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Holy Cribs: The Mandir

Length - 08:24
Published - May 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Holy Cribs: The Mandir

Pranathi gives TrueTube a tour of The Shree Ghanapathy Mandir in South London, explaining its most important features and her beliefs as a Hindu.

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices: Hinduism - Different forms of worship: puja and arati - The rituals of puja and arati and their significance for Hindus.

Area of Study 2 – Hinduism - Section 3: Living the Hindu Life - The nature and purpose of prayer in the temple and the home: the nature, features of use and purpose of the different forms of worship, including meditation, puja, havan, darshan, arti, bhajan, kirtan and japa, with reference to interpretations of Bhagavad Gita 6.44–47; divergent understandings of the benefits for Hindus of having different forms of worship.

Component Group 1 - Beliefs and teachings & Practices - Hinduism - Approaching deity •Different Hindu understandings of the role,forms and importance of the following types of worship: •• Havan or homa •• Puja •• Meditation •• Japa •• Bhajan or kirtan •• Darshan • The nature and importance of sacred places and spaces for Hindu worship: •• Temples •• Shrines •• Sites of pilgrimage •• Outdoors •• Hills and rivers

2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Hinduism - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices Worship  Features and importance of daily puja in the home: (Bhagavad Gita 3:19, 4:38)  Features and importance of congregational puja in the mandir (including devotions to the murti, arti and havan)  Diversity in Vaishnavite and Shaivite worship  Significance of bhakti  Role, importance and features of pilgrimage to Varanasi

2.3 Component 3 (Route A) - Option 2: Hinduism - Places of worship in Britain and elsewhere ➢ Features and importance of daily puja in the home ➢ Features and importance of congregational puja in the mandir ➢ Diversity of views and practices: Vaishnava and Shaiva bhakti ➢ Hindu mandirs in Britain compared to those in India ➢ Features and importance of worship at outdoor shrines Worship/meditation ➢ The significance of different forms of worship/meditation; havan, puja, arati, darshan Bhagavad Gita 9.26, bhajan/kirtan, japa: Bhagavad Gita 3.19, 4.38, 6.11–12 ➢ The importance of focuses of worship and representations of the divine; one god, other deities, holy land, plants and animals: Bhagavad Gita 16.24 ➢ Honouring Gurus and elders

Holy Cribs - MANDIR

S1 00:00:15:03

Welcome to the Shree Ghanapathy Temple. My name is Pranathi

and I'm a Hindu. This is a temple or mandir and my dad is one of

the priests here, so it's like a second home to me. We come here

to worship Brahman, the one supreme spirit which we believe

lives in all things. We worship many forms of Brahman, but this

temple is especially dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Traditional

mandirs usually have a gateway or a tower called a gopuram,

which lets you know you're entering a special place. You may also

find a statue of an animal or god outside. This is Ganesha, the

elephant headed god of wisdom. This is the normal entrance for

the mandir. The word mandir comes from the word 'house' in the

ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. We think of the temple as a

home for the deities, what we call the gods and goddesses that

are inside. When we come into the temple, we respect it like you

would when entering the home of a very important person. The

entrance area of the mandir is called an ardhamandapa. It's

where we take off our shoes and leave them in these racks. This

is so we can keep the inside of the building as clean as possible,

as another sign of respect. Also, some girls and women like to

cover their heads when they come into the mandir. As people

enter, they will often ring a bell to announce their arrival, just

like you would ring on someone's doorbell.

Clip: Holy Cribs MANDIR - FINAL EXPORT 16 April 2023.mp4

2 / 4

S1 00:02:10:22

On special occasions, we will open the main doors of the temple

and you'll often see people bending down to touch the steps

before they enter. In India, it's tradition that we touch the feet of

those we respect, and the step represents the feet of the deities.

