Chakra Discussions

Signs Should Help Preach Bhagavad-Gita

by Kamlesh Patel

Posted September 2, 2009

The ISKCON temple in Vallabh Vidyanagar (Gujarat, India) is boldly decorated with some verses from the Bhagavad-gita As It Is in both Gujarati and English. This is the first temple I have visited where a visitor will actually walk away from the temple likely knowing a verse or two from the Bhagavad-gita.

Some temple managers or presidents may believe that the more land and buildings the temple property contains, the more successful the temple is. Of course, this is nonsense. As Srila Prabhupada stated, the purpose of temples is to give spiritual knowledge, not to serve as a show of concrete, cement and stones. There are many opulent temples, but if after visiting a temple a visitor does not change his or her consciousness for the better, then what is the benefit of going to temples?

Only learning the teachings from the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita can change a person's consciousness for the better.

After visiting a temple, the visitor should have acquired some of the following realizations:

  • We are not the body. This body is temporary but we (the soul) are eternal.
  • We (the soul) transmigrate from one body to another, life after life.
  • This material world is a place full of misery. Those with the brain of an ox may try to adjust to the material world, but those with intelligence will try to make this their last material life.
  • We should not eat the flesh of other living beings, thus no meat eating. Only animals eat animals. Unfortunately, nowadays most humans have become two-legged animals.
  • No intoxication, thus no drugs and no alcohol.
  • No gambling, thus no card games with bets, no visits for gambling in cities like Las Vegas, Nevada, and no purchase of lottery tickets.
  • No illicit sex, thus no sex outside marriage, whether boyfriend-girlfriend or same-sex.

  • Always be truthful. Don't lie or cheat others.
  • Be friendly to all living beings, be charitable and help others according to your capacity.
  • Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender onto Lord Krishna.

From the Bhagavad-gita it is clear that Arjuna does not just bow down to Lord Krishna and then it's all finished. Lord Krishna instructs the science of self-realization, the Bhagavad-gita, to Arjuna. This is what helped Arjuna overcome his confused state. At the present time, people are much more confused than Arjuna and also much less intelligent than Arjuna, so the message of the Bhagavad-gita is more important now than ever before.

Many temples have daily Bhagavad-gita and/or Srimad Bhagavatam discourses in the mornings, which is certainly good but how much understanding is conveyed by theoretical preaching?

I recently visited the ISKCON temple in Mayapur. While it's supposed to be a world headquarters for spiritual knowledge and thousands of people visit the temple everyday, in my view the devotees there are wasting an opportunity to preach. If that temple were to place signage with Bhagavad-gita verses aboutr the temple property, it might well encourage more visitors to get some spiritual knowledge.

Having verses from the Bhagavad-gita outside and inside the temples is a preaching concept which I am hoping all temples will take advantage of, following in the footsteps of the Vallabh Vidyanagar temple.