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Question: What is a ‘Temple’, and what purpose should it serve?
Acharya Prashant(AP): A ‘Temple’ must definitely have elements that elevate your consciousness.
Being at a place, being with elements, being with people, being with structures, being with sites, scenes, sounds, that remind you of the Beyond, that take the lowly consciousness to a high point, where it becomes receptive to signals from the sky.
That’s a ‘Temple’.
Are you getting it?
So, a ‘Temple’, first of all, must have those elements. Secondly, wherever those elements are present, that place is a ‘Temple’, even if you call it by some other name.
So look at the effect the whole situation, the arrangement, the whole architecture is having on you. Is it taking you beyond the mundane things that keep circulating in your mind?
If ‘yes’, then it deserves to be called a ‘Temple’. If ‘no’, then it is just another place – entertaining probably, imposing probably, but not elevating.
The aspect of elevation is central.
‘Temple’ is a place where you are elevated.
If you are not being elevated, the place is not a ‘Temple’.
And if you are being elevated in some place, that place is most definitely a ‘Temple’.
Are you getting it?
So, ideally, today’s temples must be great centers of learning. Temples must be spiritual universities. A ‘Temple’ cannot be just a place where there are some stone carvings, and such things. Real Education must have to be imparted in temples. That’s elevation of consciousness.
Temples have to be centers of not only Scriptures, they must also be centers where education is imparted in arts, and sciences. Because unless you are scientific, it will be very difficult for you in today’s age, to be really spiritual.
In fact, I have this vision.
Vishranti (Monthly Spiritual retreat) was organised in Udaipur, in the month of February. I was with Anshu (one of the volunteers) on one night, till 2 a.m. And we saw a Temple on a hill-top. And I said that one day it is possible, that we will raise a Real Temple. Not the one where we go, ring the bell, and get the prasad, not a temple where all kinds of superstitions breed.
But, a Temple that would be a center of real scientific research, a place where fine arts find great expression; a place where human consciousness is refined, broadened, elevated, in all possible ways.
I remember, I said to him, “In a Temple, there must be a center of contemporary studies, where one is taught about all the current worldly issues.”
A ‘Temple’ must really be a university, in purest sense of the word.
Great creativity must arise out of a Temple.
A Temple must be a place where great ideas must be discussed.
A Temple must be a place of great conversations and healthy debate.
Great scholars from all directions and dimensions must converge in the Temple.
When people go to a ‘Temple’, they must return enriched.
You are able to listen to a profound lecture, or to an animated debate. You come to know of things that you anyway do not know. Economics is being discussed, geo-politics is being discussed. The recent, cutting-edge research and advancement are being discussed. There are physicists, there are medical-researchers, there are geologists, there are cosmologists.
And, they all are present in the ‘Temple’.
That’s what a Temple must really be like.
And, obviously, when I say that, the foundation of the Temple has to be mystical.
I am only talking of those things that are currently missing in temples. I must correct myself. Actually, Mystics too are currently missing in temples. So I must talk of them as well.
So when consciousness is raised, only then it becomes capable of transcending into the mystical dimension. Consciousness, under the burden, with all its shackles, cannot fly away, cannot gain freedom from the worldly entanglements.
First of all, the consciousness must gain clarity with respect to the world.
When there is clarity and knowledge with respect to the world, only then there is a possibility of going beyond the world.
So, a Temple must first of all be a place of knowledge, then a place of learning, and then a place of Mysticism.
It has to be a composite thing.
One day, God willing, we will come up with such a ‘Temple’.
How would it be to find a lab of nuclear physics in one quarter, and an aggregation of the world’s best dancers on the other side? Both in the same campus. How would it be?
Live long everybody, to see that day!
I hope, I also live long enough, to see that day.
Watch the session video: One day, we will have such a Temple || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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