34 scriptural reasons why I personally don’t build temples and ashrams anymore (t.ly/temples)
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Even Nitai Gaura Themselves Did Not Open Any Temples
1] Very important commentary to Srimad Bhagavatam 7.14.39 by Srila Prabhupada:
“When great saintly persons saw this contamination, they introduced worship of the Deity in the temple. This began in Treta-yuga and was especially prominent in Dvapara-yuga (dvapare paricaryayam).
“But in Kali-yuga, worship of the Deity is being neglected. Therefore chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra is more powerful than Deity worship.
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu set a practical example in that He did not establish any temples or Deities, but He profusely introduced the saṅkīrtana movement.
Therefore Krsna consciousness preachers should give more stress to the sankirtana movement, especially by distributing transcendental literature more and more. This helps the sankirtana movement.”
This is why both Lords Nitai and Gaura never established any Temples or Ashrams Personally.
They just walked all over India and went directly to the people sharing Their love by instead of trying to bring the people to some Temples.
This is exactly what we can do for millions of souls via our internet sharing nowadays.
Online Temple is Free
2] My online presence is MY ASHRAM where I give my association 24/7 to everyone in the whole world, without them even having to travel to meet me.
Online Temple has Unlimited Capacity
3] Ashrams are limited to a few souls. There is no limit online.
Online Temple Does Not Need So Much Money to Maintain
4] Ashrams need lots of funds to construct and maintain. I feel the best use of these funds is rather to share the love of the Lord online to one and all, rather than to spend these valuable hard-earned donations in just maintaining perishable structures and rooms.
5] Ashrams have the potential to very quickly become infested with politics, abuse, power control, money-making or fund-raising business, offenses, ulterior agendas, etc.
And I absolutely can’t tolerate injustice towards anyone.
Morever, I really don’t have the time to manage and constantly stop all these weeds from raising their ugly heads in Ashrams.
Instead I love my daily sadhana and sharing online without limit.
Because ultimately, for real advancement in Bhakti Yoga, it all boils down to remembering, listening, and singing of pure sound vibrations.
And these can be easily shared to the whole world online.
In fact, Ashram life and management eats away most of our time leaving us too busy to actually be able record these powerful sound vibrations for millions online for the present and future generations.
Sound Quality in Online Temple is Much Better
6] Though some of the programs in the Ashram can be recorded and shared online, the sound quality is normally not all that good in such public recordings and most of the vani shared in an Ashram in lost forever anyway, unlike online recordings, where all the spiritual sounds are saved and available to the world in the highest sound quality for a long time to come.
Divine Knowledge is Much Easy to Give Online
7] Divine knowledge is much more life-changing than the Ashram walls of bricks and cement.
One can freely share ebooks, videos, audios, quotes, photos, slides, etc. online; which are only mediums to share such knowledge.
Nowadays most people don’t carry books with them like they carry their phones all the time.
Simply because millions of ebooks can be read and searched on just one phone.
So why to cut trees and even print paper books anymore?
The printing, storage, and distribution of these physical materials needs so many resources and hard work and even then they will reach only a few thousands of souls maximum.
24/7 Sanga is Possible Online
8] People can visit the Ashram for a few days at the most. Most of them can’t stay forever.
But Bhakti Yoga is not a part-time or a couple-of-days lifestyle. It is full-time.
So 24/7 full-time online sanga and nourishment inspires souls to do Bhakti Yoga full-time from the comfort of wherever they are in the world.
Neophyte Devotees in Temples
9] Sometimes devotees lose their faith in Bhakti itself by associating with neophyte devotees in the Ashram whose behavior is not ideal.
But online they can directly get the purest association in the form of the highest sound vibrations.
No via via mediums who may actually give wrong guidance are needed anymore.
No Need to Start From Scratch Online Like in Real Life Sharing
10] It takes years upon years to convince those who come to the Ashram about the hidden secrets from the scriptures and our internal mood in Bhakti Yoga.
But those who read, listen, and watch the vani shared online even for a few months and join me in our Telegram chat sanga are already in deep knowledge about my Bhakti mood.
So I don’t have to start from scratch to teach them about Bhakti Yoga online like I may have to in an Ashram.
Temples Were For Dvapara Yuga
11] Lavish Deity Worship and Temples were the yuga-dharma of Dvapara Yuga.
In Kali Yuga, it is only shravana and kirtana.
