The Kodiyaetram Festival at Sri Kandaswamy Temple, Brickfields [Part 3]

The Religious Significance of the Flagpole in a Temple

The flagpole and the flag, in the context of a temple, remind one, of the Universal Sovereignty of God and instill humility and devotion in the mind of the devotee.

Earlier it has been stated that the flagpole reminds us of the path of yoaham, by which the soul can experience God within itself.

It is ideal for the height of the flagpole to be equal to that of the vimaanam (tower) above the sanctum sanctorum. Thirty-two rings can be seen around the flagpole. The flagpole, made of a special kind of wood, is covered by silver, gold or copper sheath, which will also have 32 rings. The 32 rings represent those joints between the 33 vertebrae found in the human vertebral column.

A flag-like structure will be seen on top of the flagpole. The vehicle, auspicious to the presiding deity will be found on top of this structure. The vaahanam (vehicle) denotes the soul which has risen above all impurities, aaNavam (ego), kanmam (good and bad deeds) and maayai (delusion), and is continuously immersed in God consciousness. The flag-like structure and vehicle face toward the main shrine, depicting the continuous, undivided concentration of the enlightened soul on God. It is said that as one succeeds in meditation, the inherent divine power in a human being, rises through the six nerve centres along the spinal cord and blooms into a 1000-petalled lotus at the seventh nerve centre which is at the crown of the head.

It has been mentioned earlier that the flagpole represents God. During normal days, that is, when there is no special ceremony with regard to the flagpole, we pray to it as God Himself. When we enter the temple, we should prostrate to God at the point of the flagpole.