Auspicious Beginnings

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Ganesha, babe, my sweet, Ganesh, babe!

Read on:::for mur knowledgey:

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Me, being Shiva as Nataraja, as per usual

Malibu Hindu Temple
Upon arriving at the Malibu Hindu Temple, I was immediately overcome by an immense

sense of amazement. Although I had driven by this temple multiple times, the passing view from my car on the canyon road did not serve the architecture the justice it deserves. Not until I parked and got out of my vehicle was I able to take in all the precise and magnificent details that the Malibu Hindu Temple’s exterior design had to offer. Reflecting back, it was quite a surreal moment, because I had never encountered this type of building during any point in my life, except for in photographs of Hindu temples from around the world in my textbook from class and on the internet. The colors were bright white and lavish gold, adorned with sculpted carvings of Shiva, Vishnu, and Ganesh. Through viewing and visiting this Southern Indian style architecture, known as Dravida, I gained perspective and knowledge on the traditions and culture of India.

Although I was previously aware that visitors must take off their shoes before entering the complex, I did not realize the supreme sacredness and respective nature that this action portrays. At the entrance or gateway, gopura, of the temple, there were signs warning to wear “absolutely no shoes” past a certain point. Through this act and the signs that politely asked visitors to remain silent, I was able to fully enjoy each moment that I had within and throughout the grounds of the temple. While I was at the temple, there were multiple visitors there who

acknowledged me, for most likely looking out of place, but these worshippers did not make me feel uncomfortable. In fact, the other worshippers around me made me feel welcomed. The beauty of the colors surrounding me reminded me much of some popular trends in culture and clothing today. Indian women dressed in bright colored dresses surrounded me and nodded. The silence that I felt there was a peaceful silence that seemed to hold respect for each individual there, whether they were there to spectate or praise their gods.

When walking into the Malibu Hindu Temple’s main hall, I was greeted with scents of incense burning. It took me back to high school, two years ago, when I used to burn incense in my own colorful and tranquil bedroom at home in Texas; this may seem like a petty thing to reminisce on, but living on Pepperdine University’s campus, no incense or candles of any nature are allowed. I enjoyed the fact that all of my five senses were given something to contemplate and feel; it seemed that the temple and religion desired to evoke emotions from all parts of my being, not just my eyes. The Southern Indian building style of Dravida was shown through the small niches or structures that housed individual deities. In front of each of the niches containing deities were offerings from the worshippers that came in many different forms. There were offerings of food and fruit, such as coconut. Also, there were offerings off colored powders. Although I am not Hindu, I did participate in offering something to the deity Ganesh. There were signs of reconstruction throughout the temple grounds, so when I saw a couple of dollars next to other offerings in front of Ganesh, I was not hesitant to offer a couple dollars myself. The temple is mainly dedicated to the god Venkateswara, but it was noted that the lower portion of the temple was dedicated to Vishnu. Overall through visiting the Malibu Hindu Temple, I realized

how the art I learned about in class and that I saw in the temple reinforced the theological ideas associated with the Hindu religion.

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