Saturday, November 11, 2006

Indian temples open to the rising sun in the east

Shukavak N. Dasa says "The operative rule underlying most of Hindu culture is that the light of the sun was used as a symbol for knowledge and consciousness. Vastu-sastra prescribes that temples and homes must open to the rising sun in the east. Temple images should also face the east. Uttarayana, the time of increasing daylight, is considered more auspicious than daksinayana, the time of diminishing daylight. In contrast, death, which is associated with the loss of consciousness, has come to be symbolized by darkness. As the sun is an eternal source of light and so has become a symbol for God and the divine life, so the moon, has become a symbol for the cycle of birth and death. The moon regularly moves between light and darkness. Similarly, the word deva is derived from the Sanskrit root div meaning to shine. The devas are, therefore, "the shining ones." The pitrs, on the other hand, are bathed in the light of the moon and so in this way are distinguished from the gods".


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