Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

What is the Purpose of Temples?

By on February 25, 2017 in Insights with 10 Comments

Question to Radhanath Swami:
  What is the purpose of temples?

Radhanath Swami Answers: A temple is a place where people are in a selfless spirit of compassion and love, and are truly worshipping God and surrendering their hearts to him. A temple is a place that transforms your life, by illuminating you and bringing you to higher states of consciousness and higher states of living.

Temples are not just places where you give donations, see the deities and say a prayer. It’s pious to go to a temple and give a donation and walk away. That’s nice, but you will not get enlightened by that. Temples have always been established by acaryas as spiritual, educational institutions.

We have so many educational institutions. My Guru Maharaj went to MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston. When he was there so many courses were being held. He said, “You have thousands of courses in your syllabus but there’s not a single course in this whole college that’s teaching people who they are and what the ultimate aim of life is. In all of these great tools that they are learning in MIT, they are only really as valuable as the ideals and intentions of a person’s utilization of them.” The most dangerous people in the world are not the uneducated peasants but the people with big, big, big educations but filthy, dirty hearts filled with envy and pride and hatred.They are the greatest dangers to the world. Academic knowledge are facilities, they are tools. The more powerful the tool, the more they could either do benefit or harm depending on whose hand it’s in.

So the purpose of religious buildings is to educate people to be first-class human beings, people who can actually be examples of integrity and spiritual principle. When you go to that type of temple, church or mosque or gurdwara, if we go to that place, where we are actually getting that higher consciousness, then our life becomes very deep and substantial.


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  • Piyush Singh

    Amazing answer by HH Radhanath Swami. This conception of temples is really holistic. All the real temples should function as spiritual educational institutions.

    • umesh

      Agreed. And this is very much lacking. We can’t understand why the things are being done in the temple as they are and this pushes the common man away from the temple activities.
      Thanks for clarification in this article by Radhanath Swami.

      • Piyush Singh

        Yes, unfortunately this is the situation these days.

        I’m grateful to HH Radhanath Swami for this wisdom.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very true! Temples should function as spiritual education institution.But nowadays most temples do not conform to this. Fortunately for us, Srila Prabhupad established temples all over the world with the intention of nourishing people spiritually.

    • Piyush Singh

      Yes, unfortunately there are a few temples who miss to educate the visitors. But fortunately we have so many ISKCON temples which are executing this purpose so amazingly.

  • Carl Farrel

    Temple is to educate people to be first-class human beings, people who can actually be examples of integrity and spiritual principle

    • Ninad

      Thank you

  • Asha Kanta Sharma

    An Excellent Article indeed…

  • Rajesh

    Nice article

  • Anu Bhatia

    I have a question. Are temples also considered “maya” because we also bow down to the deity we have at home and we make our house a mandir. But our house is considered a maya. Could you please elaborate.