Upon entering a Jain temple, the devotee sees a suspended bell that they ring. Further bells are rung at various times, symbolizing various things and for various reasons:
1. As we get closer to the Ghabhärä, we ring the bell 3 times to symbolize that we will stay away from the activities of the material world and will become engrossed in Jin Pujä by our body, speech and mind.
2. The bell is rang second time when ‘Abhishek Pujä’ is about to start.
3. Third time we ring the bell after the completion of Jin Pujä and befor we start the Bhäv Pujä (Chatya-vandan). This time we ring the bell 27 times to symbolize 27 special characteristics of a Jain monk. Because, the ownership of Bhäv pujä (Chaitya-vandan) belongs to Jain monks. Now, we are going to become a Jain monk while performing Chaitya-vandan. Therefore, to respect and praise the special 27 characteristics of Jain monk, we ring the bell 27 times.
4. Forth time we ring the bell while leaving the temple. This time we ring the bell 7 times symbolizing the 7 types of fear that we want to get rid of in order to be freed from the miseries of the material world.
THE OTHER BENEFITS/REASONS
TO WAKE YOU UP
Upon entering the temple – to awake you and prepare you awareness is one of the reasons behind ringing the bell. The ringing clears the devotee’s mind in order to focus on their worship.
LEFT RIGHT BRAIN HARMONY
A Temple bell is another scientific phenomena; it is not just your ordinary metal. It is made of various metals includingcadmium, lead, copper, zinc, nickel, chromium and manganese. The proportion at which each one of them mixed is real science behind a bell. These bells are made to produce a distinct sound that creates a unity in the Left and Right parts of our brains.
The moment you ring that bell, bell produces sharp but lasting sound which lasts for minimum of seven seconds in echo mode good enough to touch your seven healing centers or chakras in your body. The moment we ring the bell, it produces a sharp and enduring sound which lasts for minimum of 7 seconds in echo mode. The duration of echo is good enough to activate all the seven healing centres in our body. This results in emptying our brain from all negative thoughts.
The sound that is produced by the bell has the capability to nullify all the thoughts in human mind and make it empty of any kind of stress. Invariably you will enter a state of trance where you are very receptive.
Bells had other reasons also, as most of the old temples never had doors and were located near hills and forest there would have been distinct possibilities for animals, insects, birds to take shelter. But bell sound doesn’t allow any of the living creatures to sustain inside for a long time so none will be harmed.
The sound made from a well-designed Ghanta is uninterrupted, reverberating, deep and sonorous. A well-designed Ghanta or bell produce long strains of the sound ‘OM.’ This mantra sound continues to hum in the temple. This mantra sound is absorbed by our body. The word ‘Om’ and its humming are meant to take energy upwards. The word ‘Om’ has A, U and M, – three fundamental sounds in it. Research shows when these sounds are systematically repeated, hummed, heard they seem to raise the energy upward.
DROWN OUT OTHER NOISE
An added significance of ringing the bell, conch and other instruments is that they help drown any inauspicious or irrelevant noises and comments that might disturb or distract the worshippers in their devotional ardour, concentration and inner peace.
Michämi Dukaddam (apologies) for any errors and omissions. Data compiled from many Web sites Jain, Lectures & Books. Image sourced from the online web. Shäshan Viruddha Känay Lakhäyu hoy to Man, Vachan and Kaya Thi Micchhämi Dukkadam.