What can I do to be a help to our Mandir and more so our Dharma?
(1) Be faithful to attend and participate. Obviously we cannot be of much help to our Mandir if we don’t show up or take part. Some of us underestimate our value of simply being present. Joining together with others adds to their encouragement, and it encourages the leaders and the Purohits who have prayed and prepared all week to minister to your spiritual need. When devotees do not attend and participate this can be discouraging.
I can remember back as a teenager how I “took for granted” those things my parents worked so hard to provide for me. I especially recall an incident where I have been disrespectful to the wishes of my parents pre-occupied with other things on my mind.
There was an incident in my life when I had not seen my mother for more than eight months which I am sure bothered her quite a lot, she may have felt that her labor of love was not appreciated. Today as a Priest I often feel the same way when many devotees don’t show up. I must confess that I can be harsh at times but the intent is always to make the needs of other families be met through God’s grace.
It helps your Purohit and the whole Temple for you to come faithfully and on time. And don’t merely sit there like a lump on a log. Be friendly, put a smile on your face, and enter into the service by singing and worshiping. You can even utter an audible Jai Jai Shri Radhe Krishna or two when the Purohita makes a good point. Go ahead, it will make his day!
(2) Commit yourself to love the Lord through your brothers and sisters in your temple. The Scriptures teaches that all the desires of God are condensed into only two cardinal commands that is gifted to us and those are, one is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and the other is express that same love to all living beings.
By clothing ourselves in God’s love, we help the Temple to reinforce this objective for every believer. We also help to eliminate the elements of conflict and division which can hinder the unity of not only the Temple, but the very fabric of this dynamic culture that you and I call Shri Satya Sanatan Vedic Dharma.
I beseech you devotees to take a walk that is worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of all humanity.
(3) Pray for your Temple and its Purohitas and leaders within the Sanctity of Godliness. The Scripture explains that it is the duty of Sanatanist to pray for all who are in authority, especially those in spiritual authority.
We need to recognize that our Temple leaders are on the cutting edge of the battle with Adharma and will face temptations and spiritual conflict unlike anything you could imagine. The Demon of Adharma knows that if he can topple a spiritual leader or get him discouraged enough to quit, it will have a domino effect on the rest of the devotees of the Temple. You can be a tremendous help by praying fervently for your Temple and especially for the spiritual leaders and the temple body.
(4) Help shoulder the load of responsibility. Purohit and leaders of the Temple often feel much like Arjuna when he fought the battle of Mahabharata. His arms fell from his hand, he became as weak as a child and weary under the weight of his responsibility to uphold Dharma. Its not a nice feeling, he needed his Lord to stand beside him, he needed his brothers to stand beside him and help distribute the load.
We ask that you stand beside your Purohita and your temple brothers and sisters to bear the load, to shoulder the responsibility so that together we may rise to the realm of Godliness.
The Lord never intended for the whole ministry of a Temple to be carried solely by a mere handful of people. It’s said that the majority of the work is done by the same faithful few, and sadly, this has caused the burnout of many outstanding hard working devotees. If all devotees would simply pitch in and do a little bit and share in helping, serving, giving, and so forth, all the needs would be met and no one would be overburdened.
Honestly we are at that point of existence in our temple and we need to renew our strength so that we may continue to grow and straighten ourselves as well as the financial burden of our Temple. I encourage you as devotees of Dharma to become a financial member. The time has come for us and all elders to hand over our Dharma to next generation so that we may not fail in empowering God in our lives as well as the next generation to come. Don’t be the cause of failure, be the hope of survival.
Be willing to volunteer for whatever needs to be done and don’t be finicky about what you will or will not do, not just for strokes of attention, but do it for God’s glory. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. Remembering that the hand that serves is greater than the mouth that prays.
(5) Get to know your spiritual leaders, your temple leaders and cooperate with them. The more you get to know them and their Godly lifestyle, the more you will likely come to trust their leadership. You will have a greater credibility in their teaching and counsel. Show respect and cooperate with their authority. Avoid challenging their right or worthiness to serve in their position, but accept that God has seen fit to place them in this role.
(6) Apply the teaching of Sanatan Veda Dharma to your life. There’s not much that a Dharmic Purohit loves more than to see his congregation practicing what he has preached and that they are living a Godly life, a holy life, and seeing them on their knees seeking the Lord. Learn to appreciate the spiritual values and try to instill it into others within the congregation.
One of the best way to do this is take up the list of members from your temple and invite them out to prayer service. You would be amazed of the change that you can do for others in such a simple attempt. You can help by calling on your very own brothers and sisters to bring them to God so that they also may get closer to God.
It helps your Temple when you live and conduct yourself in a Godly manner. Whether you realize it or not you are a walking billboard for your Temple. Whatever the people of your community see in your life, they will tend to identify that with the Temple you attend. Behave and speak well of the Temple and its attendies and your Purohita. Eyes and ears are always open to the things you say and do.
(7) Seek out and use your gifts. According to our Sanatan Vedic way of life, the Lord has gifted us this body and then further distributes various gifts to each of these bodies as it pleases Him based on our Karmic nature and behavior. Spiritual gifts are not provided to us merely for our own gratification, but so that Dharma would be edified or built up to the heights of its spiritual realm. God has given us gifts that will be of great help to our Dharma and the Temple we belong to. It is up to you as devotee of God to discover and develop those gifts and utilize them under the direction and cooperation with your spiritual leaders. By doing so, you will glorify God and be a great help to Dharma in every respect.
(8) Contribute to solutions and not to problems. Every Purohit would be thrilled if each of member of their Temple would become involved and wholeheartedly help the Temple in whatever small way you can. They would even rejoice if certain devotees would simply stop being a pain in the neck and become the solver of that pain. It’s a shame that Purohits and leaders spend so much time putting out fires. This can be squelching problems that could have a negative influence on the entire body of the Temple, such as gossip, unfounded rumors, complaining, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, discontent and so forth. Regrettably, it has been said that 90% of these kinds of problems are circulated among the same 10% of the people.
Spiritually mature persons who wish to help their Temple don’t become a part of such problems, instead they contribute to solutions. They avoid divisive people and don’t get caught up in the mischief or grievances of others.
(9) We can only survive by helping each other. It is a known fact that we cannot mold our societies, our families, our countries alone, we have to work together, United we succeed divided we fail (Jahan Sumti Tahan Sampati Nana, Jahan Kumti Tahan Vipati Nidana). I am inviting and beseeching all devotees if we have issues with one and other try to forget it and work together to empower our beloved Lord God in our lives and to do the best for our Temple.
Jai Shri Vigneshvar