“Indian temples are traditionally built in the image of a human body. The ritual for building a temple begins with […] planting a pot of seed. The temple is said to rise from the implanted seed, like a human. The different parts of a temple are named after body parts. The two sides are called the hands or wings, the hasta; a pillar is called a foot, pada. The top of the temple is the head, the sikhar. The shrine, the innermost and the darkest sanctum of the temple, is a garbhagrha, the womb-house. The temple thus carries out in brick and stone the primordial blueprint of the human body.” (Ramanujan, 1973, 20).
Nifty. But unnecessary.
Indian poet Basavanna explains: “The rich will make temples for Siva. What shall I, a poor man, do? My legs are pillars, the body the shrine, the head a cupola of gold. Listen, O lord of the meeting rivers, things standing shall fall, but the moving ever shall stay.” (20).
Indeed, why imitate what you already have? Your body is already a temple. Why build another one? Why burn gas to drive your Self to where you are not? Why not worship at home? What do I mean by “worship?” I mean “love.” However you want to see it – Reality, Creation, Universe, Dao, Cosmos – find a way to connect to it. From within. Perhaps, through eating. Without brokers.
Even if your body isn’t a temple, it certainly has one. Touch your index finger to the side of your head to point to the cupola of golden presence inside the brick-and-mortar of your skull. As you take this sacrifice of life that is food, sanctify it with your presence.
When you know yourself, there is no need to go any farther than wherever you are. You built this temple of a body, now populate it with presence.
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Last reviewed: 10 Apr 2012