When I first met up with my host, Devi, I noticed her garments right away. She had her hair down with silver earrings a shirt that looked like Indian garb. It was White with golden inlay. It was beautiful! She wore beige leggings and dark flats. Devi had bracelets on both of her wrists too. On her left wrist, there was a thick bracelet, and the right wrist had multiple thin bangles. All together, Devi was very shiny. This was quite a sight because I usually see her in casual clothes.
We then started our journey to Livermore. On the ride there, Devi explained to me that she was taking me to this particular temple because the structure was extremely similar to the structures in India.
As we arrived at the temple, Devi mentioned that she had forgotten to tell me that shoes were not allowed in the temple. I then mentioned that I had read that this was because of shoes being thought of as unclean. Devi confirmed that I was correct and proceeded to explain how one is supposed to prepare for temple. Devi explained that to be considered clean to enter the temple, her family would have to remove their shoes and wash their legs at least up to their knees. Their hair would need to be wet, be worn down, and freshly cleaned. Devi then said to finish the process, they would have to put on clothes that had not been touched by human hands, at least since it had been washed and purified of what was unclean.
As we entered the temple, it was very loud. This was surprising to me because the places of worship I have experienced, often focus on meditation, contemplation, and an atmosphere of peace. I know meditation is a large part of the Hindu culture, so I expected there to be little to no sound in the temple. Resulting from meditation, positive energies flow throughout the worshipper's bodies.
We proceeded towards the right, as Devi mentioned that in the Hindu culture the right, clockwise, is considered to be the correct way and left, counterclockwise, is considered evil, in a sense. She explained that this was simply because most of the people who wrote and designed things were right handed, so moving to the left would be considered defiant.
Devi mentioned three main gods Ganesha, Shiva and Vishnu. Later, as I was doing research, I discovered that she had mentioned three of the five main deities. (Ganesha, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga.) She focused on two in particular. Ganesha was one of the first alters we went to. She explained that each god is associated with an animal. Ganesha is shown with/as the elephant deity riding a mouse. The sight of this made me chuckle a bit. Devi even said that it was funny to her that her culture idolizes a mouse at all.
Ganesha is the son of Shiva, who is the main goddess she prays to. He is known as the Lord of Success. If you need anything, this is the god to pray to. Devi took a few moments to pray, then continued with exposition: Ganesha's head is supposed to be a symbol of the Atman or the soul; the fact that the head is an elephant, is meant to remind people of his wisdom, with the trunk of the elephant symbolizing the sound of the universe… "ohm." The body of Ganesha represents Maya or the body. This idol visual is to remind people to be humble and to allow success to come from the energy within. The energy from within, relates to the snake around his waist. Devi knew a lot about this god in particular.
Devi and I moved on, clockwise once again. We went to Ganesha's brother, Kartikeya. Devi mentioned at this point, that Ganesha is...