Posted by: chobhi | February 25, 2009

letter from Chennai Contd from Feb18

Back to Thirukadiyur. The huge temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. The goddess Parvati is called Abhiraami here. There is a story associated with the gods.
Shiva temples have no idols but a ‘lingam’ which is shaped like a parabola signifying the beginingless and endless universe. ( Alot of people think the ‘lingam’is a phallic symbol, but in true Hindu philosophy it is more mystic and less pedestrian than that.)The story goes that a king called Markandeya was persued by the god of Death, Yama, and took refuge in Lord Shiva by doing penance to him. Lord Shiva protected him by keeping him ever young, away from the jaws of death. So people who wish for long life come to this temple and celebrate their 60th birthday. Hindu philosophy is vast and talks about many different things, but is used often by many Hindus to justify petty desires like long life!
My relative, who shall remain anonymous, is part of the vast majority of Hindus who worship, propitiate and pray for personal prosperity and health. Most people who believe in the concept of any god in any religion, tend to do the same. I was struck by the many hours of worship that included more than a dozen Hindu priests chanting from the Holy scriptures. The head priest stopped often to explain the significance of the various chants in a mixture of English and Tamil. It all boiled down to the concept of earning and seeking benediction by coming to that sacred place and doing these ceremonies. I tend to look at all this religiousity as earning so many good points in the eyes of a god or gods/ godesses. Pretty utilitarian, I think, but what do I know? I just happen to be an agnostic, that’s all!

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Responses

  1. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

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