And divine sound vibrations do not need an Ashram, Temple or even a Community.
They can be sung on the street for the benefit of all or online recordings can be played on the street.
Temples are Gauna Dharma in Kaliyuga
12] Harinama Chintamani states that temples in Kali Yuga are gauna dharma and cannot help us spiritually because they may become infested with the thorns of ulterior motives and neophyte association.
Very Low Cost and Effort for Online Temples
13] Even the Ashrams or Temples which are externally constructed beautifully by spending millions can’t stop the internal politics from ruining and rotting them from the inside in Kaliyuga, even when great care is taken or strict management is enforced.
They may also attract a lot of new people to visit them externally after spending millions and billions.
But still somehow the sharing of divine sound vibrations is not as effective as the online sharing of spiritually-surcharged sound vibrations to millions at a much much lower cost and effort.
Huge Running Costs Lead to Focus on Mostly Fund-Raising
14] Huge projects need huge maintainence money every month to even keep the status quo running.
No amount of donations are enough. They are black holes which devour any amount of donations coming in.
Due to this, the focus in an Ashram or Temple may quickly turn more into raising funds at any cost, hook or my crook, than sharing the love of divine sound vibrations even to those who will never come to the Ashrams.
Need for Quantity May Undermine Quality
15] The quality of the Ashram residents and the donations gets compromised because funds become the first priority.
Because without funds the Ashram may have to close down.
Survival matters always get prioritized and quality is sacrificed in the process.
One goes in debt to build an Ashram and then running the Ashram eats away the rest of one’s life.
Smarana is Higher Than Deity Worship
16] Ultimately the goal is to see the Lord within during our spiritual practices.
Deity Worship may help but Shri Harinam Chintamani states that really serious practitioners completely bypass Deity Worship and just fully concentrate on hearing divine sound vibrations to reveal everything within, in its true original form.
Crutch of Support and Trying to Impress Others
17] A spiritually social community in an Ashram may be good but many times it may externalize our consciousness and spiritual practices.
We may not be able to spiritually grow strong internally on the strength of our own practice.
Because we always have the crutch of the support of other fellow Ashram residents, who may be giving us wrong advice many times.
Time Flies By Very Quickly in An Ashram
18] As someone who has stayed in a Temple Ashram for 12+ years, I can say with practical experience that we end up moving around in the Ashram and talking with the resident and visiting devotees there while days, weeks, and years pass by very quickly.
It is like we are living inside a box.
We never think of how to give the love of divine sound vibrations to those who are not interested to come to the Ashram.
Because all we can think of is how to bring more and more souls to that particular Ashram, while 1.5 million people suffer and die in the world daily without tasting the love of divine sound vibrations even once.
Complacency About Giving divine sound vibrations to New Souls
19] In fact, an illusory belief may creep up within us that those who are not coming to my Ashram or Temple are not at all not worthy of being given the love of divine sound vibrations.
Ashram residents may get complacent and start selfishly thinking that everyone should come to their Ashram.
The may end up thinking that why do they have to go and give the love of divine sound vibrations online or go out on the streets for the same.
They will only welcome and help those who come to their Ashram.
May Lead to More Groupism
20] This Ashram consciousness is a type of groupism where the residents of a particular Ashram identify themselves with that Ashram so much that they fight or compete with devotees of another Ashram or Temple.
We are already identifying with our bodies and now we start identifying with our communities, groups, sects, guru-sangas, institutions, etc.
Vaishnava Aparadha May Increase
21] When we constantly see the faults of the neophyte devotees around us in an Ashram, we tend to become critical externally or internally.
And this severely ruins all our spiritual practices.
This is why it is said that it is better to associate with only a few handful of devotees more advanced than us rather than associating with hundreds or thousands of neophyte devotees.
And nowadays such an advanced association can easily be attained online directly through our phones from wherever we are.
Vani Sanga is All That Matters
22] I know that Bhakti is transmitted from the heart of a pure devotee to your heart when you are physically near such a devotee.
But that same Bhakti can be transmitted through your ears into your heart even more powerfully by listening to the divine sound vibrations of that pure devotee online.
I don’t believe those who say that Bhakti can’t be transmitted through online recordings.
If that were the case, no one would ever feel any love and bliss in hearing divine sound vibrations online.
So technically you are not missing out on anything even if you can never get vapu sanga.
Online vani sanga in much more superior and ever-lasting, and it includes all the potencies of vapu-sanga.
