Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami explains how Saivism brings the beings of the Three Worlds together. He explains how they work together throug the temple, and the esoteric workings of darshan. Great intelligent beings, Gods and Devas communicate through darshan in holy Hindu temples and shrines. Devout Saivites approach and worship these great beings with humility, sensitivity, gratitude and devotion. This is religion.
The Saivite Hindu religion brings to us one of the greatest gifts. The working together of the Three Worlds. Worlds within one another where great Intelligent Beings live who have evolved through eons of time and are able to help mankind without themselves having to live in a physical body. These great Mahadevas, with their multitudes of devas, live and work constantly and tirelessly for the people of our religion protecting and guiding them, opening doors and closing unused ones. The Hindu Temple is the place to go to meet and contact the great Over-Lords of our religion. They live there. Each temple is built to honor one or another of the Gods and each Saivite Hindu must associate himself with these Gods in a very sensitive way. When he approaches the temple on pilgrimage, he is aware that he is being watched. He is aware that he is being admitted into the temple by one or more of these great personalities. As he approaches the sanctum sanctorum, he does so fully aware that an Intelligent Being greater and more evolved than himself is there looking at him, watching him, fully knowing his most secret thoughts, fully capable and able of taking care of any situation the devotee may lay at the feet of the God. It is important that one approach the Deity in this way.
The physical representation of the God be it a stone, a metal image, a yantra or even a tree simply is the physical representative of the place that the God will manifest in or hover over in His etheric body. Our souls live in these physical bodies. Why could not a soul live in a tree? That's also a good place to live. These advanced Souls take up residence any place they wish and their devas do too. This is the way one World works with another. Therefore when we perform puja, a religious ritual, we are attracting the attention of the Devas and the Mahadevas in the Inner Worlds and telling them that we need them to come to us for certain reasons. That is the purpose of a puja. Therefore we establish an altar maybe in the home, that is the place that the Deva manifests himself in. By the word 'manifest,' I mean He actually comes and lives there and can stay for a long time providing the vibration is kept perfect and uninterrupted. The altar takes on a certain power. In our religion there are altars inhabited by Devas who represent the great Gods of our religion all over the world and there are temples where the Gods themselves manifest through. Their darshan can be felt. Messages can be given through the vibratory rates of the emanation from the Being of the Mahadevas as well as from their representatives, their own personal Devas, who carry out their work for them in lesser altars and shrines.
You are hearing the tones of my voice through the sensitive organ of your ears. Meaning comes into your mind because you have been trained to translate these vibrations into meaning through the knowing of the language that I am speaking. However, darshan is a vibration too that you pick up through the sensitive nerve ganglia, the chakras, and perhaps not immediately, but the message that the darshan carries directly from the Mahadevas direct from Lord Ganesha, direct from Lord Muruga, direct from Lord Siva Himself becomes manifest in your life. This is the way Gods talk to you. This is the way Devas communicate through the radiation of darshan from the sanctum sanctorum of a temple. This is the way they communicate to you. You do not take up the communication rapidly. You do not know what the darshan means. Even the words that I am saying now you maybe do not know the depth of the meaning. It comes back to you later on. Visiting a Hindu temple receiving the darshan from the great Gods of our religion can change the entire life of an individual. It alters the flow of the life currents within his body. It awakens the chakras. It changes him completely, but the change is slow. He feeds off the experience for months and months and months after his visitation to the temple. He comes to know and love the Deity and the Deity comes to know and love him helping and guiding his entire evolutionary pattern.
Darshan coming from the great temples of our Gods can change the patterns dating back many past lives. It can clear up conditions that were created hundreds of years ago and are but seeds now waiting to manifest in the future and through their Grace those seeds can be squashed up if the manifestation in the future would not enhance the evolution of the soul. This is the great power of darshan from the Deities of our religion. The temple brings the Three Worlds together. The pujari in the temple is the representative in the physical world of the God, the presiding Deity of that temple, and his many Devas in the Second World. He is a First World deva, he is their representative, he is their servant and the one responsible for creating an atmosphere with enough power within it so that they can hover over the images on the altar and bless the people who are attending. The individuals who are attending come, open, and in a hesitant way for they know they are approaching one of the greatest Beings on the planet. The pujari touches the image on the altar knowing that his touch is felt by the Deity that is manifesting over the altar in his subtle body. Once a Hindu altar is sanctified, many Devas live in it, through it, and are actually hooked into it and are constantly blessing the people. That is their job, that is their duty. The pujari knows that as he approaches this altar they are aware of him. He is their servant in the First World. He makes no move that they would disapprove of. He knows that they see his aura and they read his mind. That they feel his physical body as he moves the articles around at the base of the shrine and uses them. He knows that his touch is felt on the image as he dresses ithe image and adorns it with the sacred substances used by the priests. Thus he is very cautious. When a shrine has emanating from it constantly day in and day out a Holy feeling, we are all well aware that Great Beings. representatives of the Gods, are living constantly at that particular place. Therefore we approach that altar knowing that they are there looking, watching, and ever desiring to help. This is religion.