How I feel, when a temple or any place of worship - gets converted to a place of trade and commerce. Where people entering the sacred sanctum feel obliged to pay money as an atonement of their selves and sins. Where there is a Sunday mass to acknowledge that you are a good christian or a friday namaz to pay the beggars and feel better about oneself? Its quite funny and even deeply sad I propose.
I recently visited a way famous way of worship close to Hyderabad - known as Balaji / Venkateshwara / Vishnu of Chilkur for seeing what the fuss was about. The god/energy here is known as VISA BALAJI. which is pretty funny by itself - there are tons of people who come to see and pray at this temple for stuff like visa and other worldly ordeals; and unlike most other places of worship - the crowd seen here remains to be teenagers and youngsters. The god or energy here fulfills any desire of the devotee especially those pertaining to going outside the mother land perhaps. (In olden ages, the concept of country was not established, only of one's native land and foreign land).
The temple is quite old, and made in a small village (which has now expanded way beyond its boundaries). There remains a small pond which would have been earlier made for devotees to bathe in, near a beautiful grove like seating mounted by an old big branched tree. I went through the side entrance, this was a saturday which is considered very auspicious to Narayana/Vishnu worship. The entire temple was flocked! There were some 500 odd people in this small village temple at the moment of my visit. (there are close to 1 lakh devotees visiting on an average every week!)
Now here comes the interesting part - there is no donation or money collecting box in this old temple. The temple strictly follows a method for sacrifice for the folks who have come with some sort of wish or desire in mind to be fulfilled. The way is to do circum ambulation or walking around the central deity recollecting and remembering god or this beautiful energy therin's name. The entire process is completely out of context for any form of religious worship I have seen till date. Here for the first time, is a very very important and wealthy temple (the number of people visiting here on a daily basis is unfathomable!) which refuses to collect money to make the temple resources and priests wealthier. How in the world has human nature bent itself in such a way?! I was baffled yet so pleasantly surprised. Hundreds of people walking in peace though completely locked in with other people around, walking and remembering holy names in peace. There is no concept of getting what you desire through the money in your wallet. There is only penance and remembrance to be undertaken. This form of sacrifice - creating a stronger will, a loving heart, and sheer humility is what our ancestors have preached as the best method to create a wholesome life devoted to the higher purpose.
I guess the god here has VISA power in his hands, doesnt require any cash donations one bit lol. For he knows, those who have been blessed by his power, will return to spend manifold times their own personal energy to devote at his feet!
I got a good darshan (which I did not expect at such a crowded temple!), though I rarely pray for anything very material. But my heart was healed in this realization that there is yet humility and proper ways of worship being practiced in this ancient land. Unlike the myriad places of worship where money can buy you more time or an easier way to access the temple deity/god/dargah/darshan/atonement.
Do something simple instead, walk in love for your life and love!!