Temple deities and Vastu – The story
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While visiting a temple, we follow our usual routine of circumambulating the temple, praying to the deities and generally taking in the peaceful atmosphere. Not many people realize that every deity at a temple, is usually placed in a strategic location and that there is a reason behind this placement.
According to legend, when God Shiva was in the middle of a fight with a demon called Andhaka, a drop of sweat from his forehead fell on the earth and transformed itself into a huge, hungry monster that caused havoc on all the three worlds. The demon fell on the earth on his back and the Gods, subdued him by settling themselves on his limbs and joints and held him down. This monster became ‘Vastu’ which means ‘housing of the Gods’. Around 45 Gods have settled themselves on various parts of this monster. A square grid has been formed around this monster (see picture), with its head pushed to the north-eastern corner of the square.
Thus, to calm down the fury of this monster and to get its permission, a puja is done before any construction. Another fact to note here is that the deities have to be pacified as well, so that they do not get up from their respective positions and free the monster. Ideally, these deities are supposed to be placed in the same spot that they occupied originally, so as to ensure that the monster stays in place.
Brahma, the creator, sits at the centre, looking at all four directions with his heads. And this spot is where the main deity of the temple is to be placed. Known as the garbagriha, this room is ideally darker than the rest of the temple, with no room for air and light. No matter how grand or beautiful the temple is, the garbagriha always remains a small, dark room, that holds all the energy that the temple offers and passes it on to everyone who visits it.
Do share with us if you related to this story on your next visit to a temple.
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