If God exists everywhere including in a stone, why do we pray only to a Deity in temples? Every year lakhs of people visit temples such as Ranganatha temple in Sri Rangam, or Balaji temple in Tirupati, or Divya Saketham in Hyderabad or other temples with an intention to see God. There are also lakhs of people who do not believe in God as a Deity and choose to limit their consciousness to righteous living alone. Who is right?
True, God exists everywhere including in a stone. Air also exists everywhere. However, we make use of fans to feel the air which could not be felt otherwise. To understand God through a stone, one must strongly believe that God exists as the stone, with no reservations resulting from its name (stone) or form (oddly shaped hard material). This is the tough part.
That is why, God Himself revealed a scripture named paancharaatra agama. Just like we utilise a fan to gather the already existing air to circulate around us, the scripture states how God accepts a procedure that makes Him accessible as a Deity despite being present everywhere. This form of appearance is called archa avataram, the Deity form
The procedure involves several steps (called samskaras) such as jala:dhivasam, sayya:dhivasam, dha:nyadhivasam, pushpa:dhivasam etc. No matter how well a fan is structured with wiring and shape, it does not run without the current. Similarly, there is also a step in the procedure where matras are chanted that invite the supreme power to accept our request and be stationed with us as the Deity. The form (shape) depicts any of the past appearances of God, such as Sri Rama Chandra who came down to bless His devotees like Sabari or as Sri Krushna to bless His devotees like Vidura or as Venkateswara Swami to bless all of us in this Yuga.
After all this procedure, when we visit a temple and do not have the love and interest towards the Deity – then we will be incapable of accepting God’s grace in the form of divine energy that exists in the temple! Therefore, walk in to the temple with love for God, and walk out of the temple filled with His grace.
Every time you visit a temple in your neighbourhood, utilise it as a learning centre to increment your knowledge about Him. This knowledge will help you correct your mistakes, love Him for what He is, act in accordance to the wellness of everyone around you – there by making your life a successful journey along with Him!
– From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami – Metpally, Koratla constituency, Jagityala district – 13 th June 2019
Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami awed the audience and devotees as He spoke the essence of all Vedic scriptures through His breath-taking discourse! The devotees poured in thousands. There is not a single rupee collected from anyone for such a valuable message, because Swamiji (and the lineage of gurus, including Ramanujacharya) strictly follow a tradition which believes that it is a fundamental right of everyone to know, and worship God as defined in Vedas!
But, with that fundamental right also comes a duty to serve God in every way possible (time, money, or support the functioning of temple through any other resources).
అనాహూతో అధ్వరం గచ్చేత్
In order to serve, pay respects, offer gratitude, and love such divine Deity form, scriptures state that every single one can happily attend the temple without any form of invitation.
Swamiji appreciated Sriman Narasimhulu who donated the funds necessary to construct the Venkateswara Swami temple in Metpally, and Sriman Vidyasagar Rao for supporting throughout.
Speaking on the occasion, Sriman Vidyasagar Rao ji said, “We are all devotees today, but let that devotion not be limited to today along, let is continue and grow as we grow”
Swamiji also taught the first sloka of Bhagavad Githa to all the assembled devotees. Everyone promised that they would not limit the visits to the temple to mere theerth and prasad, but in seeing it as a ‘learning centre’ and as an ‘divine union centre’ that brings humility and togetherness in the community!