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Small and big ghanta in Changu Narayan Temple, Nepal

Ghanta (Sanskrit: घण्टा, IAST: ghaṇṭā; Tibetan: drilbu) is the Sanskrit term for a ritual bell used in Hindu religious practices. The ringing of the bell produces what is regarded as an auspicious sound. Hindu temples generally have one metal bell hanging at the entrance and devotees ring the bell while entering the temple which is an essential part in preparation of having a darshan. A bell is also rung by poojari during Pūjā or Yajna – during the waving of light, burning of incense in front of the deity, while bathing the deity and while offering food or flowers.[1] There are bells specially made to produce the long strains of the sound Aum.

Characteristics

The bell is made out of five to seven precious metals, which are connected to the planets: lead (Saturn), tin (Jupiter), iron (Mars), copper (Venus), mercury (Mercury), silver (the Moon) and gold (the Sun). A clapper is attached to the inside and the bell makes a high pitched sound when rung. The top of the bell handle is usually adorned with a brass figure - bells intended for use in the worship of Shiva will have a figure of his bull Nandi, while those used in the worship of Vishnu or his avatars as Rama, Narasimha or Krishna will have a figure of Garuda or Panchajanya shankha or Sudarshana Chakra.[1]

Usage

In Hinduism, bells are generally hung at the temple dome in front of the Garbhagriha. Generally, devotees ring the bell while entering into the sanctum. It is said that by ringing the bell, the devotee informs the deity of his/her arrival. The sound of the bell is considered auspicious which welcomes divinity and dispels evil.[2] The sound of the bell is said to disengage mind from ongoing thoughts thus making the mind more receptive.[3] Bell ringing during prayer is said to help in controlling the ever wandering mind and focusing on the deity.[1]

Mantra

In Hinduism, the mantra chanted while ringing the bell is[4]

Aagamaardhamtu devaanaam gamanaardhamtu rakshasaam, Kuru ghantaaravam krutva devataahvaana lanchanam

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.

Yogic view

From the Kundalini Yoga perspective, the sound of a bell energizes chakras and balances the distribution of energy in body. Also, the number of times the bell should be sounded depends on the number of letters in the mantra; accordingly the bell should be sounded 8, 16, 24, or 32 times. In Shilpa Shastras it is mentioned that bell should be made of panchadhatu – five metals, namely, copper, silver, gold, zinc and iron. These five metals represent the pancha bhoota.[5]

Symbolism

Bells have symbolic meaning in Hinduism. The curved body of the bell represents Ananta. The clapper or tongue of the bell represents Saraswati, who is the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. The handle of the bell represents Prana Shakti – vital power and is symbolically linked to Hanuman, Garuda, Nandi (bull) or Sudarshana Chakra.[6]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Why Do We Ring Bells or Ghanta in Hindu Temples?". TemplePurohit.com. 12 February 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Hindu Scriptures | Vedic lifestyle, Scriptures, Vedas, Upanishads, Smrutis". Hinduscriptures.com. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Peal of bells". Timesofindia.com, Retrieved on 4 March 2015
  4. ^ "Hindu rituals". Sanskjritdocuments.org, Retrieved on 9 March 2015
  5. ^ "Why to ring the bell while coming to Temple or starting any pooja?". Vishnushivamandir.org.au, Retrieved on 9 March 2015
  6. ^ "Why do Hindus ring the bell in temple". Sanskritimagazine.com, Retrieved on 3 March 2015