Some of the reasons why people travel long distances and go to religious places to pray or to do darshan are:

- Those who go to religious places do not see it as a pain-staking exercise, rather they eagerly travel long and far in order to pay homage to their beloved God. They go there to express their devotion and love towards God and they feel as if it’s a commitment that they’ve voluntarily made to God.

- When people go on long pilgrimages, they forget their worldly life for that much time; and during this time, they experience such peace and pleasure which is hard to define. Whereas when they are visiting their local temple or place of worship, it’s done very quickly as their mind remains preoccupied in the mundane jobs they have to complete on a daily basis.

- When one is travelling a long distance, they leave behind their day-to-day attachments and abhorrences for various people, things and situations, as they are indulged in religious thoughts, rituals and practices. This gives them a great opportunity to rise higher spiritually.

- When one travels hard distances and reaches God, for example, climbs tall mountains to reach the place of worship, his legs may be badly hurting, but his mind is very happy, as it’s deeply engrossed in the memories of the positive spiritual experience he had while doing the darshan of the Lord. and the power of their prayers.

- While on a pilgrimage, the atmosphere is very pious. In such an environment, one’s inner intentions automatically get purer, and therefore, one effortlessly sows good seeds of positive and auspicious karmas through their meritorious deeds of prayers, darshan and reverence expressed for God.

- During this time, God is the prime focus of everybody. The value of God exceeds far beyond the value of money, time or energy. God is everything! Therefore, people have every readiness to spend vast amounts of money and energy, and dedicate long hours of time and efforts in the name of worship to God.

- When one is surrounded by such a good environment of religious places, one’s thoughts mature as he rises higher in his spiritual development and binds even more merit karmas that yield even better results.

So you see, it is all done out of one’s immense faith and belief in God, and with an idea to achieve a higher stage of spiritual development!

The Power of Prayers

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, the Enlightened being, says, ‘Prarthana’ (prayer) means to seek from God something extra, to aspire for that which is beyond!

Whenever we want something, but are unable to get it; or we are in need of help and guidance from someone but cannot procure it, we pray to God with a lot of faith, love and care in our hearts. And our prayer does get answered!

The Benefit of Idol Worship

Temples and idol worship are essential for every seeker on a spiritual path. Param Pujya Dadashri says, “Temples are India’s greatest science. Temples facilitate the highest form of indirect worship, provided one understands the spiritual science behind idol worship.”

Param Pujya Dadashri described the benefit of worshipping an idol by saying, “If you worship a murti, you will realise great material comfort.”

He elaborated further that according to spiritual science, an object of worship (i.e. a murti) eventually bestows its attributes upon the worshipper. He said:

“A murti bestows the essence of murta (that which has form). So, if you continue worshipping it, eventually you will ‘meet’ the murti (i.e. that which is represented by the idol). So, sing songs of devotion and praise the Gods!”

How to do idol worship?

When we go to pilgrimages to worship, Param Pujya Dadashri described, “If you know how to worship, you will attain both spiritual and worldly prosperity. One must know how to worship.”

He instructed the seekers to approach murti worship with a prayerful intent, such as:

"Dear Lord, You reside within me, but because I have not yet become acquainted with You, I am doing Your darshan here. Gnani Purush Dada Bhagwan has taught me this method, and I am doing Your darshan according to His instructions. Please bestow Your grace upon me so that I may realize my true Self."

Worship this way in whichever temple you visit. Each day (your idol worship) must feel new, and your enthusiasm and joy for going there must be fresh!

Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.