The importance of temples of God or prayer halls has been equally accepted by all the religions of the world. It is the religious leaders who have established these temples of God throughout the whole world from ancient times. The temples are centers of religion, centers of civilization and centers of service. Whatever humanity is still seen in the society today is fully due to the temples and to the Holy Saints who provided the initiative for establishing them. It was these temples which served as the source from which the fountain of religion and civilization spread all over the world. The temple is the head of religion and civilization. Its destruction is tantamount to the destruction of religion and civilization. In modern India there are innumerable institutions for the service of humanity, and many more are being established day by day. The temples are the birthplace of all these institutions. In ancient India when none of these institutions existed, and only the temples were there, the activities of social service were most efficiently carried on. This goes to prove that the temples of God were not only prayer centers or centers of inspiration or centers of service, but were ever watchful well-wishers, thinking about the welfare, needs and grievances of the people.
The temples are not madhouses of people who take a stone image to be God. The temples are schools of humanity, abodes of peace, lands of compromise and pacification, centers of hope, and places of inspiration and concentration. Just as men do away with the impurities on their bodies by bathing in a river, men with a devotional bent of mind do away with the impurities of their minds by bathing in the river in the Form of the temples of God. The pilgrims, who run to Gokul, Vrindavan, or Kashi, are numerous. This practice was not started a year or two ago. Its beginning can be traced back thousands of years, and yet there is not the least slowing down of the flow of pilgrims to these places. People who look at this fact from a materialistic point of view or those intellectuals who believe themselves endowed with the highest sense may well think these devotees to be on the wrong path; but humble, mature and experienced persons who look from the spiritual point of view, believe them to be on the right path. The Gods in these temples may well look like inanimate objects, but they have in various ways given consolation, satisfaction, peace and solutions to innumerable devotees. These temples have repaired the broken hearts of millions of persons. The Gods in the temples are the support of the weak, the hope of those who have lost all hope, the eyes of the blind, the feet of the lame, the speech of the mute and the future success of the defeated. When mother, father, brother, sister, wife, son, daughter, friend, relatives, beloved persons, physicians, and others can provide no assistance, these temples fulfill all wants. These temples or prayer halls are not the meeting grounds of people of blind faith. They are psychological laboratories provided by saintly religious leaders who are the well-wishers of the society. By the Darshan of their favorite God, or through the hearty prayer of that God, millions of devoted men and women have successfully swum the ocean of frustration, and have attained new lives. We will therefore have to accept this fundamental truth.
It can be proved from the analyzing the lives of those who go to temples regularly that the temples are laboratories of psychology. If any science is proved by arguments alone no experiments will be necessary, but to prove the truth of an argument the need of an experiment is inevitable. When an idea is proved with the help of an experiment, it does not remain a mere idea, but it attains the status of truth. That the temples are the laboratories of psychology is not only an idea. It is a truth established by experiments, as the results achieved there from are before our eyes. The person who does not accept truth even when he sees the results is not a scientist. He is an obstinate man who does not understand science. His opinion has no validity. When the physician gives any medicine to the patient, he does not reveal to him the ingredients with which the medicine was prepared. It is not necessary to do so; neither does the patient show any curiosity about it. His only wish is to get rid of the disease. Similarly, the religious Saints who are well-wishers of the society do not reveal the way in which the sentiments, ideas and activities of a troubled man can be given a suitable direction. It is not even necessary to do so.
The ideas that are engendered in the mind of an individual are based on his previous ways of life. Due to this we have to take recourse to a desired idea to change the direction of an undesirable idea according to the many previous ways of life.