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  1. Padmhasinni T

    July 15, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Could I have the link for your observations on NaradiyaSiksha Music and Date of the text please

  2. Suresh G

    August 5, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Dear sir why sun light is NOT allowed permanently in Garbha Girha – south Indian temples?
    ( except some few moments in some temples)

    is it because its like Womb or allowing sun light will affect the construction/stability of Vimana & supporting walls?
    i want to know the scientific & Spiritual reason for this?

    please reply. Thanks

    • sreenivasaraos

      August 6, 2020 at 4:37 am

      Dear Sri Suresh

      Thank you for the visit; and; for the question.

      The Garbagriha is the very purpose of the temple.

      All the detailed architecture that surrounds it is rather supplementary. A temple may have a very elaborate grandiose series of enclosures filled with most intricate decorative sculptures and pillars etc. However, all that is of no avail in the absence of a small cubical of low roof, with no windows, except for the front opening.

      But, it is here, in this cubical the principle deity resides. The magnificent temple is built in celebration of the glory and splendour of one who sits, virtually hidden, in a small place.

      The layout of the temple follows the principle of progressive movement, in stages, from the gross towards the subtlest. The outer Gopurs are gaudy, filled with the figures of varieties of animals, demons and gods etc. The Mantapas that follow leading towards the sanctum get progressively simpler.

      And, the light coming from outside gets comparatively dimmer; and, ensures that by the time the pilgrim reaches the innermost chamber , the Garbagriha, her/his eyes slowly become accustomed to the darkness.

      Further, the sculpture and carvings at the doors and the vicinity of the Garbagriha are simple, modest and not so exuberant as to distract the attention of the devotee. Absolute quiet is ensured in the vicinity of the sanctum.

      Further, the only light entering into that part of the temple falls on the deity. The oil lamps that illumine the deity enhance the ambiance of serenity and peace.

      This is based on the faith that when a worshiper is in the presence of the divine, there should be nothing to distract his/her senses, including vision. One should only sense the presence of god.

      Symbolically, the devotee’s movement from the outer to the inner reaches of the temple is, at once, physical, psychological and spiritual. At each stage she/ he gradually moves from the gross to the subtle, leaving behind other thoughts and preoccupations. And, finally one is in the immediate presence of the representation of the Supreme Being.

      The entire gamut of the temple architecture simulates the Tantra ideology crystallized in the design and the principle of the Sri Chakra.

      Here, the Sadhaka moves ,step-by-step ,from the outer enclosure of the physical elements towards the innermost enclosure , passing through successive enclosures, symbolizing ascent through various levels of his consciousness . As one proceeds inward from the outermost enclosure the devotee’s thoughts are slowly refined; and the association of ideas is gradually freed from the constraints of conventional reality that normally surround one.

      And, at the center of Sri Chakra is the Bindu, the almost invisible dimensionless dot representing the energy and the transcendental aspect of the Devi.

      In all its elaborately layered structure, it is this Bindu that alone in reality is the Sri Chakra, symbolizing the Mother Goddess.

      Similar is the case with the structure of the temple.

      Some say; when one is in the presence of the deity seated in the Garbagriha one reaches into ones inner space and is reborn from its womb , transformed by the grace of the Divinity that in the inner most Avarana of the temple, the Garbagriha.


      All this sounds, I agree, highly ethereal. I was just trying restate, in a simple way, what the Texts laid out painstakingly in great detail. I am not sure, the concepts of light, darkness, silence etc., are given any credence in the recently built temples.

      Incidentally, I may mention, many researchers have studied the element of Darkness in religious places. You may, perhaps, be interested in reading one such paper : ’ A Study of Light/Darkness in Sacred Settings’ by Anat Geva and Anuradha Mukherji.

      Click to access ijac20075304.content.pdf

      The authors of this paper also mention

      Another interesting conclusion can be drawn. The reduction level of light quality in the temple also contributes to the thermal comfort in the building.Thick walls, small windows, and reduced light maintain cool and dry conditions for better thermal comfort in the hot humid climate of Southern India

      Thus, the Hindu worshipers are not distracted visually or thermally enabling to focus one’s mind on God.


