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Science of temples

Temples are created to replace an enlightened Master’s presence. Enlightened Masters when they leave their body, they wanted a space which can continuously inspire people, which can continuously heal, which can give them the experience of spirituality, which can give them a sacred feeling.. – Paramahamsa Nithyananda


Science of temples

From time immemorial, not only Hindus, not only people who belong to the Rishi cultures, but all over the world in all traditions, creating a space for divine has become a part of our lives. – Paramahamsa Nithyananda

 

the science of temples built on thousands of years of research and development has been lost, the understanding has been lost..

Temples, basilicas, cathedrals, mosques, synagogues and churches; these buildings abound around the world evoking awe, reverence, and grandeur. Said to have been built to the glory of God, as a link between God and Man, as houses of worship, as structures for religious and spiritual activities, and as a place of rest and refuge, humans throughout history have created a space for divine. In every tradition, creating a space for divine or creating a place in which people can relate with the divine has become a part of their culture, part of their life. People have put aside any constraints of money and time to erect inspiring structures built on faith, science and mystery as well as greed and fear. Throughout the passage of time, some of these magnificent structures around the world have become museums and wonders, and some continue to be the seats of religious authority. Many continue to attract the faithful, offering solace, energy, social interaction, and a framework for life itself. But for many, the science of temples built on thousands of years of research and development has been lost, the understanding has been lost. Though the physical structures are still standing, for some, the belief, the experience is no longer there. By understanding the science of Indian temples, humans can experience the intelligence, power and miracles that these structures were made from and for.

Similarities in temples and churches

In both the east and the west, the church or temple has been the focus or centerpiece of the town..

There are many similarities in the layout and structure of temples, basilicas, churches, cathedrals and mosques, and the layout of the towns that surround them. Temples, churches and cathedrals are often oriented towards the east. Many of the structures are comprised of a square or rectangular shape with interior colonnades or pillars that divide the space. Domes are featured in temples, churches and mosques. In both the east and the west, the church or temple has been the focus or centerpiece of the town, with the town developing around it in a grid-like pattern, like the temple towns of Arunachala in Thiruvanamalai India, Meenakshi Temple in Madurai India, Notre Dame in Paris France, St. Basil in Russia and the Mormon Temple in Utah.

Arunachala temple, Tiruvannamalai, India

 

..temples are created just to hold enormous energies.

Similarities also occur in the ways of worship including the recitation of mantras, chants and songs, the use of images and forms, and the representative use of the five elements; earth, water, fire, air and space. Miracles occur frequently in both churches and temples. Yet one important factor that sets an Indian temple apart from other churches or religious structures is the fact that every temple is installed and energized by an enlightened Master. Enlightened Masters have created beautiful temples that act as a battery, temples in which they can store their energy, in which their energy can stay and radiate and help millions of people for thousands of years. These temples are created just to hold enormous energies.

What does energy have to do with temples?

The last statement of science, e=mc2, that whatever exists is energy, is the first statement of Upanishad..

As research is proving every day, the cosmic truths that quantum physics is still struggling to comprehend were already commonplace in the ancient and rich Vedic tradition of India. When Einstein declared that e=mc2, that whatever exists is energy, he confirmed what the Upanishads or sacred Indian scriptures said thousands of years before. With an enlightened insight into the play of matter and energy that makes up the universe, the Vedic seers had declared more than ten thousand years ago that whatever exists is nothing but energy – Isha vasyam idam sarvam – Isha Vadya Upanishad. The last statement of science, e=mc2, that whatever exists is energy, is the first statement of Upanishad, ‘isha vasyam idam sarvam’, whatever exists is energy. So the last statement of science is the first statement of Upanishads. Whatever exists is energy.

In modern times, temples are truly the oxygen bars for the soul!

Whether one is aware of it or not, a constant energetic exchange is happening between humans and their environment. People live and move in an ocean of chaotic energies – both positive and negative. On subtle levels, people are powerfully influenced by the energies and thoughts of others, the energies of living and working spaces, the residual energies of the objects that are touched, and the situations encountered. Energy imbalances in the body are the root cause for a vast majority of ailments – from obesity to insomnia to mood swings. Today, more than ever before, the Vedic intelligence that gave rise to the concept of temples can be appreciated for its ancient yet modern technology based on thousands of years of research and development. The powerful positive vibrations present in a temple can flush out negative energies. Without even being aware of it, deep cleansing, re-charging and ultimately purifying of the being can happen effortlessly in a temple, resulting in physical and mental healing. In modern times, temples are truly the oxygen bars for the soul!

A Temple is more than a building

The entire art of building temples is not a mere art, it is a science; temple architecture is a highly developed science. Every single facet of it, from the size of the idols and the size of the rooms and courtyards, the directions in which each has to be situated, to the process of installing the idol in the sanctum, all these are laid down in detail in manuals that were developed thousands of years ago. – Paramahamsa Nithyananda

An Indian temple is more than just a building or a structure; it is the image and energy of the divine. A temple is a miniature cosmos comprised of the five elements and a presiding deity. A temple is an outgrowth of the deity which has its own independent intelligence and from which energy is constantly radiating. Temples are also used for social interactions, spiritual education, cultural events and economic exchange. Temples provide the opportunity for transformation towards a higher consciousness. By experiencing God in an outer form through worship, temples and the deities act as a vehicle or bridge for inner transformation. Essentially, temples were designed to be spaces where the mind spontaneously moves within and meditation happens effortlessly. Every aspect of the temple, from the architecture to the rituals to the kinds of worship offered, have been consciously created to make this experience happen.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says ultimately it does not matter whether it is a Hindu Temple, a Christian church, a Buddhist pagoda, a Muslim Mosque or even a river or a mountain. When thousands and millions of people congregate to celebrate the divine and offer gratitude, any place becomes a temple, a place of worship.

Symbolism of temples

Keith Critchlow of the Royal College of Art, London, believes that basic architectural principles of Indian Temples on the physical level are integral with structures at the metaphysical level. The agamas and the upanishads make several references to the correspondence of the human body and soul to the temple. Keith Critchlow, Order in Space (1969).

