Going to Temples is Not Good Enough
Just as we go to School from an early age to start learning everything bit by bit, to develop our brain and consciousness. In a similar way, we must also learn spiritual topics so we develop our spiritual consciousness. Merely going to Temples, bowing down to Deities and going home does not increase our spiritual knowledge nor our understanding of God. Spiritual knowledge is most important and the Vedic followers are by far the most fortunate, because we have thousands of books of knowledge which originate from God Himself. We don’t need to learn all the books, just focus on the Bhagavad-Gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-Gita, so Arjuna and us can learn something about Him and life. Arjuna also bowed down to Lord Krishna, but then he was given knowledge, the Bhagavad-Gita. In a similar way, we also have to bow down to Deities and also learn the teachings in the Bhagavad-Gita.
I have come across many people who have been to Temples all their lives, but they lack knowledge of even the basic teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita, like Lord Krishna is the God of Sanatan-Dharma. They also don’t follow basic Vedic teachings like being truthful, and treating everyone nicely, They can’t even understand why people suffer or enjoy (karma). All this is due to lack of knowledge.
“And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence. ” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 18.70)
Above Lord Krishna is stating that studying the Bhagavad-Gita is bhakti.
All Temples must preach at least the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. Many Temples don’t even keep the Bhagavad-Gita. Anyone who donates any money to a Temple, should first check that the Temple is worthy and accountable. A worthy Temple is one which preaches, distributes, and follows the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. Following the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita means the Temple treats everyone nicely, and has qualified personnel as Pujaris and in management (truthful, creative, well organized, knowledgeable, free from ego etc.). An accountable Temple is one which keeps a record of all income and expenses, can justify all transactions, and makes the accounts available for inspection to anyone.
Bg 17.20 — Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness.