Nagpur: The bells in Hindu temples are often associated with prayers and aartis, but hold on, there is more to it than what you understand! Have you ever wondered why bells are there in temples? Also large bells, with higher circumference. These are not just hanging there for you to ring. It is an age old tradition to ring the bell of the temple upon entering its premises. Bell ringing is an ancient Vedic ritual and one can see multiple bells hanging over the domes in many Indian shrines.
It is said that the devotees knock God’s entrance to ask permission upon entering his holy sanctum. Making temple bells is a whole science. The bell is made up of a mixture of five metals – lead, copper, zinc, iron, and tin – to which it is measured based on ratio and specification.
The proportion at which each one of them mixed is the real science behind making a bell. Each of these bells is made to produce such a distinct sound that it can create a harmony between your left and right brains. The moment you ring that bell, it produces sharp but lasting sound vibration which lasts for minimum of seven seconds in echo mode — long enough to touch your seven healing centers (or chakras) in your body.
The moment bell sound happens your brain is emptied of all thoughts. Invariably, you will enter a state of trance where you are very receptive. This trance state is the one with inner awareness. Normally, you are so occupied in mind that the only way to awaken you is with a shock!
The bell works as antidote to the chaos of your mind. Before you enter a temple it prepares you for the calming taste of spiritual awareness you are going to experience.
Bells had other reasons also, as most of the old temples never had doors and were located near hills and forest there would have been distinct possibilities for animals, Insects, birds to take shelter. But bell sound doesn’t allow any of the living creatures to sustain inside for a long time. Don’t be surprised if you find old temples still brimming with energy inside with less dust, no sign of insects or animals.
Bell worship is called as Ghanta Puja (Ghanta is bell in Sanskrit). The sound that comes out of the sacred bell is called Jaya Dwani (Victorious Sound). This sound helps to drive away the demonic forces and brings in the auspicious and positive forces. This has a deeper and inner meaning as well. This will drive away the evil thoughts from us. The bell will ring from inside us giving us positive energy.
As per the Agama Sastra, ringing a bell in temples will prevent evil spirits. The evil spirits namely Yaksha, Paisasa, Rakshasa and Brahmarakshasa will not enter the temple.
God is attracted to the sounds of the bell and mostly the bell will ring in the temple during the aarthi for God, bathing of God and offering food.
The bell has symbolic meaning. The body represents Ananta, the tongue represents Goddess Saraswathi, the handle represents Hanuman, Garuda, Nandi and has prana shakti (vital principle).
In Hinduism, the mantra chanted while ringing the bell is:
Kurve ghantaaravam tatra
I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, so that virtuous and noble forces enter; and the demonic and evil forces, from within and without, depart.