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Science, scriptures cement deity seat

The latest high-profile Kali temple to dot the city of Kali is becoming the first to employ a great deal of science in helping the deity keep her feet firmly on the ground.

Lake Kalibari, now coming up opposite the Lakes along Southern Avenue, had hit a speedbreaker as its priests and architects mulled over how to reconcile the apparently irreconcilable. Architects had recommended a 22-ft-high pedestal for the deity but the priests ruled — by the scriptures — that the goddess must have some contact with Mother Earth.

Ultimately, science intervened to save the day for religion. Three concentric rings — to be filled in with the ‘right’ mix of ‘holy substances’ — around the pedestal was suggested as a way out of the impasse. “We have accepted the concept and the construction will start on the three-ring principle,” confirmed Lake Kalibari sebait Nitai Chandra Basu. “The devi bedi (seat of the goddess) will be built in accordance with this suggestion, so that religious principles do not have to be sacrificed for architectural splendour.”

The innermost hollow ring, to keep the deity in touch with the ground, will be made of copper. Like the pedestal, it will be 22 feet high, while the ring itself will have a diameter of a foot. That is the architecture bit.

The religion part, according to temple officials, is more important and employs several substances considered to be “auspicious and holy” in Hindu religious tradition. The copper ring would be filled up with nabaratna, brahma stone, grains of paddy and ‘sahara wood’ to preserve its “sanctity”, they added.

A ring — this one made of cast iron — will gird the copper ring. A gap will be left between the outer wall of the innermost copper ring and this cast-iron ring “for the free movement of air and spirits”. This second hollow cylinder, in turn, will have protection in the form of another concrete ring, say those who have conceptualised Lake Kalibari.

It will be masons who are going to construct the science-for-religion concentric rings but, as everyone connected with the temple emphasises, only under the “strict supervision” of men in closer touch with the gods. Bharat Bhushan and Pandit Niranjan Brahma are coming down from Puri to ensure that things remain within the framework of religion.

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