Freeing Hindu Temples Indic Talks

Fallout Of Government Control Of Hindu Temples – A Talk By TR Ramesh

Transcript: –

Thank you, for being here this afternoon, the topic is Dharmic administrative framework for our temples. That is currently these temples are under the control of government, state government. In Tamil Nadu, in Orissa, in Andhra Pradesh, in Telangana, in Karnataka, in Kerala also in Maharashtra and other states. Interestingly it based up on it, does not control in to temples, but I am told the controlling them indirectly.

Okay, sorry to start something with fully Tamil picture, but this is the front page news that had come in a leading Tamil Daily, which talks about an 1000+ crore property given as a gift to Pazhani Subramanya Swamy temple by a devotee, where is the property? This is taken from an audit report of the temple, 1000 crore Worth estates, factories, lands, buildings, houses a huge gift disappeared. Now I talked about this, coming from the audit, I am showing all these pictures, just to show, how the temples that are being administered by government, how well are they administer, the number of audit objections. This is only internal audit, there are no external audits for temples in Tamil Nadu or in Andhra or in Karnataka; only internal audit. Even if the temple gets 10 crores or 20 crores or 200 crores income, there is no external audit. Even if for Tirupati, there is no external audit, whereas if your turnover is more than 2 crores, under the Income Tax Act you have to have a compulsory audit. 1.3 million audit objections pending as on 2016 and the sum is about 740 crores and these are pending. Some of them are pending from 1986, which means, the audit objections made again some of the officers, they have since retried, some of them met with their natural death also. This is the same case in Andhra Pradesh also.

Okay, This is Simhachalam temple and the years somewhere in 2008-2009 and you see 1346 audit objections pending. This is a temple which is about 1300 years old in Kumbakonam. If you see one feet away there is a hotel, a modern hotel which has come up just one feet away from the temple, over the queens. We have absolutely no respect for our temples, no respect for our heritage acts and we don’t worry about. How it will affect the ancient gothra.

You might have heard about Sri Kalahasti temple in Andhra. This is how the temple tower looked before. It crumbled the top, you can see the cracks there, and how does a temple tower crack? any idea? our temples do not have deep foundations, any building which has deep foundations are susceptible to earthquakes. If you notice an earthquake, the huts will be minimum damaged, smaller houses will be somewhat damaged, multi-story buildings will be definitely be damaged, unless they are built in such a way too, earthquake proof.

Next to Srikalahasti temple, lodges were allowed to be build, bore wells were allowed to be dug and they shake the equilibrium of the tower, before it cracked and it fell down. The temple Tower was 500 years old, when it fell two pieces, just built by one of the greatest kings who saved South India, Krishnadevaraya. I am showing all this just to show what can happen in the record.

This again would be in Tamil, but you can see the numbers, right, those of you who do not know Tamil, these are the total land holdings of a single temple in Tamil Nadu, the Dandeeswarar Temple, 28,000 acres as per government records, this is not correct the actual holdings is about 33,000 acres, plus 5,000 acres in Sri Lanka, which is only 60 kilometers away from the temple, the average income from each acre is about 10 rupees.

Okay, I come to the last picture before I start my infestation, can you all read this, this is a circular or a directive from the appropriate authority, where they are announcing, that all temples that are getting less than 2 lakh rupees and which do not have significant properties, ought to be handed over back to the Archaka’s in the community. this was made in 2011. Actually this is as the promise, the Andhra government gave or an undertaking which the Andhra government gave to the Supreme Court in 1997, they will return all temples that have less than Rupees 2 lakes annual income and the number of temples involved is 30 thousand Temples, nothing less, okay. I am presuming here that our temples are going to come back to us, very soon, and with the temple come back.

The one of the repeated of repeated questions people ask, when I go speak in the forum, okay. we all understand government administration is really bad for our temples. But how do we administer them once government goes out. Pujya Swamy Dayanandha Saraswati, spoke about getting temples out of government control in 2015 in Bangalore, in the forum called at Jigjasa. In 2014 he said, how do we administer temples, how did we administer them before the government came, you know, we have temples for the last two thousand years, how did we administer, there are Sastras, there are methodologies which are very well evolved and which the government have, that they want to destroy.

