Manas = mind.
Dhiraya = gets comfort, is encouraged.
Mandir means a place where the mind gets comfort and imagination is encouraged.
The omnipresence of God is very subtle, therefore a mandir is a sacred space for devotees to come together and experience divinity.
To know God in an accessible form, devotees can go to a mandir and pray to murtis (embodiments of God).
Nirguna Brahman – God without manifestation
Shaguna Brahman – embodied form of God with qualities
Concentration and devotion are very important and something that is hard to attain; this is one of the main reasons for the construction of mandirs.
Center of Energy:
According to Agama shastras, 5 parameters are used in mandir construction to create tremendous fields of energy.
- The size and shape of the complex.
- The size and shape of the Parikrama.
- The size and shape of the Garbhagriha.
- The size and shape of the Murti and the Mudras that the Murti holds.
- The Mantras are used in consecration.
Originally, mandirs were created so the willing could see “dimension beyond the physical.” Later, mandirs were built for different purposes, such as facilitating economic activity and promoting health, using different deities and energies.
Many rulers would commission mandir projects to rejuvenate economies to help recover from famines or other forms of poverty.
Larger mandirs meant bigger staff: pujaris, cooks, groundskeepers, florists, confectioners, scholars, etc. Mandirs thus created job opportunities.
Mandirs are the centers of arts and culture. Further, they would feed the poor and provide education.
Different art forms including sculpting, painting, classical music. classical dance forms and martial arts flourished in mandirs.
Mandirs are ideally built near flowing water, a lake or a body of water will be built within the walls.
Mandirs must face east so the rising sun’s rays fall on the murti in order to awake them in the morning.