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Thread: First Temple Visit

  1. #1
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    First Temple Visit

    I've read a decent amount about religions, but I know reading is no substitute for going out and experiencing. I went to a Hindu temple for the first time on Sunday. I felt it touched my soul in a way nothing else had, but at the same time I was terrified.
    I was so lost. I guess a Hindu temple is about the most foreign place I've ever been in, where the social norms are unknown. I went in the, er...main temple part of the temple(There were other rooms. I'm not so sure on terminology), after much hesitation, and sat in the back watching. After everything was over, some girls did come and talked to me, but I had so much nervousness it was hardly a meaningful conversation.
    I'd like to try doing some of the things there, but I don't want to cause any disrespect, to people or deities. I brought an apple I thought I might offer, but I was so uncertain about everything it just stayed in my purse the whole time. I think I'd like to go earlier next time to ask questions from a priest, but I don't even know what to ask. I've had this feeling of despair since Sunday that I'll never understand everything well enough, or find acceptance among the people(even with nothing really to suggest it).
    Has anyone else felt lost like this?
    What kind of etiquette is there at temples?
    Or I'd love to hear any general tips. I did read through a bunch of the threads in this section, but I'll probably need anything anyone has to say ^^; Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Re: First Temple Visit

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine View Post
    I've read a decent amount about religions, but I know reading is no substitute for going out and experiencing. I went to a Hindu temple for the first time on Sunday.
    I felt it touched my soul in a way nothing else had, but at the same time I was terrified.
    I was so lost. I guess a Hindu temple is about the most foreign place I've ever been in, where the social norms are unknown. I went in the, er...main temple part of the temple(There were other rooms. I'm not so sure on terminology), after much hesitation, and sat in the back watching. After everything was over, some girls did come and talked to me, but I had so much nervousness it was hardly a meaningful conversation.
    I'd like to try doing some of the things there, but I don't want to cause any disrespect, to people or deities. I brought an apple I thought I might offer, but I was so uncertain about everything it just stayed in my purse the whole time. I think I'd like to go earlier next time to ask questions from a priest, but I don't even know what to ask. I've had this feeling of despair since Sunday that I'll never understand everything well enough, or find acceptance among the people(even with nothing really to suggest it).
    Has anyone else felt lost like this?
    What kind of etiquette is there at temples?
    Or I'd love to hear any general tips. I did read through a bunch of the threads in this section, but I'll probably need anything anyone has to say ^^; Thank you.
    Namaste,

    It was a good first visit to the temple so be happy.
    It touched your soul that is what good to think about. Terrified, because it was your first visit. Slowly slowly you will get familiar with temple atmosphere. When you visit next time, do ask to Panditji/priest that you have apple/any fruit/flower to offer to GOD. Go with faith and emotion and devotion, you will feel really good and with His grace someone will be there to make you feel comfortable.
    Namaskar,

    AmIHindu ?

    यज्ञानां जपयज्ञोऽस्मि ।

    नाम्नोऽस्ति यावती शक्तिः पापनिर्हरणे हरेः । श्र्वपचोऽपि नरः कतुँ क्षमस्तावन्नकिल्विषम् ।।

  3. #3
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    Re: First Temple Visit

    Vannakkam Elaine: I'm really glad you walked the walk, and visited a Hindu temple. As far as protocol goes, for a first visit, you did the right thing: observed. We learn so much from that process.

    But protocol really varies from temple to temple, so perhaps in the spirit of us helping you, you could share the name of the temple, and/or website.

    Usually (but not always) in front of the main shrine or altar, there is a place to put offerings. The norm is to place the offering, and then kneel, or prostrate. (Full out for men, on knees for women, with head to floor, but again depending on the temple.)

    As you noticed, Hindus aren't all out gung-ho welcoming. Humility and the fact we don't proseltyse aids this. Many Hindus are really there just to see God, offer a few prayers, etc. Its not really about the people. So if you felt 'something' then that's great. You just discovered for yourself the real purpose of a Hindu temple.

    Best wishes, and do ask us questions.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Last edited by Eastern Mind; 09 September 2011 at 02:15 PM.

  4. #4

    Re: First Temple Visit

    Namaste Elaine,

    I started my journey into Hinduism about a year and a half ago. When I visited a Hindu temple for the first time, it was a big culture shock to me. I was not sure of what to do when at a temple like that. I got to know and become friends with a white Hindu priest at the temple and a middle-aged Indian, and they helped me to be more familar with procedure of the temple. But, don't be scared, you will eventally get the hang of things. Just ask someone there for help and I am sure you will learn in no time. If you need more advice and help...feel free to ask me!

    ~Jai Shree Krishna & Many Blessings to you~
    -AASHNA DEVI SHUKLA- ॐ नमस्ते / ॐ नमः शिवाय

  5. #5
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    Re: First Temple Visit

    Thank you. It's nice to have people to talk about it with. I felt a little silly after making this post last night, but I guess that's because my emotions let up after the relief of writing it.
    I went here http://www.hindutemplehr.org/. I don't think it says anything about protocol for this temple though.
    I do know one person at the temple, actually. When I first looked at the website I was surprised to see the name of one of my professors. But I wonder if maybe it's awkward to have these two different parts of his life intersect. I didn't see him on Sunday though, but...I guess I'll find out eventually.
    I'm gonna go again Sunday, a little earlier before things start to ask questions.
    One thing I noticed was a lot of people were coming and going. I'm guessing it's normal for people to be there for only part of things?

  6. #6
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    Re: First Temple Visit

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine View Post
    Thank you. It's nice to have people to talk about it with. I felt a little silly after making this post last night, but I guess that's because my emotions let up after the relief of writing it.
    I went here http://www.hindutemplehr.org/. I don't think it says anything about protocol for this temple though.
    I do know one person at the temple, actually. When I first looked at the website I was surprised to see the name of one of my professors. But I wonder if maybe it's awkward to have these two different parts of his life intersect. I didn't see him on Sunday though, but...I guess I'll find out eventually.
    I'm gonna go again Sunday, a little earlier before things start to ask questions.
    One thing I noticed was a lot of people were coming and going. I'm guessing it's normal for people to be there for only part of things?
    I realize this is an old post, but I JUST left this temple--I moved from Hampton Roads to Michigan 2 weeks ago. I've been a little "home-sick" (although VA wasn't really my "home"), and it was nice to read the post and recognize my old temple being discussed.

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