What Is The Meaning Of Certain Traditional Rituals We Practice In Temples?

2261 views | 30 May 2011

Question: 1.Why do we ring bell in mandir? 2. Why do we shower shivalingam with water and milk? 3. Why do we light diya in the mandir? Gurumaa: The answer to the first question is that we ring the bell in the mandir basically to wake our sleepy and unconscious mind to become attentive and concentrated, as we are going to go into the zone where we need to have the optimum level of concentration. Regarding why we shower the Shivling with water and milk, well, the Shivalingam is symbolically considered to be a sign of Shiva; Shiva is the infinitum abstract macrocosmic consciousness. So, as such your water is not going on Shiva literally, but it is just a symbol which is being offered with water and milk. Water and milk are both liquids, surely, and water is connected to our human mind. Now it may sound very intriguing, but that is how it is. When the moon is waxing and waning, it changes the quality of the water. As you know, when the moon is waxing on its full moon night, there are huge waves seen on the ocean. Psychologically, it has been found that this is the time when people who have mind problems go through a very rough time; if moon has such an effect upon water, then what to say about the human body which is 60% of water? When we shower the Shivalingam with water and milk, the reason is that symbolically we are trying to correlate the water and our mind and the symbol of Shivalingam into one. In this ritual, the feeling is "Let my mind be washed away of all dirt and pollutants". Milk is considered to be the nourishing ingredient, pure and satvik. So, in this ritual, if it is done in a proper way and our eyes are concentrated doing trataka on the Shivalingam and when it is bathed in the water actually a prayer is being done that "Let my mind be washed of all impurities". And when we shower it with milk the feelings are "let my mind be nourished and washed of all impurities with noble thoughts, purity, compassion, satvik, goodness, friendship, etc". Thirdly, the logic is that you are not lighting the diya for the god or goddess inside, but it is a way of meditation, where you need to light the diya and concentrate on the flame, and you are praying and hoping in your mind that the light of wisdom be lighten up to dispel the darkness of my mind. These are all external outward activities but have very positive and clear internal objectives which we wish to achieve. But most of the people who go to temples and do these rituals do not understand and they think that the Shivalingam is Shiva in itself present and they are bathing Shivji Maharaj and Shivji will be happy and give them boons, and they are looking for the satisfaction and contentment via fulfillment of their desires, whereas Shiva is considered to be the destructor of all desires! This is something so uniquely present only in India that we use the outer symbols to achieve the internal great heights, but ignorance is so huge that people can only see the external activities and they totally forget about the internal usages and the benefits of doing such things.

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