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Deities in Temples
by Ravinder Sihra
Devotees living in temples are aware of arati times so it is no problem for them to have darshan of the temple Deities, but not all congregational members are aware of the darshan times, especially first-time visitors. Sometimes visitors to the temple are caught up in traffic or just delayed for some reason or other, and when they finally get to the temple they rush to the temple room to take darshan but find themselves staring in bewilderment at closed curtains.
Sometimes the visitors might have traveled from far places, even from other countries, and they find that they just missed arati, and they cannot wait that long for the next arati so they have to go away disappointed. Some come back another time another day, but some may not be able to come back again.
I think we all have sometimes missed arati when we wanted to take darshan but found ourselves staring at curtains hoping they will open just for us.
As a consolation, I think it would be great if all ISKCON temples installed remote controlled screens positioned in front of the closed curtains and then installed projectors on the ceilings just playing one slide of the temple Deities (note: the slide can be changed daily). In practice, after arati, the pujari closes the curtains and then presses a button on a remote control that slides a screen down in front of the closed curtains and then presses another button on the remote control to start the projector displaying the slide of the temple Deities on the screen, and with the temple lights turned low it would look fantastic. Points to remember are that the screen must be the same size as the altar, just one still slide of the Deities should be playing, and the screens should be as light as possible.
A cheaper way for much smaller temples is to just install large pull-down screens with a replica print of the altar complete with actual size Deities that are behind the closed curtains. White curtains closed and pulled tight on all four corners could do the job of a screen.
This idea when in practice would revolutionize the temple rooms, and all devotees, congregational members, and visitors would be very happy.
This would mean no more staring at closed curtains and a temple room that looks beautiful at all times.
It might cost a bit, but it will pay more in the long run, as all those who miss darshan times will not turn away but will still go in the temple room and stay for a while and more than likely contribute a donation. Some visitors will wait for the next arati, but those who have to go will go away pleased that at least they saw a slide of the Deities and not just closed curtains.
Only one temple needs to put this idea into practice, and the success of it will make all the other temples go for it. I hope this comes into practice in the near future, as we need to set up a high standard for other temples to follow.
Since I am a satellite engineer it would not be a problem for me to install a screen and a projector, and I am sure other devotees who have do-it-yourself knowledge could install it.
Any temple that puts this idea into practice please let me know by
© CHAKRA 4 March 2002
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