Sunday, February 21, 2010

AC to be installed in the garbha graha of Meenakshi temple! – Will it affect the sanctity?

A news report in Times of India says that the sanctum sanctorum (garbha gruha) of Meenakshi temple of Madurai is being air conditioned. It is learnt from reliable sources connected with the temple that no such installation is being done in the garbha gruha.

The Chairman of the Temple Trust Board informs us that

The old exsisting aircondition system in the Mahamandapam (not even the Artha Mandapam ) is bring modernized with installation of a new plant, There is no work being done in the Graphagraham at all !!”

We thank the Chairman for correcting the information. This is good news for everyone who has been led to conclude that the installation is to take place in the garbha graham.

Some thoughts on temple ambiance are discussed below:-

The Vigraha installed inside the garbha graha of a temple is considered to be the 5th and the last form of God, the others being Para, Vyuha, Antharyaamin and Avatara. Temples with vigraha installation are a later development that came into being with the decline in ability of people to get into communion with God mentally and through yogas.

Vigrahas are special forms which are consecrated as per specific rules so that, the benefits of a communion with God can be easily obtained like drawing water from a pipe in the kitchen. The other forms of God require some practice or saadhana on the part of the devotee to achieve such a communion.

It is for this reason the temple structure comes with specifications and attendant rules. The obvious specification is the small structure of the garbha graha made of a certain type of granite stone and the subsequent rooms leading to the garbha gruha, also done with specifications. The number of persons to be present near the garbha gruha is limited by these specifications.

The deity is ‘hot’ by its constitution. The mantras and the power contained in them make it hot. It has been noticed that at the time of Kumbhabhishekam to the kalash on the temple gopuram, sweat drops appear on the image of the deity in the garbha graha. This shows that Kumbhabhishekam ensures a kind of saturation so that the deity is fully ‘charged’.

Ardent devotees must excuse me for writing like this as they may see the usage of these words as objectionable. But I am no less a devotee and am keen on bringing to the notice of the reader the supreme science behind this. Lord Himself is Vigyaana personified. This vigyana was also known to ancient rishis who devised the methods of construction of temples and consecration of deities.

The deity is a kind of high energy concentration that the environs are always maintained cool. But using an air conditioner was not a way to ‘cool’ the deity. According to Varahamihira, any temple must be raised only on the banks of a perennial river or a stream or a tank or on the hill or near the hill.

The temple must be surrounded by flower gardens. Only in such places the Devas come and play. Such an environment will keep the temple cool on whose vimana, devas and rishis settle down to be with the Deity at all times. The naturally cool environment has provided the needed cooling effect for the Deity whose consecration makes it hot.

In addition, the garbha graha is always kept wet and cool. The abhishekams and garlands accentuate this effect. No electric light is allowed inside the garbha graha as it would give out heat radiation. Only oil lamps are allowed. The awareness in these lines has increased nowadays as we find many temples doing away with electric lamps in the garbha graha. Whatever heating happens, happens by means aradhana with lamp or camphor. (Nowadays camphor is avoided as it is found to emanate some chemicals.)

A research done by a group of College students also confirmed this cooling effect. The natural surroundings help in maintaining the cool environs in the temple. At times water will be filled around the main sanctum in summer to reduce the heat.

There have been times when the deity’s energy level increases and becomes very ‘hot’. In such instances, they are immersed in water. The image of “Athigiri varadar” at Kancheepuram is kept under the water of the temple tank and taken out only once in 40 years to have darshan for one mandala. (It is due in the year 2019).

The research by the students also showed that the small and short walls of the garbha graha and the adjoining room resonates the chanting of the mantras and the chanting by the devotees. All these add to the power of the temple in helping the devotee come out free of his worries and troubled thoughts.

Thus we have two issuesone of maintaining the natural cool environs of the garbha graha and the other of having the optimum level of resonance through the chantings near the garbha graha. The heavy rush of people and allowing more number of people than the optimum number result in heating up of the environment on the one hand and a non-optimal level of resonance created by the chanting (if at all done) by the large gathering of people. The Chanting of Govinda is a most common one, but a chanting by a very large gathering, compressed near the garbha graha is undesirable.

The remedy lies in regulating the number of people present in the sanctum to the optimum level (that can be worked out by the dimension of the area). The crowd must be regulated and not sent inside in large groups. The devotees must be educated that we have to maintain these norms for their good and the good of other devotees and the community.

The phenomenal rush of people to temples nowadays is to do with a wrong and misplaced notion of a kind of ‘barter’ that people think is what bhakthi is about. This is a different and difficult issue, but strict rules on movement of people within the sanctum must be followed to avoid heating and also unnatural ways of cooling.

A research on what happens inside a temple.

The following report is from ‘Indian Express’ published on 31st December, 1980. The research was conducted in a model garbha graha. I have not come across any other kind of research on these lines after this. My comments are given at the end of this report.


This is about the HR and CE stall at the Tourist Trade Fair held at Chennai then.

