By Sudhir Krishnan <https://www.facebook.com/Inspirations.By.Sudhir.Krishnan>
If God is present everywhere, then why go to places of worship?
If you plan to start an exercise program to get physically fit, the only important thing is that you exert your body – you do not have to go anywhere. However most people are likely to join a gym to get fit. Why is this?
1) The gym provides knowledgeable instructors. Although you could work out on your own, it is hard to beat the experience of well trained professionals who can guide you and personalize a fitness program just for you.
2) The gym has the necessary equipment for you to train. Although you can buy some equipment yourself, it is hard to beat the variety and sophistication of the gym equipment.
3) When you belong to a gym, you get an opportunity to interact with other people of similar interest. You can work out with others in small or large groups. You learn what others are doing and what is working and not working for them. The interaction of people with common interest allows for sharing and provides motivation and inspiration for the entire group.
While we go to the gym to get physically fit, we go to places of worship to get “spiritually fit”. Just like you could work out your body on your own and not necessarily go to a gym, you do not have go to any particular place to find God. However many people still prefer to go places of worship for reasons similar to going to a gym above, which are:
1) Places of worship provides knowledgeable teachers in the forms of priests, ministers, Rabbis, spiritual teachers etc who can guide you on your path. Although you can learn from books, tapes and DVDs, these things are inert and cannot answer back when a question rises in your mind and you need additional clarification as to how a specific piece of spiritual knowledge applies in the context of your life.
2) Places of worship have the necessary equipment that help you to connect to your own higher self. This equipment can include a common location where people can meet, deities you can personally relate to, equipment to sing/chant/pray etc.
3) And most importantly, when you go to places of worship, you meet other people who are also on the path just like you. This allows for a “satsang”, where people come together and share their personal experiences with the group. This allows for each person to get inspired and motivated from the experiences of the entire group. Additionally, when a lot of people with similar spiritual goals meet, the energy of the place is raised, which benefits all its members.