The Temple Within

December 25, 2022

In the yogi temples of old and new: - there you will see, hear and no doubt experience the purification of mind, body and soul in action. Here the yogis will be busily set about in preparing the physical body through careful diet, abasing negative thoughts in meditation; while prayer, mantra chanting and chakra balancing are said to purify and nurture the soul.

                                 Vedanta lecture at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre


In yogic philosophy, ‘service’ is said to be one of the many paths to god (enlightenment) and perhaps one of the most misunderstood. In contrast to the workings of a modern day capitalist structure, the very context of ‘selfless service’ has been reduced to exploitation or worse yet, to be foolishly engaging in willingly working for nothing. In the temple however, service is known to be the very essence of life and there are two ways in which it is performed: - service to the collective whole and service to the self.
We are probably already familiar with good reason as to why we would ‘give to ourselves’ (with survival being at the root of it). However in understanding our role in ‘giving to others’, there is no better example to explore than that of the natural world. Because the very existence of life, is in service not only to itself, but also to ‘others’. With each cell of every plant or animal performing its function selflessly for the whole, for as long as it is capable. And every living thing performing in magnificent balance with its larger ecosystem, to help sustain life on earth.  And we too are a part of that.

                                                   Eco-system of the natural world

As humans, we are in command of and work alongside our physical bodies throughout a lifelong union of partnership. Sadly however, our bodies are often subject to the silently suffering and mistreatment of much physical and mental abuse. As we neglect our role in service to the body, we may knowingly choose to eat certain foods that are harmful to our health, or happily wear attractive ill-fitting shoes that might damage our feet. But what is perhaps equally as damaging, is in the emotional negativity of dissatisfaction that we unknowingly direct upon ourselves. 

As we try to pluck and paint away our bodily ‘imperfections’, the beauty industry has thrived; perpetuating the very suffering of comparison with distorted images of imaginary ideals. Sadly, it is in the quiet forgetting of the endless service that our bodies provide, that we fixate upon the despair of what life hasn’t given us, and fail to remember that which life has. Our bodies are the most magnificent, self-sacrificing ally that we will ever experience, but while we look to others with envy and to ourselves with oppose, what remains remarkable yet is in the godly act, of being so unrecognised, so mistreated, so admonished and yet continue to provide unfaltering, unending selfless-service in every living moment. 

                                      Hare Krishna free food distribution in London

Service is in the unfolding of lifes grandest design, so what better way to describe the very existence of all that we are and all that supports us? For in the yogi temples of old and new: - there you will see, hear and no doubt experience, the miracle of unconditional love in action.

Love suffereth long, and is kind; 
Love envieth not;   
Love vaunteth not itself is not puffed up; 
 Doth not behave itself unseemly; 
Seeketh not her own; 
Is not easily provoked; 
Thinketh no evil; 
Rejoiceth not in inequality but in truth; 
Beareth all things, 
believeth all things,
 hopeth all things, 
endureth all things.

The Greatest Thing in the World, Henry Drummond, Cor. xiii