Rituals and Ritual Utensils



Introduction of Rituals and Ritual Utensils:

Introduction of Rituals and Ritual Utensils:

Temples down the centuries have fostered
not merely bhakti, but also art.

Temples have been prolific Symbols of the Hindu way of worship. The basic rituals involved in the mode of worship, intended to instill more and more divinity in the icons and to foster the spirit of bhakti in the devotees have, over the centuries, nurtured art, artefacts and culture. Each ritual utensil and jewel in each of the the thousands of temples dotting the Indian landscape proclaims the consummate skill and imagination of the Indian artisans who, despite lack of sophisticated implements or facilities, have wrought exquisite utensils and ornaments.

The Crafts Council of the Karnataka Government has painstakingly collected details of these ritual utensils and ornaments and published two volumes-Temple, Treasures and Temple Jewellery--with delightful colour and black and white photographs ,which throw light on the cultural and artistic heritage treasured in these temples and mathas and also the culture and history of the ancient periods.

Starting with the March 2006 issue, Tattvaloka will now and then publish extracts with beautiful photographs and drawings from these two books with a view to familiarising the readers with the hoary cultural past of the nation.

Worship in temples has a twofold dimension. One is to endow a spiritual power to the icon so that divinity resides in it. 'This is achieved through daily rituals, performed in accordance with agamic prescriptions. The second is. 'conducting events, such as festivals,to attract devotees in large numbers to enhance the temple's reputation.

The daily rituals, known as nityakarmas, are obligatory and do not vary. They are known as Upacharas or services. It is in the making of the utensils and other implements for the performance of these services that art flourished. The artisans of the ancient days, despite lack of equipment, manufactured the vessels using their imagination with whatever material was available. The result was surprisingly splendid and their skill is appreciated even today.