‘Teachers and students of Parasakthi College, Courtallam, through a set of experiments using laboratory gadgets, make a scientific interpretation of the chanting of slokas, abhisheka of the idol and offering of fruits and leaves. "Temple worship has a definite scientific reasoning behind it", the assistant professor in charge said.

First it is explained how there is a proportionate configuration to the sanctum sanctorum and the idol it houses – the sanctorum is structured in such a way that the idol in it reflects any sound wave to the maximum effect.

A tuning fork is vibrated in the hall with little sound reproduction, but when it is struck and placed before the entrance of a small model sanctorum, a loud hum is heard. The forks invariably produce a sound resembling the chant "OM".

The lecturer explained that among the various chants, "OM" had the largest resonant effect and displaced a sizeable amount of atmosphere inside the sanctum. This is possible only when the sanctum and the idol are made of granite.

Next it is explained how the presence of negative ions increases in moist condition rather in dry condition using a condenser to infer why the sanctum sanctorum is always kept moist by pouring water over the idol and washing it with water continuously. Similarly the conduction of the stone idol also increases when it is moist – this is demonstrated by comparing the conductivity of dry granite and that of a wet idol.

The materials used for the abhisheka of the idol increases the conductivity of the stone through their own pH values. pH value of a substance is the negative concentration of the ion it possesses. Most of the materials used for abhisheka – milk, curd, sandalpaste, turmeric powder, vermilion powder, vibuthi have high pH values, a simple chemical experiment shows. And when they are poured over the idol they increase the conductivity of the idol, also ionizing it.

A resistance reading on the ohmmeter of the idol after these elements have been poured shows the increased conductivity of the idol. The chanting of the mantras and the more frequent "OM" sets the air column inside vibrating and the highly sensitized idol conducts the ions of the abhisheka substance to the moist atmosphere.

The lighting of camphor during the deeparadhna displaces the air, which is partially charged with ions, and the devotees inside the sanctum inhale these ions. These negative ions have the physiological function of fixing oxygen with hemoglobin in the blood, the lecturer explained. They are concentrated on beach shores and mountaintops in the early morning, which explains doctor’s advice to heart patients for early morning beach walks.

In the final inference, it is explained, a devotee’s presence in the sanctum during abhisheka helps his system induct more negative ions than he usually inhales. A visit to the temple is a good substitute for morning walk, the lecturer explained, and a tonic for good health.

But with temples becoming overcrowded, it would not be a wonder if these negative ions are submerged by the excessive carbon dioxide exhaled in the packed sanctum which is meant to house only ten people at a time. Similarly the chanting of "OM" has also been reduced to a mere inaudible mumble, affecting its highly resonant quality."

(end of the news report)


Pic coutesy :- Raju's Temple Visits

Going by the practices, I infer that a kind of circuit exists between the Main deity (moolavar) and the Balipeedam in the outer. The Balipeeda also receives the same care as the Moolavar. We are not supposed to cut across this circuit. In olden temples 2 exits will be there on two sides near the garbha graha through which the devotees come out of the garbha graha. By that, they won’t be crossing the circuit anywhere.

A temple visit makes one come out with a free mind and freshness. All the worries and thoughts spelt in the presence of the deity are attracted by the deity and absorbed by this circuit. So that when we come out, our mind feels like a clean slate enabling us to think better as we continue with our chores. Here I have not mentioned about the communion with God because it is personal and happens for one who seeks such a communion. Irrespective of that, I think a cleansing effect also happens to the mind. This helps in clarity of perception and better thinking

One instance where we hear people talk of such clarity is the visit to a temple before writing an examination. The popular deity for visited before an exam is Vinayaka. As we saw in an earlier post of the effect of Super Brain Yoga (Thoppukaranam), the cleansing effect adds to the clarity of thinking so that one can easily recall what one learned and write in the exam.

AS for me I have felt such bleaching effect – some freshening effect, after a visit to old temples. Even in the heavily crowded Thirumala, I have greatly felt some effect on the physical level too. I have never worried about not being able to get a darshan of Srinivasa. I always think that even though I can not see Him properly, He is seeing me! His aura is bathing me fully! That is enough.

Related posts:-

ThoppukkaraNam – scientific effect on memory.

Origin of the word “Thoppukkaranam”.

Acupressure in Gayathri japa!

Importance of Vigrahas

- jayasree



Madurai temple AC threatens frescoes

Padmini Sivarajah, PTI, Feb 19, 2010, 03.17am IST

MADURAI: One of Tamil Nadu’s best known ancient temples is seeing a revamp that may not go down well with conservationists. The sanctum sanctorum of Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple in Madurai is being air-conditioned at a cost of Rs 30 lakh to provide a cooler environment to priests and devotees. In the process, however, frescoes and carvings on the walls and ceiling of the 1,500-year-old structure are being blocked.

The edifice has many natural vents which act as a natural cooling system. But with trees disappearing from the surroundings of the temple and concrete structures taking their place, the temple environs have become stuffy and according to the priests, it is difficult to stay inside for more than an hour. ‘‘The air inside becomes hot and we develop headaches,’’ said a priest.

