Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dwadasha Kumbhabhishekam

I know, it's a mouthful. Here's what it means: 12th anniversary celebrations at the Hindu Temple of St. Louis. It's both a rededication and a refreshing of sorts, involving water, fire, purification of the carvings of gods, chanting, and offerings. We were there yesterday, dropping off a 50-pound bag of rice to be used as prasadam (offering of food to the gods which is then distributed to the people), and we picked up an elaborate program that explains what's going on and why.

The temple has numerous vigrahas, or stone carvings of Hindu gods and goddesses. When they were installed 12 years ago they were purified, chanted over and generally prepared to serve as channels of the divine, and they're worshipped on a daily basis by resident priests as well as devotees. The ongoing worship is partially meant to keep the channel of divine love open, but that does not guarantee the proper level of spiritual maintenance. Here's an excerpt from the aforementioned program on this topic:

"The day-to-day rituals of temple worship act as a guide to keep the wayward mind focused. Nevertheless, the many errors of omission and commission in the daily conduct of the devotees and the comings and going of many who do not share the ethos of temple worship do diminish the spiritual intensity of the initial consecration over time."

The four days of rituals will also involve a purification of the building itself; I'm hoping we will see that later today. If we do, I'll write about it here. If we don't, I'll write about whatever we do see and experience here. As you can see from the schedule below, there's a lot going on today.

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