Towards understanding Hindu Culture, rituals and traditions…..PART FIVE

Ringing in Divinity…..

The Genesis of the Bible (Old Testament)  starts thus : “In the beginning was the word, and the word was GOD. And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. In another chapter of the Bible, (John 1:1) it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

Can a word be God? Or is there a deeper meaning to it? Parallel studies of Hindu and Christian thoughts provide fascinating insights.

In the Hindu Trinity of Om – Tat – Sat, OM is the sound of Pranava, the basis of all creation. The reason why a Hindu says “OM” and rings the bell is deeply connected with the concept of the sound of Pranava. Pranava Mantram, or “OM” (There are a number of variations of Om – Aum, Ohm, Ameen, Amen, Hum, etc ) The ringing of the bell in the temple is symbolic as well as cleansing – the ringing of the bell creates a vibration that is very beneficial to some of the invisible chakras in the body. There are some temples where the ringing of the bell signifies something. As someone said, asking permission to enter the temple. By ringing the bell, the invisible beings in a temple are informed of our arrival, says another school of thought.

The resonance of the bell ring corresponds with Om, the Pranava. It is an auspicious sound that brings in beneficial vibrational changes. One of the more popular reasons ascribed by the elderly about the ringing of the bell, blowing of the conch, etc during religious festivals and functions is because these auspicious sound vibrations can minimize the other noises, some of which can be considered inauspicious. For example, the concept of “Getti Melam” in marriages at the precise moment of the tying of the thali appeals more to the concept of drowning out irrelevant or any other inauspicious noises. (for example, a curse by someone who is present at the wedding but who is not blessing the event!)

The ringing of the bell also is explained by slokas that say that the ringing of the bell drives out the evil forces from within one’s self, invoking divinity within.

Apart from the bell and the conch, various other instruments are used to produce various sounds for various occasions. All these different sounds produce different vibrations. For example, there is a deep esoteric significance to the use of drums in various temple festivals, including weddings. The sound of drums produce a vibration that is very beneficial to the root chakra.

(To be continued)

my views….