Why Visit Temples?
For the inquisitive minds, this note provides a little insight on Brahmam and the main purpose of worship and visiting temples.
1. Why do we visit temples?
We visit temples to worship God. Brahmam (Sriman Narayana) has five different forms.
While God is infinite and beyond the limits of space, time and form, he takes various forms for different purpose.
Let us understand the five different places and forms of God and the purpose of each of these forms.
1stform -Para Roopa, the form he takes in Sri Vaikunta, His Celestial Abode.
Description - In seated posture, to His right is Sri Mahalakshmi and to his left is Bhooma Devi and Neela devi. Along with Him are billions and billions of Nitya aatmas and Mukta aatmas having great experience and spiritual bliss at Sri Vaikuntam.
Attribute - Exhibits Supremacy
2ndForm -Vyuha Roopa, the form in Milky Ocean (Ksheeraabdi)
Description - Here He is in the reclining posture. Whenever Devas have tough time with Asuras, they rush to Ksheeraabdi. God listens patiently to all the complaints and the lament of the Devas and if needed He incarnates from Ksheerabdi to help the Devas and protect his devotees
Attribute - Exhibits as the ultimate Saviour (Rakshakatvam)
3rdForm - Vibhava Roopa, his various incarnations
Description - His incarnations are countless which includes Dasa Avataara. The purpose of his incarnations are 1. To award and protect the ones who follow the rule book (Dharma Shastra), 2. To punish the ones who do not follow and 3. To establish Dharma. (Paritraanaaya Saadhoonam, Vinaashayacha Dushkrutaam, Dharma Samstaapanaartaya, Sambhavaami yuge yuge)
Attribute - Exhibits Dharma Samstaapanam
4th Form - Antaryaami, residing inside each of us (inside all Jeeva aatmas)
Description - He dwells inour heart, which is in the form of inverted lotus. He is quite close to us, watching us all the time, even when our mind is engaged in material matters. He is steadfast, ever pardoning and waiting for the right moment to correct us.
Attribute - Exhibits magnanimity (Vaatsalyam) in this form
5th Form - Archaa, the deity form which is the most important and useful form for us.
Description - God resides in deity form in standing, sitting or reclining postures. We, as human beings, do not know the route to Sri Vaikunta, nor we live in Krita, Threta or Dwapara yuga to see His incarnations. God resides in each of us, quite intimate and close, but we have not attained the state of Yogi to meditate and realise the One who dwells in us. So, unless he is available and accessible for us, we can’t meditate on him, worship and exhibit bhakti. So he is available in deity form in temples all days, close to our homes, accessible, for us to worship.
Attribute - Exhibits simplicity and accessibility (Soulabhya) in this form
2. The next question is why worship God?
God gives us anything we ask for when we completely surrender on Him. While He grants all the material pleasure we ask for, He is the only one who can help us achieve the supreme goal which is to realise the ultimate purpose of life.
Let us ask the basic questions:
· Who am I? - I am Jeevaatma (There is no difference between me, a sheep, a flower, Devas or any other Jeevaatma)
· What differentiates Jeevaatmas? – Intelligence (Gyana) which is accumulated based on our actions (Karma) over several births
· Who is God? - Paramaatma (the one who is eternal, infinite and supreme of all)
· What is the ultimate purpose of my life? – To attain moksha and realise Brahmam (experience eternal bliss and cut out from the cycle of birth and death)
While it is easy to put this in bullets, it is not easy to experience and appreciate Brahmam without Surrender on Him and experience his various forms.