The very temple structure and moorthies are energy vibrating at frequencies that raise one’s own frequency.

This idea of temples at a metaphysical level goes beyond symbolism. A temple is usually seen as a link between man and god, between the earthly life and the divine life, between the actual and the ideal. The temple as a bridge between the earthly mundane and the divine starts to narrow as the link or bridge disappears and one actually experiences the energy or divinity within the temple structure and therefore within themselves. The very temple structure and moorthies are energy vibrating at frequencies that raise one’s own frequency.

The five elements representing the macrocosm are seen in all aspects of temples, in the construction, the worship and the rituals. In the temple itself, the foundation of the temple represents the Earth (prithvi); the walls of the sanctum the water (apaha); and the tower over it the fire (tejas). The final tier of the Vimana is air (vayu) and above it is the formless space (akasha).The sanctum is thus a constellation of five elements that are basic building blocks of all existence.

In physical form, the temple is conceived as the physical form of god. The garbhagriha (garbha is Sanskrit for womb and griha means room) represents the head and the gopura (tower) the feet of the deity. The sukanasi or ardhamantapa (the small enclosure in front of the garbhagriha) is the nose; the antarala is the neck; the various mantapas are the body; the prakaras are the hands. Vertically, the garbhagriha represents the neck, the sikhara (superstructure over the garbhagriha) the head, the kalasha (finial) the tuft of hair (sikha).

When a devotee enters the temple, they are virtually entering into an energetic mandala and participating in an energy-field. Their progress through the outer halls or pavilions to reach the inner sanctum or garbhagriha represents the phases of progress in one’s journey towards the divine.

At the main gateway, a worshiper bends down and touches the threshold before crossing it. This marks the transition from the outer world to the inner world of God. The gateway greets the worshiper with a host of sculpted secular figures on the outer walls; representing the worldly concerns of man.

Next, the worshiper will come across mythological themes, carved on the inner walls, to attune his attitude towards higher ideals. As the worshiper progresses towards the inner sanctum, the sculptural details and decorations similar. These simpler motifs and the prevailing semi- darkness help the worshiper to put aside distractions and try focusing their attention on the sanctum.

Next is the Balipitha, the sacrificial altar in the shape of the lotus, referred to in the layout of the temple. According to an articles on Indian Temple architecture, “Before one enters the sanctum sanctorum, the body which is Virat, the divine and cosmic form of God, one has to offer oneself first; otherwise, no entry is possible. You have to pay a fee to the Virāt before gaining access into it, and the fee is your own self. You have to cease to be, first, as you are now, in order that you may become what you want to become.”

Finally the shrine or garbhagriha (womb space), devoid of any ornamentation, and with its plainly adorned entrance, leads the worshiper further to tranquility, to fulfillment, to the possibility of being reborn and to the presence of God.

The garbhagriha is usually surrounded by a circumambulatory path, the pradaksinapatha, around which the devotee then walks in a clockwise direction. In Hindu and Buddhist thought, this represents an encircling of the universe itself.

The temple also represents the subtle body with the seven psychic centers or chakras and koshas

The temples of south India, especially of Kerala, consider a temple as the direct manifestation of Divinity in the two-dimensional graphic form and are constructed in the shape of the Virāt, the divine form of God. Raja yoga declares that the essence of the Brahmanda (universe) can be seen in the Pindanda (man). In a Sidha Purusha or enlightened being, this essence or Divinity manifests in its most purified and powerful form. Such an enlightened being works as a power house. Whatever comes near him gets purified and charged. This idea was extended to temples as well.  http://www.scribd.com/doc/62163710/Secret-Behind-the-Power-of-Hindu-Temple (June 26, 2012)

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, “Temples are created to replace an enlightened Master’s presence. Enlightened Masters, when they leave the planet earth, when they leave their body, they wanted a space which can continuously inspire people, which can continuously heal, which can inspire, which can give them the experience of spirituality, which can give them a sacred feeling. That is why they have created these structures.”

The Vedic seers knew the details of the subtle layers of the body of a Sidha Purusha or enlightened being, and how to make a graphical representation of it. Once the graphic image was made into a temple or deity, Divinity or energy would manifest through it. These subtle layers are known as chakras or koshas. By building a temple, a graphical representation is made of the elevated and purified body of a Sidha Purusha or enlightened being.

Five layers or sheaths that surround our body are called the pancha koshas

The Taittreya Upanishad interpreted by Paramahamsa Nithyananda describes the koshas. “From the cosmic energy came the energy of space. From space came the energy of air. From air came the energy of fire. From fire came the energy of water. From water came the energy of earth. From earth came plant life. From plant life humans were created. The Taittreya Upanishad goes on to develop the theme of the five layers or sheaths that surround our body, called the pancha koshas.

The first and outermost layer is the food layer, the physical or gross layer, the annamaya kosha. The next inner layer is the pranamaya kosha, where the breath energy resides. The next layer is the manomaya kosha or the mental layer from which our senses operate and generate thoughts. Further inward is the vijnanamaya kosha, the wisdom layer where our energy centers, the chakras lie. The innermost layer surrounding the Self or atman is anandamaya kosha, the causal sheath or bliss layer. Beyond all this is the atman, the Self that is the reflection of universal energy within us, the Divine, God, or whatever name you wish to give it.”

In the temples of south India, these five koshas are an inherent part of the temple layout. The temples are constructed in the shape of the Virāt, which is the Universal or Cosmic Man. The Holy of Holies inside is the head of the Virāt, which is represented by a luminous glow of a sacred light in a dark room, the Garbhagriha. This is anandmaya kosha, the bliss or causal sheath which is dark, but illumined by the Ātman within. Encompassing the anandamaya kosha are the four other sheaths or Koshas represented by the Prakaras or corridors. http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/brdup/brhad_I-02a.html (June 26, 2012)

Your body is a temple

Another symbolism is that the human body is a temple in which the antaryamin (the abode of God in the heart) resides. The analogy is extended to explain the various parts of the body as being representations of the aspects of a temple. In this process, the forehead is said to represent the sanctum, the top of the head, the tower. The space between the eyebrows is the ajna chakra, the seat of the divinity. The finial of the tower is unseen, the sahasrara located above the head. http://www.scribd.com/doc/25225790/Indian-Temple-Architecture (June 28, 2012)

Three essential elements in a temple

Three principal elements in every temple are Sthala (temple site); Teertha (Temple tank) and Moorthy (the deity or idol). A temple could also be associated with a tree, called the Sthala Vriksham.

