1/16/2009

Our kitchen mandir


Recently I read in a book about a Hindu temple in Edinburgh ('A place for our gods'), that there is a huge confusion about the word 'mandir', which means either a public building to go and pray there or the mandir which every family is having inside their private home, which can be a prayer room, a board with gods or just a small corner with a postcard of the favorite god. So they were asking, why do people have to go to a temple outside, when they have one in their home already...
This confusion evolves, when people try to translate sentences in English, because then there are different words for temple and family altar. So you can just understand the meaning out of the context.
When I tried to find the answer to the opposite question 'why people have an altar in their house', I found the nice sentence:
The Temple serves as a device to remind us of specific circumstances and produce awareness of the holiness in all things. So, every home temple gives you a place for the regular worshiping and prayers to the gods and a sacred space in your house.
Our mandir was not really a planned one, we brought Ganesha from India and we got Durga on our first week in Ottawa and for longer time they were residing on top of the fridge, until I found a nice grey-red colored cupboard with a cute railing and heart shaped beams.


Some fresh white and blue color later, the board found its place above the kitchen table and in a special ceremony the gods found their new place on this board. Together with the statues, we didn't combined the typical colorful kitschy god pictures, but two postcards from the “Dr.Bhau Daji Lad-Museum”, which are showing Durga in an old miniature painting and Ganesha with his mother in a sandalwood statue. Since then they were involved in all important festivals like Karwa chauth and Diwali and of course we are never forgetting the daily offering of sweets and water... (at Christmas with German cookies only and an extra star ... ;-)


As we don't have flower traders, who are just selling 'flower heads', we got artificial flowers only and also our lights are due to safety reasons (two curious cats) electric ones, which are burning the whole night. One local “Indian” is working as a guard and is holding the scented sticks. This native American is a saltshaker by origin and I painted his farm advertisement with a very different kind of statement.

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