Isckon temple has been a cult which has been drawing and influencing a lot of people who are longing for personal spirituality. Some say the spirituality does not need a medium and it is rather a divine innate sense which guides a person based up on the needs of his life and Karma. In essence, spirituality holds different pattern and meaning for different persons. However, some believe that spirituality needs a guideline because we human beings, getting more involved into the materialistic world, need some source of spirituality to show the eternal path to self-actualization.
Isckon temple, Chennai from a distance
But the question still remains that would you seek the guidelines of a medium which itself is, more or less, materialistic in nature. Yes, I am talking about the Isckon movement. Any religion or even path to spiritual faith does not demand for materialistic offerings to a movement. Even though it has demanded, the demands were, however, used to fulfill the needs of those who could not afford their livings. Let me elaborate it little more while focusing more on comparative religion.
Isckon temple at Dusk
Hinduism: it, indeed, demanded the king to forsake its kingdom in search of spirituality. At the smaller scale, After the performance of divine Yagna, the king used to make magnificent offerings to his kingdom (I am not talking about the offerings paid to the priests or Brahmans who were the ones responsible for making the whole auspicious occasion a big success. ) But, on the social scale, these religions never asks for putting into materials to influence other part of the society to influence them as a part of movement. Buddhism & Jainism: At more granular and minuscule scale but on wide parameters, these religions encourage a spirituality-seeker to forsake the worldly traits on to the path of spirituality according as what kind of salvation their life demands. Like Hinduism again, on the social scale, these religions never asks for putting into materials to influence other part of the society to influence them as a part of movement. Islam: Islam these days has become one of the most talked religion. I have personally listened to the some of the verses of Quran and have found that this holy scripture, like Vedas in Hinduism, is too abstruse to recondite. However, some scholars in Islam from different countries, who are called up by different names like Mullah, Allamah or Mawlawi, in a BBC documentary talk that this holy scripture offers different meanings for different intentions. But, no where Islam offers the materialistic approach of movement for mass influence. If it does offer then I might not be aware of. Christianity: May be during dark ages, the Catholic church demanded money from people for their salvation and sin but that was dark age, hundreds of years ago. Humanity, since then have progressed a lot and even, protestant church have come into existence. But with the advancement in religions, 20th and 21st century has witnessed a lot of influencing movements on the name of religion. Be it the Sai movement in Puttaparthi of Andhra pradesh in India where the person who claimed to next to God was found in case of child molestation and fake magical performances to trick the blind followers. This case had again be exposed by BBC but the case could not take a shape in India because many of the higher class officials himself were the follower of the Sai. These movements, have always demanded people for donation and they have made them so much addicted and subordinated upon them that no room for rationality is left in our mind and that’s when we become a blind follower.
Magnificent mall like structure of the Isckon temple, Chennai
History has seen people revolted against the accumulation of money on the name of religion but, I would say, Isckon movement has been so much of crafty in their design that they are not discerned well and to top of it, once you are a part of it, its hard to get out. In short, you pay more material to earn materialistic spirituality, a kind of paid and bought spirituality. It does not need a proof. One has to see it for himself. I have been to almost four or five Isckon temples ranging from India even to outside India. And, there was one thing common on everywhere, the mall like mega-structural temples. Furthermore, Once you enter Inside the temple, you can not simply skip their products on display and that’s why they have malls like structures so that they can lure you on each floor with the display of their items. Even they have sections like marriage hall, birthday hall and cakes, sweet shops, kids special zone, girls special zone (clever move indeed) bypassing which asks for lot of ignorance on the name of God. May be, a person might go with the spirituality on mind, but what it actually turn out to be? sold spirituality where every thing is commercialized and on top of that even offerings are classified and commercialized. You get a proper bill and that bill brings a relief to the people when they have paid on the name of the God but they do not realize that the moment they step in, its the commercialization and sold spirituality hovering around them. So the question still remains: what kind of spirituality you, in reality, seek at Isckon temple?
Storey which houses shops at Isckon temple, Chennai
You might also find it interesting. The truth revealed by an Isckon follower: how Isckon gets you addicted and sell the paid spirituality.
Sunset near Isckon temple
Sunset along ECR