Secrets beneath the Garbha Griha
Its might appear very strange and intriguing that Shiva Lingas get unearthed at construction sites or any place when people dig the earth up. There have been remarkable moments in Indian History where the Paramacharya Sri Chandrashekar Swamigal Himself has pointed to location where there were sure possibilities of an ancient Shiva Linga within the earth. To name a few would be the Shiva Linga unearthed at Madhya Kailash, Taramani Chennai and at the Shankara Matt at Thiruvanaikkaval Srirangam.
The Shiva Linga at Shankara Matt is particularly beautiful. Its claimed to be a Panchamukha Linga, though only four faces have been visibly sculpted into the shaft of the Linga. The fifth, typically on the top has not been carved in this case. The characterestic features of the faces takes us way back to the late Pallava, early Chola era. The pointed features and benign appearance of each face, remarkably similar such that they seem to belong to the same person rekindles the imagination With the world of the ancients.
The question now is, how did these Shiva Lingas get past the ravages of time with endurance?
Temples had a lot of thinking going into them before the very first stone was placed for its making, endless calculations not just based on how to build the temple, but to sustain it and keep it standing for the years to come. Decisions were taken to safe guard the main sanctum and more importantly the idol and its various elements from any danger of destruction.
The Garbhagriha is not constructed on the ground. It is built over another chamber which has enough sand packed into it. This chamber has four pillars that hold up the floor of the Garbhagriha over them. The floor hosts the main idol as well as its elements that constitute the idols “power”. Once the Idol has been brought to “life” the temple is proclaimed a living temple and the main idol is put over to cover the secret within. Subsequently the idol is “appeared” to be worshipped while the actual worship is done for the idol as well as the elements below. The idol is a visual representation of a reality contained in the elements, today unknown to all of us, well almost unknown.
The Kumbhabhishekam is done to protect the temple and the idol from any natural disaster as well as those created by humans. Should there be trouble on a vast scale, and should the life of the “Worshipped” be at stake, the temple is designed to cave in. In cases of natural calamities, the main temple falls apart, pillars scattered after mandapas have crashed down.
At the Garbhagriha its a different story. The first to fall are the pillars right at the bottom, below the Garbha griha. They are designed to fall outwards such that they give room to the floor to fall downwards and out giving way to the Shiva Linga and its various elements to fallen through into the sand packing without being harmed or damaged. Once the Shiva Linga has fallen through it gets covered by the surrounding sand and then later by the rest of the rubble that crashes down rendering it buried safe till its unearthed at a later date.
A lot of thought and consideration went into the making and the prevention of any destruction to the Shiva Linga. This unique form of the Lord, subtly designed carries more to itself that what meets the eye. Thought went into safe guarding it, protecting it and leaving it within the lap of the earth to be dug up later for the world to see an ancient secret alive, evergreen.