Friday, July 7, 2017

"The Beauty and Science of Temple Culture" Significance of Kalash

Significance of Kalash

Whenever it comes to the container for water in temple or pooja, we unfailingly remember the kalash. We don't use a glass, a jar, a jug, a tumbler, a pan or any other vessel for the purpose of pooja. Not only for any occasional pooja but for regular pooja also we prefer to use kalash. So much so that when we teach and train a child to offer different abhisheka, we prefer baby kalash for them also. We don't wish to use glass when a child offers abhisheka, who is just a beginner! So what is the importance of kalash? Why do we have kalash in our devotional practices?

What is a Kalash?
Kalash-Pooja is a very important part of any auspicious ceremony. According to scriptures, kalash-Pooja has a very special Vedic significance.

A mud, copper or silver pot which is filled with water or rice. Mango or asopalav leaves are placed on the mouth of the pot and a coconut is placed over it. A red, yellow or white thread is tied around its neck. Such pot is known as a Kalash. It is also called Kumbh which is representing the inert body which when filled with the divine life force, gains the power to do all wonderful things.

The Kalash symbolically represents creation 
Before the creation, Lord Vishnu was reclining on His snake-bed in the milky ocean. From His nevel emerged a lotus from which appeared Brahma, who thereafter created this world.

The vacant pot, symbolizes earth, and the water filled one symbolizes the primordial water from which life began on earth. Life began in water and nothing can exist in this world without water. It is the giver of life to all. The leaves and coconut represent creation. The thread represents the love that "binds" all in the creation. The kalash is therefore considered auspicious.

The waters from all the holy rivers, the knowledge of all the Vedas and the blessings of all the deities are invoked in the kalash and its water is thereafter used for all the rituals, including the abhisheka. The consecration (kumbhaabhishek) of a temple is done in a grand manner with elaborate rituals including the pouring of one or more kalash of holy water on the top of the temple.

Symbol of immortality
During Samudra Manthan when the asuras and the devas churned the milky ocean, the Lord appeared bearing the pot of nectar which blessed one with everlasting life. Thus the kalash also symbolizes immortality.

Kalash as abode the of gods
According to the scriptures, the mouth, the throat, and base of the kalash are the seats of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma respectively whereas the belly represents all goddesses and Divine-mother’s power streams. Thus in this small urn, the presence of all gods and goddesses is symbolized. This exemplifies that all the gods are essentially one and are manifestations of the same Supreme Power.

Because of its uniformity and symmetry in all directions, the kalash is a symbol of the entire universe and of that omnipresent Brahm. All the gods in their microcosmic and macrocosmic subliminal forms are meditated, during devotional worships, as to be present in this symbolic form of the universe. Thus, through the medium of the kalash we are made aware of all the gods in one place, at one time and in one symbol. 
Likewise, the pyramids, the distinct geometry and symmetrical design of the kalash play an important role in storage and dissemination of natural energy currents. It is the kalash, which crowns the Vedic temple. Its size and positioning adjust the height of the building to a proportion consistent with the specific Vedic plan for the structure. This is aimed at adjusting the environment for a holistic living; with more energy, more joy, and increasing success. 

In the study of temple architecture, we always come across the term Kalash. It is top most part of a temple, above the shikhar which exactly looks like kalash. It is a belief among the people that the construction of the temple is very auspicious and it is completed only after the construction of kalash at the end on the top of it. 

Installing kalash is a very simple religious act which can be performed by all as an option for all tedious religious practices. On the other hand, it is a symbol of all gods, creation, knowledge, and wisdom. Hence the kalash is holy and pure.

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