Sunday 13 January 2019

The Sin in Building a Temple You Can't Manage

In the land of Bharata, temples play a very crucial role.Our ancients lived within the energy field of a temple

A good example would be Madurai Miinakshi Amman where the temple campus is amalgamized with the city complex

 Every resident there is imbibing the presence of Devi every moment of their lives. The very air they breathe is consecrated with the grace of Devi.

 As a cultural diaspora in Malaysia, we are certainly being unjust to our ancestors. Just look around, myriad shrines and temples all over - mostly maintained in a pathetic condition. Truth to be told.

 It's not wrong to construct temples or shrines, but ensure that they are taken care of at its threshold requirement at least.

 When you construct a temple and consecrate a deity, you are not engaging in a barbie doll setup. You are in a way crystallizing an infinite consciousness to a form that you can relate to. Importantly, you are giving life to it !

Shivopasana Mantra, from Krishna Yajur Veda and Mahanarayana Upanishad which describes the consecration process

  Once this is done, you need to do what is required. It may sound superstitious but the deity you have installed does require some must-do rituals.

 For instance, depending on the deity and temple construct and method of consecration, appropriate food ( naivedya ) must be offered. You can't be countering this with ridiculous arguments like,' God does not require food ' or some lavish parallel to it. Yes, divinity does not require food, BUT you have consecrated divinity into a form and body ( vigraha - energised idol of a deity) - according to your needs.

 Another analogy to this would be the descent of an avatar - When Divine consciousness takes birth as a human. Though God, that consciousness is now manifest in a human body and it undergoes the normal physiology of a human.

Shri Rama - bearded and wounded, art by Anirudh Sainath

 If you enhance your perception, you can simply know how starved the deities are by just looking at the vigraha (energized idol ). Yes - a deity can undergo hunger. There are any numbers of temples in Malaysia, visited by saints who had shed tears upon looking at the deities.

 Next, of course, abhisheka - bathing of the deity,alankaram ( dressing up), and most importantly, routine puja by a trained priest and not some random dude next door who enters the garbha graha as he wishes and does a circus show of dancing flame in front of the deity. 

Ever wondered why Iskcon prasadam tastes so heavenly? The standard of protocol observed. The effort and love put in serving the deities with naivedya which is later eaten by us as prasadam reflects the justice they are doing to their sampradaya

 But does God see qualification? Why a trained priest? Why can't someone with a devotional heart do the same?

 If devotion is all you value, don't build temples.Simple.If you want to build a temple, observe the protocols strictly. A temple is not necessarily an expression of devotion. Temple management course requires 5 years of study, and its not something to be taken for granted.

 Don't just erect a shrine and abandon it 5 years later. The drawbacks can be disastrous.

 If you construct a non-Vastu shrine ( not in accordance with guidelines ) , bypass the necessary rituals and abandon it, the presiding force ( not necessarily divine ) can choose nasty ways to maintain its physical existence. This can even include sacrifice, impromptu. Malaysia is flooded with such shrines.

 In our scriptures, temple related service is credited with a gargantuan amount of merit.

 Prahlada, for whom the Lord took the avatar of Naarasigmha was nothing more than an ordinary person in some of his past birth. He apparently swept a temple when he was wandering so as to make a convenient clean environment to spend the night. The Punya or merit from cleaning the temple was one of the reasons why He was reborn as an eminent devotee of Narayana - and later as Swami Raghavendra. Today, Prahlada is synonymous to the path of devotion.

 Animals, like mice being reborn as saints due to accidental service they offered in temples, is nothing new in our culture.

 So, looking at it vice-versa,the sin or karmic weight you invest by doing injustice to a temple is equally paramount.

 Also,the next time your temple undergoes an issue or gets demolished,just keep in mind that it MAY be due to the deities' own will.When you don't take care of a temple and let the deity there leave,it's now only a temple in your imagination. 

 For the public,do some rough investigation before entering any shrine or temple if suspicious. Simply putting your foot into any shrine may bring more harm than good. Your inner consciousness and intuition can be the best guide at times.

 Hoping to see an uprise in quality than quantity of temples in Malaysia.


  1. Good read.. And to save ourselves from any more humiliations and atrocities.. Let us all take the initiative to clear up all the shrines our fellow brothers have built in the name of devotion in a more systematical and respectful manner. Its far more. Better than to wait for. Another extremist to post and viral the shrine and to let city Authorities to clear it up dishonourably.