Why do we go to temple ?

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    An individual who worships some form of God according to his religious tradition and belief, and people gathering in one place to collectively offer obeissance to God for the fulfillment of their desires, are intrinsic to Indian culture.

    People criticize those who go to the temple saying that if God is all pervading, He must be equally present everywhere! We are not worshipping the stone idol in the temple, but the presence of God within that form. The temple & the idol are simply to bring in our minds, an awareness of the presence of God.

    Many people keep a picture of their family or someone they love, in their purses or offices. For them it invokes all memories of love & joy associated with their loved ones and brings their presence into their minds. This is also a kind of idol worship.

    In the same way, the function of the temple and of the idol is to invoke in our minds, the awareness of God’s presence. Eventhough the form is outward, the awareness and knowledge of God takes place within our minds. This purifies our mind and prepares it to understand that this Truth is everywhere.

    In ancient days, besides fulfilling the spiritual needs of a person, the temple was a place for secular learning, for lectures, dedication of music and dance. The temples of those days were like the community centres of today. Renovation and preservation of temples are rooted in our culture. They are symbols of faith which fetch peace and have given our country, a distinct identity.

    Another significance of the temple is its structural representation of the human body. The temple represents the physical body and the heart is the Sanctum Sanctorum where we experience the Lord’s presence. In South Indian temples, eventhough the temple may be large, the main idol is kept in a small dark place.

    Only by offering a camphor light, the form of the Lord can be seen. The significance is thus explained. God who is seated in our heart is covered by the darkness of our ignorance. We do not see or know Him.The camphor burns all the negative tendencies and impressions in our minds.The fire of knowledge is kindled within us and the ego gets burnt. In the light of that Knowledge, we behold the Lord.

    When the camphor –flame is shown round, we put the hands over it and touch our eyes. This signifies that we want to keep permanently in our eyes, the light in which we saw the Lord. Whatever we see with our eyes, goes into the heart. So now we have this new vision of Lord everywhere, in whatever we behold.

    We put money in the plate on which the camphor-flame is passed around. That is because we become generous when we gain the greater vision of the world. We want to share our wealth and possessions with others.

    The food that has been offered to the Lord becomes prasada, and our partaking this prasada indicates the blissful peace that we experience upon realization of God. Prasada means purity, cheerfulness, bliss and peace. That is what we gain after looking at the idol and experiencing peace in our hearts.

    Dayananda Swamiji says, all other religions say there is only one God, whereas Hindu religion says ‘there IS God’ !

    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
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  2. Hopefloats

    Hopefloats New IL'ite

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    Dear Mrs CV

    I am [FONT=&quot]overwhelmed by your write up. I am able to relate and understand the explanation given by you because it is in simple laymans terms. I thank you deeply for this.

    In chennai, I used to live near a very famous temple and made it a point to visit everyday. I used to do and still do things but actually dont know why. I always have the fear that a few more generations later we might be totally ignorant of our culture but I see Hope now even if its in a small way I am happy to see things happening, afterall little bits of water make the mighty ocean isnt it? The significance about karpooram, it is news to me. Better late than never I guess:). I am eager to learn such significant things and I dearly look forward to your articles in this section.

    wishing you the best in whatever you do
    hopefloats
    [/FONT]
     
  3. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I am more hopeful now !

    Dear HopeFloats,
    All my apprehensions about how this thread will be received, are slowly laid to rest now. It is nice to know that you enjoy reading them & appreciate the nuances of our culture. God willing, I shall give as many aspects as I have understood.
    Please stay " tuned" with me !
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  4. sumanr

    sumanr Silver IL'ite

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    Thank you Mrs. Chitra for throwing light on this topic. I was somehow wondering, "Why we need the camphor-light these days when we have tubelights ? May be we are blindly following the old custom when camphor was used because there was no electricity"
     
  5. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    You hit the nail on the head !

    Dear sumanr,
    " Blindly following the custom" is exactly what I want to dispel from one's mind ! There is a reason for everything and we should understand the reason for atleast some of them, if not everything.
    In our Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the whole temple is very huge, well lit all over and spacious. The sanctum sanctorium is very small and sparkles only in the " deepa jyothi" of the oil-lamp there. Infact, that is the most lovely sight in the temple, when camphor is shown ! When I write this itself, I feel so nostalgic !
    Please stay with me in this thread.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  6. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    very informative

    Dear Mrs Chithra,

    I enjoyed today's write up on going to the temple, loved the part on karpooram. Living in a place with no access to spiritual magazines, your article was pleasant to read and filled a major void. Looking forward to more such articles from you.

    Thank you.
    affectionately
    Vidya
     
  7. Kamla

    Kamla Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Brings peace..

    Dear Chitra,

    Even reading your words about the sanctitiy of a temple and it's importance brings peace to my mind. Once again, very well written. Comparing the temple to human form and the explanation about the 'Sanctum Santorum' at once hits the point home. Temples act as a community centres even today esp. out of India where the indian/hindu people need a meeting place.

    Another good article from you. Your writing is excellent. I feel there was always a 'writer' hidden in you who seems to be coming out and flourishing every day!

    L, Kamla
     
  8. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thankyou, Vidya !

    Honestly, you encourage me immensely that I can't thank you enough.
    All the notes I took in various lectures I attended over the years are suddenly helping me form the outline of what I should write !
    I will copy my favourite Big B & say " Please stay tuned" !
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  9. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Kamla, you are too lavish in your praise !

    It is nice to know that the purpose which temples served in India many years ago, is now fulfilled in foreign soil !
    There has never been a " writer" in me all these days, Kamla, believe me. I L is making a " writer" happen " in me" at this age & stage of my life & proving that age is no bar if you want to achieve things in life - all credit goes to the loving encouragement given by I L ites like you.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  10. sonia

    sonia Bronze IL'ite

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    very good information

    Hello mrs. chitvish,

    Ur writeup abt why we go to temple is very informative n touching.I suppose everybody bwn us used to go to temple n i m sure most of us was unaware why we go?

    U have explained abt each activity we do in temple.This is very very informative.I also believe in GOD very much but most of my frnds did't visit to temple.They normally used to say that this age is not going for temple n do puja.But i believe this age is right one to do all PUJA N SEVA as we r more active in young age rather than in our old age(i think so).I believe in SEVA very much.There is also one saying.....

    DARSHAN KA PHAL EK SEVA KE PHAL CHAR.

    Moreover,they used to say that GOD is every where they can do puja at home.In it, there is no need to go to temple.but then i told that the peace which we can get in temple by doing puja ,we can't feel at home.

    mrs.chitvish, Isn't it true? I always feel such.

    N moreover there is one more example to give ....
    we can also do study at home.
    But if doing study at home is possible then why there r so many scls n colleges? (i heard these lines in one satsung n i liked very much).

    now after all these explanations my frnds are also convinced n they started to go to temple.
    now i can tell them more abt this after reading ur write up.
    thank u so much.
    keep posting.
    sonia
     

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