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Three Different Types Of Permanently Fixed Images In Hindu Temples

In Hindu temples, the permanently fixed images (murtis or vigraha or bimbam or idol), known as dhruva bera or acala, come in three distinct types, each representing different postures and characteristics. These types include the sthanaka (standing posture), asana (sitting posture), and shayana (reclining posture).

Sthanaka (Standing Posture):

  • The majority of the gods and goddesses in Hindu temples are depicted in the sthanaka posture, which symbolizes stability, strength, and readiness for action.
  • This posture is often associated with deities such as Muruga or Kartik, Jagannath, Krishna, Vishnu, and various forms of the Devi.

Asana (Sitting Posture):

  • Images of certain deities, including the Devi (Goddess), Ganapati (Ganesha), Ayyappa, and Narasimha, are often depicted in the asana posture, seated comfortably.
  • The sitting posture conveys a sense of calmness, meditation, and approachability.

Shayana (Reclining Posture):

  • The reclining posture is less common and is primarily associated with specific forms of Bhagavan Vishnu, such as Padmanabha and Ranganatha.
  • This posture symbolizes relaxation, repose, and the cosmic aspect of the deity's existence.

Additionally, these permanently fixed images can be classified into two broader categories based on their demeanor: ugra (fierce) and shanta (serene).

Ugra (Fierce) Deities:

  • Deities such as Kali, Narasimha, Parashurama, and certain forms of Shiva (Gajaha) belong to the ugra category.
  • These deities exhibit fierce aspects and are often associated with protection, destruction of evil forces, and intense energy.
  • Temples dedicated to ugra deities are typically situated outside villages or towns, emphasizing their powerful and awe-inspiring nature.

Shanta (Serene) Deities:

  • All other images that do not display fierce aspects are classified among the shanta category.
  • These deities represent qualities such as peace, tranquility, and benevolence.
  • Temples dedicated to shanta deities may be found within villages or towns, fostering a sense of accessibility and harmony.

In summary, the diverse postures and characteristics of permanently fixed images in Hindu temples reflect the multifaceted nature of divinity and cater to different aspects of devotion and worship within the Hindu tradition.