Without man having some deep awareness of the divine, a temple could not be built. Even if that awareness is later lost, the temple still remains; and it is quite certain that it could not have been built without a deep experience of the divine.
You make a guesthouse because guests go on visiting you. If there were no guests, you would not waste money on a guest-house. And even though there may be no guests visiting now, the guesthouse remains. So the whole idea of building temples or shrines for the divine must have been conceived of in such moments, when the divine was not just a matter of imagination for people, but a living experience. The very phenomenon of the incarnation of the divine on Earth, made it necessary to have special places in every nook and corner of the planet which could serve as special dwellings for him. To properly receive someone, adequate arrangements have to be made.
It can be understood this way: radio waves are passing by all around us, but they cannot be picked up without a radio receiver. If tomorrow there was a third world war, and all technology was destroyed, yet somehow a radio receiver was luckily left intact, you would not want to throw it away. Even though you would know that you cannot broadcast, or tune in to any program, or even find a technician to repair it, you would not want to throw the radio away.
After several generations of your family, if anyone was then to ask the use of the radio, none of the family members alive would be able to reply. They might only say that their fathers and their forefathers were insistent on its being preserved, so they continue to keep it. Their forefathers never told them what it was for, they don’t know its use, and so it is of no help to them. Even if the radio were to be dismantled nothing could be known about it. By opening the radio one could not know, that, some time in the past, music and talking could be heard through it. This radio had once acted as a receiving station for something happening elsewhere; it could pick up the waves and act as a medium, presenting them as sounds to listeners.
In exactly the same manner temples once functioned as receptive instruments. Though godliness is everywhere and human beings are also present everywhere, only during specific circumstances within us do we become attuned to that godliness. So temples served as centers of receptivity, to enable us to feel the divine in existence, to feel godliness, and to become spiritually elevated. The whole arrangement in temples was motivated with this end in view.
Different types of people thought up differing arrangements, but that is not of much consequence. It makes no difference that various manufacturers produce radios incorporating their own specialities, with different shapes and forms…the ultimate purpose is the same.