Many times we have heard the people who are known in world as liberals asking why people donate cloth, food or money as offering to Gods/Temples. These people ask this kind of questions just because they never understood what Hinduism is all about.
In today’s world we pay tax to our government as we enjoy the good things while living at a particular place and the same was offered earlier to kings. However those who believe in almighty should understand that all the good things we enjoy in life is ultimately provided to us by the God.
This is the very reason why people offer food, cloth or wealth at temples. We first offer to God all that we have received from almighty, in the shape of food, clothing, jewels, music, flowers, lights, incense, and so on with the grateful consciousness that they are God’s gifts to us; and we receive them back from God as prasada. The temple is the place where these offerings are made on behalf of the collective community where it is situated. Even if people do not go to the temple, it is enough that these offerings are made to God on behalf of the community. The duty of the people at the place is to see that these offerings are made in a proper manner. This is the reason why priests are available in every temple.
In ancient times there have been people who would not take a day’s meal till the temple bell announced that the offering to God of food for the day had been made. Then only do they take their meal as God’s prasada. However in today’s world as the community has grown large we have people fasting for the day and having meal at the evening. Many households offer the meal first to the God and only after that the same is consumed by the family members.
Hence it is a way of tanking the God for all the good things we have received from him and this in turn is returned to the people in community itself as Prasad. In no way people donating wealth, food or cloth in temples is a waste.
Those who cannot thank the giver for what they have received can never become a giver. As to become a giver you also need to receive with full humility and it’s the simplicity of our God who accept everything that we offer with pure heart and then gives us in return even more.
Unlike a Church or Masjid, which are merely places of congregation and worship, the Temple in sanatana dharma, i.e. Devalaya, Devasthana, Devayatana or Koil, is the sacred palace of the Deity who is a Sovereign Person.