Temple is the source of positivity as per our tradition. The is a belief from the olden times that starting everything from the right(for good things) brings luck. Even things of daily routine were mended to start from the right like eating, writing, washing or combing. Behind this, there is a concept of Prakriti and Purush as said in Hinduism. If a person is setting out on a journey, his safe return towards home is marked. It is considered to leave and come into the house, putting the right foot first. It is a very wide concept but can be understood by understanding a few more things below:
What is Samkhya or Sankhya ?
Samkhya or Sankhya is one of the six astika schools of Hindu beliefs. It is most related to the Yoga school of Hinduism. During the past-times it was very influential on other schools of Indian philosophy as well. Samkhya is powerfully a dualist. It means it has a dual nature or two levels. Samkhya philosophy regards the universe as made up of-of two realities. The first is called as puruṣa (consciousness) while the second is prakṛti (matter). A living creature or Jiva(Jeev) is that state of life in which purusha is bonded to prakriti freely.
The mixture of these two realities made the Samkhya scholars. In turn, it led to the birth of buddhi (spiritual awareness or intelligence) and ahankara (sense of one’s own worth). The universe is being created by this concept as one made by Purusha-Prakriti units. Filled with many changes and joining of different elements like sense, feel, activity and mind. When a person is not completely balanced, one of more elements overpower the others. This creates an unusual bond with the mind. At the end, this imbalance, bond of mind is called as freedom, or moksha by the Samkhya school of Hinduism values.
Meaning of Prakriti and Purusha :
For a simplified understanding, it can be said that Prakriti means worldly pleasures and Purusha means spiritual sense.
Prakriti – The worldly things are to provide happiness to our five senses. Five senses that human beings have are Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell and touch. Each day we perform things like eating, working, cleaning, earning and entertaining.This way we are actually doing everything to please our senses. Every important and unimportant thing that we do in your life-cycle is just to feed our senses. From making up a family to traveling this whole wide world up to tasting foods of your choice. Apart from above things, material pleasures also contain Art, Pleasure, Music, Sex, growth, posture, teaching and learning etc.
People work very hard and earn a lot of money. Increased money increases our needs. Then to maintain them for long, one has to keep working harder and harder. It’s an unending circle. Needs of Human-beings are limitless, but the resources given to us are very limited.
Prakritik things or material reality is temporary. With time it goes away as it is short-lived. Suppose today one eats the best food, tomorrow he can meet a big financial drop. Then he cannot afford what you can now. With this condition there comes a stage where a person is restless, fed-up, hurt, nervous, stressed and feared. He experiences all such types of negative emotions. So it can be concluded that Prakriti means a worldly reality that is Unstable in nature.
Purusha – Apart from Prakiriti, Purusha is the capacity to defeat these emotions. It takes the person towards the wisdom to accept, enjoy and praise all things without getting needy or greedy. One becomes happy when he is blessed with the material world. But when such favors are not there he becomes unhappy. Purusha includes feelings, knowledge, Space, energy and Truth-source. This can only be possible when material growth is along with the growth of spirit. Only the spiritual growth can handle the emotional disturbances caused by indulging on materials of this world. So here, it can be concluded that Purusha means spiritual being that is Stable in nature.
Getting a basic idea of Prakriti and Purusha. A human body is to be imagined. The human heart is on the left side of the body, so the side is unstable. Therefore, that side (the left side) of the body is regarded as the Prakriti Side. Following it, the right side of the body, which is stable is the Purusha Side.
The reason behind using the right foot first:
When any person thinks to go to a temple, he wants to go there to feel peace and relaxation for himself. To be clear, he goes to exit the material world and enter the Spiritual world. Sitting there, calming himself, he meditates and prays to God. So if an individual on this Earth wants to enter the spirituality that is the Purusha. He must start from the spiritual side of the body, Purusha, that is the Right side, stable in nature.
An amazing article on The twelve Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva temple would be good to read
Deities in Temples : An example of Prakriti and Purusha
For a detailed and practical understanding Prakriti and Purusha sides, here is the small explanation. The God kept inside the temples are examples which show a perfect blend of the two.
Whenever we visit a temple or view any Hindu God’s photo. Gods generally have their right feet on the ground and if it is so. He or she is representing the Stable side. As an example- Shiva and shakti are a total balance of Purusha and Prakriti within them. SHIVA expresses the awareness, the manly character. While on the other hand, SHAKTI expresses the female characteristic, the activation of energy and power. Nataraja(The lord of dance) defines Purusha.
Lord Shiva is the God of creation, destruction, meditation, arts, yoga and moksha. This great Lord defines ‘Purushastha’. The word Purushastha means an object of human need. In Ganesha’s Idol, the tusk tells us that idol represents Purusha side or Prakriti side. It signifies Purushastha as tusk is on the right-hand side of the idol’s body.
The same way Goddesses Saraswati and Lakshmi show Prakriti. Lord Vishnu(The supreme God) shows the best blending of Prakriti and Purusha. The Trinity(Lord Brahma, Vishnu,Shiva) explain the finest relationship between the two. In which Lord Brahma is shown as Prakriti, Vishnu principally holding both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.