When we visit a temple, after offering prayers, we circumambulate the sanctum sanctorum. This is called pradakshina. We cannot draw a circle without a centre point The Lord is the centre, source and essence of our lives. Recognizing Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of pradakshina, Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the centre. This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality.
The reason is not, as a person said, to avoid a traffic jam ! As we do pradakshina, the Lord is always on our right In India the right side symbolizes auspiciousness. It is a telling fact that eve in the English language it is called the “right” side and not the wrong one ! So as we circumambulate the sanctum sanctorum we remind ourselves to lead an auspicious life of righteousness, with the Lord who is the indispensable source of help and strength as our guide the “right hand” – the dharma aspect – of our lives We thereby overcome our wrong tendencies and avoid repeating the sins of the past. Indian scriptures enjoin – matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava. May you consider your parents and teachers as you would the Lord With this in mind we also do pradakshina around our parents and divine personages. The story of lord Ganesha circumambulating his parents is a well-known one. After the completion of traditional worship (pooja), we customarily do pradakshina around our-selves. In this way we recognize and remember the supreme divinity within us, which alone is idolized in the form of the Lord that we worship outside.
As we circumambulate, we chant:
"Yaani kaani cha paapaani Janmaantara krtaani cha Taani taani vinashyanti Pradakshina pade pade."
All the sins committed by an individual from innumerable past births are destroyed by each step taken whilst doing pradakshina.
"Why do we"- Swamini Vimalananda & Radhika Krishnakumar