Expressing Faith through Worship
Private worship takes place in most Hindu home either at dusk or dawn. Communal worship takes place in a temple called the mandir. The mandir is regarded as the home of God on earth hence it is held in high esteem. The temple may be dedicated to a particular deity or form of God being worshipped by a particular sectarian group.
How people worship: Hinduism is comfortable with the idea of God having a form and attributes. Hence the image of a central deity becomes the centre of attraction. Devotees throng to the temple to catch sight of the deity being worshipped. This is called darshan (literally meaning catching sight of). Hinduism is not apologetic about worshipping God through images. They say that as long as we operate in the field of the finite we need finite tools to relate to the infinite God. These images are treated as living Gods; they are bathed, clothed, garlanded and offered food
Every ritual in Hinduism like worship or religious ceremonies or going on pilgrimage fulfils five functions:
1. it acts as a reminder of higher things;
2. it encourages discipline;
3. it acts as a symbolic gesture;
4. it gives identity;
5. the law of karma promises that all dedicated activities including religious ones are bound to produce beneficial results for the devotee.
Rituals are not mandatory. Hinduism offers flexibility to the individuals in what ritual he or she wishes to carry out.