One not only gets peace of mind there but also connects to higher intelligence
First, the benefits. Temples are normally made in a very scientific manner. Lots of thought goes into it. They are made to be conducive to the transmission of positive spiritual energy. If a temple is visited regularly by the devout and murtis have been consecrated with proper rites/ceremonies (Prana Pratishtha), God manifests in these murtis. This means that those visiting will be able to have a ‘darshan’ of God in that particular form. Lord Krishna has highly recommended worshipping God in His ‘sakar’ (Deity/photo) form. (The Bhagavad-Geeta 12.2-12.5) In Ramacharitmanas, Lord Ramachandra has said the same thing, “Those, who worship God in His manifest form (which is when God incarnated), are very dear to Me.” (Sundar Kand #48)
Temples, which are well maintained, have a very special environment. I go to several temples in Delhi and spend some time there. The mood is so different. Chanting of mantras, ‘havans,’ prasad distribution, etc. are regular features in these temples. Those, who are fortunate enough to come, appear hopeful. The air is clean and laden with the smell of ‘agarbattis’ and ‘havan samagri.’ And those who serve there are most welcoming. I have a distinct feeling that my home is where I reside, but these temples are my real shelters; I belong there. I won’t deny that I genuinely feel that God is pleased that I make the effort to come to Him. God fulfils many of my wishes, which God thinks that I have become deserving of.
Ever since I started to visit some temples daily as a routine. I feel more energetic. My connection with God is getting strengthened. I don’t know if I am qualified to be called a bhakta or not, but my devotion is getting stronger. Not only spiritually, I feel that my mental strength is also going up. Because I am doing what is optional, not a duty related to earning my living or existing. As an old and retired person, I don’t go out much. These temple outings give my life variety, because we, souls, need change to invigorate ourselves. My donations to the temple and those who serve there make me feel very good. Is it not a very good public service, which has been highly recommended by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita (3.20 and 3.25)? We live in societies and have social responsibilities, which we must fulfil. This is both mandatory and benefits personally.
I choose a time to visit, which meets all my requirements. The first one is to go there when there aren’t so many. Sometimes, I am all by myself with God. I feel very special at those times. About this, I am very particular on special days like Janmashtami. I also chose the temple, which has that Deity but is not frequented by many. The idea is to spend time with my Lord peacefully.
We can choose to get help from God or live an ordinary life, controlled by our ‘karmaphalas’. When these are good, one feels confident, but when bad ‘karmaphalas’ make their dreaded appearance, all feel lost. I am not one to be so defenceless. I want to make sure that I can approach God when going is not good. Believe me, God helps me to come out of difficulties caused by my bad ‘karmaphalas’ every time. We cannot fault God; the creation must go on. If there were no ‘karmaphalas’ and there was no enforcement of dharma where will all of us be? In the end, one should not only go to a temple as a ritual, which is also good but go there to make our connection with God permanent, to be in God’s shelter. Visiting a temple is no replacement for all duties we must do because God doesn’t forgive dereliction of duties; it should be done for higher benefits. Similarly, we should always remain on the goodness level; anything lower will not please God. Our desires must be according to dharma. Then, our visits to temples will be highly fruitful, much beyond our imagination.
(The writer is a spiritual guide; views are personal)