Spirituality

If God is everywhere, Why Should we go to a Temple?

This is a common refrain from people who have started using logic to understand religion.  Specifically Hinduism.  The origin of this statement also comes from how the poets and commentators have equated how people go to look for god in a Church or a Mosque and “He” isn’t there, so why does one go to a temple either?

There are a lot of assumptions in this.

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First, going to the temple is not about God.  It is about you.  Temples were created as tools using the Agama Shastra to energize the space in a way that could help someone connect to something beyond himself/herself.  Often our inner energies are in turmoil and need balancing out.  Temples with their consecrated spaces were for just that.  There were temples of different types – Kul-devam temple, Panch-bhutam temple and temples for specific sadhana.  The goal was to make an energy intervention in your overall energy body to align it in some way.  It was about YOU.  Not God.

 To know more on this topic, please check out this post: Why do Hindus do Idol Worship? A Scientific and Spiritual exploration

God really doesn’t need anything to reside, if it is indeed God.

This brings us to second assumption in the statement.  How does one even know that God is everywhere?  Do the people who make such statements so casually even think about what they are saying?  Have they ever seen God, forget seeing it everywhere?!  If you have not experienced God anywhere, isn’t it rather stupid to announce it is everywhere?

At best its a hearsay.  Ok, Krishna may have said this.  So what?  Have you experienced it?  If no then why repeat what Krishna or Agastya Muni said?  And if they said that, then please know that they also consecrated thousands of temples as well.  So, how can you take one set of statements as sacrosanct unquestioned and question the other set from the same source?

Also read:  Cosmic Dance of Shiva: New Evidence

The reason is – it looks logically interesting.

More importantly, it hurts one’s ego.  How come when I can get something everywhere without effort, do I need to go to somewhere specific in a certain way?  Why do I follow a rule… any rule?!

Somewhere we know instinctively that if we are to go to a specific place, it is us “on trial”.

It is our refusal to accept anything larger than ourselves that makes us shun any effort that needs to be done to know the truth of this entire creation itself.  It has been easier for us to break down this existence with our arrogance and knowledge.  IT is however very tough for us to know it the way it is without dissecting or displacing it.  To dissolve ourselves into it and know first hand.

The word for the English word “worship” (somewhat though!) is “Upasana“.  It means “being in position/place of”.  Not literally.  But in terms of consciousness.  To do so, one needs to dissolve.  That dissolution is the key to devotion and bhakti.  That is what when we are ready to be bigger than our physical limitations.  And, that is where temple comes in.

When we do our Sadhana, Yogis – powerful and knowledgeable – have consecrated spaces, which will enhance its quality and potency.  Even if we aren’t doing Sadhana, the very presence in such a consecrated space can impact our energies in ways we cannot fathom.  By going to the temple, we make use of that work done by so many in the past.

Going to the temple, where a consecrated space exists is also an acceptance that you need help.  To hold hand and leverage someone else’s work to grow as a human being.

The yearning to give your hand to a force of existence far bigger than your mental and physical self is the reason why one goes to the temple.  Not because of God!  God doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you.  Because honestly you and I don’t matter in the large scheme of things.  After all, in the cosmos with not one but multiple Universes (Multi-verses), our Galaxy is not even a speck.  And, in that our Solar System is also just a speck, if at all.  In that Solar system, we are a small planet.  On that, we are a small species.  Is the cosmic God was only interested in us – then it would be a rather inefficient and useless god.  And certainly not cosmic.  So sorry to break your bubble, no god is sitting out there thinking of you.

Also read:  Death and spiritual freedom

You, on the contrary, may want to enhance your being to align itself to the infinite divine consciousness that pervades the existence.  The ocean of infinite consciousness is flowing and raging.  The question is are you equipped to surf it? (Read this to understand this better – Holi is to surf with the existence, not a victory of Good over Evil)

And, it is for that, that the yogis have left behind their work to be used.  Temples are their work for your alignment.  They have nothing to do with the God.

 

Featured Image: Flickr – the image is of Veerbhadra temple at Lepakshi.  The imposing Shiva Lingam is carved out of a natural boulder to the west of the shrine, this seven-hooded Naga shelters a black-polished lingam cradled in its ribbed coils. A saptamatrika panel is placed below to the right.  The temple was consecrated by Sage Agasthya when he stayed in this place.

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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25 thoughts on “If God is everywhere, Why Should we go to a Temple?”

  1. That has been my exact question since forever. If religion is about faith, it’s fine. But, commercialization, blind faith, superstitions and manipulation of religion is what hurts the most-sentiments, progress and everything else.

    1. Hi Kishor – thanks buddy! So, let us get some important things out of the way first:

      1. Religion is not Spirituality or Dharma. Religion is belief, while Spirituality / Dharma is towards Liberation and a seeking.

      2. You don’t need faith in terms of belief for Spirituality or Seeking. All you need when you follow a Guru is the faith that you would show in the car you drive. If you use the accelerator and brakes and steering properly, then car will work for you. Nothing more. No Belief pls.

      This belief crap has come from outside in India. Let me explain – Read Bhagwad Gita. 1st chapter – Krishna tells Arjun to fight. 2nd chapter – Sanjay tells Dhritrashtra that Arjun has put his arms down and has point blank refused. 3rd chapter – Arjun asks Krishna “First you explain Jnana Yoga then Karma yoga, why are you confusing me?” 4th chapter – Arjun asks Krishna point blank – “How do I know what you are saying is the truth?”