      The other point you mentioned is also covered here

      Stay safe, healthy and happy

      Cheers and Regards

  3. baanisartpoint

    August 11, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Hi, You seem to be well versed with the history of our vedic art. I had a query regarding the iconography used for Kerala mural painting.
    Would you by any chance know of a link where I can get an image of the ancient Dhyana Sloka scriptures used by the kerala muralists for the paintings. Thanks in advance. Regards

    • sreenivasaraos

      August 12, 2020 at 4:04 am

      Dear Bp

      Thank you for the visit

      The Dhyana Shlokas – word pictures, describing the iconography of a deity are culled out of numerous sources , such as Puranas, Gitas and Shilpa texts etc.

      One can choose a particular shloka depending upon its suitability in the context of the proposed image , with regard to its features, its Ayudhas and its disposition.

      As regards the Murals of Kerala

      Please do read

      The Legacy of Chitrasutra – Twelve – The Murals of Kerala


      • baanisartpoint

        August 13, 2020 at 5:44 am

        Thank you so much for the information. I really appreciate it.

  4. Harikumar

    August 12, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Dear sir.,
    Your article on Sankhya is wonderful with lot of details and pramanas.

    I have one question.

    You have quoted the svetasvatara upanishad 5.2 which talks about Safe Kapilan.

    What is the translation of the complete mantra?

    There are some commentaries who say this mantra refer to hiranyagarbha.

    But in the vishnu sahasranamam bhagya both sankara and parasara bhatta quote this mantra;

    while commenting on the names maharishi kapilacharya.

    Please give your views on this

    • sreenivasaraos

      August 13, 2020 at 8:11 am

      Dear Harikumar

      Thank you for the visit; and, for reading it closely

      That was a good question.

      The Shvetasvatara Upanishad, one of the older Upanishads, is a versatile text. It, at once, can be adopted into many Schools of Indian philosophies (Darshana). It is therefore quoted by all the branches of Vedanta.

      But, at the same time, it is said to be more oriented towards Samkhya. And, certain verses can also be related to the Sage Kapila.

      Now, as regards the translation of the verse 2 of Chapter 5 of Shvetasvatara Upanishad :

      yo yoniṃ yonim adhitiṣṭhaty eko viśvāni rūpāṇi yonīś ca sarvāḥ / ṛṣiṃ prasūtam kapilam yas tam agre jñānair bibharti jāyamānaṃ ca paśyet // 5.2 //

      It is generally translated as:

      He alone presides over Nature in all aspects, and controls every form and every cause of production. He witnesses the birth of the first born seer of golden colour and nourishes him with wisdom. [Chapter 5 – Verse- 2)

      In certain versions, the term Kapila is said to mean color.

      And, in certain other versions Kapila is said to refer to one whose colour is golden –like tawny (Kanaka-Kapila –Varna), the sage who is identical with Hiranyagarbha.

      The Mahabharata (Shanti Parva 349.65,) states: “Kapila, the teacher of Samkhya, is said to be the supreme Rishi. Hiranyagarbha is the original knower of Yoga. There is no one else more ancient.”

      sárhkhyasya vaktā kapilah paramarsih Sa u Cyate, hiranyagarbho yogasya vettà nányah purātanah

      Elsewhere in the Mahabharata (Shanti Parva 342.95-96), Krishna states, identifying himself with Hiranyagarbha: “As my form, carrying the knowledge, eternal and dwelling in the Sun, the teachers of Samkhya, who have discerned what is important, call me Kapila. As the brilliant Hiranyagarbha, who is lauded in the verses of the Vedas, ever worshiped by Yoga, so I am also remembered in the world.’

      Thus, Kapila – Hiranyagarbha is regarded as the originator of the Yoga Shastra as also of Samkhya.


      And, at the same time, Sage Kapila is said to be an Avatara of Vishnu as Kapila Vasudeva.

      The main Purpose of Lord Vishnu’s incarnation as sage Kapila was to compile all the divine knowledge that had been destroyed and to teach this world Samkhya Shastra .

