HA09923_Sri-sri-Radha-Govinda-South-Africa

Sacred Home

23 Oct , 2014  

They say that life was much simpler when Apples and Blackberries were just fruits. Every day an estimated 400 billion emails are sent by 2.5 billion Internet users. Every day, 750,000 television sets are sold,£190 million is spent on video games, and 550 million newspapers are circulated. Every day, billions of dollars are spent on healthcare, on public education, and on military and defense. The complexity of modern civilization forces us to complicate our own lives in order to survive. We are a far cry from the rural villages of bygone ages where people moved much slower and spiritual culture was woven into the fabric of day-to-day life.So how can we gain spiritual inspiration today? Where can we go to reflect and introspect? Where is there respite from the bustling and madness?

Well, there’s no place like home, especially if you make it into a temple. In Sanskrit, a temple is known as a mandir – a place which helps the mind become steady and peaceful. Most of us cannot live in actual temples and often find it difficult to even visit regularly.

Therefore, it is essential that we transform our homes into a sanctuary where we can reflect, refocus and rejuvenate.

Being at home should aid our remembrance of Krishna. Keeping the home clean, tidy and uncluttered always helps the mind become peaceful. We can also set up a special altar dedicated to Krishna which becomes the central hub of our spiritual activity. This sacred space can inspire our devotion, especially if we beautify it with pictures, incense, candles and flowers. On rising in the morning one can visit the altar and offer respect. Food offerings to Krishna can be placed on the altar. The family can come together for chanting, reading and discussion in front of the altar. The time we spend here helps prepare us for the world, and it’s the place where we return for shelter and reflection.

We can certainly put pictures of Krishna on the altar, but devotees also try to develop a sweet and personal relationship with Him by inviting the Deity into their homes. Vedic scriptures explain that God can reside in marble, metal or wood, if He is invited and worshipped according to authorized prescriptions. Some people doubt that God can appear in this way. To them it seems limiting, imaginary and childish – to treat God like a doll by dressing Him and feeding Him.

Anyone, however, who enters this kind of transcendental exchange, can personally experience a deep and direct reciprocation. The Deity is not simply a representation or an icon, but an actual manifestation of the divine personality.

Please refer to the ‘Bhakti Practice’ section for more details on setting up an altar.

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