Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Hindu Temple in Malibu

From the Collection of Beatrice Wood
After reading about Beatrice Wood's love for religious art, especially Hindu art, and seeing her collection at the Art Center in Ojai, I had a craving to see more.  While I would love to hop on a plane and fly to India, today I am content revisiting the Sri Venkateswara Temple in the canyons behind Malibu.

This beautiful temple was built in 1981 and dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, a form of the Hindu god Vishnu.  The two main shrines are to him and to Lord Shiva.  There are other deities honored here, such as Ganesha, my favorite, and all of them are works of art--colorful, intricately carved and filled with happiness.    Hindu priests live on the grounds and while the temple was relatively quiet the morning my son and I visited, there were a few families making offerings before these shrines.  I put my camera away and tip-toed around them.   I must admit Vishnu frightened me a bit.  I took a quick photograph, but decided not to post it.  It's a good policy not to make the gods angry, don't you think?

I'm always so impressed how polished and clean this temple is, from the marble floors to the exquisite chandeliers.  You have to take your shoes off before entering, but we didn't mind a bit.

The temple is owned and operated by the Hindu Temple Society of Southern California.  It is a strong symbol of their devotion to the spirituality of mankind. But I was here to see the art.  I am not a religious person, but I love religious art.  While religion can enhance people's lives and help them through the rough times, it is man's creation of the deities that continues to astonish me.  We simply do not give ourselves enough credit!

At any rate, I got my "fix".  Beatrice Wood was lucky enough to visit India three times.  But until I get there, I'll keep making the drive down to Malibu.  Ganesha and I have made a pact.  If he gets me there within the next ten years, then I'll eat my words.  I'll be his devoted follower forever!

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