Certain areas on earth are more sacred than others, some on account of their situation, others because of their sparkling waters, and others because of the association or habitation of saintly people. Mahabharata, Anusanana Parva 108: 16-18

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says that temples are often located in a kshetra or an energy field which contains three essential aspects for sustaining and transmitting powerful spiritual energies. The first of these aspects is the moorthy, the idol which contains the energy made of a special material that can reflect and hold energy for sustained periods of time without disintegrating. The second is sthalam, the energy field. Certain locations serve as natural energy centers depending on their geological positioning, presence of minerals in the earth or underground running water. Other fields are those which have become energy hubs because of the continuous worship and spiritual activities there over prolonged periods of time. Any space which has been sanctified by prayer and rituals eventually evolves into a sthalam. The third is teertham, a sacred water body. Most kshetras are located by or near rivers, the ocean or mineral water springs.

The best location for a temple is at a teertha

..the water in a teertham, which is continuously exposed to the powerful energies of a kshetra, is actually a superconductor of cosmic energy

A teertha is a holy place, a crossing place for the “upward journey of the soul and a place for the downward crossing of higher entities, who sometimes descend to this world for the good of humankind. (Mahalingum Kolapen, Hindu Temples of North America, (2002). The Sanskrit word teertha comes from tri, to cross. One meaning is to cross a ford or a shallow part of a body of water. Teertha also symbolizes crossing over one’s karmas. Crossing the water or crossing the ocean is an important symbol in Vedic literature for attaining liberation. Many temples are located by or near rivers, oceans, or mineral water springs, and if not, they will have a large water tank or pool. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says that sea-water and mineral water have powerful natural electrolytes acting as catalysts for the process of energy transmission to happen. Interestingly, when water is exposed to a high electric potential, it ionizes rapidly. So the water in a teertham or tank, which is continuously exposed to the powerful energies of a kshetra, is actually a superconductor of cosmic energy! When entering such a water-body, negative energies are cleansed and our body is made ready to absorb positive energy influences. Hence the practice of first taking a dip in the healing water-body before visiting the sanctum of the temple.

How do temples radiate energy?

A Japanese scientist, Dr. Emoto has carried out research on the power of thoughts and has proved that thoughts have a tangible effect on material objects. Dr. Emoto took samples of water from the same source, put it in different containers and exposed it to different influences.

To one sample he spoke positive words of love and gratitude and recited Buddhist chants. Over another he spoke negative words of anger, hatred and war. Then he froze the water so that it could be photographed it in its crystalline form.

Beautiful clear crystals, like diamonds formed in the samples exposed to positive energy. With the samples exposed to negative energies, the crystal structure appeared dark, misshapen and ghost like.

Over three hundred experiments conducted by Emoto repeatedly proves the effect of words and thoughts on water that are recorded in his book, Messages From Water.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda Speaks on Temples

Water can hold, radiate and respond to your thoughts. When simple water can respond to our thoughts, our vibrations, why not a structure? Why not a temple, why not a stone? It can become alive with our thoughts, our emotions. Our Masters have created so many methods and techniques to hold the positive energy, so that humanity can be helped by that positive energy. The mechanisms or techniques which they created to hold that positive energy and radiate it are Temples.

The mantras, when chanted continuously, the very air vibrates with the pure vibrations

The Masters have installed the energy in the earth elements, in the stone. These are the idols or moorthies. They have installed the same energy in the water. That is teerthas. That is why every Indian temple will have a tank or a river as a teertha. Third they installed the same energy in the fire. Every Indian temple will have a lamp which is never switched off, is never put off. It will have a lamp or an agni (fire) which will be continuously burning. Next is the air. The very air is filled with the vibrations of mantras. The mantras, when chanted continuously, when they are repeated, the very air vibrates with the pure vibrations. Above all is the space, the ether. You can see in the temple architecture that a dome structure is always created. Whether it is a south Indian or north Indian temple, there is a dome structure.

Temples are batteries to radiate energy

The dome structure (of a temple) is created to hold the ether. It is almost like a battery. They say if you can hold one lightning bolt, if you can store one lightning bolt in a battery, if you have some battery or method to store one lightning, you can supply electricity for any city for more than one year. For more than one year you can supply electricity for any city, for any big city. But we don’t have such a system or method; we don’t have that type of batteries.

Temples are the batteries in which enlightened Masters have stored their energy.

Temples are created just to hold enormous energies. When enlightened Masters come to earth, they will install their energy. Our Masters have designed a beautiful battery which can hold this energy and radiate it for thousands of years. Temples are the batteries in which they have stored their energy.

Repetition of mantras charges the whole energy

When you go and stand in front of this energy field, when you offer your thoughts, simply the whole thing becomes reality

The garbha mandirs or temples are high intense energy, potential energy which is created by an enlightened Master and maintained by regular poojas and mantras. Continuous repetition of mantras charges the whole energy, the whole space is kept alive. When you go and stand in front of this energy field, when you offer your thoughts, simply the whole thing becomes reality. For example, if you are continuously repeating a particular thought, again and again, you will see your body and mind, everything will be directed towards that thought. Same way if you go and stand in front of an energized moorthy, in front of energy space in the temple and create a wish, your whole body and mind will be tuned to that thought. Naturally it will become reality in your lives.