In fact even in vapu sanga, all we do is hear the vani.
Srila Prabhupada physically met his Srila Gurudeva only a few times in his whole life.
But still he brought more new souls into Bhakti Yoga for his Srila Gurudeva than even those who were constantly staying physically with his Srila Gurudeva for decades.
Costs And Risks To Travel To Temples
23] The travelling, accomodation, fooding, etc. costs and risks of physically going to an Ashram are all saved by online vani sanga and can instead be used to improve our life for remembrance and also support the sharing the love of the divine sound vibrations online to one and all.
Stop Travelling and Go Internal
24] I know many people are travel junkies who love to travel.
But at a certain stage in spiritual life, we have to stop that and just sit in one place and internalize our Bhakti Yoga practices if we want to truly advance in Bhakti.
And wherever we sit down to do that, we can still continue to get the online vani sanga.
This is why online sanga and sharing is much much more important than constructing thousands of Ashrams or Temples which remain only for a few who can physically visit them.
And there are hardly any visitors in these times of the pandemic.
Knowledge Can Change Their Lives More than Temples
25] Srila Prabhupada used to say that what will be your 3 hours of talking do.
Just give them a book and it may change their lives.
This is exactly what we can do via online sharing nowadays.
In the Ashram, so much time goes in trying to guide devotees for hours and hours by personally by talking to them.
Whereas if answers to their questions are made available online, they can just quickly search, read or hear whenever they need to know something from wherever they are.
A Selfishness to Save Only Oneself May Creep In
26] While staying in an Ashram, it is easier to become kind of selfish for only our own deliverance by only thinking of our own sadhana, sadhana, and sadhana all the time.
We might forget that the real kripa-siddhi lies in sharing the love of divine sound vibrations online or offline to those who will never come to the Ashram.
The Source of Money Coming In
27] Ideally in a pure Ashram, the donations coming from those who practice Bhakti should be used to buy grains and foodstuffs for cooking and offering.
And the other donations from those who don’t practice Bhakti should be used only for sharing the love of divine sound vibrations.
But this is followed only in very very few Ashrams.
So the minds of the residents of the Ashrams may remain very disturbed by eating even offered prasadam cooked from the money of those who are not practicing Bhakti Yoga sincerely or not at all.
This is confirmed in the pastime of Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami in Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.
This problem is not present when one does not live in an Ashram as one uses one’s own money (devotee money) to buy grains and footstuffs to cook for the Lord and then honor His prasadam.
External Factors in a Temple Affect Our Consciousness
28] In the Ashram, our consciousness is left at the mercy of the consciousness of the cook and one who offers the bhoga to the Lord.
Sometimes the hygiene is also compromised like for example aluminium vessels are used or non-organic foodstuffs are used.
Whereas at our own place, we can cook and offer to the Lord ourselves with full cleanliness and with the foodstuffs which have been purchased by the money we have earned while remembering the Lord by listening to realized sound vibrations.
Temple Services May Leave No Time for Producing Vani
29] My personal nature is to give full personal attention, care, and love to everyone I personally meet.
So when I meet resident or visiting devotees in the Ashram, I give myself fully for hours to inquire about their smallest needs, dispelling their doubts, etc.
And more than half of my day goes in that.
Then I can’t produce the realized sounds for long-term online sharing as there is no time left in the day.
All Temple Seva is Lost Except the Vani Recorded or Written
30] At the end of the day, whatever I speak with the devotees in the Ashram is all lost and forgotten forever.
Only the vani which I have recorded and uploaded remains accessible online for the whole world year after year.
One Can Falldown Constantly Even Without Internet
31] One argument could be that internet is too much Maya and taboo for devotees.
But a knife is neither good or bad on its own.
It depends on whether it is used in surgery to save lives or to hurt someone.
Similarly internet can be very effectively used to hear divine sounds and give love for the divine sound vibrations to millions of souls in one shot or for harmful indulgence or for reading or listening to aparadha.
Devotees used to fall down even before the existence of the internet.
If one wants to engage in acts of self-harm and indulge in harmful thoughts, then one can easily do it even without internet.
Self-control needs to be cultivated not just in the use of internet but in any field of life.
One should complete one’s quota of remembrance during the day first before switching on the internet.
Then one will always stay on top of the internet.
The Externalization of Our Senses in Mathas
32] As Kaliyuga progresses though, with all due respect, the Mathas are gradually becoming the place of neophyte devotees as predicted in Harinam Chintamani.
