When I decided to attend a Hindu Temple I thought that it was going to be a really great experience, but I was really nervous and scared. I am a very shy and I do not like to get out of my comfort zone that much. Before attending a Hindu Temple, I decided to do a research on how I was supposed to dress. Based on my research, I decided to go business casual and I did not show skin nor did I use leather or animal print clothes. Wearing leather or animal print is disrespectful toward their culture. When I got to the Hindu Temple, I was really nervous.
I did not know where to go. So, I decided to ask the first person that was next to me a couple of questions. I told her that I have never gone to a Hindu Temple and that I wanted to learn more about their culture. She was a really nice person, and she told me that attending a Hindu Temple would be a great experience for me and a good opportunity to learn how their culture is different in many ways. Before everyone entered the temple, I noticed that they all started to take their shoes off, so I did the same thing. We all placed our shoes at a specific place.
I asked the same woman about why was it is important to take our shoes off and she answered by saying that it was a mandatory rule and it was to show respect. I also noticed that several people had flowers or things like that and they gave them to the priest. To be honest, I felt bad for not taking anything to the priest. After that, the ceremony started. The ceremony took about two hours and it was on a Sunday. The men and women sat separately. We sat on the floor and we were supposed to put our hands together (like a praying position). This was a really tiring and uncomfortable position, because the floor was really ard and I got tired from sitting on the floor really fast, but I tried not to move as much and to keep myself sited.
Everyone prayed and the priest performed a short puja to a particular Deity. But two questions I asked myself were; what is a Deity and what does puja mean? At that moment I did not know what Deity or puja meant, and I couldn’t ask someone because it would be disrespectful. But at the end of the ceremony someone told me that Deity means God and puja means a ritual to honor a God. Everyone there were really nice with me and really kind to explain to me certain terms of their culture.
After the ceremony or ritual everyone sang except me, because I did not know the words or anything at all. At that point, I felt very uncomfortable and I thought that everyone was going to stared at me for not singing, but they did not. After that, we went to another room to eat. There was a big table with food. But something I noticed was that there was no meat at all. Later, I learned that they do not eat meat because by eating meat is a sin for them because they harm other creatures. Another very important and weird fact that I noticed is that every single person grabbed or gave things with their right hand not with the left.
So, again I decided to ask of why they gave and grabbed with the right hand and not with the left. A person told me that it was disrespectful to give or grab objects with the left hand. Also, serving food with the left hand is consider a sin. At the end of everything, I had the opportunity to donate money for charity. I felt really good with myself by donating money, because it was a way to help other communities. I think that was my first time donating money to someone and it was like a new thing for me.
Attending a Hindu Temple gives an individual tranquility and it helps you forget about your personal problems. These temples teach you several things by performing activities of prayer and worship. Hindu Temples generate devout faith in God and in fellow man, but it also feels a spiritual atmosphere in the temple. With this faith in God, the individual embraces physical, mental, and purity. These new teachings and natural activities of the temple offer the individual an understanding that peace of mind is very important for an individual and it should generate spirituality.
Overall, I felt very uncomfortable because that was not my place. I couldn’t adapt to that environment. It was hard to understand their beliefs and even some of the words that they used. Their culture and beliefs are very different from my own beliefs. I do not think their beliefs or traditions are wrong, but | just have different beliefs and I don’t think they will change. Even though, it was a new experience and I learned a lot, I don’t think I can ever go back to a Hindu Temple.