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Temples in India

When Rajas ruled India, then religion and the arts were so tied up with them, perhaps all the associated fanfare made sense. Indeed India's glorious days of culture flourished under the patronage of Maharajas. When one analyses the routine at Shree Nathji temples, for example, where the deity gets special clothes and food-based upon the seasons, we can get a glimpse of the Nawabi days, when there was a great disparity between the haves and the have nots. The kings along with the courts dispensed religion and promoted the arts. The have nots were thrilled to get a glimpse of their favourite deity receiving sevas that they themselves could not afford. Rajas who were looked upon as gods no longer rule the ways of the subjects anymore. We have elected rulers instead. Yet the land is splattered with myriads of temples where the murthis get the costliest clothing, the rarest jewelry, get covered from top to bottom with gold and their houses are remodeled and expanded so often. Devotees often drain their pockets to do the costly sevas and acharas. Millionaires dump their white and black money into the temple coffers. All this while in the neighbourhood of the temples live families, who resort to pawning, to provide a mangal sutra for their daughter. While many live under leaky roofs, the local temple has gold cover for the domes. They struggle to put food on the table while the lingam is being submerged in milk and honey that get thrown away. Somehow all this does not sit well for me. Rituals do play an important role in life especially with regard to important stages and sacraments. However how far should one continue this fashion in its entirety? The creator of the universe that we live in makes no demands for his/her survival. Nothing is being sold nor bought in this relation between the creator and the created. All deals with human transformation are with oneself eventually leading to the community, the nation, and humanity at large. Synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples are man's productions. So too are all scriptures by the way. If houses of worship were created for man to get closer to his maker, then certainly the way they are functioning is certainly not serving this purpose.


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