Visual Dimension of Hindu Rituals
India is well known for its rich culture, environment, and is home to some of the most interesting traditions and images. In most countries around the world, people are raised in a household of religion. However, Hindu religion is especially intriguing because of the multitude of deities that exist and the certain aspects which make their religion distinct from others. Hindu rituals are especially enthralling because of Darsan which refers to a “religious seeing, or the visual perception of the sacred” (“Seeing The Divine Imagine in India”).
Darsan is a significant part of Hindu rituals as they do not just go to worship but rather go to “see” the image of the deity. Darsan has a heavy influence on Hindu rituals as they show that worship does not only consist of praying and devotion in the heart but rather portrays how a visual image can exude the same amount of religious devotion. The visual dimension of Hindu rituals play a central aspect as many people travel to either Siva’s sacred city, the Himalayas, or the top of a hill in their own district just so that they can catch a glimpse of their Darsan (5). Most of these places of pilgrimages are famous for their divine images and it shows the close relationship between the images of Darsan and Hindu rituals. The visual images in Hindu rituals are important as they do not just value the Darsan of temples or sacred places, but also hold great value in the Darsan of holy persons, such as “sants, sadhus, and sannyasins” ( 5). People would flock all over just to catch a glimpse of the holy person even if they were not able to hear him. The eyes in a Hindu divine image hold great prominence because by making contact with the eyes of the deit...
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... who said I have seen it, not him who has said I have heard it”(9). To Hindus the day to day life and rituals are not just based on interior truth but upon the everyday appearances of the divine in the real world (11). Because Hindu religion is so heavily based on the eyes, people have the freedom to worship their God in any form. As a result of this, their God can reside anywhere and can be approached in any way. This may be why most Hindus can visualize all aspects of life an opportunity to devote themselves to their God. Because a Hindu God can be in any form on Earth, and can be worshipped in any form the people please , Hindu religion encourages people to live a life of responsibility and kindness as their religion is incorporated in every aspect of life.
Eck, Diana L. Darsan: Seeing the Divine Imagine in India. N.p.: Columbia UP, 1998. Print.
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