Friday, 29 August 2014

Spiritual cities in India: Open meditation centers near the holy temples

Narendra Modi has been elected the Prime Minister of India from the most ancient and holy city of Varanasi on a new dawn of hope after a very long era of pessimism, neglect and stagnation. While Varanasi has been one of the center points  points of Indian spiritualism, in its present condition, it is disorganized and dirty. After taking over, Modi is fast tracking the ways to take the city out of its sorry state, and to scale it to new heights. He has added Kyoto on his upcoming visit to Japan, so that Varanasi can learn something from the development of this charming city.

While there must be hundreds of proposal to transform Varanasi and other heritage cities into vibrant centers of spirituality and culture, I would like to add one more suggestion to it. This has got purely to do with the spiritual aspect, rather than the infrastructure of the city. In present Kyoto, while there are hundreds of very beautiful temples who have preserved the rituals and cultures of Japan, they have mostly become a tourist destination. On the contrast, in India, many people visit Varanasi or other holy cities primary for the spiritual purpose rather than tourism. Thus, while developing these cities,  this aspect has to be kept in mind.

Indian spirituality definitely emphasizes rituals as a way to take the mind deeper into itself, but it prescribes self-introspection, primarily via meditation as the most important tool of self upliftment. Meditation has recently gained traction all over the world due to its perceptible and tangible benefits. Thus, while upgrading our own holy cities to the next level, it should be important to upgrade them spiritually as well. One of the ways to achieve it is to construct meditation centers for people in the vicinity of the holy temples, so that people can not only meet their deities, but they can also meditate upon them in peace for sometime. A beautiful statue of the deity related to the holy city can be placed in the meditation center. In many cases, there is no space near the temple as it is a very crowded area. In this situation, the meditation centers can be located as close as possible to the temple area.

Having such a meditation center will help the devotees to quietly sit down and infuse himself with the spirit pervading around the holy city. Meditative postures in holy atmosphere is a breeding ground for noble and uplifting ideas. It is the way forward for self upliftment, and to understand the true meaning of spirituality.

I am sure many other additions can be made to this suggestion, though I keep myself confined to this simple idea. Any other related ideas are welcome.

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