In the temples, two things will happen. You will have the shakti (energy) to make your dreams into reality. You will have the buddhi (wisdom) to realize what you think as reality itself is a dream. Both will happen when you are in energy space. Temples are created to replace an enlightened Master’s presence. When enlightened Masters leave the planet earth, when they leave their body, they wanted a space which can continuously inspire people, which can continuously heal, which can give them the experience of spirituality, which can give them a sacred feeling. That is why they have created these structures.”

Why deities?

loving devotion to the Divine is used as a technique to purify our common emotions of lust..

The question may arise: If all that is required is a structure which will hold and transmit energy, why do we need the form of a particular deity? There are two reasons for this: One, most of us are not yet so evolved that we can relate directly to the formless cosmic energy. That is why the ‘personal Divine’ is a concept close to the heart of every devotee. On the Bhakti Marga (the path of devotion), which is one of the four major paths to enlightenment, loving devotion to the Divine is used as a technique to purify our common emotions of lust, jealousy and selfishness. The devotee withdraws the energies wasted in such emotions, and turns them upon the object of his devotion. When the Divine is present before him in a form he can see, touch and relate to, the transmutation becomes an easy and joyful process.

Second, deities in a real kshetra are always carved in the form of ancient masters and enlightened beings. Even though no longer in the body, they can be invoked through the name or form they used while in the physical plane. When we pray to the deity or chants its name, the corresponding divine vibration is automatically awakened, and becomes available on the energy plane to guide and bless us.

Prana Pratishta; how temples get energized

When the energy is installed inside the vigraha, you can’t call it a statue, it becomes a deity

There is a beautiful sloka in Taitreya Upanishad. They say from akasha came the vayu, from vayu came the agni. Agniyar apaha, apap pruthvi, prathibyor annam. From agni came the water, from the water came the earth. From the earth came other things. In the same way, energy is also brought. Energy exists beyond the ether, beyond the space as Atman, atma shakti. Through the visualization or through meditation, the energy is brought to the Akasha shakti or the space. From there through verbalization or chanting of mantras, it is brought to the air. From there through the fire rituals, through the homas it is brought to the fire. From there it is brought to the kumbha, the water. From there it is brought to the bimba and installed in the idol. When the energy is installed inside the vigraha, you can’t call it a statue, it becomes a deity.

A moorthy or deity is made of a special material that can reflect and hold energy for sustained periods of time without disintegrating. The moorthies in a temple are always sculpted or molded from such materials. Such an idol, in which the Cosmic energy has been invoked and ‘bolted in’ through prana pratishta, is called a moorthy. Just as the energy of the sun can be focused through a lens and powerful energy transmission can happen, the consecrated moorthy becomes the lens to focus and radiate intense cosmic energy. Acting as a ‘spiritual reactor’, the moorthy can radiate this energy over prolonged periods of time, sometimes even centuries!

What is the difference between an idol and deity?

The divine descended in the form of an idol, vigraha

There is a big difference between an idol and a deity. In Vaishnavism, we call it archavatara or different incarnations of God. God took incarnations of Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Parushurama, and Kalki, so many incarnations. In the same way he takes the incarnation of a vigraha, an archavatara to receive the worship and prayers of devotees. Once the energy is installed, once the prana-pratishta is done, once the energizing is done, it can’t be called an idol anymore. It is archavatara. We call it an incarnation of God. The divine descended in the form of an idol, vigraha. The Brahmanda expresses itself in the pindanda through the idols. The cosmic energy radiates itself, makes itself available to us through these idols, through these vigrahas, through these statues. We need to understand how it is possible and how we can derive the benefit from it. Even Einstein says there is no such thing as a matter and energy separately existing. We don’t have a clear cut boundary between matter and energy.

The importance of temples

Temples are much more important than any other comfort..

Our ancestors knew the importance of temples. A temple is the place where the culture is alive, where you can relate with others. This is the space in which you can rejuvenate yourself. Just because we lost a few keys, we can’t say the original system itself is useless. Temples are much more important than any other comfort, any other worldly thing. It is much more basic need for our life than anything else. That is why if you see the Indian villages, it will be very funny. The houses will be constructed with ordinary mud and ordinary material. But the temples will be constructed with granite stone. If you go to every village of India, the costliest structure of that village will be the temple. Even if you sell the whole village you will not get that much money which they have spent for the temple.

Temples have played a major role in keeping the social structure alive. Somebody asked me, ‘Swamiji, why do Hindus waste all their wealth in constructing temples, building these huge structures?’ I told him India is alive, Hindus are alive as a group of people, as a community as a country just because of these temples. It is temples which kept our whole culture alive and our whole structure alive.

Again and again our temples are broken and destroyed. But again and again, they stand in a much more beautiful way. Vishwanath temple has been destroyed more than fourteen times. Somanath temple has been destroyed more than seventy times. Not seventeen. Only Gajni Mohammed destroyed it seventeen times. More than seventy times it was destroyed.

All the major temples of India were destroyed at least ten times. At least ten times they were destroyed. But again and again they stand up. How? And the funny thing is that you see the King who built the temple, his palace is demolished, his palace is no more, but the temple stands, it is still standing. The person who built the Tanjavore temple, Rajaraja’s palace is no more. There is no palace. But the temple is alive. I am sure the same architect, the same sthapathi only would have built both. But the palace is not there. Temples are standing. Temples are surviving. How? Because they are something more than physical structures.

Why meditate in a temple?

Meditation is the master key to relate with the energy which is in the form of a moorthy. That is the only way we can open the window of the idol and see the Brahmanda. We can open the window of deity and see the cosmic energy, experience it and have all the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.

When we meditate with awareness, any ritual can become meditation technique

When we meditate with awareness, any ritual can become meditation technique. When we meditate without awareness even a meditation technique can become a ritual. This is how we make spirituality into religion. Instead we should make religion into spirituality.

Temples are energy bodies, as are idols. They receive store, and radiate energy. Temples are mass meditation centers to help all those who cannot or will not practice meditation by

themselves. They initiate you into an awareness of cosmic consciousness through the form. To move beyond, you need to drop the form.”

