I went to the Frist Maine Hindu Temple in Scarborough off route 22. The Temple was having was having a celebration for a member of the temple that was going back to India. At the entrance to the temple there is a place to take your shoes off. A bell to ring when to you enter. The sound is wonderful and peaceful. Entering the temple a feeling of peacefulness falls over me in the overwhelming way. I did not ask permission to use anyones name, I don’ t think it is right to use without permission. There was a Hindu woman with her mother and daughter who were getting ready for the celebration. I told her my reasons for being there was for a college project and for personal curiosity. I grow up in Scarborough and lived there most of my life. The Temple was a church and sat empty for a long time. I had been in that church for a yard sale a long time ago. When saw how the community has transformed the Temple, I was amazed. All the decoration and paint reflect the colors that could be seen at sunrise or sunset. There were several deity door size pictures on the back wall (beautiful colors) behind the alter, sandalwood incense was burning, music was play(I think a prayer song), and colorful handmade ottoman pillows on the floor in front of the alter for people to sit or pray on. I will put pictures for all to see from the Temples Facebook page.
The Hindu woman is putting paste on my forehead to make the mark called Tilaka. It is said to be “symbolize the third eye” (Vivekjivandas, 2010). Also a sign that you have been at Temple.
The Hindu woman and I talked for a few minutes while she arranged items at the alter and light lanterns. Hinduism is consider the “oldest religion” in the world, dating back 4-5 thousand years ago (Smith, 1991). Originating from India, a country that has been contoured/ruled by other cultures, Hinduism had to adapt. That is the reason there is diverse amount of deities and practices. Hinduism is considered a way of life (Das, 2014). I learned today that a place to worship or gather is a need and aspect of this Hindu community.
The Hindu woman introduced me to a Hindu man who was very helpful with my curious questions. He was in Maine alone because his wife, mother and daughter were still in India. Family is a need and aspect of this community. Having elderly live with you is an aspect of the Hindu community that is different from the majority population, which puts our elderly in a retirement homes instead of having them live with us still being an active member of the family and community.
Tuesday was a temple event things were different than going to temple on normal times so I did not get much time to talk with people as I wanted but I got to observe the community. I did not know what the words meant but I did try to sing along.