Path to Siva: A Catechism for Youth

62 How Can We Strengthen Our Temple?§


During the annual Bonalu festival at Golconda fort in Hyderabad, two women lovingly apply kumkum to all of the steps leading to the temple at the top. Hindu temples inspire amazing devotion.§


Blessed with the knowledge that the temple is the home of God and the Gods, we visit often, for they are our dear friends. This is the first way to strengthen and become a valued part of our temple and its community, by keeping your spiritual life strong. The more we visit, the more sensitive we become to the spiritual energies. As our love, or bhakti, grows, the grace of the Gods makes us kinder, more cooperative and more generous with our time. The second way to strengthen and serve the temple is by participating in activities and helping with duties to make it beautiful and inviting. This uplifts our energies and keeps us close to other devotees. Service takes many forms. We can prepare decorations and assist the priest with puja items. We may like to help cook and serve prasadam to devotees. We can welcome temple visitors, organize activities, make garlands, clean lamps or direct parking. We can sing or dance during satsanga and festivals. We can help with mailings or contribute to the temple website. Festival times each year offer even more ways to help. By attending the temple on such auspicious days, when the shakti is strongest, we become attuned to the Deity’s blessings. The temple is the center of Hindu spiritual life. Saivites consider it most important to live no farther than a day’s journey from a holy temple, and we build one wherever we find ourselves in the world. Helping to build a temple earns blessings in this life and the next; plus it is a gift to future generations. Temple worship is for all men and women at every level of spiritual development. Its meaning and experience deepen as we unfold spiritually through the stages of service, devotion, yoga and enlightened wisdom. We never outgrow the practice of temple worship.§


GURUDEVA: In Hinduism it is believed that the Gods are living, thinking, dynamic beings who live in a different world, in an inner world in the microcosm within this world in which there exists a greater macrocosm than this visible macrocosm. …Through temple worship, the three worlds become open to one another, and the beings within them are able to communicate.§