Miracles and temples

Temples, churches, and deities have had reports of miracles since time immemorial to the present. Paramahamsa Nithyananda says that temples are like satellite relay centers where the high intense spiritual energy is created. The high intense spiritual vibrations are created and sent to all over the world to help the human beings to heal them physically, mentally, emotionally and above all spiritually.

The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre is a Roman Catholic basilica set along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada. It has been credited by the Roman Catholic Church with many miracles of curing the sick and disabled. When ones visits the basilica, they can see first hand the walls lined with the aftermath of healing miracles; crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and photos. Testimonials and letters describing healings are also displayed.

The Temple of Guruvayoor Kerala

The Krishna temple in the town of Guruvayoor in Kerala is one of the five famous Krishna/Vishnu temples in India. The temple is classified as one of the Mahakshetras or “Great abodes of worship”. There are many temples in India but few can claim to have all the ten qualifications of a Mahakshetra. The whole life of this town revolves around the temple and there is very little activity beyond what is connected with the temple. Lord Krishna in Guruvayoor is popularly called Sri Guruvayoorappan.The temple itself was created by a miracle; The idol was installed by Brihaspati, the guru of the gods and Vayu, the god of wind and hence came to be known as Guru-vayoor!

Another miracle was recorded in the 16th century. The famous poet and scholar, Meppathur Narayana Bhattathiri, composed the poem known as “Narayananeeyam”, which is a wonderful epic in Sanskrit consisting of one thousand and thirty six verses. The composition of the poem is connected with a miracle.

By the time he sang the last canto he was completely cured..

Bhattathiri was a very great devotee of Lord Guruvayoorappan and he begged the Lord to allow him to take over a disease contracted by his master. Needless to say the old man improved and Bhattathiri contracted the dread disease. He was totally afflicted and could hardly move. He made his friends take him to Guruvayoor. Here he sat propped up by the wooden pillar on the eastern side of the southern porch and composed his immortal classic called “The Narayaneeyam” which is a condensed version of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana which describes the glories of all the ten incarnations of Vishnu. As the days and months slipped by with Bhattathiri singing the praises of the Lord, he got progressively better. By the time he sang the last canto he was completely cured. Moreover he was blessed with a vision of the Lord standing inside the sanctum and smiling at him. Bhattathiri lived to the ripe old age of a hundred and six years. He spent most of his life in the temple worshiping the Lord of his heart. Even though most of the temple has been re-modeled and the pillars changed into marble, the wooden pillar on which Bhattathiri rested during his arduous labor of love is still retained.

Many cases of cures and miracles have been attributed to Guruvayoorappan. In fact the monthly magazine of the temple describes the personal experiences of many devotees that continue to take place even now. http://www.vanamaliashram.org/Guruvayoor%20Temple.html (July 2, 2012)

What is a miracle?

A devotee describes seeing a miracle happen in the presence of Paramahamsa Nithyananda. A cow was stuck in a slushy area and could not get out. A large crowd had gathered around the cow and had tried many methods of getting the exhausted cow out of the mud. Paramahamsa Nithyananda had driven to the scene with some devotees and stopped at a distance of twenty feet from the scene of the cow. He instructed the people to stop the pushing and pulling. He just looked at the cow right into her eyes, clapped his hands then signaled her to come out. He called for two men to help the cow as she tried to come out onto firm land. Having said this he simply turned and walked towards the ashram not waiting to see the results.

The moment the cow realized her capacity to save herself, she came out of the slush..

The cow got up and out of the slush with the help of those two men. It was really no struggle. She moved onto the bank with such ease. Paramahamsa Nithyananda said, “I did not perform any miracle, I just connected to the cow’s intelligence which had gone totally haywire by all those people who had brainwashed it into thinking that it would not be able to come out on it’s own. The moment the cow realized her capacity to save herself, she came out of the slush purely by her own effort.”

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says that a temple is designed to help people connect with their own intelligence through the concentrated energy available. Miracles look like miracles only because we are not yet able to comprehend the cosmic laws by which they operate. The subtle science behind the experience of wish-fulfillment in a temple is this: The concentrated energy in the garbha mandir or sanctum of the temple is like a laser beam or the powerful light in a projector. Just as any slide placed before a projector light will be projected onto the screen, and will appear as reality, any thought placed before a concentrated energy is projected in space and time as reality.

The sanctum of a temple is an intense field of potential energy, created by an enlightened consciousness and kept alive through continuous worship and the chanting of mantras. Being an intelligent force, this energy has the potential to manifest in any way – as form, as sound, as happenings. When you stand within such an energy field and offer your thoughts, it is simply transformed into reality. For example, if you continuously repeat a particular thought again and again, you will see that gradually your entire body and mind become one-pointedly directed towards that thought. In the same way, when you stand before an energized moorti and create a wish, your whole body and mind will be tuned to that thought. Naturally it will become reality in your life.

A healing miracle in a North American temple

“I knew about Nithyananda Vedic Temple Ohio and about Swami Nithyananda for few years. I had read his book and seen his video. But that was the first time I was visiting the Temple with my husband. The Temple was beautiful. We felt very peaceful and could feel the energy there. We prayed to all the deities and Swamiji’s picture and then left. When we left the Temple we got in the car and situated myself so my chronic back and leg pain would not bother me. I did not have any pain during the two-hour drive back to our house. I did not even feel any pain when I got down from car and got into house like I usually get. My husband said that the Enlightenend Masters have healing powers and maybe that is why my pain is gone. I said to him, “But I did not even ask Swamiji to heal me.”

I keep wondering when I may feel the pain again. It has been three months and the pain has not returned. I feel it is truly a miracle! I got healed even when I didn’t ask Swamiji that I needed to heal from my back pain. I feel a lot of gratitude for Swamiji and I would like to come and do service in the Temple to show my appreciation. I also feel very blissful whenever I come here. I want other people to experience this bliss for themselves.

Thank you Swamiji.