So there is no real seclusion and peaceful internalization of smarana there.
One is constantly pulled down in one’s own consciousness by seeing the faults of other devotees so closely and intimately.
One’s attention is always distracted by the fact that why did so and so devotee do like this in the Matha.
Because we know what every single one of them is doing as we live with them in such close quarters?
In many cases, we may also start wondering about why is there so much envy, injustice, power-play, and politics in the Matha.
Of course, there is seva also but that seva may be so externalized, because others are watching us when we do seva.
So it is very easy for the seva to become just for showing it to our fellow devotees without any internal smarana.
Even when one dances in the kirtan in the Mathas, I have seen one may be very concious of how one is impressing others by doing it.
Thus, it becomes very hard to do smarana along with that seva, which is actually the very purpose of seva.
That is why Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes that real seclusion means to remember alone or in the close association of maximum a handful (2-4) quality, advanced, internalized, and smarana-parayana devotees.
It does necessary to live in a huge Matha with many neophyte devotees and to constantly end up watching their shortcomings and Vaishnava aparadha towards each other.
If one wants to fall down, staying in the biggest Matha with the largest number of devotees can’t stop one from falling down.
Because nowadays Maya is everywhere starting from the very phone we carry, which even Matha devotees have.
And if one wants to remember, then it does not matter whether one is alone or with many.
In fact, smarana is much better when one is alone as Srila Prabhupada states in the Gita.
That is why I prefer the Online Sanga of Shuddha Vani over Mathas.
Because the full focus online in on internalizing the smarana of the topmost vani and not some diluted version of it.
Even if we don’t hear but just see the slightest minimization of Nitai Bhakti or ignoring / belittling of other Vaishnavas by neophyte devotees, the hatimata offense of Ninda crushes all those sanskaras to nill in a moment.
Srila Minaketana Ramadasa left the temple of Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja forever never to return again just because he saw the head pujari Gunarva Mishra had a lack of faith in Nitai.
Srila Vrindavan das Thakura states that in an assembly where Nitai is minimized even slightly or deprived of His actual prominence as the only way to Gaura Radha Krishna, the assembled sannyasis may be considered lower than the drunkards.
Especially when insigficant souls who are just chaar or like pieces of straws start thinking themselves so great that they say – why do I need Nitai, I have Guru and Radhe and I only want them.
Imagine a straw trying to deprive or snatch away the exclusive position of our only savior and our only means to Gaura Radha Krishna from our infinite Avatari Nitai!!!!
A dwarf trying to reject the importance of the SUN.
However much the dwarf tries, all his / her attempts will end up being futile in doing so because what is the truth will remain the truth.
Isn’t this the limit to all foolishness, blundering, and rebellion?!!
I would say that even the non-devotees are better in this respect.
At least they have nothing to say about Nitai at all and stay out of the place where they are not qualified to enter.
I am pretty sure that Srila Minaketana Ramdasa and Srila Vrindavana dasa Thakura would have become upset and left even the present assemblies with sadness where seeing how they like to dabble in high level rasika topics like a mirage, while neglecting to take full shelter of Nitai and accepting Him as the only way to Gaura Radha Krishna first.
Temples Perish Quite Quickly
33] I will now conclude by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada’s statement that a divine temple of transcendental soul-saving content is much more preferable than wasting collossal amounts of money, time, resources, and efforts to build a persishable temple or ashram of bricks, iron, and cement.
This is why I choose to share the highest possible Bhakti Sanga online 24/7/365 for Harinam Ruchi.
I also have one or two festivals during the year especially during Sri Nityananda Trayodashi where all can come and receive my Vapu sanga.
Do Not Fall Into The Trap of Mathadi Vyaparan - Installing Deities and Opening Temples to Get Money. They Are Not Needed.
34] Srila Prabhupada in Srimad Bhagavatam 7.13.8:
“Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains the word arambhan as meaning mathadi-vyaparan, which means “attempts to construct temples and monasteries.”
“The first business of the sannyasi is to preach Krsna consciousness, but if, by the grace of Krsna, facilities are available, then he may construct temples and monasteries to give shelter to the serious students of Krsna consciousness.
“Otherwise such temples and monasteries are not needed.”
I am not saying here that no one should build and manage Temples or Ashrams.
I have just provided here the reasons about my own personal choice of not building or managing Temples or Ashrams anymore.