A musing on why we visit temples….
Why do we go to a temple?
*To pray of course.
*Yes. Well maybe there are other answers too…
a. I go for finding a sense of peace. Unadulterated, spacious calm – it soothes me.
b. I go because it’s the right thing to do. The scriptures ordain it. I promised my grandma I’d go!
c. I go because it makes me feel more secure, more alive and – less lonely. I get to see lots of people chatting gaily, children running around, a few elderly people reminiscing on old times and dishing out awesome advice to the populace.
d. I go to be inspired by the people of all ages sitting meditatively, eyes closed and in communion with their best selves. It gives me the confidence that like them, I can get in touch with inner self too.
And so it goes. I am yet to hear of a consistent answer to this question. And in a way, I think this is what makes the temples so very special (and popular) – they are non-judgemental, vibrant places – and its upto the devotees to take what they want and for that matter – as much as they can. Truly temple’s a boundless ocean of goodness, you choose the vessel to draw from it – or if you wish – to swim in it (an extraordinary state where you don’t own anything, but enjoy everything).
Yes, I think that’s what makes temples special. The sense of them being a playground, a school and a mirror – all at the same time. And all of this without any scores or compares against anyone else. Even more importantly, there’s no pressure. There’s no ego either – you can speak (or cry/ vent) your heart out and the temple will soak it in without adding to the emotions; silently listening without judgement. And as we become sensitive to the listening, our souls will invariably provide us the answer we seek.
I guess it all comes down to just one thing. The temples are wiser than us. They have watched many generations of people live and have been petitioned for more asks than we can imagine. They have also seen the evolution of normal people into saints and what’s more intriguing witnessed the saintly traits residing in every human being.
Thus, they are witness not only to the gods within their hallowed shrines but to the gods in every human being. And they possess that supreme secret of not just divining the sacred, but of transmitting to anyone who seeks it.
Now isn’t this alchemy the thing we need most today?