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Thread: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

  1. #1

    First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Hi everyone!

    So I've been curious about Hinduism for some time. I have family members that are Hindu (my family is part Indian-Guyanese), and I've always wondered about that part of my heritage, and I've been feeling a stronger "pull" towards it lately, especially as I ponder the truth claims of my current faith (Mormonism, and Christianity in general).

    Anyway, we have a Hindu temple here in NYC, in Queens. I'd like to visit one of these days to see what it's like. I've never been to a Hindu temple before, so I'm not sure what etiquette to follow, what to do, what not to do, etc. Is it okay for me to visit "just to see"? I'm also nervous since I'm wondering if people would "stare" because, I physically look more African American/Dominican than anything else, and I'm assuming that Hinduism, at least at this time, is still overwhelmingly South Asian in makeup, so some may be curious about why I'm there (again, assumptions).

    Any help would be appreciated!

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    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Vannakkam: Welcome to these forums. The Ganesha temple there is one of the nicest temples in America. You are lucky. I've been there once a long time ago.

    Here is a link to a guide to visiting a Hindu temple for the first time. If it doesn't answer your questions, ask away.

    http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules...php?itemid=464

    Aum Namasivaya

  3. #3

    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: Welcome to these forums. The Ganesha temple there is one of the nicest temples in America. You are lucky. I've been there once a long time ago.

    Here is a link to a guide to visiting a Hindu temple for the first time. If it doesn't answer your questions, ask away.

    http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules...php?itemid=464

    Aum Namasivaya
    Thanks, that was definitely helpful.

    So what if I just would like to go to see and be "passive"? I'm not at a point where I'd feel comfortable participating in any rituals. Is that okay?

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    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Namaste MormonGuy,

    Eastern Mind has given good advice, as he typically does. I, too, have visited that Ganesha temple on one occasion. I have reason to know that a person of your physical self-description need not hesitate to visit that place. In response to your query, I have sent a private message with further suggestions.

    My very best wishes.

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    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Namaste Mormonguy.

    Ganasha wants to see your beauty with His eyes. Please go to the temple immediately without delay.

    Om Namah Sivaya

  6. #6

    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    SO, I'm planning on going to the Ganesha temple in Queens, NYC this Friday!

    I won't lie, I'm still nervous, since I'm going by myself. Thanks to those that suggested going to one of the smaller temples in the city, and I certainly will, however I feel drawn to go to this temple (maybe because it's bigger?).

    I plan on going, taking off my shoes (and socks?) at the front, then going in, walking/sit around, and observe without doing anything, and I guess seeing how I "feel" while there. Is there a specific time or ritual I should go for to observe?

    Also, what is the purpose of "abhishekam"? I know it refers to pouring milk, honey, etc on the deity image, however why is that done? Is this an offering?

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    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Namaste MormonGuy.

    So happy to hear you will visit Ganesha this week. He was the first Deity to become real for me. I had been to other temples, a couple of them quite regularly, but I never developed that strong love attachment until I visited a certain temple where Lord Ganesha's powerful presence was immediately evident to me.

    So much depends on the heart's destiny. Just like you can't force yourself to fall in love with someone. There has to be an affinity. You may not feel that affinity with any Deity of the Hindu tradition. It remains to be seen. In any case, by going to Hindu temples, you expose yourself to a current of divine love, which will help you wherever and however you are meant to join yourself to God.

    My thoughts about abhishekam (holy bath): We are pouring our love and attention. It is reverential, playful, and beautiful. We feel exhilarated by this way of relating to our Beloved. Also, we are given a spoonful of the Holy Bath to drink (always received in the cupped RIGHT hand, fingers tight to hold the fluid), which we consider to be a sacramental token of our Beloved’s grace and blessings.

    After the bath, the curtains are closed while the priests adorn the Deity with clothes, ornaments, and flowers. Then they open the curtains so everyone can admire the majesty. Next there are further services of adoration, like offering incense and waving ghee lamps. At the end, a camphor lamp is offered, which makes the brightest light, and the devotees pull this light towards themselves, thinking it to be the light of God.

    Sri Ganeshaya namah.
    Last edited by TrikonaBindu; 29 May 2013 at 07:36 PM.

    Mahadeva Smaranam OM namah shivaya
    Mrtyunjayaya rudraya neelakanthaya shambhave
    Amrteshaya sarvaya mahadevaya te namah

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    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by TrikonaBindu View Post
    I visited a certain temple where Lord Ganesha's powerful presence was immediately evident to me.

    Vannakkam: Which temple, if you don't mind me asking?

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Namaste Eastern Mind.

    As your intuition may tell you, it was the temple established by your Gurudeva in San Francisco. That temple was subsequently relocated and then changed hands.

    Sri Ganeshaya namah.

    Mahadeva Smaranam OM namah shivaya
    Mrtyunjayaya rudraya neelakanthaya shambhave
    Amrteshaya sarvaya mahadevaya te namah

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    Re: First Time to Hindu Temple-Guide?

    Quote Originally Posted by TrikonaBindu View Post
    Namaste Eastern Mind.

    As your intuition may tell you, it was the temple established by your Gurudeva in San Francisco. That temple was subsequently relocated and then changed hands.

    Sri Ganeshaya namah.
    Vannakkam: My intuition is generally wrong. But yes, I had been to the one at 3575 Sacramento Street, and more recently in Concord. ShivaFan is familiar with them too. In fact, that's where I first saw Gurudeva, at 3575. But as you might imagine, he had a lot to do with the one here in Edmonton as well, and it's pretty strong too. Most people know its Ganesha's house. He gave a lot of temples a lot of Ganesha murthies to get them started.

    Thanks for answering.

    Aum Namasivaya

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