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Prana Pratishta Ritual In Hindu Temples

"Prana" refers to life, breath, and soul. "Prana Pratishta" is a ritual that signifies giving life to the deity in a Hindu temple. It involves installing a murti (vigraha or bimbam or idol) in the temple and conducting a ritual to infuse consciousness into it. This ritual symbolizes the presence of divine and spiritual energy, as well as the transfer of life to the temple. In the ceremony, worship is usually included, Sanskrit mantras are recited, and the deity is invited from outside into the murti. Similar to welcoming an esteemed guest after a long journey, the deity is welcomed into the residence of the temple, purified, and given offerings.

Subsequently, the deity is adorned with clothing and placed in a comfortable position. The Nyasa ceremony, accompanied by hymns of praise, involves touching various parts of the idol to symbolize different presences. Gods are conceptualized as sensory organs - Indra as the hand, Brahma as the heart, the sun and moon as the eyes. The priest recites special mantras and performs rituals to invoke the presence of Prana or divine consciousness into the murti, facilitating its embodiment.

During the moment when consciousness is invoked into the murti, devotees seek the deity's blessing. Offerings of fragrant water and flowers are made, and the eye-opening ceremony is conducted. This signifies the establishment of the deity.

The Prana Pratishta ritual varies from region to region. It also varies between different sects and sampradaya.