A message on my WhatsApp said ‘It’s okay if you come late.’ It was from Daya Taylor from Ananda Sangha. She had arranged for an interview with Nayaswami Asha Praver and as usual I was running late.
Even before I could begin to profusely apologise for being late, Daya said, ‘It’s okay, we can understand that you are stuck in the Monsoon deluge!’ I took a sigh of relief and shifted my attention to negotiating water-logged roads in Delhi. Maybe the Divine Mother had other plans for me and She didn’t want me to meet Asha or maybe it was simply my bad karma coming in the way of a great interview. Anyway, I rescheduled my appointment and headed to work. I kept wondering what I am going to ask her. Somehow I was blank, I couldn’t think of anything even after browsing through the Internet.
Later, when I met her in the evening at the South Delhi ashram of Ananda Sangha, Nayaswami Asha gave me her latest book Swami Kriyananda: Lightbearer.
‘You are holding my life’s work in your hand,’ she said, and we started talking about Swami Kriyananda, Ananda Village, and Daya and Asha told me about the Temple Of Light that was recently consecrated at Ananda Village, and that’s when it struck me that I can ask Asha: why do we need places of worship? Here is an excerpt from the interview with Nayaswami Asha Praver.
Why do we need places of worship?
If a person pays any attention to their own thoughts then he realizes that his thoughts are all over the place. And we are often highly influenced by what happens around us. When you are with your children you think of your children and when you are clothes shopping you think of clothes you will wear. One of the reasons to we go to temples is if we put ourselves into an atmosphere in which the focus is on uplifting things and on the presence of God, it will naturally occur to us to think that way. At least we have a better chance.
The other reason is that places develop consistent vibration according to what is done in these places and then much more than we realise, we are also influenced by these vibrations of a place. So if the temple has been there for any time at all and people have been coming consistently and there have been ceremonies, events and discourses, in which strong spiritually inclined thoughts and ideas have been radiated, then when you actually walk in the atmosphere, its very much like the mist has already been there. So anybody who aspires to hold their mind with higher thoughts and if they are serious about it, they can get the help they need.
It makes it easier for us to have a consistent routine, even a periodic one, in which we put out energy in a certain direction. Like you have to drive for the temple, you have to keep certain time aside, and then that which was already present becomes easier for us to perceive. We are paying attention and there are not so many competing realities. God does not need us to go to the temple; it has nothing to do with god, but our capacity to pay attention.
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