A Hymn in Granite & A Golden Sphere: DAY FOUR
Heavy rain was pouring when we reached Brhadeshwara Temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, a UNESCO world Heritage Site. Behind the veil of shower the commanding grandeur of this granite monument allured me, like an eloquent hymn in stone.
An expression of the wealth, glory, and artistic sensibility and expression of the emperor Rajaraja 1 (King of Kings) of Chola Kingdom, it took seven years to build. (1003-1010 AD. The temple complex is considered the foremost architectural creations produced in the world prior to the twentieth century.
The central temple including its subsidiary shrines and gateways (gopuras) are testimony to the greatness of Rajaraja 1. Preceding the temple are two gateways. The temple tower is the highest reaching 216 ft (66 m). A bulbous structure at the top is carved out of a single granite rock and weighs 80 tons.
Brhadeshwara means ‘Great Lord’ and refers to Shiva. Intended to display the emperor’s power, and his vision of his relationship to the cosmic order, it became the site of the major royal ceremonies such as anointing the emperor and linking him with the royal deity, Shiva. The emperor Rajaraja’s rituals mirrored the daily rituals of his deity Shiva.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the town of Auroville was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (“Mother”) to honor Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950) and his teachings. Delegates attended the inauguration ceremony of Auroville from 124 nations.
The Matrimandir, a golden metallic sphere in the center of Auroville, was conceived by the Mother as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection.” Inside the sphere silence is maintained to ensure tranquility in the space. Only members are allowed inside. Surrounded by manicured gardens, Matrimandir is equipped with a solar power plant. On cloudy days or after sunsets, solar power replaces the sunlight that radiates the space around it.
A philosopher and a guru, Ghosh, developed the practice of Integral Yoga. His vision was for every human to practice his method of Yoga to reach divine life. He believed spiritual realization would liberate and transform human nature, enabling divine life on earth.