The Bhagavad-gita opens with the following verse:
Dhṛtarāṣṭra said: O Sañjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukṣetra, desiring to ﬁght, what did they do? 1.1
It’s the first of 700 verses and sets the scene for the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. What’s noted in the purport (the commentary on the verse by Srila Prabhupada) is the importance of Kuruksetra as a place of pilgrimage. Prabhupada writes - Dhṛtarāṣṭra became very fearful about the inﬂuence of the holy place on the outcome of the battle. He knew very well that this would inﬂuence Arjuna and the sons of Pāṇḍu favorably, because by nature they were all virtuous.
I found myself reflecting on the idea of ‘the influence of ‘holy places’. Do I let holy places influence my life? Do I visit them enough for them to wear off on me? What exactly do I want them to influence or give me?
Places of pilgrimage can be found in many locations and in all traditions. It’s where the life of the spirit, of transcendence, of the beautiful Supreme Personality of Godhead is honored, and protected, and nourished.
The well known Bhakti holy places, like Kuruksetra, Vrindavan or Mayapur (and lots more in India), are rich with spiritual energy. When we are there, we can deeply nourish our spiritual relationship with Krishna. It’s a blessing to be able to make a pilgrimage and spend some time under their influence.
In the meantime, our nearest temple is a holy place and can have a wonderful influence on our life. That is if we don’t skip out on being there. Make room for holy places - and they will generously make room for us.