Rituals – Why Visit Temples?

You’ll agree there is something rejuvenating about visiting temples.

Temples are an elegant epiphany of art and science combined.

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Aesthetic art [1]

sri-padmanabha-temple

Marvel of science and architecture. Sunset at equinox [2]

In every aspect of construction, temples exude aesthetic beauty.

The beckoning gopurams (monumental tower entrances),

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The welcoming gopurams  [3]

The tall and wide entrance doors,

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Temple entrances [4]

The broad and open circumambulating corridors

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Temple corridors [5] [6]

The benignly imposing pillars,

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Temple pillars [7] [8]

Every one of them, from the gopuram to the pillars, welcomes my eyes, mind and being itself. “Come on in, come on in” – they seem to say.

The architectural dimensions of height, length and breadth and their relative proportions in every part of the temple are a marvel of aesthetic beauty.

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Aesthetic architecture [9] [10] [11]

And what to speak of the insidious art work in a temple! They embrace you quietly from all directions. From the intricate sculptures on the gopurams and pillars to the artistic paintings on the corridor ceiling, they are a veritable feast for the eyes.

Art gallery exemplar [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

A temple is truly an art gallery. Each sculpture, each bas relief and each painting tells a powerful and soothing story from the timeless scriptures. Each one reminds me of the caressing fondness of morality and the love of divinity. Each piece of art puts my mind at ease, inspires me to think divine and think of divinity.

maduraiinside-the-temple

Embracing peace of mind [20]

Subliminally shaped into a peaceful frame of mind, I enter the inner sanctum of a temple.

Here  a form of the Divinity that is formless but dons all forms greets and welcomes me.

Sanctum Sanctorium of religions [21[ [22] [23] [24] [25]

When I focus on the Form Formless, I get a shot of confidence to live my life in a good way. I pray and receive assurance that all is well and will be well. I experience a precious divine moment, fleeting as it may be, completely decoupled from the buzzle of the world.

This is the reason why I visit the temple. The deeply personal and powerful moment, all alone with divinity itself. This moment has no worries, no anxieties, no wealth, no illness, no pride, no self-conceit, no frustrations, no fear, no hope, no relatives, no friends, no enemies, no nothing. Just me and my God.

This precious, rejuvenating moment is fleeting and fickle. But it is addictive. So I go for it daily.

Then one day it dawns on me that during this moment with divinity, my eyes are actually closed. I’m not seeing the form outside of me but within me only.

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[26] [27] [28]

That is when I hear the scriptural teaching from the elders,

The body is a temple. The indweller is divinity itself.

I give up the illusion that I’m separate from It

I pray and experience that I am It

Deho davalaya prokto

Devo jeevas sanatanah

Tyajeth ajnana nirmalyam

So hum bhavena poojayeth

I learn from my temple visits that I must decouple my mind from the external world and turn it inwards to look at the divinity within. The ritual of temple visit then becomes spiritual. To become spiritual is the gift of a ritual.

A ritual is a structured repetitive action. Every day, I’m involved in doing so many things. I think 50000-80000 thoughts; speak 7000-20000 words and do 50-200 actions in a day. But I do not think of God. I do not keep His Company. The ritual of visiting temple is structured to facilitate, to induce and to inspire me to think of God.

When I think of Him, I spend a moment with Him.  

What more do I really need than a moment with God as I run from pillar to post in my daily life?

Of what use are rituals if there is no transformation in one’s thinking and behavior? [Paraphrasing a teaching from Sri Sathya Sai Baba]  

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[ Please also see Dream Temples , Temples-What good they do?]  

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4 thoughts on “Rituals – Why Visit Temples?

  1. Reading this post triggered so many questions in my mind and also gave me some answers.Why indeed do I visit temples? What is it that attracts me to them? Why do I feel good when I’m inside a temple and why do I leave feeling better? Why do simple acts like offering flowers and lighting a lamp and offering greens or fruit to the cows in the gosala give me so much satisfaction and peace? I don’t know answers to all the questions ..perhaps I never will. But as you said,sir, it is my moment with truth, my moment with infinite grace.
    Thank you so much for this divine post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sairamsir
    Listened to your you tube video srimad Bhagavatham. Ioday only I saw. I was searching for a long timet is very nice. I am learning from that with meaning you are explaining very nicely. But only four parts are there.
    Kindly upload the continuously please. Will be great helpful for the people like me
    Thank you
    Sairam

    Like

    1. Sai Ram ,

      Very happy to learn you are enjoying the Bhagavatam recordings on Youtube. There are two sets of recordings.

      The one on Srimad Bhagavatam by Sage Vyasa has 166 recordings so far, each is about 30 minutes with word by word meaning. This effort is continuing Monday-Thursday every week over free conference call. The link for the youtube is https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLr9gN5B82yvlfshSfpyrqXFMo8gxA5c9I

      The other one is the recording of a saptaham rendering of the Bhagavata Vahini by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. This is in seven parts, each is about 90 minutes or so. Link for this is https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLr9gN5B82yvkK5A9Yr7rDZfEqpBRvmpKe

      Does this help? If I can do anything more, please email me at skswami19@gmail.com.

      Sai Ram!

      Like

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