Know the reasons for Pradakshina , Sashtanga Namaskara in temples and benefits

Hinduism is a rich and diverse tradition that encompasses various forms of worship and devotion. One of the common practices that Hindus follow is to visit temples and offer prayers to the deities. In this article, we will explore the significance and meaning of two aspects of Hindu temple worship: the pradakshina or circumambulation, and the namaskara or salutation.

Pradakshina: Walking Around the Deity

Pradakshina (Sanskrit: प्रदक्षिण) means "going around" or "circumambulation". It consists of walking around the garbha griha, the innermost chamber of the shrine housing the temple deity, in a clockwise direction. It is also done around sacred fire (Agni), trees and plants such as Tulsi and Peepal. Pradakshina is one of the customary aspects of going to a temple. Typically, pradakshina is done after the completion of traditional worship (pooja) and after paying homage to the deity. 

Know the reasons for Pradakshina , Sashtanga Namaskara in temples and benefits


According to some sources, pradakshina has multiple benefits and meanings, such as:

- It symbolizes the recognition of the divine presence in all directions and aspects of life. By walking around the deity, the devotee acknowledges that God is the center of their existence and that everything revolves around Him.
- It represents the surrender of one's ego and attachments to the divine will. By bowing down and moving in a humble manner, the devotee expresses their reverence and gratitude to God for His grace and blessings.
- It signifies the spiritual journey of the devotee from the outer world to the inner sanctum, where they can experience the bliss and peace of God's presence. By moving inwardly through ambulatory halls, the devotee transitions from the mundane to the sublime, from the gross to the subtle, from the temporal to the eternal.
- It reflects the cosmic order and harmony of nature. By following the clockwise direction, the devotee aligns themselves with the movement of the sun, the planets, and other celestial bodies. This also helps to balance their energies and activate their chakras.

Pradakshina is usually done in an odd number of times, such as three, five, seven or nine. This is because odd numbers are considered auspicious and sacred in Hinduism, as they represent completeness, wholeness, and perfection.

Namaskara: Greeting with Respect

Namaskara (Sanskrit: नमस्कार) means "salutation" or "greeting". It is a gesture of respect and honor that involves placing one's palms together in front of their chest or forehead, slightly bowing their head, and saying "Namaste" or "Namaskaram". Namaskara is a common way of greeting someone in Hindu culture, whether it is a friend, a relative, a teacher, a guest, or a stranger. It is also used to greet God or any sacred object or person.


According to some sources, namaskara has various meanings and implications, such as:

- It conveys a sense of equality and mutual respect between the greeter and the greeted. By bringing one's palms together, one acknowledges that there is no difference or distinction between them, as they are both manifestations of the same divine essence.
- It expresses a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the other person's presence and qualities. By saying "Namaste" or "Namaskaram", which literally means "I bow to you", one shows their admiration and recognition for the other person's virtues and contributions.
- It indicates a sense of humility and devotion towards God or any sacred object or person. By bowing down slightly, one demonstrates their submission and surrender to the higher power or authority that guides and protects them.

Namaskara is not just a cultural aspect. There is a science behind it. According to Yoga, one's palms have a lot of nerve endings that can influence one's energy system. By placing one's palms together, one balances their dualities, such as positive and negative, masculine and feminine, active and passive, etc., and creates a sense of oneness and harmony within themselves and with the other person. 

Sashthanga namaskara

Sashthanga namaskara is another name for ashtanga namaskara, which means "eight-limbed salutation". It is a yoga pose that involves lying down on the floor with eight parts of the body touching the ground: the feet, the knees, the chest, the chin or forehead, and the hands. It is a gesture of respect and gratitude to the elders, gurus, or gods in Hindu culture. It is also a part of the sun salutation (surya namaskara) sequence, where it appears as the sixth pose. 

Know the reasons for Pradakshina , Sashtanga Namaskara in temples and benefits

Sashthanga namaskara benefits:

- It strengthens the shoulders, arms, chest, back, and core muscles. It prepares the body for more challenging poses like chaturanga dandasana and arm balances.
- It stretches the spine, hips, legs, and feet. It improves the flexibility and mobility of the joints and muscles. It also relieves tension and stiffness in the lower back and neck.
- It stimulates the digestive system and the thyroid gland. It enhances the metabolism and helps in weight management. It also boosts the immune system and detoxifies the body.
- It calms the mind and reduces stress and anxiety. It promotes mental clarity and focus. It also fosters a sense of humility and devotion.
- It balances the energy flow in the body and aligns it with the cosmic rhythm. It activates the chakras and harmonizes the dualities within oneself. It also connects one with the divine presence in oneself and others.