I am very religious and a huge believer in God, since childhood. My grandma has played a big role making me religious person. I remember in my childhood my grandma used to take me to the temple with her every day. From that time, I am attached very strongly toward the god. There was temple close to my house in India. I used to go to temple with my grandma two times a day morning and evening. These two times in temple saints (Hindu monks) do the “Aarti” (Aarti is waving lighted wicks before the sacred images to infuse the flames with the Deities’ love, energy, and blessings). “Aarti” means get rid of the darkness from life.
My ethnographic research is on the Hindu saint community. “Saint” is the word many people don’t know about it. However, before I tell anything about saint it is very important to describe what is a temple? Why saint lives there? Why need saint in the temple?
The Temple is the place where can find a statue of Hindu God and people go there to worship the God. For any Hindu temple in the world there has to be saints to take care the temple, offer aarti, worship god, and do “Satsang” (which refers to an environment, which is conducive for experiencing the presence of God).
The location I have chosen for my research paper is located 4N739 IL Route 59, Bartlett, IL 60103. For my research, I had to take permission from the temple authorities. I called in the temple, told them about my project, and ask for the permission to spend 3 to 4 hours at the temple observing the temple and especially the saints. They said I can go to the temple and I can do my research paper but they restrict to take any video in the temple. Authorities said I could take the notes but no picture or video inside the temple.
I choose Friday to go to the temple for my observation over space and place. Usually there are many people at the temple on weekends and for my first observation, my focus was in place and space not much on the activity of the saints. I thought Friday would be better for that observation because if there are less people I can observe the detail of the site very nicely.
When I leave for my observation of the site, I was very excited because I have been on site before once but I didn’t pay much attention to the place. Now I was going as a researcher to the temple. As I reached to the temple, the security person came to my car and noted the number plate of my car in the book and he opens the gate. As I entered inside the gate, there were two beautiful statues of elephants. In Indian culture, the two elephant statues at the gate are a symbol of welcoming the guest. Just entering inside the compound of the temple, I got the feeling of my hometown temple. The picture came in my mind of going to temple with my grandma. I parked my car in the parking lot and walk toward the temple. The whole atmosphere in the temple complex was cherishing. The air was filled with the scent of flower’s fragrance. I felt like I am in the garden and there are...