I visited the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in New Delhi recently. Obviously a work of art in today's day given the 300 million man hours taken to construct it. However it left me with an empty feeling. Compared to other more ancient monuments i have visited, it seemed like a shoddy mix of today's box architecture and yester-years patterns and designs superimposed. More like a copy-cut-paste activity. The simple straight yellow brown walls with sandstone/marble figures pasted on it. No magnificence or grandeur in the architecture, or aesthetics of space. More a modern temple for mass appeal.

Infact the moment i saw it, the crowd, commercialization etc was reminded of the latest movie by Mel Gibson "Apocalypto" where there is a scene of a temple being built by slave labour. No difference here other than much of the labour was volunteered. But the end result seems the same, throngs of people flocking to it, without understanding the spirituality or the message it conveys. Nor does one imbibe the principles and values such institutions are meant to propogate.

Recently saw to people going at it in the church. Apparently one was calling out to his small child who was running in the foir, another behind him busy with his beads shushed him, immediately both got into a verbal spat with you shut up you shutup etc etc. Is this what Christ taught? If you can't practise tolerance and brotherhood within the very institutions that embody them, what hope is there? Similarly in the Akshardham temple too volunteers were holding up placards for visitors to maintain silence. Obviously few were heeding, so one was resorting to screaming and yelling at the visitors to maintain silence. Extremely justified, somthing like the RSS We are tolerant of everything except intolerance!

Where is the Spirit?
Where is the Bhakti?