VK Ohio, 2010

A miracle in Dakshineshar temple in Kolkata

Let me tell you a story from Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s life. It is not a story. It really happened. It shows the power of worship and devotion. Ramakrishna was a priest in the Mother Kali temple at Dakshineshwar, near Kolkata, India. Devotees habitually offer conch and seashell bracelets to the Mother. Once a devotee brought four bracelets as an offering for Mother. She has four hands: on the right side, one hand represents the posture of assurance and the other hand represents boon-giving. On the left side She holds a sword which represents wisdom in one hand, and the head of a demon that represents the ego in the other hand. The sword is removable.

Ramakrishna while offering the bracelets managed to put on the bracelets in the three hands of Mother but not on the fourth hand that held the demon’s head. Because the bracelet can’t go on that hand he didn’t put the bracelet on.

A priest jokingly asked Ramakrishna why he was unable to put bracelet on Mother’s fourth hand. Ramakrishna said that the hand held the head. The priest said, ‘You are a great devotee, can’t you request Mother to open leave the head down while you can insert the bracelet?’

Ramakrishna asked the Mother Kali to let him put the bracelet on..

Ramakrishna took this seriously and he asked the Mother Kali to let him put the bracelet on. She dropped the head; he placed the bracelet on Her hand and he gave the head back to the Mother’s hand to hold!

You can see these four bangles at the Dakshineshwar temple even today. Neither the statue is broken nor is the bracelet broken. The bracelet is on Mother’s hand. You will be surprised to see how it was put on!

Of course, one can only believe and respect the devotion of Ramakrishna to Kali. If you go to Kolkata, don’t miss seeing it. When I went to the temple, I was in their ashram, so I went as an ashramite. So I was allowed to touch the bracelet and see. Not only did I touch the bracelet, I rotated the bracelet completely to see whether it was broken at any point. I inspected it to see whether Ramakrishna had broken the bracelet and glued it!

I tell you, the bracelet is complete; it is not broken and the statue also is full. It is difficult to believe and it is not a 300 or 400 year old incident. It happened only 130 years ago. In 1886 Ramakrishna passed away, so it is only 130 years. There is no logical explanation to this, yet it is true. The power of devotion can manifest itself in such ways. Paramahamsa Nithyananda

A miracle from an idol in a shiva temple

Paramahamsa Nithyananda shares an experience:

During my spiritual wanderings in my earlier days, when I wandered the length and breadth of India, many thousand kilometers, I stayed for several months in Haridwar. I stayed under a bridge, sleeping on a concrete bench. There was a small Shiva idol under this bridge, which was on the banks of the sacred river Ganga. Not many people came to this location.

I found it incongruous since this man was otherwise very simply dressed..

I took ill and had a high fever as well as severe dysentery. I could not even move. I thought I was going to die. A young man suddenly appeared on the scene and started talking to me. He was very handsome and had tremendous grace. What I remembered in particular was a diamond studded pen that he had in his shirt pocket. I found it incongruous since this man was otherwise very simply dressed.

This man brought me medicines and food for three days while I lay too ill to move. He would sit down and talk to me. I asked him his name and where he lived. He said he was called Shankar Maharaj and that he lived in a nearby ashram which I vaguely knew.

I asked him for Shankar Maharaj but he said there was no one of that name living there!

Once it looked that I was getting better, this man stopped coming. After a few days when I was well enough to move freely, I decided to go to his ashram and thank him. I found the ashram without much trouble. It had three or four rooms on the banks of the Ganga and there was an old sanyasi sitting there. I asked him for Shankar Maharaj but he said there was no one of that name living there!

When I still persisted he blurted out with irritation, ‘The only Shankar Maharaj here sits there.’

The old man was not too keen to talk. I persisted. He then said only three other old sanyasis stayed there and no young man lived there. When I still persisted he blurted out with irritation, ‘The only Shankar Maharaj here sits there.’ I went over to where he pointed. There was a small Shiva Temple, where inside was a white marble statue of Shiva sitting. As I went nearer I was amazed to see the same pen that the young man wore, tucked into a cloth that they had put on the Shiva statues shoulder!

I could not believe what I saw. I went back to the old man and asked him why there was a pen on Shiva’s statue. He simply said that some devotee had brought that pen and placed it on Shiva.

The Shankar Maharaj who came to feed me and gave me medicines when I was too ill to even move was wearing the same pen that the statue wore. You can draw your own conclusions. That is the honest truth.

History of temples

It is impossible to state when the custom of building temples took hold in India. The oldest of all Vedas, Rigveda, mentions Somnath, one of the oldest and most famous temples of India. As per the Hindu legends, the temple of Somnath is said to have witnessed the creation of universe itself! Somanath is the first of the twelve jyothi lingas and is believed to be built by the Moon god Soma in praise of Lord Shiva. The Rigveda also mentions the word Chaithya. This term is employed in Grihya sutras (Ashvalayana -1.12.1; and parashara 3.11.10) to denote a temple, Chaithya, which literally means piling up (of bricks). In Mahabharata, the Rishi Lomaharsha mentions to Yudhistira that the teertha on the Archika hill is a place where there are chaithyas for the thirty-three gods (MBh 3.125). He also advises Pandavas to visit the Chaithyas on the banks of the Narmada (MBh 3.121).

Sthapatis, the Architects of Indian Temples

The science behind the making of a temple also goes back to some of the earliest scriptures but is so vast and complex that it would take lifetimes for an un-enlightenend person to learn and accomplish the process. Throughout history the science of temples was in the hands of a group of artisans, craftsmen and masters of sacred Indian art and architecture, the sthapatis, who have handed down the sacred tradition of temple construction and sacred sculpture for thousands of years. Sthapathis are experts in temple architecture and idol creation. They belong to the unique tradition of the Vishwakarma community and claim descent from the celestial architect Vishwakarma,

Lord Vishvakarma - Architect of the Gods

 

http://www.mamandram.org/magazine/2008/10/vishvakarma-architect-of-the-gods/) who is said to be the architect and builder of the palaces of the Gods! The vast and scientific knowledge of the Vishwakarma community has been transmitted from master to apprentice throughout time. The Vishwakarma community has the task of upholding and maintaining the purity of the science of temple building with the inherent energetic, spiritual and practical principles. The sthapatis have been highly respected since they perform such an important and exalted function in society. Even to this day, the traditional art of the sthapatis has been preserved.

