For centuries the mountain people of Nepal use the ghurra (churning rod-holder) as a tool for churning milk into butter. Besides possessing an important functional side, ghurras give expression tot the age-old Hindu creation myth, the Samudra Manthana: the churning of the milk ocean by the gods and demons, which is also a story with a paradigmatic pattern, one of the endless struggle between the forces of good and evil.
By using the ghurra the churning process evokes a reality that is inherent to people. In this way, the space-time structure of the mountain people is measured in moments of everlasting holy time (darshan), a ritual action whose initial inner significance was laid down in centuries and centuries ago.
Inspired by their religious convictions and folk customs, Nepalese mountain people have transposed the original mythological churning rope used to rotate and support the churning-rod during churning into sublimely beautiful wooden sculptures full of religious meaning. Ghurras also emanate sublime symbolism through their particular schematic design. They consist of geometric elements that abstractly evoke the gods of the Hindu pantheon.
Ghurras therefore can be interpreted as a symbolic stimulus for a great devotion to god so that in every object or attitude, in every action undertaken, a deep underlying sacred reality is recognised and given expression: Brahman.
The information on this subject relies on the book Divine Support by Paul de Smedt, published by Book Faith India 2000.
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