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Idols in the Hindu Way of Life

Content is taken from Isha Foundation Blog.

Hindu is a cultural identity, not a religious identity. In the Hindu way of life, the only important thing in human life is his liberation.

If I talk about something which is not in your present level of experience, it cannot be understood. Suppose you have never seen sunlight and you have no eyes to see sunlight. If I talk about sunlight, it does not matter in how many ways I describe it, you will not be able to grasp what it is. Anything which is not in your present level of experience cannot be understood. The only option is that you have to believe or disbelieve what I say. If you believe me, it does not get you anywhere anyway. If you disbelieve me, still it does not get you anywhere.

If you believe me, you will fool yourself because without really knowing, you will simply pretend to know. If you disbelieve me, you will destroy the possibility to know something that is not in your experience.

In the world, there are believers and nonbelievers – people who believe in God and people who disbelieve in God. There are people who believe in heaven and hell and there are people who disbelieve in heaven and hell. All these people are on the same boat. All of them are going on arguing about something that they do not know.

This is fundamentally because they have lost the basic quality of being sincere enough to admit, “I do not know.” If you do not admit, “I do not know,” you have destroyed all possibilities of knowing in your life.

Today, everybody is a believer. Every street has at least three temples. God is everywhere. People have one dozen gods in their houses but still there is fear in their hearts, isn’t it? God is in your house but you have fear in your heart. Does it really make any sense? Now people have become God-fearing also. This is simply because there is no living experience. It is just a belief.

Your grandfather said so and your father said so, and it has always been said so, so you believe. It is convenient. It is a solace, but it has not liberated you in any way, and it will not liberate you in any way.

I don’t know how many hundreds of gods we have in India, but still look at the pathetic state in which people are living. Somehow all these gods are not able to lift them up. This is not about gods, this is just people’s own foolishness. They have never aspired for the Divine. All their aspirations are just for comfort, for wealth, for power, for pleasure, never for the Ultimate, and they think God is a tool to help them achieve all these things.

The Science Of Temple-Building

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The temple was not created as a place of God or a place of prayer. It was created as a place of energy where everyone could go and make use of it.

In the Indian culture there is no particular belief that God is sitting somewhere and doing something. At least it was not so a few centuries ago. In India, temples were not created for worship. Only over a period of time, in the last six or seven centuries, they have become the way they are now. Temple-building is a very deep science. The parikrama, the garbagriha, the size and shape of the idol, the mudra that the idol holds and the mantras that are used to consecrate this – if these are properly matched, a powerful vortex of energy can be created. A very positive energy is created. It is a system, a mechanism that you are creating. When I say temple, I am talking about the ancient temples. The modern temples are built just the way you build shopping complexes.

Ancient temples were built as a very deep science. No one even told you in the tradition that if you go to a temple, you must worship, give money or ask for something. This is not a part of the tradition.

This is something that people have started now. In the tradition, they told you that if you go to the temple, you should sit quietly for a while and only then leave. That is the tradition. But today you just touch your bottom to the floor and run away. That is not the way. You are required to sit there because there is a field of energy that has been created. The practice was, in the morning, before you go out into the world and transact your business, first thing, you go and sit in the temple for a while and then go. This is a way of recharging yourself with very positive vibrations of life so that you go out into the world with a very different perspective.

Recharging Your Batteries

Temples were advised only for people who were not on the spiritual path. In the tradition, it is clearly said that a person who has started his own spiritual process need not go to the temple every day. Or in other words, the temple is a public charging place, a battery-charging place for you. If you have your own self-charging system, then you do not have to go the temple.

The temple was not created as a place of God or a place of prayer. No one was ever allowed to lead a prayer. It was created as a place of energy where everyone could go and make use of it.