Difference between a Hindu Temple and Muslim Mosque or Christian Church
What is the basic difference between a Hindu Temple and Muslim Mosque(or Christian Church)?
Very simple. A Hindu temple is a Devalaya (abode of God). Muslim Mosque (masjid) or Christian Church is a Prathanalaya (prayer hall).
The word masjid derives from the Arabic sajada, “to bow down in prayer.” The word Church can be used to mean both the building and the congregation. Both Semitic religions are against idol worship. Quran doesn’t recognize buildings or idols as representative of “God”. The second of the Bible’s ten commandments forbids Christians from worshiping idols.
“Udayji, temples were traditional public worship places built by ancients…” say many readers.
Temples did not exist in Vedic Era. There is no reference to temples in the Vedas. Even in Puranas, I haven’t come across mentioning any temples around. Maybe my bad. When did Hindus start building temples? There are legends that Pandavas or some other Puranic/Epic characters built the temple. If that’s true, why would the scriptures miss it?
How come a temple is a place of worship for the public? If you go to any traditional old temples, is it possible for more than 3-4 people to stand in front of the door of Garbhagriha (= womb chamber or sanctum sanctorum)? No one (except the 3-4 designated) was supposed to enter the temple till recently. The public was never allowed in temples until the Temple Entry Proclamation Act of 1936.
The Hindu rituals or sacraments during the lifetime of a person are 16 called Shodasa Sanskar. How come not even a SINGLE ritual is related to the temple? Ask yourself or ask your friend/relative.
These questions will make you/them ponder more about Sanatan Dharma. Yes, today, we go to the temple for Darshan (to see) of the diety. Look at the rituals in the temple = the diety, like a king, will get up early morning, take bath, eat food, walk around the temple, and then go to sleep. Even we celebrate his/her marriage as Kalyanotsavam. The deity was the real owner of the village/Kingdom and the ruler (King) was Dasa (Servant) of the deity.
Hindu temples were the hub of economic activities, education, arts, music, etc. (This is the content of my book ‘Hindu Economics’). India used to be the world’s largest economy (and biggest GDP) back in ancient times, and that happened in the era of ‘Hindu kingdoms’, that is, before the invasion.
Historians say that tens of thousands of rich Hindu temples in Asia (from Afghanistan to Indonesia) were attacked, looted, and pillaged by Islamic invaders. The same thing happened during Christian inquisitions too, in places like Konkan Goa, thousands of idols were destroyed. The white supremacist European evangelists had another racial reason too – Hindus worship Black Gods (Saligrama Vigrahas)!
If you look at the base documents of Mosques and Churches, you can find that Hindu landlords and Hindu kings donated land for them, especially in South India. This is another difference!
For most Hindus, the temple is where God resides. Remember – Belief, disbelief, idol worship, negating the idols, atheism – all are allowed in Hinduism. People like me know that the deity (Vigraha) has certain powers of God.
“Uday, idols in the temple emit energy”, “Temples are the source of energy” – wrote many readers. I don’t know about this energy. What energy? Can you define or measure that energy? What is its unit – Calorie, Joule, Horsepower, or Kilowatt?
If you touch an electrical source, you will get a shock irrespective of your belief. All types of energies can be defined and anyone can experience it. If an idol or temple has any such energy why would a non-believer or people from other religions experience it? So, isn’t it just a psychological feeling or a placebo? Personal anecdotes are not a shred of empirical evidence in science. Scientific truth has to be proven through experiments and it must be falsifiable too. Can you scientifically prove the existence of such ‘idol energy’ to others and non-believers? If not, the next generation will pooh-pooh it as a rubbish superstition.
Personally, I keep small Vigrahas (sorry, the idol is not an exact translation) at home too. I light a lamp and do Aarati. I also go to the temple. However, without understanding the fundamentals and basic principles of science it is very difficult to explain the power of a Vigraha. The force and power field of such Vigrahas need a lot of detailing. I shall do it in a separate article soon!
Share this with your friends and relatives – let them ask questions. The question should come from a healthy disrespect to all popular blind misconceptions and should lead to the wisdom of our sages. You will learn more. You can thus teach the generation too.
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