By the door, this is Bhairavar. He is the protector or guardian of

our temple. This is the mandapa, the main prayer hall of the

mandir. All around the mandapa, there are deities. Each one has

a shrine or vimana, which is a small area of worship. A statue of a

deity is called a murti. We treat them as honoured guests, and so

they are washed, decorated and given offerings of food every day,

as signs of respect to the gods or goddesses they represent. I

said outside that we worship one supreme spirit called Brahman

who was a part of all things. So each one of the deities is

Brahman in human or animal form. They show us many different

ways to understand Brahman. This mandir is dedicated to

Ganesha, but most mandirs will have a murti of Ganesha near the

door. He is a very popular deity because he removes obstacles or

problems in people's lives. This is Shiva with his wife, Parvati. We

also have murtis of Vishnu and we believe he has come to Earth

in different forms. So here he is, as Krishna with Radha. And as

Rama with Sita. Puja is the Hindu name for worship or prayer.

Clip: Holy Cribs MANDIR - FINAL EXPORT 16 April 2023.mp4

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S1 00:03:58:12

A tray is often laid out with various objects to help Hindus in

their worship. Fruit, rice, flowers, water, a lamp, holy ash and

kumkum powder, incense, a bell. There will be items to touch,

taste, smell, hear and look at. All five senses are involved as a

symbol that the whole person is devoted to the deity. Prasad is

food like fruit, nuts or sweets that is offered to the murtis and

then shared out after the puja. We believe that the deities bless

the food during the puja. And so if we eat the prasad we will be

blessed too. Take a sniff. Incense is burned in mandirs to purify

the air, hiding any nasty smells. It also creates an atmosphere

that always makes me think of puja. So it helps me to get in the

right frame of mind to pray. The main shrine at the front of the

mandapa is called a garbha griha, which means womb house. It

symbolises the womb or heart of the body because we believe it

gives life to the whole mandir. Inside the garbha griha will be a

murti of the main deity that the mandir is dedicated to; the deity

that most people come to this mandir to worship, which in our

case is Ganesha. There is a space or corridor around the garbha

griha called the pradakshina. This is so people can walk

clockwise all around it. It shows that just like the shrine is at the

centre of the circle I'm making as I walk around it, Ganesha is at

the centre of my life. Directly above the garbha griha, some

mandirs have a spire on the roof called a shikara, or they might

even have several shikaras above all the different shrines. They

symbolise the Himalayas, the mountains in India, where the

deities were believed to live. In fact, shikara means 'mountain

peak'. Some mandirs have flags, and the colour of the flags show

which deity the mandir is dedicated to. So orange for Shiva and

his family, which includes his son Ganesha; and red and white

stripes for Swaminarayan.

Clip: Holy Cribs MANDIR - FINAL EXPORT 16 April 2023.mp4

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S1 00:06:18:04

Our priests traditionally come from the Brahmin varna, the top

varna or caste in the Indian class system. He's called a pujari,

someone who leads puja. This is the arti ceremony. The pujari

uses a lamp with five wicks to symbolise the five traditional

elements of earth, air, fire, water and space. He waves it in front

of the murtis while chanting a prayer. And people ring bells and

blow a shankha. A shankha or conch is a huge seashell. And if

you blow into it properly, it makes... That sound. The lamp is

blessed by the deities during the arti prayer, and then it's taken

round the mandapa for us to pass our hands over the flames and

then touch our heads to show that we are accepting the deity's


S1 00:07:11:20

Mandirs are usually full of decorations and symbols. This one is

called the Om, which represents Brahman, the one unseen spirit.

The lotus flower grows out of a muddy riverbed to float on the

surface, looking all beautiful. So it symbolises that we should try

to be pure, even when the world around us is often polluted. And

the swastika which represents the sun and God's blessings.

Although this one is often misunderstood because it was used by

the Nazis in the Second World War, it's a shame because the

symbol of blessing was turned into a symbol of hate. But that's

not what it means to me. Many mandirs have a hall or other

rooms attached that can be used for meetings, education,

festivals and lots of other events. And that's it. Thanks for coming

to the Shree Ghanapathy Temple. Don't forget your shoes.

Thanks for coming, guys. Bye.

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