of social integration, social awakening, dissemination of art, education. Everyone in the community needed to come to the temple several times a day. The structure of each temple had a half mandap, mandap, and Garbh Griha. The temples in Khajuraho, Odisha have a large number of sculptures on the outside; as though the mirror of Indian society. Temples at Abu are beautifully carved from the inside. The Sun Temple of Konark is an almanac and a time clock. Temples are the structures where the architect's scientific, artistic vision and in-depth approach to life come to fruition through architecture. n