Prana Prathistha: Consecration of Divine Energy in Hindu Deities – PART II
In Prana Pratistha, utmost importance is given to the “mula-mantra,” which can be translated as the fundamental mantra that is characteristic of a particular divinity. The process also involves invoking one by one, the specific energies in various “indriyas” of the idol using “nyasa.” To rouse each of the sensory faculties of the idol, the hymns and gestures engaged by the priest are meaningful and imply the same basic symbolism: which is infusing life energy into the Pratima (deity). Such an idol built of earthly material, now rightly called a deity becomes a sublime element of astral intelligence, a direct vehicle of the supernal cosmic energy capable of answering multitude prayers, healing ailments and granting boons to millions of devotees and disciples.
It is also worth noting that invocation performed is contingent on whether the deity thus consecrated is “cala” (temporary) or “acala” (timeless). If the deity is “acala,” the divinity is invoked to remain in the Pratima forever, analogous to “till the sun and the moon exist.” If the deity is “cala,” the divinity is requested to stay in it until the duration of the puja. In either process, the mechanism thus enables the priest to identify himself with the “ParamAtman,” the Supreme Lord, Omnipresent and the All-pervading, Creator and Sustainer of all things. The temple is also now coined as “Jivamandira,” meaning living temple of the divinity.
Science Behind Prana Pratistha. After completion of the prana-prathistha process, the deities in temples become a bundle of spiritual energy and are exposed for public veneration. The consecrated idol is looked upon as a “live” Supreme Being and not as a mere statue. The priest who consecrated the deity becomes the guardian of the murthi. The deity is ritually worshiped with numerous norms and practices including symbolically being retired at sunset just like a guest retiring to bed, and then woken up at sunrise with pleasantries, washing, offering of fresh clothes, food and interaction with the devotees. Over a period of time, faith and surrender with which collective crowd of devotees visit the temple makes the idol infused with celestial energy.
A pertinent question, however, that often summons the human mind is: “How can a mantra evoke the divine energy into an idol?” Simplistically penned, we can say that when the priest invokes the almighty in one of his forms and solicits Him to become present in the “murthi”; he ritualistically attunes himself on the exact energy wavelength of the divinity, receives the supreme vibrations and infuses them in the idol.
This process can also be scientifically understood by taking into consideration one of Einstein’s key contributions: the equation that underpins the fact that the fundamental element of the universe is energy: E=mc2. Quoting Einstein’s words: “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter. Even the solid rock is a form of pulsating energy and has as much energy as the roaring ocean. The waves that are arising in the solid rock cannot be seen because they are very subtle, but the rock is waving, pulsating, breathing; it is alive.”
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