Hindu temples are the earthly homes of the vast pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, there are said to be three hundred and thirty three million forms of the One Supreme Being. The plurality of Gods is perceived as a divine manifestation of that One Being. Just as a Ray of Light emerges from a prism in a range of colors, Hindus worship many Gods as varicolored forms of the Truth.
Temples in India are generally built to honor One presiding deity and devotees go to worship at the temple of their chosen deity. Such temples may have one or a few other deities, usually the temples have a shrine for just one deity. In America, according to some accounts, there is one temple for every 15,000 Hindus in the U.S. That means accommodation of the different styles and focus of worship needs to be made. Most temples here have multiples deities to satisfy the spiritual needs of the wide range of devotees. Traditionally all Hindus as soon as they enter a temple do a “sasthanga namaskar” – a complete bow to the deity- to shed one’s ego and thereby become equal “jeevatmas” in front of God.
The Hindu temple of Hartford, Connecticut unifies its full range of members by including many of the main manifestations of the One Supreme Being. Here you will find deities that are worshiped by most Hindus. The purpose of these deities is to aid in one’s spiritual development and is symbolic of the different aspects of the one God. They are, rather, different representations of particular aspects of the one god, the Source, known as Brahman. The “human” or physical representation of Brahman’s aspects or attributes in the form of deities is a vehicle for the devotee to focus his or her attention, devotion or meditation.
The image only becomes ” murti”, an embodiment of Brahman, through a special act of consecration when it is installed in the temple or home. It then becomes a focal point for worship. There is a range of views within Hinduism about images of the deities. Most accept that within the context of worship they meditate the presence of Brahman/ the particular deity and help the worshiper to visualize the One Supreme Being.
To learn more about each deity in this temple please click on the respective names below.
©2015-16 Sri Satyanarayana Swamy Temple (Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Society)