Why Should We Go To Temple for Worship

Why should We go To temple for worship as per Hinduism

templeIt is estimated that every Friday, around 25,000 devotees come to worship at the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. This figure while it may seem phenomenal to the uninitiated, is only reflective of the general belief about temple worship that most Hindus have. Everywhere, in India and abroad, wherever there is a sizeable Indian population/diaspora, going to temple to worship is and has always been a big event; many even prepare for it.

So why do Hindus go to temples in such large numbers and that too so frequently?

Worship in Temple

While it is difficult to enumerate all available reasons for going to a temple, we can of course focus on three basic reasons for which every Hindu at one point or the other would have gone to a temple.

3 Basic Reasons for going to Temple for Worship

Divine Energy generated from Deity in the Temple

DeityFirst and foremost, the Hindu temple is, according to the Hindu belief, a site of the divine. Located strategically and built for a particular deity, the temple houses the divine energy of that particular deity in its optimum state. The location, the architecture, and the temple’s connection with the planetary systems, all come together, in the best possible alignment for the maximum possible benefit. So a devotee worshiping at the temple stands to gain more than if he or she were worshiping at home. This is also the reason why Temples have more crowds on particular days, days that are marked for  particular deities.

Pariharam or Doshas

pariharamThe second important reason, is a more selfish reason, is to visit  temples for the Pariharam or the Doshas. According to Hindu belief, every person born is under the influence of planets and for some, the unlucky ones, this influence can be more pronounced. The planetary influence, good or bad, can be therefore either utilized or countered by visiting temples and performing set Pariharam rituals. A large proportion of the temple goers in India, belong to this category.

Spirituality

SpiritualityThe last but not unimportant reason is a more rational one. Many who visit temples to worship are not necessarily religious, they are instead spiritual. The Kashi Vishwanath temple is a case in point, where people from all over the world come flocking; they come more for spiritual reasons than for religious reasons. It is believed that the ambience at these temples, the sounds, the sights, the smells– the cymbals, the vision of the deity, the incense– all add to the environment, creating a considerable impact on the senses of the devotee, taking them to a state of altered consciousness, wherein communion with the divine becomes easier.

These three main reasons aside, there can be a plethora of personal reason for us to worship at our favourite temples and not all of them will fall within the domain of the explicable– As the saying goes, to each his own.

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Importance of Temple in Hinduism

A Hindu temple is believed to be the earthly seat of a god or the deity and hence embodies divinity. Man likes to grasp the infinite in some concrete form. This explains why temples have come into existence. Hindus believe that a temple is a place where god may be approached, where divinity may be experienced and where divine knowledge may be discovered.

Hindu Temple

Importance of Temple in Hinduism

Historically, temples have served several purposes, some of which are listed below:

  •  A temple well sited and built in accordance with the Shastras can define a place. Tirupathi, for instance, has come to be defined by the presence of the Venkateswara temple. Kanchipuram in the south and Kashi in the north are places famous for the presence of several important temples.

 

  • A temple that can attract pilgrims in significant numbers can contribute considerably to the economy of that village or town. A temple that can attract pilgrims throughout the year has an even more significant impact, economically and culturally on the place of it’s siting.

 

  •  A temple also demonstrates the wealth, status and piety of the personage who commissioned it. The more ornate the temple, the greater the wealth and the power of the builder. Personages belonging to the royalty, the nobility or the cream of the mercantile class were the ones who usually commissioned temples.

 

  • They not only had to pay for the construction of the temple but also for it’s maintenace. They did this by giving grants of large tracts of land, the produce of which went to the upkeep of the temple and also by contributing sums of money, livestock and quantities of jewels or precious metals. Temple inscriptions and Sthala Puranas attest to this.

 

  •  The Mandapas or the halls of the temple were/are places where people gather(ed) for social and cultural intercourse.

 

  •  The temples also helped fulfill public utility functions. For instance, the temple tank served as a reservoir of water which could be used by the public. The tank also helped store rainwater and replenish water aquifers around the temple area, benefiting all those who had laid wells in that area.

 

  •  Temples also served as centres of art and culture. Even the building of a temple with it’s ornamented pillars, walls and roof, it’s murals and frescoes and other adornments like sculptures and jewelled elements required a large number of skilled artists and artisans of different categories and made it a treasure house of art.

 

The performing arts including traditional dance and music also found a permanent home in and around major temples. In fact the tradition of devadasis or temple dancers and classical music and composition owes much to religion and the institution of the temple.