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58. No Temple for Gandhiji

"It was my desire to dedicate a temple of Krishna to Gandhiji. But when I broached the subject to Gandhiji (in May 1941) he burst out laughing and then assuming a serious tone, said :

'Yes, the suggestion is good, you wish to do this with all good intentions. You see I have been fighting all my life against all kinds of superstitions which have corrupted our society and religion and pulled it down to the present level. Your building a temple in the Ashram and dedicating it to me will in due course of time accrue round it new kinds of superstitions against which you will not be able to fight. So instead of creating unity among the different castes and creeds you will, even without your meaning it, create a Gandhi caste. I do not want any such thing to be done. But if you believe in what I have lived for, I could suggest to you this. Allot a place for prayer in your Ashram and plant round it good flower trees. Invite everyone irres­pective of caste, creed or religion to visit your place and pray there. The shower of flowers from the trees on the prayer ground and their refreshing and pleasant odour when you assemble there for prayers will create a proper atmosphere for devotion.'

This suggestion was so very sound that I gave up the idea of building a temple. I planted flower trees around the prayer grounds in the Kripa-Ashram."

- Bhikku Nirmalananda of Tiruvennainalur