Artwork by A. Manivelu
The Bo tree (Ficus religiosa) is sacred in both Hinduism and Buddhism. There is a beautiful young one growing just 500 feet to the west of Iraivan Temple.
The areca nut (Areca catechu) is finely shaven and eaten along with betel leaf at the end of meals as a digestive. Also called a betel nut.
Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) is widely used in India and Hawaii, though growing it has much diminished in the state and on Kauai island in recent decades.
Rudraksha means the “Eye of Rudra (as Siva),” or “red-eyed.” From rud, “to cry or tear,” and aksha, meaning “eye.” Marble-sized, multi-faced, reddish-brown seeds from the Eleocarpus ganitrus, or blue marble tree, which are sacred to Siva and a symbol of His compassion for humanity. Garlands, rudraksha mala, of larger seeds are worn around the neck by monks. Non-monastics, both men and women, often wear a single bead on a cord at the throat. Smaller beads (usually numbering 108) are strung together for japa (mantra recitation). Indian legend records that God shed a tear when looking down upon the sorrowful plight of humanity. That tear fell to Earth and from it grew the first rudraksha tree. Thus its seeds are worn by Hindus as a symbol of Siva’s love and compassion.
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Name-giving” or namakarana samskara is shown here, as the father whispers the child’s name into the right ear. This is also the formal entry into one or another sect of Hinduism, performed 11 to 41 days after birth. The name is chosen according to astrology, preferably the name of a God or Goddess. At this time, guardian devas are assigned to see the child through life. One who converts to or adopts Hinduism later in life would receive this same sacrament.
Annaprasana, which means “feeding,” is a childhood sacrament of first solid food.
Karnaveda is the ear-piercing ceremony celebrated by both girls and boys in traditional Indian families.
Chudakarana is the head-shaving sacrament for children.
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Jalandhara is a traditional form of God Siva. It literally means “He who holds water.
Tripurantaka is a form of God Siva holding a bow and other weapons and riding on a chariot. With His weapons he destroyed the three cities of the asuras.
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