      They all are running round in circles ; and , eventually : Kapila- Hranyagarbha- Avatara of Vishnu, the Kapila Vasudeva – Originator of Yoga – of Samkhya – all run into each other.

      That might perhaps be the reason that Kapila is called by some as Hiranyagarbha

      Some classical Yoga traditions consider Hiraṇyagarbha as the originator of Yoga; though this may also be a name for Rishi Kapila, the one who also enunciated the Samkhya theories.

      I think, in the given context, it would be safer to take Kapila- Hiranyagarbha- Kapila Vasudeva- the teacher of Samkhya and Yoga – all referring to a same person.

      I am not sure if I have clarified; or, have muddled the issue further.

      Please let me know

      Please click here for a detailed discussion on Verse 2 of Chapter 5 of Shvetasvatara Upanishad , on pages 105- 110 of the book Essays On Indo-Aryan Mythology– by Sri Narayana Ayyangar (1901)

      Stay safe, healthy and happy


  5. Bala Parasuraman

    August 20, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Dear Sir,

    Namaskarama…Sairam. I have a question and was hoping you could guide me. There is a line that comes in the Dhyana Sloka 4th chapter of Devimahatmayam. I am looking for the meaning for the line “Om Kalabrabham…” Can you please let me know the meaning of the word Kalabrabham?


    • sreenivasaraos

      August 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Dear Bala

      Can you please quote the line a little more or in full

      Kindly also check the spelling

      Please let me know


      • Bala Parasuraman

        August 20, 2020 at 7:11 pm

        Dear Sir,

        Please see below.

        “Om Kaalaprabham Kadaksha Rari Kula Bayadhaam…” Unfortunately, I am unable to copy and paste the lines in this comment box. If you can share your contact details, I can send you a copy of the sloka.


    • sreenivasaraos

      August 21, 2020 at 3:27 am

      Dear Bala

      I think you are referring to the following Sloka

      Chapter 4- caturdho ̕dhyāyaḥ- dhyānaṃ

      oṃ kālābhrābhāṃ kaṭākṣair-ari-kula-bhayadāṃ maulibaddhendu-rekhām । śaṅkhaṃ cakraṃ kṛpāṇāṃ triśikhamapi karairud-vahantīṃ trinetrām ॥ siṃha-skandhādhi-rūḍhāṃ tribhuvanam-akhilaṃ tejasā pūrayantīm । dhyāyed durgāṃ jayākhyāṃ tridaśa-parivṛtāṃ sevitāṃ siddhi-kāmaiḥ ॥

      The meaning as given in the page is as under

      We meditate upon the terrifying form of the Divine Mother Jaya Durgā Devī, seated on a menacing lion and radiating a dark complexion resembling that of a rain-laden dark cloud. She holds a trident/śūla, cakra/discus, sword/kṛpāṇa and a conch. She has the lustre of a moon and has three eyes (elevated ājñā cakra). Her terrifying glance is enough to invoke great fear in the minds of enemies. She has a bandana on Her head with a crescent moon shining forth. She is resplendent in Her glory that radiates upon all the three realms. The Divine Mother should be prayed to, if one is keen upon achieving all round victory in all the three realms and for attaining the most difficult of siddhis.

      Stay safe, healthy and happy

      Gauri and Ganesha greetings

      May the Mother of Ganesha bless us all


      • Bala Parasuraman

        August 21, 2020 at 4:49 pm

        Dear Sir,

        Thanks very much for the details. Could you please point me to the exact meaning of the word ‘Kaalabrabam’ in this sloka? Also, if you could let me know the root word for this?


      • sreenivasaraos

        August 22, 2020 at 12:10 am

        Dear Bala

        The term ‘Kālābhrābhāṃ ‘ refers to the Devi Durga who is radiant like a dark rain-laden dark cloud


        There is a detailed discussion on this Dhyana-Sloka starting from page 248 of the enclosed document at

        Click to access kvp_2014.pdf

        Happy Ganesha


      • Bala Parasuraman

        August 24, 2020 at 3:40 pm

        Fantastic. Thanks very much for your inputs.