      Not once, Kishor.. NOT EVEN ONCE does Arjun ever say in Gita – I believe you. Not even once! Only when he experiences Krishna’s Universal Consciousness – the Virat Roop – does he finally say “Now I know and agree that what you said was the truth”.

      God is not an apriori assumption in Spirituality.. it is the FINAL realization. And there is a heck of a lot of difference between the two.

      The yogis who gave the science of Agama Shastra and consecration – please read the article on the link I shared on Idol Worship for scientific evidence on it – knew what they were doing when they consecrated thousands of temples across the country. Temple is NOT a “House of God” (like Mosque or Church). It is a tool. Just a tool. IF, you know how to use it. 🙂

  2. Ultimately religion is a personal matter. Those who don’t internalise god or whatever that should mean won’t discover spiritual meaning anywhere.

    1. Belief is make-believe. It is as long as your memory is. And it is as big or small as what you have gathered. Spirituality is beyond physical and mental. It is a seeking that is existential in nature. So let us not confuse between something that is psychological like Belief/Religion with Spirituality which is Existential in nature.

      To fully understand – please see that at the sub-atomic level everything is a wave. There is no matter at that level. Your hand, your computer, your face and the floor are one energy wave. Somewhere from that energy (sub-atomic level) to the gross level, some part of the wave becomes you, some becomes computer and some the floor. It is not as if either exist – the fact is that BOTH exist – the wave and the matter. The Scientists – when they look at the Quantum – they had the same question as the Spiritual Sages had – How does the Infinite give rise to the Finite?

      The Scientists used a theoretical particle called “Gods Particle” or Higgs Boson. It is a theoretical particle that gives mass to energy to matter happens. Sages in India found that the human body can experience both – the gross of course and the sub atomic as well. That is why the Indian Sages did not call existence as Kriti (Creation) but Srishti (Manifestation). Because there is NO Creation. Only manifestation.

      What happens in our mind is just a rearrangement of conditioned memory. Nothing else. It has no existential importance. Spiritual seeking is after something far beyond the mental rearrangements. It is after the union. Between Gross and the Infinite. So, It maybe a personal effort, but not entirely a “personal matter” – it is an existential matter.

  3. This made so much sense. My Dad taught me that God is within us and in our Karma. And so every person we meet has God within. As soon as we realize that, we will learn to love ourselves and others. And when one loves, the question of doubt doesn’t arise at all.

    1. HI Rekha – Thanks for the comment! One point here though – when we say something is one’s Karma, we are essentially saying that it is his/her own doing. There is no hand of god in that. India is the only culture where no matter what happened, we always said “It is his karma” – recognizing that God is not intervening in what happens. It is one’s own doing. If one is conscious, one can decide one’s death and also the birth. I have written on Karma on this blog – you may find it interesting given your interest in Karma 🙂

      http://drishtikone.com/karma-the-stimulus-reaction-memory-structures-and-nirvana-from-this-bondage/

  4. So interesting and logical. Which is why I opened to read it. I have at times felt the energy in the temples or even places where shlokas are being recited. Sadly, people have commercialised it to their own benefit over the years. I absolutely can’t handle that.

    1. HI Prerna – thanks 🙂 Yes that’s true – temples over the years have become more like malls and social places as opposed to Spiritual tools. But that knowledge is not lost. It is still there and needs to be transmitted to the right people in a committed way.

  5. What an enlightening write up! 🙂 As long as one’s belief gives him or her a strength to fight tough situations, it is ok to follow the very ritual…. similar in this case.

    1. Hey thanks Simran! 🙂 My argument is belief doesn’t help on spiritual path – only ruthless and honest seeking does. As for the rituals – what seem as rituals are methods to create situations and energy for spiritual work.

  6. The only reason what I understand is that since many people collectively pray at a spot (temple) it becomes more powerful source of energy to connect with the supreme (presuming all pray with true feelings).
    I personally feel God is everywhere and I pray where I feel comfortable, while traveling, taking a bath, before sleep, while eating anywhere, anytime as soon as I feel like. There is no specific reason for my remembering God..

    1. HI UK – yes, collective energy helps – but really speaking, consecrated temples are to use the energy consecrated there for your benefit. Problem is that most of us – when we “pray” – are basically doing deals with god 😛 “I will give you a coconut and you give me a million dollars” kinda deals 🙂 That doesn’t help anyone – individual or collective 🙂

      The seeking for a Spiritual seeker is to forget about God, but focus on one’s Sadhana and make effort to know the Truth of this existence. To know your Self. The realization of the rest will follow.

    1. That is why Amit-ji, I have focused on Spiritual seeking and not religion. In India, we did not have any religion as such. All pursuits were spiritual in nature. This belief/faith/religion business has come from outside. 🙂

      1. I said so in attestation of your views dear Desh sahab…sorry my comment was perhaps too short to convey what I really intended to.
        I loved this superb write of yours 🙂

  7. I subscribe to the same view point. It is not compulsory for me to visit a temple to remember God. I do believe in him and I know I can find him anywhere.

  8. Dear Desh, I find extreme pleasure to read your wonderful post. I completely agree with the logical conviction deriving out of your message here! I am glad to see that today’s generation is slowly breaking the shackles of the unworthy superstitions of performing certain rituals-cum-deals. But there are many who are still under the spell of Religion-God-Spirituality confusion! Being a human, it is of utmost benefit that one must know the truth in this lifetime!

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