1 The location of the temple
2 The architecture of the temple
3 The purpose of the temple
4 Krishna consciousness
The location of the temple
The Hare Krishna temple, known as the Sri Radhanath Temple of Understanding is found in the largely Indian area of Chatsworth roughly 20 kilometres south of the city of Durban. It is one of the major tourist attractions when in Durban and is the benchmark of all temples for all Indians following the Hindu faith. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, a deity that is worshipped by Hindus.
The architecture of the temple
There are numerous reasons why the temple has become an site of interest. One is the incredible architecture of the temple, marble tiles, gold-tinted windows, brass ornaments, crystal chandeliers and golden statuettes are more than a little impressive, they are decadently lavish. The other reason is the excellent vegetarian restaurant at the temple.
The Hare Krishna Temple was designed in the shape of a Lotus plant and built in 1969 after it was believed that Lord Krishna Himself had passed that land. The Lotus is an important symbol in the Hindu Religion as it represents prosperity and success in ones life the temple is regarded as the largest Hare Krishna temple in Africa, and it makes a fascinating visit, not least because of the beautiful gardens, which were added six years after the temple was built.
The purpose of the temple
The temple also provides a restaurant where they sell vegetarian food at a cheap price in order to cater for the less fortunate and raise funds for community service. The temple has a community project in hand Food for Life where they distribute hot meals on wheels to the disadvantaged thus creating a sense of oneness and spreading the message of love that is one of the tenets of Hare Krishna’s devotees.
Devotees meet every Sunday where they partake in songs (Bhajans) and offerings in the form of fruits, milk and sweetmeats as part of worship to the Lord. They chant mantras that is also part of the worship. The mantra they chant is Hare Krishna Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare as in the name of the lord the temple is dedicated to. The belief of Krishna as the Supreme is referred to as Krishna Consciousness.
Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind; this is the original energy of the living entity. This chanting of ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare’ is directly enacted from a holy platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness – namely senses, mentality and intelligence. As such anyone can take part in the chanting without any previous qualification.
The temple is a tourist attraction in Chatsworth and is a site that every Durbanite should be aware and proud of as it is a reflection of the Hindu population and gives them a sense of identity within a South African Context.
Written by Yoveshine Pillay