So, this is not something new to Hindus, but we must remember that we have benefit last few generations. We all know that even today, even if some villages have become completely, Muslim villages or Christian villages, we still have our temples in the each village, each town, each city. usually the villages have more than one temple, Siva temple, Vishnu Temple or Devi Temple or the Sastha  temple or the Horry called the smaller devatas, those temples also and they were all under the village community, they were taking care of it. they had ownership, they had Loyalty which is what is taken away, by the government Control. The 1951 Act, which came immediately of the framing of the Constitution, it said the about the Tamil Nadu act, it said that all temples having more than twenty thousand rupees will come under government control and twenty thousand rupees in 1951, when the eight sovereign coin was only sixty rupees. Okay. but now they have 40,000 temples and out of 40,000 temples 35,000, ten points get less than 10,000 rupees a year, which means less than 800 rupees a month, which means less than thirty rupees a day, you can’t even buy two bananas or one litre milk or get paying the Pujari.

So we lost temple administration for two generations and how are we going to come back. so our temples, only places of worship, nothing else happened there, is it like other religions, is at the prayer hall or instead congregation hall or a facility to read and amass though. Our temples were much more than places of worship, there were institutions. they were behalf of the society, community learning knowledge. If you, we talked about Sabarimala, very much these days and as you climb the 18 steps, there is a word in Sanskrit and in Malayalam, Tatvamasi and there is something beyond worship and if you know the meaning of the Tatvamasi, you actually don’t go to temples. So many is here. I should say too much as if I know everything, but I would be pardoned for saying so. If you know what the meaning of the Tatvamasi, you won’t go to temples. But the way to reach Tatvamasi, is by start going to temples and following the Anushtana, the special Vratham for Sabarimala has for people.

So community centers, dispute resolution, everything the temple was the hub, so to the additions more than two generations in some places what were the results, we have lost of a temple culture. what is temple culture? do we know what is temple culture? today we don’t even know what trust to get with them, how should we go, when we should not go, do we know and temples meant people coming and voluntary Seva, the word is Seva, if you have to lift the palanquin bearing the deity, if you have to clean the temple, if you have to do, watch beauty for the temple, it was Seva. All communities did it. It is not as if temples meant Brahmins and Brahmins ordering people to do this, do that now. It started actually Brahmins besides Puja, they had very little control, certain amount of guidance, yes, Sastra explanation, yes. But again, not the same, very same priests. there could be others, there could be other Vedic and other scholars. some of the shilpa sastra scholars were not Brahmins and the network, the temple gives us, supposing there is a festival and there are only volunteers. Unlike today, where you have a housekeeping department in Tamil Nadu Temples, contracts given to external agencies, contracts given for security, unlike that if you see in the ancient days, the temples were full of people, who were asking what can we do or full of people who already assumed certain roles, that they were doing it correctly.

Now I just pointed out one temple having 33,000 acres, the total amount of agricultural lands in lot of information, data I would be giving about, Tamil Nadu something about Andhra, I am depending on Sri Hari here, who is part of our Indic collective trust, who is doing his best, to get the impossible task of getting information throughout. The RTI from Karnataka was right, 475000 acres of agricultural lands, twenty nine crores square feet of sites, three crores square feet of buildings, in Tamil Nadu, the true income should be 6000 crores per annum. The income that is coming is about 130 crores, which is not even 2 percent of the true income. So Tamil Nadu temples are robbed off, 5880 crores at least, every year of their true income and because you don’t have the income, you are not able to run here Patasalas, Goshalas, schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages. then every temples had musicians, every temple had this beater of drums, artisans who made, you know, use their skillful hands to make things, chariots, carpentry works, Goldsmith’s, silversmiths all that is lost.

Then loss of heritage, in the name of renovation, they build modern constructions, they violate our temples, they steal our statues, our icons. So basically they fall out of government control, has been only this, nothing I am not able to say any positive thing, a lot  of which had happened our temples because of the government control.

And the last point is very important. temples are becoming highly commercialized. actually somebody called it was Seva, his grievance was, you go to Temple, you do Archana, he was a family, you do Archana, you do a Sankalpa and it was a Sankalpa, the father says his Nakshatra, his name, and his  Gothra, the Gothra mentioned only words, name is mentioned, again star is mentioned, wife or the  mother, then the children, now the HR&C person, who is giving the Archana tickets, ‘oh! you have four members, buy four tickets’. “no I am relaying only one sankalpa”. ‘no, no, no, you are four members, you have to buy four tickets’. there is also some altercation is going on asylum temple yesterday. So, the commercialization is just become really, it’s taking away the divinity from our temples.

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