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“In a Hindu temple there is often a multiplicity of simultaneous proceedings and ceremonies,” according to Hinduism Today. “In one corner, an extended family, or clan, with its hundreds of tightly knit members, may be joyously celebrating a wedding. At another shrine a lady might be crying in front of the Deity, saddened by some misfortune and in need of solace. Elsewhere in the crowded precincts, a baby is being blessed, and several groups of temple musicians are filling the chamber with the shrill sounds of the nagasvaram [a double-reed melody instrument] and drum. After the puja reaches its zenith, brahmin priests move in and out of the sanctum, passing camphor and sacred ash and holy water to hundreds of worshipers crowding eagerly to get a glimpse of the Deity. All of this is happening at once, unplanned and yet totally organized.”

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