To increase the speed of the Temple construction, the Temple Tapasya Programis starting. Many people think that all it takes is money and organization to build a temple. But what is really needed is the Grace of God. Even with good intentions, money, and organization, without the Grace of God, no Temple can be built.
In the puranas, it is recorded that the children of King Sagar were burnt to ashes due to their harassment of Rishi Kapila. King Sagar was told the children could get liberation and be revived if the water of the holy Ganges washed over their ashes. He went to the Himalayas and performed tapas (austerity) to bring the Ganges down from heaven. However, his tapas was not enough, and he died before his goal was achieved. His son, and his son, and so on all went to Himalayas and performed great tapas to bring Ganges down from heaven. It was not until his great great grandson King Bhagiratha did tapas that the Ganges finally descended to Earth. It is said that anything can be achieved through tapas.
Today, we read about the great feats of tapasya performed thousands of years ago with either astonishment or disbelief. How could someone survive only on leaves or air? Or stand on one leg for six months? We cannot do this type of tapasya. Still, in the present Kali age, it is said that even a little tapasya for us is so difficult that it brings immense benefits.
To hasten construction and opening of the new Temple, every well wisher is invited to perform tapas over the next year. The purpose of the tapas is to attract the Grace of God. We can’t go to the Himalayas, or stand on one leg for a month, but here are some vows we can take in order to get God’s grace:
-Give up a favorite food
-Read one chapter or more of Sai Satcharitra each day
-Give up TV, newspapers, magazines
-Sleep on floor
-Perform a certain number of Surya Namaskars every day
-Perform so much meditation every day
-Do so much japa (prayer – recitation of mantras) each day
-Fast one day a week, or half a day each week
-Give up any bad habit
-Take up any good habit
-Visit Temple weekly
The whole Veda is about sacrifice. The saints tell us the purpose of life is Atma Jnana – knowledge of the Self. This physical body is sure to perish. Holding onto the body and physical, family, and emotional attachments is like firmly grasping a sinking ship. Those who are wise give up attachment to the senses and get attached to the Atma, the Supreme Self, the light within, Truth itself. Tapasya leads to Atma Jnana. Even for the purely selfish reason of getting our own Atma Jnana, tapas is the royal road. By performing tapas for the Temple, one is doing a great service to oneself and the community.
How to perform: Make a conscious vow: “Lord, I will do XXXX tapasya until new Temple is built with your idol there. This is my vow.” Of course, like any goal, do your best, and try to choose a form of tapas which is difficult (a sacrifice for you) but also achievable.
If you’d like to share your vow for tapasya with us, it would make us happy, but it is not necessary – it is between you and God. Even if you do tapasya for one day, everyone benefits. My own vow is to, while in Austin, perform Ganapati havan every morning for one year, and also to give up TV, Movies, Newspapers and Magazines until the Sri Venkateswara Temple is built. The collective tapasya of so many devotees will surely bring the grace of God!
If you have any questions about the Temple Tapasya Program, please feel free to contact us anytime.