  6. S. Girish

    August 24, 2020 at 6:37 am

    Hello sir,

    Hope you are doing well and are safe. Me along with a friend of mine were researching on the concept of Ardhanarishvara. We had a few questions:

    1. What is scriptural origin of the concept ?

    2. How does the idea evolve with the evolutuion of the religious literature (like from the vedic to the puranic era to the classical era and so on) ?

    3. Can you point us to some studies which discuss the idea and related concepts in some depth.

    • sreenivasaraos

      August 24, 2020 at 3:11 pm

      Dear Girish

      Thank you for the visit

      I suggest ; you may initially read the following post

      Please also glance through the comments section

      In case there are any other particular issues

      we may get back together

      Stay safe healthy and happy


      • S. Girish

        August 24, 2020 at 5:29 pm

        Thank You, sir.

        Will get back to you if anything else is needed.

        By the way, the materials you provided a few months back for my cousin’s project on Natya Mandapas were of great use. Accept our gratitude.

        Your blog is the greatest treasure trove of Indic information that I know of. I have never seen your face but the work speaks volumes.

        I along with some of my juniors run a quizzing and knowledge dissemination company/startup and we are always in awe of your colossal body of work. The versatility you maintain is amazing.

        We would like to have a discussion session with you someday, with your permission.

        Thank You for creating this body of work.


    September 4, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Dear sir,

    Your blog is a very informative and highly educative treasure trove of our Sanatana Dharma and culture. May God bless you in all walks of your life. I am a huge fan of our temples especially south Indian temples and temple sculptures. I have some questions.
    Why the karanas of Natya Shastra are depicted only in a few temples especially depicted in south Indian temples?
    Why the North Indian temples have deities made of marbles rather than stone?
    Why Ramanuja brought the Pancharatra agamas to Sri Rangam temple? Which agama was followed in Sri Rangam temple before Ramanuja?

    • sreenivasaraos

      September 28, 2020 at 5:31 am

      Dear Shri Srikanth Ragunath

      Pardon me for the delay in responding to your comments/questions.
      You have raised four separate issues.

      1. Why the Karanas of Natya Shastra are depicted only in a few temples especially depicted in south Indian temples?
      2. Why the North Indian temples have deities made of marbles rather than stone?
      3. Why Sri Ramanuja brought the Pancharatra agamas to Sri Rangam temple?
      4. Which Agama was followed in Sri Rangam temple before Sri Ramanuja?

      These issues need some explanation

      Let’s go one by one.


      To start with, as regards your question:

      1. Why the Karanas of Natya Shastra are depicted only in a few temples; especially depicted in south Indian temples?


      A Karana is a basic unit of dance, constructed of well coordinated static postures and dynamic movements. The Karana, just as in architecture is , indeed, the factor, which characterizes the form of beauty through the perfect geometrical proportions, and harmonious composition of various body-parts. The sense of balance, ease and poise is the key.

      Since the Karanas epitomize the beauty of form; and, symbolize the concept of aesthetics, they served as models for the artist; and, inspired them to create sculptures of lasting beauty. The sculptors (Shilpis) regarded the Karanas as the vital breath (Prana) of their Art. The much admired wondrous Indian sculptures are, indeed, the frozen forms of Karanas; poems in stone
      Obviously, it is neither easy nor possible to carve such beautiful and well sculptures depicting the Karanas on each and every temple pillar. It does take a gifted and highly skilled Shilpin who is well versed both in the art of sculpture and in the art of Dance. Such talented Shilpins are not too many; and, are indeed hard to come by.

      And, therefore, each and every temple cannot have Karanas of Natya Shastra or the graceful Salabhanjikas depicted on their pillars.
      As regards the sculptures; every region and period produced its own distinct style of images with its regional variations in iconography. The temple is covered with elaborate sculpture and ornament that form a fundamental part of its conception.

      Similar is the case with the Karanas; for instance, the temples of Nagara style (Konarak, Khajuraho etc.,) have their own sets of Dancing imagery.