A donor has now come forward to air-condition the sanctums of goddess Sri Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar. Huge steel pipes will bring in cooled air from two 18-tonne air conditioners and vents would circulate the air in the area where devotees gather for darshan.

Sundaram (82) of
North Veli street in Madurai, who has been frequenting the temple right from his childhood, said, ‘‘Earlier entering the temple after walking in the hot sun was very relieving since the interior was cool. But over the past 10 to 15 years, I have noticed that it becomes extremely hot inside the sanctum sanctorum, primarily because of the large crowds that visit the temple. The proposal for the air-conditioning is a welcome move.’’

Temple sources said high-rise buildings and traffic pollution had contributed to the heat inside the temple. Speaking to TOI, joint commissioner of Sri Meenakshi temple K Rajanayagam said the AC work would be completed in a few weeks.


surya said...

Namastay Madam,

The following does not belong to the "AC to be..."

This is a query to know what could be the bad karma for a peculiar case of 3 young women in the world.

A few days back I read a girl of some 15 years age is losing blood from her body through eyes (like tears), fingers, naval, wrist and other body parts without any gap and that girl belongs to North India. Today, I read in Saakshi telugu news paper about another girl in Rajahmandry (Andhra Pradesh) having same problem. And according to the report, this is the third case in the world! No one knows whats the cause. Incidentally, all of them are females of young age.

Its horrible for them and I felt lot of pain as they do not even know the reason. I want to know what could be the bad karma they did or is it the indication of Mother Nature through them the pain she is feeling due to the acts of human beings.

I may be wild, asking out of curiosity and hope that you can guess.

NVS Prakasam.

PS: If this kind of query not allowed, sorry mam.

jayasree said...

Can I have the birth details of at least one of them? It will be a valuable case study.

6th house, 6th lord and Mars will be directly involved in addition to some other afflictions- probably to the lagna / lagna lord and 5th lord.

For previous karma, we can not say without seeing the planetary yogas and positions. Usually the nature of ailment is directly related to a similar pain or hardship caused to some one. It is disturbing to think in those lines and let us pray for the recovery for those persons.

3rd Perspective said...

Dear Jayasree,
Excellent post ! I do agree with your views, that the sanctity of the garbha graha would be affected through these kind of activities.
I really liked this article and most interesting aspect was the details on the experiment, which you said has been published in 80’s. This reinstates that our hindu lifestyle was more scientific.
I've experienced peace, tranquility by going to temples and doing prayers. Sometimes i'd be able to comprehend peoples mind, views better and answer or handle issues for better results. Even last week, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated when, I went to Manthralayam and Nava Brindavanam .
I strongly believe there is a strong science, reasoning and rational behind our rituals and activities. I’m of the view that we are not able to relate all of because science works on few standard principles or theories, there are many that we have not discovered or realized. I'm sure it may take centuries for us to even understand 10% of that through science. But by surrendering to the nature alias God , one can attain this wisdom.
this article on Tirupathi was also interesting, may be you would have gone thru it..incase if missed here is the link
Thanks again for the wonderful post. Going through your article, I had a wave of thoughts pouring in my mind, just tried to put forward a couple of them

jayasree said...

Thanks for your comments Mr Prabhu. I am happy to know that this article has gone well with people. Actually there used to be resistance to discuss on the image of Vigraha. There are people who are genuinely worried that discussion like this would reduce god into a lab material. But it is not so when done with awe and awareness of the One God having become many, thereby making Itself blended in everything we see and experience.

The article on research on garbha graha was done in 1979-80 and published in Indian Express. I was a student then. I visited their stall in Island grounds and collected the material. Another finding of that team was that the earth reaches the maximum distance away from the center of the galaxy (Sagittarius) on Vaikuntha ekadasi day. They also gave info on the low / lack of tides or lunar impact on Ashtami and Navami. That was when I was simultaneously into reading / learning from many fields including astrology.These basic views from the research gave me a number of perspectives into astrology.

There are stipulations in astrology that starting medical treatment on Astami will be successful. This is against the current thought on aversion to ashtami and navami. But they are the best suited days for dealing with vital and mental levels of activities particularly on spiritual saadhana. I have written on this somewhere in this blog.

This veda matham is complete science and is perfect to the core. I used to say that even if god were to appear before you, that will be with some science only, which our scientists have not yet discovered. At some threshold level, what we realise is not material science but some science and logic or perfection of a different kind. I refer to the sloka 10-10 of Gita where Krishna says ' dadami budhi yogam' - whereby things will start occurring to you - a kind of continuous downpour of thoughts throughout night and day. It is an individual experience. May be your experience also is one taking you on that path.

I have lot of ideas which can be logically and at places scientifically explained. If God willing I will be able to pen them down in this blog.

On dondu's article on srinivasa, that article has been doing rounds for quite sometime. I dont agree with one part of it that it was different deity on different days. My next blog will be on forms of deities in temples wherein I will discuss this also.