Monday — Lessons From The Moon Temple in India
It is great when you write something down, bury the piece of paper you wrote on, then years later that same piece of paper resurfaces and you have an “Aha!” moment.
As we prepare for the Nine Planet Temple Pilgrimage in India – January 2019, I came across just that piece of paper. It was from the very first time I was at the Nine Planet Temples with Seema Agarwal, in 2007. We had arrived at the Moon Temple, one in a cluster of planetary temples, and after waiting out the long lunch hour when the temple was closed to visitors we started to see some activity.
The Moon Yantra, which by then I had made many paintings of, is primarily white and silver, the colors used to propitiate the Moon and yes, if it is Monday when you are reading this, be sure to avail yourself of some of these colors today. The colors that shimmer through the multi-petaled Moon Yantra are pale pink and pale blue. My teacher, Harish Johari, suggested that the pearl is the gemstone that harnesses the lunar energy, and if when painting the colors in the Moon Yantra we think of the iridescent colors that come from the surface of a pearl such as light blue, pink, and possibly a blend of the two: mauve. We can achieve the nurturing feeling we are looking for.
I was excited to see this temple, what would Mr/Mrs Chandra (Chandra = Moon in Sanskrit) look like? How would I feel?
The one striking fact that I wrote about the Moon temple was about my experience when walking towards it once the temple doors re-opened, we noticed people stopping at a stall to buy Prasad. This is typically an offering basket of the deity’s favorite things, it gets offered to the priest, then given to the deity, sometimes parts are given to the fire, then some new offering, or some restored and now blessed part of your offering is returned to you to consume. You can receive the Moon’s positive healing vibrations.
We stopped to see the Prasad on sale, many States in India now have banned the use of plastic, in fact many temples even wrap their prasad in pieces of cloth, but here laid out on the table with great care and order was a pattern of neatly tied pale blue and pale pink plastic bags containing the Lunar Prasad.
I was wondering if it was a mistake? Or mere co-incidence? How could these villagers know that very same information my painting teacher had taught me about the pearl? It started to register that the Universal nature of the planetary wisdom had taken over, and would, if I let it, probably reveal itself time and again in this way in my daily life to this day.
In fact I could tell you about the temple, the Moon Deity was one of a few celestial beings who had unique shrines within the temple grounds. The feeling of the temple itself was soothing and held me just as the Mother (Moon) might.
But my take home lesson was that of the colored bags. The neat way they were presented and the sweetness of the teachings my teacher had imparted through his Yantra wisdom.
If you’d like to join us on our next Nine Planet Temple Pilgrimage Retreat please check it out, we have one or two spots left.