From Mahaperiyaval’s discourses - 1 by G. Venkatesh SignUp
From Mahaperiyaval’s discourses - 1
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(A series in 15 parts)                         Acknowledgements :  Kalaimagal.


Why should we go to temples?

Everyone in this world has a golden opportunity to do social service. People should help one another.  Even though India is considered a poor nation, the truth is that we are very rich when it comes to our cultural heritage. The number of temples in South India has made the world look back at India with awe, inspiration and amazement. During those days, the needs of the population were meagre.

Education has failed to weed out corruption and lies. People who live in the hills seem to be having greater integrity than others who dwell in urban and semi-urban areas. The more we crave the more problems we seem to be having. Simple living can lead to great happiness.

If we take a temple like Avudayar temple, then a large amount of cooked rice is offered to God and then it is sold to the common man at a subsidized price. This is one form of social service. Payment of taxes to corporation and Government is like gratitude to the benefits received from externalities. There are so many social organisations that are rendering selfless service to the society and we owe them at least thanks.

Bhakti & Shakti

The best medicine is the faith that we place in the Almighty. “Bhakti” gives one the “Shakti” to deal with the challenges that we face in our day to day lives. “Bhakti” gives us the “Shakti” to grow our tolerance. The agencies that enable us to develop our “bhakti” are called as “temples”. This is the reason Indian landscape is dotted with temples galore.

When we offer coins to the Almighty – this is another way of expressing our gratitude. This is the significance of “naivedyam”. Before we consume food, we offer our thanks to god by presenting the food that we cook as “naivedyam”. It is difficult for each household to do this. Therefore temples became the medium for offering “naivedyam” to God.

Should we visit temples every day?

We should try to visit at least one temple every day. In the earlier days, lunch or dinner was had by people only after they heard the temple bells ring during the “ucchi kaala pooja” or “artha jama pooja”. When people visit temple, temple authorities are morally bound to keep the temple premises clean.

Gopura darshanam every day is a bliss. When the Lord is bedecked in dirty clothes, it is important for us to offer cloth to God.

Visiting a temple and ensuring the propriety of the sevas in the temple becomes another dharma for all of us – just like offering money for annadanam etc.

Kanchi Mahaperiyava says –  “ At least visit a temple once a week.” Do “nama japa” every day – be it Om Namo Narayanaya  or  Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram  or Om Namah Shivaya Shivaya Namaha”.

(to be continued)

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