Thrissur, Oct. 30 : Believe it or not, a temple devoted to Lord Shiva in Mazhuvanchery Village near Kechery in Kerala's Thrissur District, has a unique convention to dispense knowledge.
At the Mahadeva temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, even the offerings to the deity are educational aids. It is done as a ritual here.
Visiting devotees are distributed textbooks, writing material and informative brochures as Prasad or, holy offering here.
Usually, flowers, fruits or cooked dish are offered to the deity at temples and it is returned the people as Prasad. But here apart from books, pens and pencils, the Mahadeva Temple witnesses offerings like CDs and DVDs being dispensed here as Prasadam.
"Knowledge is actual Prasadam (holy offering). So in form of Prasadam (offering) we give books and other informative literature to the devotees here in temple," said Taranath, the priest at the Mahadeva temple in Mazhuvanchery.
The temple is situated in the campus of National Heritage Centre (NHC) that functions under the Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage (IISH). It believes that social revolutions and eradication of the superstitions are possible through spiritual knowledge with a rational and scientific approach. It boasts of a well-equipped library.
Besides, photographs of various Hindu deities, gods and goddesses including spiritual leaders, noted scholars and public figures like Ramanujam, Dr. J. C. Bose, Dr. C. V. Raman, Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam and others adorn the walls of the temple.
"This is the only temple in India, especially in Kerala, where devotees are being given informative books which upholds the Indian heritage as Prasadam (offering). We believe that knowledge is best Prasadam (offering) that, devotees are getting. Irrespective of caste and creed anybody can come and worship God here," said K. Haridas Pillai, Director, National Heritage Centre, Thrissur.
On Vijayadashmi festival, Mahadeva Temple is visited by a lot of parents, where the kids are initiated into the world of letters. It is an auspicious occasion observed by almost all God-fearing Malayalaee Hindu families when children aged 2 to 3 years are taught to write basic alphabets.
Devotees who come to worship at Mahadeva Temple admit that they find peace and awareness on different subjects and believe that knowledge, which is meant to share in the society, is the best offering to God.