Pilgrimages & Temple Visits
Pilgrimages & Temple Visits

Pilgrimages & Temple Visits

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

Children, there are many who complain, “We have visited so many temples and have gone on a lot of pilgrimages, but our prayers are not answered.” It is good to go on pilgrimages and visit temples, but our goal shouldn’t just be the fulfilment of our material desires. It should be to purify our mind and to awaken within us love for God. Without mental purification, everything else is worthless.

When constructing a building, the concrete will adhere only if the metal rods are free of dirt. Similarly, only if our heart is pure can we consecrate God within it. Whenever we go on a pilgrimage or visit a temple, we should go with constant remembrance of God and with an attitude of total surrender to God. We need to spend our time chanting our mantra, singing bhajans and meditating. Even for the fulfilment of material desires, one-pointed focus on God is required. These days, however, the majority of people go to temples carrying hundreds of thoughts about their work and family. Their only prayers are for the fulfilment of their material desires. They cannot think about God, forgetting everything else, even for a second. Once they share their sorrows with God, their mind immediately returns to thoughts of their family and immediate surroundings. Some people even keep thinking about the shoes they left outside the temple, worrying that someone may steal them. Then their mind goes to the bus they need to board in order to get back home. Before leaving the temple, they will give some money to do some rituals. But then they quickly leave. One must not simply give money and hurriedly say “goodbye” when visiting a temple.

Remember God as much as possible while on the temple premises. If we are seeing a doctor or lawyer, we must open up and share our problems with them completely. Only then can they properly treat us or argue our case. But it’s not like this with God. God knows our heart and mind. So, when we go to the temple there is no need to dwell on all the tiny details of our problems. Just go there, remember God and purify your mind. Try to chant God’s names. Only then will the full benefit of visiting the temple be achieved.

Simply prostrating before God and offering circumambulation will not bring us any gain, neither material nor spiritual gain. It does not matter how many temples we visit, how many pujas we do or how much money we give to temples. True results occur only when we are able to turn our mind inwards toward God.

During the monsoon, when rain falls in dirt, it causes a lot of problems and discomfort. On the other hand, rain that falls on sand simply flows away. What about the rainwater that finds its way to an oyster? All it takes is one drop to be converted into a valuable pearl! Similarly, even though God is continuously showering His grace on everyone, how much we gain and benefit from it depends on our ability to imbibe it.

Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi