Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Kshetra included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Kṣetra

Sacred spots. In Malayālam it means Temples also.

General information.

The temples of India are reflections of the outward form or body of man. As the soul lives in the body of man, God dwells in the temples. The stone, rock, marble, metals etc. are equal to the bones of the body of a man.

Two types of temples.

Temples are of two types. One type is the Grāmadevatā temples. These are temples in which goddess Bhadrakālī is consecrated and worshipped for the protection of villages and cities. The second type is of special temples. These are temples specially meant for a particular god or goddess. Thus there are temples for Viṣṇu, Śiva, Gaṇapati and so on.

Grāmadevatā temples.

Worship of Bhadrakālī existed in India from very early times. When Mohanjodaro and Harappa were excavated idols of Devī (goddess) more than 4000 years old, were obtained from there. During the prevalence of Buddhism in India the goddesses Yaksī and Hāritī were worshipped in India. Later when Hinduism was revived these goddesses took their places in it as the goddesses of Hindu Purāṇas and epics. The Kālī temples of Ujjayinī and Calcutta are famous. In the Cidambara temple also the main deity is Kālī. The legend is that Paramaśiva defeated Kālī in a dance. In Mysore Cāmuṇḍī (Kālī) is worshipped as chief goddess or family goddess. Kāmākṣī in Kāñcī, Mīnākṣī in Madura (South India), Mūkāmbikā in North Karṇāṭaka and so on are the gentle and peaceful forms of Kālī.

Devas (gods).

In many of the temples in South India, Munīśvaran and Karuppan are the grāmadevatās (village gods). In some places Bhairava also is worshipped as grāmadevatā. In certain other places Vīran, Irulan, Kāreṭṭi, Noṇḍi and Pañcaruli are worshipped. Śāstā or Ayyappan has a prominent place among the village gods. Importance is attached to Śāstā or Ayyappan mostly in Kerala and Tamil Nāḍu.

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