Bells, known as ghant or ghanti in Sanskrit, hold a deep and multifaceted significance in Hindu temples. Their importance goes beyond just a pleasant sound, encompassing spiritual, symbolic, and even scientific dimensions. Here’s a breakdown of their meaning:
1. Calling the Divine
Ringing the bell is primarily seen as a way to announce one’s arrival to the deity residing in the temple. It’s like a doorbell to God, informing them of your presence and seeking their attention.
2. Dispelling Negativity
The sound of the bell is believed to possess purifying qualities. It’s said to dispel negative energy, both within the temple and within the devotee’s own mind. The vibrations are thought to clear the space and create a more auspicious atmosphere.
3. Focusing the Mind
Ringing the bell can help to quiet the mind and bring focus to the present moment. This is especially important during prayer and meditation, as it allows the devotee to connect with the deity more deeply.
4. Symbolic Meanings
- The different parts of the bell hold symbolic significance:
Body: Represents infinity (Ananta)
- Clapper: Represents Goddess Saraswati, symbolizing knowledge and wisdom
- Handle: Represents vital life energy (Prana Shakti) and is linked to deities like Hanuman,Garuda, Nandi, or Sudarshana Chakra.
5. Sound and Vibration
The sound of the bell resonates with the sacred Om sound, considered a primordial vibration containing the essence of the universe. The ringing creates a specific frequency that is believed to have positive effects on the body and mind.
6. Material Significance
Traditionally, bells are made from an alloy of five metals known as pancha dhatu, representing the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space). This imbues them with additional symbolic and potentially beneficial properties.
In summary, the significance of bells in Hindu temples is multifaceted and goes beyond simple aesthetics. They act as a portal to the divine, cleanse the atmosphere, focus the mind, and hold rich symbolic meaning. The sound itself is considered auspicious and believed to vibrate with positive energy. Whether you view it from a spiritual, symbolic, or even scientific perspective, the ringing of a temple bell is a powerful tradition in Hinduism.