Ye Gods!

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This is a postcard of a famous site at Murudeshwara, on the Arabian Sea, about halfway down Karnataka province, on India's west coast. Click on the picture to access its source, and learn the legend of its fame. It seems that the god Shiva, following a complicated sequence of events, declared that Murudeshwara should be one of his Five Holy Places, and that all who worshipped the forms of his linga at these places would be free from all sins, would realize their wishes, and ultimately reach his abode.

Not easy to say when the picture was taken, but it cannot have been very long before, coincidentally, I happened to take a picture of the building myself, from almost the same angle, in early August 2001. Unaware at that time of its reputed fame, I might well have paid it no attention at all, since I was almost wholly overwhelmed by the adjacent towering constructions, a corner of which may be seen at the right of my photograph.

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ZOOM OUT!

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The original building can be glimpsed as the diminutive white tower to the extreme left of this spectacular panorama. The rectangular building, right, is a hotel where my munificent host, a prominent resident of Bhatkal, the ancient coastal township seven kilometers south of Murudeshwar, had installed me as its first registered guest. The many-tiered erection to the left is being clad with countless figures from the Hindu pantheon, and will become a gopuram, or gateway, to the temple. The colossus is Shiva himself, in concrete.

A few weeks in India offers a new perspective on the world's religions.
Each of the god's fingers, below, is the size of a man.

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"Whatever value we attribute to more recent religions, we should not attempt to equate Hinduism with them. Hinduism cannot be opposed to any creed, to any prophet, to any incarnation, to any way of realization, since one of its fundamental principles is to acknowledge them all and many more to come." Alain Daniélou, Hindu Polytheism, RKP 1964, Foreword.

For an amazing array of animal and human terracotta figurines from the ancient civilization uncovered at Harappa click here. People in these regions of the Indus valley had reached a high level of sophistication as early as 7000 BC.

 

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© Charles Harrison Wallace 2001, 2014
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