Q: Is there a difference in the consecration of temples in India and in other places in the world? If so, how should a devotee approach temples?
Sadhguru: Usually, when I travel to other countries, I have seen an assortment of deities in each temple. I think these temples are largely built by Indian people who are missing home. It is more out of emotion because they want something of their culture to be there. So all the deities are in one place – in one big temple with everything inside. This is not how the ancient temples were built in India.
Intelligent Energy, Emotional Connection
A temple is not a place to petition god. Such a thing never existed in this culture. He has no back-office arrangements to read through all your petitions! Temples are spaces of intelligent energy. A consecration is a way of creating an intelligent energy tool that can be used for a specific purpose.
What was a tremendous science and a phenomenal technology, has largely been reduced by people to an emotional thing today. It is not that your emotion does not matter. Your emotion is important because your mind will be only where your emotion is. If I asked you to remember what your teacher told you when you were studying in school, you would find it very difficult. That is why examinations seem to be so difficult. People are trying to remember something that they are not interested in.
But let us say you were smitten by someone – you were in love with them. You would remember every word. Even if they said rubbish – which are called sweet nothings – even though it was sheer nonsense, you remember every word because you are emotionally connected.
This is the idea of devotion. If you are in a state of strong emotion, your mind and energy gets connected towards that with which you are emotionally connected. Because of that, devotion is important. But the significance of the temple is not about petitioning someone. It is an intelligent energy space that, if you connect with it, will do certain things to you.
Different temples were created in different ways. If you were suffering with fear, you were supposed to go to one kind of temple. If you wanted to prosper in life, there was another kind of temple. If you were longing spiritually, there was another kind of temple. Like this, we created different tools for fulfilling specific purposes in our life. But over a period of time, this has turned into one big confusion.
Particularly in southern India, we created five temples to gain mastery over the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind and space. These temples are supposed to function in tandem. That is, if the necessary process was done in these five temples, people could live in wellbeing throughout the whole region that the temples cover. But today, each one of them has become a separate institution by itself. They have nothing to do with each other. How can these elements have nothing to do with each other when they live together within us?
This is like we built a great car. When you drove it, it was wonderful. But then there were five sons in the next generation. Four of these sons took the four wheels of the car and the fifth one is holding the steering wheel. But there is no car anymore, and they all think they got something in their hands. Right now, unfortunately, we have become like this. These temples were built in a certain way to bring forth a tremendous sense of wellbeing – to be able to do something that you could not do by yourself.
The Power of a Tool
Temples are powerful tools for human wellbeing. The only reason that a human being stands apart from every other creature is because we know how to use tools. Otherwise, a colony of ants would dominate you.
Just think of a simple screw in a table. If I ask you to unscrew it with your bare hands, you may lose all your ten fingernails, but the screw will not come out. But if I just give you a simple screwdriver, you can unscrew it effortlessly. This is the power of a tool.
There are more sophisticated tools than screwdrivers and pickaxes and whatever else we use in the physical realm. These are the tools we refer to as temples. They must be used as tools, but many of them have unfortunately lost their context today. I hope that at least for future generations, we can set up the right kind of tools with the necessary context so that human beings can live in a phenomenal and fabulous way.
Editor's Note: Sadhguru looks at the past, present and future of this nation, and explores why this culture matters to every human being on the planet. With images, graphics and Sadhguru’s inspiring words, here’s Bharat as you have never known it!