A Temple of Faith


Take a wall. Add two grills – one perpendicular to the wall and the other at right angle to the first grill. Complete the square with another grill that has a door. Put an asbestos sheet over this box – big enough to hold ten–fifteen devotees facing a smaller than life-size idol, and you have a temple.

In a life so stressed out and time so stretched out – where is the time to build temples as history has shown us? But this new architecture, if I dare call it that, is more inclusive, simple, and accessible. Through the grills, lit by a power-saving tube-light, the idol looks at you benevolently – offering its unconditional blessing to all who pass by. Three minutes of the sight of an idol is redemption in this sin city. In a city that is rich by all standards; poorest when it comes to time, this is instant religion.

What devotion is such that even faith is makeshift – temporary in structure? Why these installations of faith? Isn’t God is all-permeating, all-knowing, and omnipresent? Why then, this anti-edifice? Pray, what have we forgotten to believe?

Image: A temple at the Kalbadevi Beach, off Ratnagiri. (c) Atul Sabnis, 2005. All rights reserved.


3 thoughts on “A Temple of Faith

  1. Atul, the concept of an omnipresent, omniscient God is too abstract for a common man to fathom easily. Erecting an idol is a basis for recognizing the presence of a higher power or omnipresent “Energy” that throbs within all of us. Where we go wrong, perhaps, is that we get stuck on idols and symbols and do not realize that they are just a means to understand a much larger reality.

    Great post and a lovely pic!


  2. @ arundhati, well said! Thank you 🙂

    @ soumya: amazing temple @akshardham – i havent been there. the concept of sacred architecture vis-a-vis the temples i see on busy crowded mumbai roads brings a knowt in my heart


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