When we enter a Hindu temple, we see a lot of devotees going around the temple, with their hands folded in front of them and their eyes closed (mostly). Commonly known as pradakshina (circumambulation) this Sanksrit word means ‘moving around a sacred object for a good cause’. The reasoning behind going around in a circle is quite simple. The Lord is the centre point in our lives and a circle can only be drawn with a center; which means that we should keep the Lord as the focal point and go about our daily lives.
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Scientifically speaking, every point on the circumference of the circle is equidistant from the centre which means that no matter where we are, we are always equally close to the Lord. And the pradakshina is always done in a clockwise manner because in Hinduism, the right side is more auspicious and the Lord is always present to our right. It is normal to do Pradakshinam always in a clockwise direction. This is because we assume that the Lord is always on our right side. This reminds us we must always lead a righteous life, in the right path called Dharma. The story of the first pradakshina leads to Lord Shiva, Ganesha and Karthikeya. Lord Shiva had instructed his sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya, to go around the world in the pursuit of knowledge. Kartikeya, hopped on to his peacock and went all over the world, while Ganesha, circumambulated his father, Lord Shiva, justifying his actions by saying that the whole world is contained within Him. There are a certain set of rules that one can follow while doing a pradakshina, to gain its full advantage. One has to hold their hands in front of their chest, take smaller steps and walk unhurriedly, chant a mantra of the deity at the temple and visualize the presiding deity at the temple in their heart. The feeling that arises then is one of total peace and absolute surrender. Each step of a pradakshina is said to eliminate sins that a person had committed in his present and past lives. It is not necessary that a pradakshina has to be only in a temple.
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