    • sreenivasaraos

      September 28, 2020 at 5:36 am

      Dear Shri Srikanth Ragunath

      Now , the second question

      2. Why the North Indian temples have deities made of marbles rather than stone?

      Usually, the images of the deities in the temples of South India are made out of locally available granite rock which is naturally black in color. They are intrinsically capable of resisting abrasion; are inert to weathering; are strong enough to bear massive weight; and are , also amenable to accepting a brilliant polish. The images made of such granite stones have a comparatively longer life and are highly durable.

      This might be the reason why granite is used; and, why most of the idols are black in South Indian temples. Such stone images do not get eroded easily or get discolored due to the materials used in Abhisheka (water, milk, curd, honey, turmeric and sandal).

      Another reason for not using Marble in the older temples of South India, where the sanctum is not lit, the Marble gets quickly discolored (due to application of vermilion, turmeric, lamp sooth). Hence it’s not the choice especially were the sanctum is not lit .

      In all the South Indian temples, the image of the main deity (Mula-Vigraha) is made of stone. And, it stays permanently within the sanctum. The mobile image of that presiding deity (Utsava-Vigraha) used for ceremonial purposes; and, for processions around the temple complex; and, also for carrying it outside for car-festival (Rathotsava) and other processions – are made of Pancha-loha , an alloy of five types of metals (gold, silver, copper, iron, lead).

      Having said that let me also mention that in not all the South Indian temples, the image of the principal deity (Moolavar) is made of stone. There are instances where, the images were made of wood etc.; and were later replaced by stone images. For instance; in the temple of Kanchi Varadaraja, the image of the main deity was of wood; and, was later replaced by that of stone.

      Similarly, Thiruvanathapuram Padmanabha Swamy image was later replaced by another image made of a special mix called katusarkara yogam.

      One ancient temple that still has a wood deity is in Thirukovilur, Tamil Nadu, which has a imposing 12(approx) feet high deity of Trivikrama with one foot raised.

      The Marikamba at Sirsi in Karnataka is made of wood.

      Sri Siddhi Vinayaka in Bombay ( technically , in one of the Pancha-Dravida -Desha) is also made of wood

      Bangaru Kamakshi of Tanjavur is made of solid gold.

      The images in some of the older temples, in South India, are made from Panchaloha (metal compound).

      There is a rare case of the white-looking Ganesha idol – Swetha Vinayakar or Vellai Vinayakar. The Kabardeeswarar temple is situated in the village of Thiruvalanchuli, near Swamimalai in Kumbakonam Taluk of Thanjavur district. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Shaiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil poet saints known as the Nayanars ; and, is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.

      Further, the temple architecture is also defined in terms of the regional and cultural traditions. And, it also gets modified from time to time.

      And nowadays, due to the availability of Marble, some newly made South Indian temple idols are also made of marble and are white in color.

      As regards the temples in the North India, the images, nowadays, are generally made of white marble.

      But , this also cannot be generalized; because , the Lingams and Idols in North India have also been built using Salagrama-shila of black color. The Lingams in the ancient temples of Mahakala in Ujjain; the Lingam at Kedarnath deep in the Himalayas; Somanath in Gujarat; and, many others are made of rare types of granite stones.

      Even in regard the images of the other deities in the older temples of North India; they were made of granite stones. For instance; like the images in the temples of Badarinath in Uttarakhand; Dwaraka in Gujarat; Govind Dev (Jaipur); Radharamana (Vrndavan); Srinathji (Nathadwar); Mathureshji (Kota), Vaishnodevi (Himachal); Omkareshwar and many others are made of black stone.

      The marble came into much use since the medieval times, when Marble quarries were worked upon in North India (esp. Rajasthan). And, it was easier for transportation; and, stones were also imported from nearby countries.


    • sreenivasaraos

      September 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm

      Dear Sri Srikanth Ragunath

      The other two questions you raised were related to Pancha-ratra Agama and Sri Ramanuja.

      3. Why Sri Ramanuja brought the Pancharatra agamas to Sri Rangam temple?
      4. Which Agama was followed in Sri Rangam temple before Sri Ramanuja?