Sacred scriptures guide temple construction

There is a vast amount of literature used to guide the sthapatis that goes back thousands of years and is still used today; the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Agamas and shastras specific to sacred art and architecture. The sthapatis, both masters and apprentices, still follow the rules and guidelines of ancient texts called the Vastu Shatras and Shilpa Shastras, scriptures for both temples and sculpture. Each step of the sthapati’s task is outlined in the texts and is approached with great care, devotion and ritual that maintain the purity of the tradition; from fire rituals or homas signaling the start of the construction process to the grand culmination, the prana pratistha. Shastras were authored by Shilpi Rishis, and from time immemorial they have been consulted by sthapatis for designing architectural as well as sculptural forms. Kolapen states that “The Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastra share a common root following a unique science of energy and matter, time and space, rhythm and form.” Sthapatya Veda is the common name for the two branches of the shastras.

Vastu shastra is the ancient vedic science of space. – Paramahamsa Nithyananda

Some believe that the Vastu Shastra is the oldest known architectural treatise in the world. The oral tradition is believed to be 5000 years old and is traceable to at least 3000 B.C. Maya Danava, the earliest known master of the Vastu Shastra, is considered the founder of India’s sacred architecture. http://gosai.com/writings/vastu-shastra-and-sacred-architecture (July 31, 2012)

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says that the concept of using the energy of space or ether is the basis of Vastu Shatra. He says we can live in harmony with the universal energy by constructing dwellings and structures in a manner that fits in with the spatial energy of the universe. Vastu Shastra lays down the details for where various activity spaces should be located in a dwelling, as well as the direction. Vastu shastra is the ancient Vedic science of space.

The word Vastu Shastra brings together the two sides of symbolism and truth. Shastra means ‘enlightened literature’. Vastu means ‘the manifest’ and comes from the word vustu, meaning the ‘unmanifest’. According to Kolapen, the philosophical tenet of the words vastu and vustu form the basic concepts of India’s sacred architecture; that which is manifest in this world, vastu, has its original existence on the plane of the transcendental and unmanifest, vustu.

Two important texts on Vastu Shastra from the medieval period are the Manasara and Mayamata from South India. These texts are treatises on the theories and principles of temple construction, soil testing techniques, orientation, measures and proportion, divination, astrology and ceremonies associated with the construction of buildings. Mayamata, which is a general treatise on Vastu Shastra and is regarded as a part of Shaiva literature is the best known work on Vastu. Mayamata defines Vastu as the arrangement of space, anywhere, wherein immortals and mortals live.

The science of temples and idols are subjects that are also closely intertwined with astrology. The Vastu texts believe that Vigraha (icon or image of the deity) is closely related to graha (planets). The term graha literally means that which attracts or receives, and vigraha is that which transmits. It is believed that the deities receive power or energy from the planets and transmit the energy.

The power and purity of a temple radiates from its exact proportions and measures as specified in the texts –

The ancient texts insist on a high degree of precision in their measurements. The Vastu text Mayamata mentions “Only if the temple is constructed correctly according to a mathematical system can it be expected to function in harmony with the universe. Only if the measurement of the temple is in every way perfect, there will be perfection in the universe as well. Therefore, the hallmark of Indian temple architecture is the structural harmony, the rhythm and a fine sense of proportion. It is believed that the power and purity of the structure radiates from its exact proportions and measures as specified in the texts.”

http://www.scribd.com/doc/25225790/Indian-Temple-Architecture (June 28, 2012)

As the temple is the very abode of the gods, the building of the temple requires the most precise and advanced skills.

Perfection in measurements

The perfection achieved in temple construction parallels an astonishing degree of precision in measurements. The standard unit of measurement used by sthapatis and shilpis is so small that it is hard to imagine how it was used to build. The smallest unit mentioned is the anu or the particle, which is barely perceptible to the human eye. The anu measure was employed for extremely delicate or intricate work or the most vital aspects of a sculpture such as the eyes and facial features of the image of the presiding deity.

Measurements include space

The Vastu Shastra also states that every unit of time vibration produces a corresponding unit of space measure, deriving that time is equal to space, and uses these measurements in sculpting deities. The concept of space time that has been used for thousands of years in the Vedic Tradition has only recently been explored in western science.

Mystical Vastu-Parusha-Mandala

The temple construction process involves many steps including calculations, extensive study of the site, astrology, rituals, procurement of materials and so on leading up to the culmination of prana pratishta when the main deity is installed or consecrated.

Once the site has been identified, the construction planning for the temple begins. The sthapati begins by drafting a square and from this drawing, the Vastu-Parusha-Mandala is drawn up for the town and the temple. According to Kolapen, “The vastu-parusha-mandala (vastu means the manifest; parusha, the cosmic being; mandala, the structure) will represent the manifest form of the cosmic being, upon which the temple is being built and in whom the temple rests. The vastu-parusha-mandala is mystical diagram. It is both the body of the Cosmic Being and a physical device by which those who have the requisite knowledge attain the best results in temple building.” The vastu-parusha-mandala is then drawn onto the earth at the construction site according to astrological calculations and using sacred rituals performed by a priest.  A deep understanding of astrology is also a requirement of the sthapati’s. The moorthy and its form, the temple and its structure; the rituals and their details, are all interrelated.

Materials used in a temple

Organic materials such as marble, granite, wood and plaster are used in the main body of the temple as they are able to act as conductors of cosmic energies. Decorative materials such as gold and silver are used for ornamentation.

The seat of God and soul of the temple

Many rituals are performed as part of the construction process. A ground breaking ritual called Garbhadhana is performed and involves placing a ceremonial copper pot into the earth containing nine types of precious stones, several metals, minerals, herbs and soils symbolizing creation and prosperity. The brahmasthana, the principal location in a temple where the Garbhagriha or “seat of the Godhead” will eventually be placed is the nucleus of the Vastu Purusha Yantra. At the base of the foundation of the Brahmasthana, the Garbhadhana is performed to invite the soul of the temple or the Vastu Purusha to enter the building. A golden box, with the interior divided into (thirty two) units exactly replicating the vastu-parusha-mandala is partially filled with dirt and is placed in the earth during this groundbreaking ceremony. Written mantras are placed in the units of the box to invoke the presence of the corresponding deity.

