(Last Updated on : 05/03/2014)
It is a general etiquette to observe certain, norms and decorum while a person meeting a person highly placed in life and in superior position. Hence, it is quite natural to observe a certain code of conduct when a devotee wants to visit the Lord of the universe in a temple.
A devotee willing to visit a temple must take bath and wear freshly washed clothes. This should be performed mainly in the Puskarini attached to the temple. The devotee should observe silence and try to withdraw the mind into the thoughts of God after entering the precincts of the temple. First, the devotee takes a darshan of the deity and then performs individual worship. Now, the devotee needs to circumambulate the main shrine three, five or seven times. As per the regulation of the Hindu temples, now the devotee bows down to the deity from a place outside the dhvajastambha. While doing so, the devotee should take care that his feet do not point in the direction of any of the minor deities.
According to the regulation of the Hindu temples, the devotee should then visit the minor deities of the temple. The devotee should sit quietly in some corner and meditate there before leaving the precincts of the temple. Earlier, distributing the alms to deserving beggars in the vicinity of the temple was considered to be very meritorious, hence the devotees are recommended to do so.
Other than these general rules and regulations, the devotees should also be aware of the daivapacharas, modes of behaviour which will offend the deity in the temple. These regulations are considered very important as when a temple is built and the image is sanctified ceremonially, the power of the deity manifests itself through that image. This is technically called 'archavatara'.
There are some other modes of behaviour which can offend the deity in the temple. This can bring misery and suffering upon the transgressor for not observing the rules concerning personal, environmental and ceremonial cleanliness, missing the important festivals of the temple, Even not bending ones head or not performing circumambulation, carelessly treating the things offered to the deity, not offering the best kind of things even though one can afford to do so, disposing of the offered articles to people who have no faith or devotion, engaging in purely secular and nonreligious activities in the presence of the deity, boisterous behaviour, observing caste restrictions, misusing the things belonging to the temple can enrage the deity. Therefore, the devotees should follow all the regulations when visiting a Hindu temple.