Q. I brought a friend for Sunday Feast festival at Radha Gopinath Mandir. After the feast he told me instead of spending so much money on the temple feed the poor and needy, give them house serving humanity is serving Lord.’ How do I answer him?
A. We appreciate your friend’s concern to serve the needy. It is noble and rare in this era of selfishness. But the helping hand should extend to everyone who is suffering. Not just to those who appear to be suffering due to external circumstances. What about internal misery?
People may be rich but have physical ailments or mental anguish. They too are suffering, aren’t they? How does your friend propose to help them? We should know what the best welfare activity is. It should be for the largest number, for the longest time, and for the greatest good. Material welfare reaches only a few, is temporary (perishes at death) and works only for one kind of misery. There is no safeguard for another bolt from the blue.
The spiritual lifestyle is applicable to all conditioned souls, is for all eternity, and by helping us get out of this ever-miserable material world, the greatest good. A temple of the Lord is an institution to provide mental and spiritual healing and relief. It is a place where training and education is imparted to learn about spiritual principles that help us to solve our perplexing problems.
No one complains if a hospital spends money on upgrading itself or providing more facilities. So why complain if the temple provides comfortable ambiance to the visiting devotees? It is helpful.
Regarding service to man versus service to God: how much service you can do and to how many people. One man came to our temple and his heart changed so much that he stopped selling liquor in his night club and made it serve vegetarian food. Now any one will agree that liquor breaks families, creates criminals and other social ills. What good your friend could have done?
There is no poverty in this world in the true sense. There is only exploitation and greed to not share our surplus with those who need. These are deep seated contamination in our hearts and no amount of external adjustment, like building houses can offset their influences. The only solution is to offer a better life-style centered on God. This principle based on simple living and high thinking that will help a man identify every living entity as his brother and sister and serve them in spirit of serving God.
Now in this age every one is almost and atheist. So to bring someone to the place of God and make him hear about Lord Krishna, behooves the devotees to create a comfortable setting to attract conditioned souls to come and hear the message. And by serving Lord Krishna in the best possible way, we are watering the roots of the tree; it really solves all problems.