Why are you told to enter a Temple with your right foot first? | The Hindu FAQs

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Why are you told to enter a Temple with your right foot first?

Shiva and Parvati as Ardhanarisvara

There is a concept of prakriti and purush in Hinduism. Its a bit tough to explain but let me try to explain you in short. (I will write a big post of prakriti and purush explaining each and every small details later)

Samkhya:  Samkhya or Sankhya is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. Samkhya is strongly dualist.
It regards the universe as consisting of two realities, Pursha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter).
a living being or Jiva is that state in which purusha is bonded to prakriti in some form. This fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of buddhi (“spiritual awareness”) and ahankara (individualized ego consciousness).

The universe is described by this school as one created by Purusha-Prakriti entities infused with various permutations and combinations of variously enumerated elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind.

During the state of imbalance, one of more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage, particularly of the mind. The end of this imbalance, bondage is called liberation, or moksha by Samkhya school of Hinduism.

Simplify:
Its a big topic, so i’ll just simplify it for you. Just learn this,
Prakriti = material reality and Purusha = spiritual reality

Material reality is to please our five senses.  Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell and touch are the five senses that we have. We work and do everything to please them. Every little and big thing you do in your life is to please one or all of these. From cleaning your house to visiting romantic places and to taste exotic foods.
Apart from this, material reality contains Art, Music, Sex, Pleasure, Prosperity, etc.

You will work hard, earn lot of money, your needs will increase, to keep up with them, you will work harder. It’s a loop. Human needs are unlimited, but the resources he have are always limited.
Material reality is impermanent; Sooner or later it withers away. Today you are eating the best food, tomorrow you may have a great financial loss and you won’t be able to afford what you can afford now. With this there comes a stage where you become restless, frustrated, pain, anxiety, stress, fear and all sorts of emotions.

So Now, Prakriti = material reality = Unstable

Purusha or spiritual growth is the ability to overpower these emotions so that one has the wisdom to appreciate and enjoy all things material without getting needy or clingy. One is happy when the material world favours us and not unhappy when it does not. This can only happen when material growth is accompanied by intellectual growth. Only intellectual growth can control emotional turmoil caused by dependence on material things.

So Now, Purusha = Spiritual reality = Stable

Prakriti Vs Purusha
Prakriti Vs Purusha

Ok i think you got the basic idea of Prakriti and Purusha. Now, Think of our human body. The heart is on the left side, so the side is unstable. and so that side i.e. the left side of a body is considered as Prakriti Side.
So eventually, the right side, being stable is Purusha Side.

Moving on, When any person wants to go to a temple, he want to go there to calm himself. Technically, to exit the material world and enter the Spiritual world.  So sit there, calm himself, to meditate, to pray. So if an individual wants to enter the spirituality i.e. the purusha, then why not to start from spiritual side of the body i.e. the purusha, the stable side, i.e the Right side..

Hope you got the answer.

Further info:

You can stop reading here. But if you are intrested in further understanding prakriti and purusha side, here is the small explaination.

Visit an temple or see any Hindu GOD’s photo. If the GOD’s right leg is on the ground, He or she represents the Purusha side.

Shiva and shakti are perfect blend of Purusha and Prakriti. SHIVA symbolises consciousness, the masculine principle.
SHAKTI symbolises the feminine principle, the activating power and energy.

Nataraja defines Purusha
Nataraja defines Purusha
Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha
Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha

In Ganesha’s Idol, even the tusk can tell you that that particular idol represents purusha side or Prakriti side.

This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha
This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha, as the tusk is on the right hand side of the idol’s body.

Likewise Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti

Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti
Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti.

Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha…

Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha
Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha.

and last but not the least, our Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.

Hindu Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.
Hindu Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.

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