Generally people without knowledge of scriptures think they can buy the Lord with their money or material possessions. We see in many religious organisations, money and social positions are given much or undue importance. When we asked the Lord whether He who has made this as a rule? Is it true that money and status (social position) are what He (the Lord) cares for? the Lord laughed at this and reminded the story of Satyabhama trying to buy Lord Krishna. How she placed all worldly wealth in one pan and Krishna in other but the pan of Krishna never raised a bit. But, Rukmini with her single minded devotion placed just a tulsi leaf in the other pan and Krishna’s pan raised suddenly. So, when even Satyabhama, the Bhu-Shakti of Lord Vishnu who is worshipped at temples cannot buy her husband with money, then what to talk of ordinary humans who are just specks of dust in front of Satyabhama. So, if we have true devotion with First Love for the Lord, we should call him wholeheartedly and he will reveal himself and make us realize the truth. We should never think that Lord discriminates between his devotees and gives priority to money and social position. He always gives priority only to devotion.
Who actually is a real VIP in Temple?
A devotee who is standing, with his/her mind filled with devotion, in the queue for hours and hours without thinking a second about hunger, fatigue, material or worldly affairs. Yes, All he/she (devotee) wants is to get a glimpse of the Lord and to store Him in their heart cave forever. This is called Arjita Darshan (Earned Darshan) and definitely not those of VIPs or Rich who purchase Darshan of Almighty through their money cannot be termed as true devotion. But let us not forget those (some) who are also rich or VIPs but also are true devotees.
Getting a VIP / Special or Privileged Dharshan of a Deity in a Temple is a result or enjoyment granted due to past Punya karma of the devotee and this certainly does not indicate or guarantee exclusive Blessings being bestowed by the Lord on the person. For receiving presently Lord’s exclusive Blessings the devotee’s mind should be exclusively devoted to the Lord besides doing a lot of Punya karmas.
Darshan and blessings are not the same. Darshan is received by visiting a Deity but that doesn’t guarantee exclusive Blessings. Darshan may be purchased by a human for a payment of fees but Blessings don’t come for money.
The VIP darshan is normally a high level decision taken by the members of the temple management board. The Pujari or Deity in the temple has no part in it. It is something similar to a corporate wherein higher management takes the decision while execution of the decision is done by some other executives. If, being with the Lord or seeing the Lord is considered as special Blessings for material prosperity or success, the pujari or priest who is present at the Temple most of the time with the Lord should be the most successful or richest person in the society.
Similarly we cannot deny /restrict devotees depriving their equal opportunity for conducting a ritual of a deity at temples (or in a community) by insisting on those celebrations only at a fixed scale or unaffordable cost involving huge sums for making prashadams or offerings to be distributed to many people—probably for a sumptuous meal or fancy menus as such insistence or rules may drive away a true devotee from participating in the ritual. This kind of acts may get us wrath of the deity for distancing the true devotee from the Deity.
According to Prem Sablok, the author of “Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics”, “The Dark Age or Kali yuga has the predominance of avarnas and vritras. In this Age owing to spread of only material and intellectual knowledge bereft of divine and spiritual knowledge, the predominant features are superstitions, unscientific outlook, blind faith, hypocrisy, naked selfishness and wide spread corruption. Fake gurus and god-men who get hallucination that they are the incarnation of various gods on this earth, multiply. Thus Vedic metaphysics meant for the guidance of human beings of this Dark Age is largely ignored. However, the study of Vedas would reveal that Vedic gurus (Gu- darkness and Ru- to dispel) are the dispellers of both inner and outer darkness. They are more like Socrates, Mencius, St Augustine, Immanuel Kant, Sankrachrya, Guru Nanak and swami Daya Nanda and do not bear any resemblance to the modern godmen, gurus, babas, tantriks and swamis.”
Let us recall and reproduce some of the important quotes of Swami Vivekananda (A messiah of the masses) in this context.
“Material civilisation, nay, even luxury, is necessary to create work for the poor. Bread! Bread! I do not believe in God who cannot give me bread here, giving eternal bliss in heaven.’ And ‘first bread, then religion. We stuff them too much with religion when the poor fellows have been starving. No dogma will satisfy the craving hunger.”
“I do not believe in a God or religion which cannot wipe the widow’s tears or bring a piece of bread to the orphan’s mouth. However, sublime may be the theories, however well spun may be the philosophy—I do not call it a religion.’ And ‘I call a Mahatma [great soul] whose heart bleeds for the poor, otherwise he is a duratman [a wicked soul].”
“If you want any good to come, just throw your ceremonial overboard and worship the living God, the Man-God—every being that wears a human form…Neither it is work to cogitate as to whether the rice-plate should be placed in front of God for ten minutes or for half-an-hour that is called lunacy. Millions of rupees have been spent only that the temple-doors at Varanasi or Virindavan may play at opening and shutting all day long! Now the Lord is having His toilet, now he is taking His meal, now He is busy in something else… And all this, while the living God is dying for want of food, for want of education….. Let some of you spread like fire and preach this worship of the universal aspect of the Godhead.”
“If you seek your own salvation, you will go to hell. It is the salvation of others that you must seek… and even if you have to go to hell in working for others, that is worth more than to gain heaven by seeking your own salvation… Believe me, from the shedding of our life blood will arise gigantic, heroic workers and warriors of God who will revolutionise the world.’” His feelings were expressed in the poem ‘The Living God’:
“I consider that the great national sin is the neglect of masses, and this is one of the causes of our downfall. No amount of politics would be of any avail until the masses in India are once more well-educated, well-fed and well-cared-for. They pay for our education, they build our temples, but in return they get kicks. They are practically our slaves. If we want to regenerate India, we must work for them.”
– Swami Vivekananda
Let us understand from the above discussions three important aspects of true devotion:
1. Bhagawan wants the devotees’ mind not their money. Money is for society not for the Lord.
2. Dharshan and Blessings are not directly linked but they are essentially linked through quality of devotion.
3. Religiosity and Spirituality cannot be linked through material terms but can be combined through spiritual wisdom.