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Importance of Mandirs by Rushin Thacker & Parth Patel

In our endeavour to attain eternal happiness, we have ended up equipping our lives with amenities, making life easier, more comfortable and enjoyable. However, have we really changed ourselves? Cavemen fought with their sticks and stones; modern man fights with weapons and bombs. Despite higher means of enjoyment, eternal happiness remains an elusive dream for most of us.

Swami Vivekanand has rightly said, "The greatest source of strength for any society is its faith in God.”

Having realized the need to divert our mind from endless materialism towards spiritualism, our learned and enlightened sages inspired the construction of vibrant mandirs, with the sanctified murtis therein, which have till today remained an integral part of society. Those who have faithfully and sincerely used mandirs have experienced their spiritually elevating effects.

A mandir is the house of God. Darshan of the murtis enshrined within calms the wandering and confused mind and gives it direction. The regular discourses, prayers, devotional singing and meditation also have a powerful soothing effect. Many aimless lives have been rejuvenated and given a true purpose. People have attained a satisfying balance amid the turmoil of daily problems. Such is the power of mandirs that they convert a person's negative, destructive and destabilising habits and emotions, such as, addictions, anger, ego, hatred, etc. into positive, constructive and stabilising feelings of honesty, love, humility, compassion, tolerance and others.

Some people ask, "Why spend money on mandirs? Why not build more hospitals and schools?" Such questions, however, do not reflect sound reasoning. A more appropriate question would be, "Why spend so many billions of dollars on films and cinemas? Why not spend that money on hospitals and schools?" Hospitals will mend a broken arm, but who will mend a broken heart? Cinemas, amusement parks and discotheques will excite the mind, but where will one go for peace of mind? Schools will educate the mind, but who will educate the spirit?

This does not mean that schools and hospitals are not needed. They are, but so are mandirs. Man has both body and soul. Both should be nurtured.

Secondly, Mandirs inspire the values and virtues necessary for a noble life. While on one hand, we witness Newspaper and TV headlines revealing the extent of the problem of crime, suicide, drugs, alcoholism, gambling and other disturbing features of society, on the other hand, we see Mandirs instilling the qualities of honesty, humility, tolerance and patience.

Thirdly, Mandir keep us connected to our traditions and roots. Many Hindus living in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and other countries have become reattached to Indian culture and traditions as a result of their involvement in the mandirs built there. Mandirs built many decades ago by Hindus living in Guyana, Fiji and Mauritius have helped to preserve traditional values in their descendants. For thousands of years, upto the present day, Vedic architectural science has guided the layout, design and construction of thousands of magnificent mandirs, both in India and outside: the Surya Rath Mandir of Konark on the Wheels of Time, the soaring shikhar of Tirupati, the charming robustness of Kedarnath, the delicate forms of Belur-Somnathpuri, the majesty of the Sarangpur Swaminarayan Mandir, the stupendous pradakshina of Rameshwar, the stunning gateway of the Madurai Minakshi Mandir, the romantic Dwarka Mandir, the intricately and artistically sculpted BAPS Swaminarayan Mandirs in London, Houston and Chicago and the hi-tech Akshardham Complexes in Gandhinagar and New Delhi - all represent the millennia-old culture and traditions of India enshrined in stone.

Most importantly, the various forms of worship, devotion, prayer and meditation practiced in mandirs takes man nearer to God. The murtis of God to whom devotion is offered carry the actual presence of God, since they have been consecrated according to Vedic traditions. This presence can be experienced if one approaches with a pure heart.

The recently inaugurated Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Robbinsville and in Abu Dhabi and the upcoming Hindu Mandir in Vienna, Austria will serve similar purposes for the devotees in these countries.

Let us come together and provide our services and support for these Mandirs in whichever ways we can. We, and our generations to come, will reap large benefits from them.


Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by the author(s) are solely that of the author(s) and do not reflect the views, thoughts, opinions, or policies of the HRÖ.

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