Anyone who is Indian or has at least visited India, has been exposed to the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the temple bells. Be it the huge bell hung at the neighborhood temple, or the humble hand held bell, rung by the priest at the corner Ganesha mandir, the sounds have become a part and parcel of our everyday life.
The bells in the temples are rung during rituals. Apart from that the devotees who visit are also encouraged to ring the bell when they enter the holy shrines. This is in fact a popular sport among Indian Children, to be lifted upon the shoulders of their fathers and grandfathers and ring the huge bell is a source of joy and wonder to them. But the question remains as to why do have bells in the temples and why do we ring them? There are a number of reasons for this act, now let’s move one by one.
A calling Card
The bells are hung at the entrance. The devotees ring the bell upon entry and then proceed forward inside to participate in the Arathi Darshan. Isn’t there a familiar pattern here? Whenever someone comes to visit us, they ring the doorbell and then proceed inside after being welcomed by us. This applies to the Gods as well. Temples are their homes on earth. It is only correct that we announce our arrival, by ringing the bells , so that the Gods acknowledge us and invite us in.
A powerful Cleanser
Like our skin getting refreshed and cleansed after using a cleanser, our mind needs cleansing before participating in the darshan. This is to ensure our thoughts remain pure, and we project only good vibrations to the others around us. This will help us connect with the divine energy, which is only accessible to pure souls. The sound of the bells vibrates at a frequency that pushes away any negative energy within us, preparing us for a divine experience.
Wards off Evil
Besides the devotees ringing the bell upon the entry, the bells are fervently rung during the Arti. This will immediately ward off any negative intentions and energy surrounding the temple premises. Not only the visiting devotees, but also the whole area gets the benefit of the rituals being performed. One can notice that despite the crowds and cramped quarters surrounding a temple, the moment you enter the area with a temple, there will be a slight shift in your emotions in a positive way.
An Energy Boost
The sound of the bell is at a frequency and volume that will instantly jolt to consciousness, any person who has come in with a weary body and mind. Not only does the sound of the bells helps us focus on the Arti, but it can also induce a burst of energy. It relieves the stress, that the entire day brings to us. Any self-doubt vanishes and it gives us the strength to face our struggles. We feel refreshed and revived after a visit to temples, as the sound of the bells, harmonise the functions of our left and right brains.
To call to attention
Not everyone has the mental control to constantly think of the Gods. We likely do not even go to the temple every week, let alone every day. This keeps us in a state of lethargy and negativity. But there are certain spiritual instincts within all of us. If we are going somewhere, and along the way, we hear the temple bells announcing the start of the Puja, we instinctively stop for a moment to look in the direction of the temple, and our hearts are lifted in a quiet, personal prayer. This reminds one to spend some time in devotion, for a successful life.
Have you ever noticed how the sound of the big temple bells is reminiscent of the primordial sound of “OM”. This Om is a very important sound in Hinduism, while each religion has their own version of it. This sound is associated with auspiciousness and has the ability to usher in good vibrations. Their sounds are often accompanied by the conch and the classical drums. Their sounds literally drown out any unwanted and inauspicious noise that can distract the devotees.
Silencing the Sins
The Hindus have a scripture called the Skanda Purana. This holy text clearly describes that when devotees ring the bells in the temples, their sins of a hundred lifetimes are destroyed by its vibrations. Any accumulated Karmic burden left over from previous births can be lightened, with the sounds of the bells. They activate the healing chakras within your body, enabling them to clear any physiological influences on your body, due to the effect of bad Karma.
This is why Hinduism and many other world religions opt to hang bells in their holy places. They transform the place into a veritable fortress of protection that has the capacity to alleviate our stress and give us a fresh start on the day. The next time you step into a temple, do not hesitate to ring the bell and announce yourself to the Gods. Let them work their magic on you.