Temple Bell / Ghanta is the Sanskrit term for a ritual bell used in Hinduistic 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 priests during Pūjā or Yajna - during Arti - the waving of light, burning of incense in front of the deity, while bathing the deity and while offering food or flowers. There are bells specially made to produce the long strains of the sound Aum.
The bell is generally made out of brass. 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 Lord Shiva will have a figure of Lord Nandi bell, while those used in the worship of Lord Vishnu or his avatars as Rama, Narasimha or Krishna will have a figure of Garuda or Panchajanya shanka or Sudarshana Chakra or Hanuman Bell
In all the Temples 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. The sound of the bell is said to disengage mind from ongoing thoughts thus making the mind more receptive. Bell ringing during prayer is said to help in controlling the ever wandering mind and focusing on the deity.
Aagamaarthamtu Devaanaam Gamanaarthamtu Rakshasaam |
Kurve Ghantaaravam tatra devataahvaahna lakshanam |
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.
From Kundalini Yoga perspective, the sound of 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 5 metals represent the pancha bhoota.
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
They are also instrumental in channeling positive energy to create a harmonious environment. Such bells can also be hanged at home Altar and ringing of bells removes negative energy and brings positive energy at home.
Room clearing is a concept of clearing the room of all negative energies. Room clearingcan also be accomplished by using sounds. Silver, brass temple bells can be rung to dislodge stagnant energy.
Our home is not just a made of materials for shelter and comfort. It is an area filled with infinite vibrating endlessly transforming energy fields.