      The two major Agama traditions of the Vaishnava doctrine are Vaikhanasa and Pancharatra.
      The Vaikhanasa Agama is regarded as the older of the two. The Pancharatra Agama is said to date back to the first century of the Common Era. Pancharathra claims its origin from Sriman Narayana himself.

      For more on the Vaikhanasa, Pancharatra Agamas; and the differences between the two traditions, please check the following links:

      In the South India, Sri Yamunacharya (917-1042), the preceptor of the shrine at Srirangam, was the first to accord scriptural validity to the Pancharatra doctrine (Agama). In his text Agama-pramanyam, Sri Yamunacharya established the Pancharatra doctrine on the basis of the Upanishads (Agama); and, brought it under the Aupanishada tradition; thus giving a completely new scope for the theistic Vedanta.

      The other texts related to the Pancharatra Agama are Parameswara Samhita, a commentary on Paushkara Samhita; and, Ahirbuddhnya Samhita

      With the advent of Sri Ramanuja as the organizer of temple administration at Srirangam Temple, the Vaikhanasa system of worship lost its prominence and gave place to the more liberal Pancharatra system.

      Sri Ramanuja permitted participation of lower castes and ascetics, the Sanyasins (who were not placed highly in the Vaikhanasa scheme) in temple services. He also expanded the people participation in other areas too with the introduction of Uthsavas, celebrations, festivals, Prayers etc. This change spread to other Vaishnava temples particularly in Tamil Nadu. From the end of the tenth century the Pancharatra became the dominant temple-worship-tradition in South India.

      It was explained that while the Srauta and Smarta rituals of the Vedas were intended for the intellectuals, the Pancharatra was given to ordinary people who longed to worship with heart full of devotion and absolute surrender to the will of God.

      I trust this would do for the present



    September 7, 2020 at 6:26 am

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks very much for the details. Could you please point me to the exact meaning of the word “వేదాంతశాస్త్రం”, Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. i want English and Telugu books ? Hindu religious books?

    • sreenivasaraos

      September 17, 2020 at 5:27 am

      Dear Shri Reddy Garu

      Vedanta is one of the world’s most ancient spiritual philosophies and one of its broadest, based on the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India. It is the philosophical foundation of India; And, Vedanta is also universal in its application and is equally relevant to all countries, all cultures, and all religious backgrounds.

      There are innumerable books in various languages about Vedanta. It is hard to pinpoint and recommend a particular text.

      You may perhaps start with the following two pages ; and, then branch off to your own preferences.

      Have a Great Day Sir

      with Regards and respects

  9. Ravindra

    October 8, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Dear Sir, Namaste.

    Really this is a wonderful blog. I am so much impressed. I need a clarification from you Sir.

    Is there any particular dimension for garbhagruha? I mean any proportion between its length, width and height?

    Hope to hear from you Sir.

    One more thing: the whole blog is in english. I would like to convert these useful and valuable materials to kannada. Will you please permit me?




    October 9, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for answering my questions.


    October 23, 2020 at 7:32 am

    Dear Sir Namaskaram,

    I have a doubt, In all the Yagna ceremonies we invoke the Vedic deities such as Agni, Indra, Varuna, Vayu, etc.. How come these Vedic deities doesn’t have any temples specifically for them? How did the triad of Trimurti ( Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) and Tridevi worship come? Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita says that He is the one to be known in all the Vedas and Vedanta, however, Krishna is not mentioned in Vedas?

    • sreenivasaraos

      October 23, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Dear Shri Raghunath

      Please read the following two articles.
      These might help you to gain a better understanding of the things in question



        October 27, 2020 at 3:52 am

        Dear Sir Namaskaram,

        Thank you for answering. It was a very enlightening article and I got my answer to the question. Please share your biodata as I cannot open your complete bio. I am doing a Ph.D. in Physics and I am always interested in knowing our Sanatana culture which is linking science and religion. Hence please continue your works as it will enlighten people who are keen on exploring our forgotten roots of knowledge. As Vijayadasami is also known for Madhwa Navami, please post some articles on Madhvacharya, Dvaita Philosophy, and Sri Ragavendra Theertharu.


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