How we pray
In India when we visit temple, we take off our shoes. Shoes are considered as a sign of impurity and should not be taken inside the temple.
On a busy day, there are huge number of shoes and sandals outside the temple. In most temples You can leave Your sandals outside. In some temples, there are personnel outside who takes care of Your sandals. You just have to pay them a small sum of money. Once inside the temple, we can find different figures of gods. Each temple has a main god for which that temple is famous for. There are temples for Krishna, Shiva, Parvathy, Kali etc. For example when i visit a Shiva temple, the biggest point of attraction of that temple is the figure of shiva. Besides Shiva, there are small rooms in the temple with figures of Krishna, Brahma, or kali etc etc. Once inside, we stand in front of the figure and say out the mantras and hymns which our parents taught us.
We join our hands together while we pray. It is called the Namaste(welcome) gesture. We also use this gesture when we meet some one elder on the streets. . Each god has their own hymn which praises them and says how great and kind they are. There are different hymns for Krishna, Shiva, Saraswathi etc etc. We whisper these hymns and in the end tell god what we want . I remember i had a list of things i wanted to ask god, and every day i would repeat them. It includes a good life, and a good life for my parents, uncle , brother etc. The way of praying can be dependent on the type of person You are. My mother usually gets emotional while she says out prayers and would stand for half an hour just praying, while my dad would just sit somewhere inside the temple, and say out mantras. Some old people would be very exhibitional with their style of praying . They would say these mantras out loud and go into a mode of trance. I used to watch them and sit in awe. In front of each figure, the priest would give us some pieces of coconut or dessert made out of sugar and rice. There will be a small plate with a paste made out of sandal wood to put on our forehead .So having this paste on Your forehead is usually a sign that You are just coming after the temple visit. When i go with my mother, she usually puts it on my forehead . She just don’t ask me to put it myself and would forcefully do it(it’s funny) 🙂
Usually there are five or six bronze/silver figures in each temple. There are different kind of processions in the temple which we do to please god. Like for example, my mother would agree to burn 100 oil-lights in my name from time to time. We would go together and i would light up candles made out of citrus(already juiced) which had pieces of cloth with oil inside, along side with her. All the candles will be made ready by the priest before we get there. We have to pay around 100-150 rupees for that. Why we do that? Because we believe this would please god and we will eventually get what we pray for.
My mother had spent a fortune for these processions. Even when I am in Poland, she does these processions. Later when we talk over the phone she would say that she has done processions x and y and why she has done it for my good future, for a stable job, my house etc etc. Whenever i say about how she is spending a lot of money at these temples, she usually gets angry and thinks I am not being respectful to god. Even though i disagree with spending so much money , i still used to go and do these processions with her when i was young.
more in the next chapter…….