Use of the mantras during the rituals goes beyond prayer or enjoyment for the senses. The Sanskrit mantras chanted by the priest are as important as the mandala. The mandala represent the universal order, and the mantras infuse the mandala with vibrations, energizing it. Continuous repetition of mantras charges the whole energy of the temple and the very air vibrates with the pure vibrations.

The most important structure in the temple, the reason the temple exists, is the garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum which houses the idol of the presiding deity. This most sacred part of the temple is kept fully dark except for the light coming in from the front opening where one enters, and is usually a square shape with a low roof and with no other doors or windows. This is directly over the gold box which was placed in the earth during the garbhadhana. There is a small tower over the roof of the shrine. Vimana is another term that denotes temple in general and the sanctum sanctorum and its dome which is crowned with a golden spire called Kailasa, the heavenly abode. Around the garbhagriha there may be a pradaksinapatha or a circumambulatory passage so the devotees can go around the deity in a clockwise direction.

Lighting and sound in temples

Temples were built with extraordinary awareness and intelligence, which is still in evidence today. Swamiji says that in the Temple of Brihadishwara in Tanjore, one of the largest temples in India, at any time the shadow of the main tower falls within itself, never on the ground! In many temples the sun shines through openings and falls on the main idol at specific days of the year at specific times. Many temple are built with thousand-pillared halls, in which stone pillars, when struck, sound the exact notes of music. Modern day architecture does not have the methodology to recreate these feats.

The ancient Agamic texts provides detailed guidelines on lighting and sound which produce these and other kinds of results to raise the consciousness of the seeker. According to a text on Temple Architecture, “The lighting of spaces inside a temple is orchestrated such that the mukha mantapa or entrance porch is semi-open with maximum light. If the directions and measurements are followed correctly, the sun rays should fall into the mantapa for at least six hours (from 9.00am to 3.00pm, if the sun rise is at 6.00am). The Sabha Mantapa for worshipers, has moderate light with few openings. The Garbhagriha, with a single opening in front of the deity allows light only on the deity and is illumined by natural oil lamps, placed on either side of the deity. The net effect of this arrangement is that it projects the images against the dark wall. Further, the surroundings of the Garbhagriha are modest in sculptural details. These help the worshipers to keep away the distractions and to focus their attention on the deity.

Absolute quiet is ensured in the sanctum vicinity. Echoes are avoided by a clever manipulation of open spaces, elevations and designs in the structured areas. Meenakshi temple in Madurai, Sundareshwara temple in Tirchendur, and the Vijaya Vittala temple of Hampi Vijayanagar all display remarkable ingenuity from the hand of the sthapatis and shilpas in sculpting “musical” pillars, which when struck at precise parts, produce the seven swaras (octaves).

A temple is a place where an intense cosmic energy is available for everyone to experience

Paramahamsa Nithyananda was born and raised in the temple town of Thiruvannamalai and since a very young age has been passionate about temples. Besides his first hand experience of spending virtually all his time in the Arunachala Temple growing up, he has the keen and expanded insights of an enlightened being to see deeply into the truths about temples as intense, cosmic energy centers. He has spoken at great length about temples in an easy and practical way for the modern person to understand.

He says that temples are energy-fields established by enlightened beings. A temple is a place where an intense Cosmic energy is available for everyone to experience. Significantly, all the major Vedic temples built over the centuries have been consecrated by enlightened masters – or rather, the temple has grown around the intense energy field set up by an enlightened master for the benefit of humankind. As a rich man leaves behind his wealth for the next generation after he leaves the body, enlightened masters leave behind the huge energy that they bring with them in the form of temples.

For instance, the four main Sankara peethams were established by the 8th century master Adi Sankara, the Chidambaram temple by Patanjali, the Palani temple by the siddha Bhogar; the Arunachaleshwara temple by the saint Idaikaadar, Tirupati by Konkanavar and Tanjore by Karuvoorar. The powerful spiritual vibrations present in these places are so palpable that even the most casual visitor can feels its effects in the form of peace, bliss or clarity. When maintained properly using the subtle powers of mantras, rituals and meditation, temples can hold and radiate this precious energy for thousands of years. Like an inexhaustible battery, these temples continue to discharge spiritual energy to seekers, proving an unbroken connection between masters and their people.

Many great temples such as Tirupati, Tiruvannamalai, Mantralaya and Pazhani in India are built around the final resting places or samadhis of enlightened masters. That is why these places serve as powerful energy centers today, drawing millions of people every year.

Why should I go to a temple?

To answer this question, Sri Ramakrishna, a great Enlightened Master of the 20th century gave a beautiful answer. “There is milk all over the cow’s body but we can’t get it by just piercing it anywhere”. Though the Cosmic Energy is available everywhere, we are not able to perceive it because it is extremely subtle. Cosmic energy is available in the most subtle form. An enlightened being or highly evolved soul knows the science of distilling this subtle energy into a gross form which we can perceive and absorb. In this form, the cosmic energy becomes available to all as a source of healing and subtle spiritual transformation.

Paramahamsa Nithyananda says, “Many religious rituals are designed to build good samskaras in us. Going to a temple, a church, prayer groups or satsangs (spiritual gatherings) reinforces our desire to move forward spiritually. They create the environment, the mood for the right decision to happen. They can rewire us.

Why do you think thousands, no millions of people, visit holy shrines in Thirupati or Varanasi or Thiruvannamalai? A few hundred people can be misled, but not millions, and that too without any coercion, without any enticement. They go because they feel relieved; not all of them go merely out of greed and fear. There are thousands who go unknowingly because they feel the hand of God, as it were. They feel the touch and they feel the ‘energy connection.”

 

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