End the Endowment Department; Sink the Secularism in the Red sea; Hindus Must Reclaim the Lost Freedom to manage their Temples

24 Oct 2015 65 Views

(NOTE:  A shorter version of this paper was presented at the Seminar to Repeal the Endowment Act on October 10 in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.)

“I know not what course others take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."-Patrick Henry.

Freedom to express, freedom to think, freedom to action and freedom to manage one’s affair is the fundamental right of any human being. An individual flowers, flourishes, invents, excels and creates only when he is freedom.   Any time government interferes in the affairs of the human beings, it only curtails their freedom, shackles their legs, handcuffs their hands and arrests their thinking. Government should allow the individual freedom to nourish and nurture the society as long as others freedom is not trampled, crippled and killed. Freedom should be used to promote the welfare of the people, advance the intellectual horizon of the people, and encourage to accumulate the richness of the culture for the next generation to come. Any government, no matter how democratically elected, that denies this kind of freedom is as good as despotic, autocratic, hateful, partisan and repressive. Death is better than to live in adharmic government.

We want a society where people can make their decisions with regard to managing their own affairs. We want to be free to make our choices, to make our own mistakes, to correct ourselves, to build our own careers, to erect our own Devalayas (house of Gods), to manage our own Temples, to be generous and compassionate, to invent the improbable, to think the unthinkable, to discover the yet unknown phenomenon, to enrich the culture, to uphold the high level ethics and morals, to raise the intellectual horizon of the universe, to raise the Dharmic flag where no one suffers and everyone enjoys the benefits Ramarajya.

We Hindus have been the inheritors of that kind of history. Our forefathers have all these and more. Our great Rishis have discovered and excelled in every filed numbing the imagination of the modern scientists. They have astonished the Nobel laureates. Nothing has escaped the intuitive mind of our great rishis. Bharath has given that kind of unbridled freedom to invent, discover, decipher and predict the unknown. Our great country has given the world the wide array of imagination through such books as Vedas, Upanishads, Tantras, Dharma Sastras, Agama Sastras, Shilpa Sastras, Natya Sastra, Nada Swaras, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Panchatantras, Yoga Sutras and many more. It is the individual freedom that allowed to excel and contribute to the richness of our culture. The whole world is acknowledging this intellectual minds and all the roads from across the globe are merging to Bharath to enjoy the spiritual and scientific advances. Why Bharat excelled intellectually and contributed scientifically?  J. Robert Oppenheimer’s words seem more appropriate to describe the nature of Hindu mind:  "There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.... As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never to be lost, and science can never regress."

The richness and grandeur of our Hindu dharma is acclaimed universally. The depth and width of our sacred scriptures eternally praised and lauded. Wilhelm von Humboldt pronounced Bhagavad Gita as the"the most beautiful, perhaps the only true, philosophical song existing in any known tongue; . . . perhaps the deepest and loftiest thing the world has to show." Sharing the anonymity that India, careless of the individual and the particular, wraps around her creations, the Gita comes to us without the author's name, and without date. It may be as old as 400 B.C., or as young as 200 A.D.

India’s Gift to the World

It is because of the unfettered freedom our rishis have enjoyed, they have produced remarkable array of discoveries in every conceivable field. No other country can boast in front of the depth and width of knowledge. Let us read Will Durant’s assessment of the greatness of Bharath: “It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to us such questionable gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all, our numerals and our decimal system. But these are not the essence of her spirit; they are trifles compared to what we may learn from her in the future. As invention, industry and trade bind the continents together, or as they fling us into conflict with Asia, we shall study its civilizations more closely, and shall absorb, even in enmity, some of its ways and thoughts. Perhaps, in return for conquest, arrogance and spoliation, India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm of the understanding spirit, and a unifying, pacifying love for all living things.”  Can any government ever match these achievements? Our greatest Rishis have shamed the government.

Do the governments contribute to the richness of the cultures?

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) wrote in his book “The Man versus the State” (1884) about the role of State. It has never been creative or useful for the people. “ It is not to the State that we owe the multitudinous useful inventions from the spade to the telephone; it is not the State which made possible extended navigation by a developed astronomy; it was not the State which made the discoveries in physics, chemistry, and the rest, which guide modern manufacturers; it was not the State which devised the machinery for producing fabrics of every kind, for transferring men and things from place to place, and for ministering in a thousand ways to our comforts. The worldwide transactions conducted in merchants’ offices, the rush of traffic filling our streets, the retail distributing system which brings everything within easy reach and delivers the necessaries of life daily at our doors, are not of governmental origin. All these are results of the spontaneous activities of citizens, separate or grouped. The realization that the state hardly ever does anything creative is very old.”

It is not the state that has contributed to science in the areas of numerals, algebra, algorithm, zero, phi, square root, astronomy, physics, gravity, chemistry, medicines, surgery, music, sounds, galaxy, distance from one planet to the other, metallurgy, civil engineering, architecture, navigation, different types of sports, and so on.

Who built these Temples? Why Government should interfere?

Let us refresh our memories about the construction of Hindu Temples and the people who built them. Was it government that has built these temples?  Was it government that donated the land for temple maintenance, and for priestly services, and donated the jewelry? Absolutely resounding ‘NO.’

It was many devout kings, pious donors, faithful Zamindars, and sincere landlords who constructed these temples with no expectation but to pass on the rich cultural tradition that made them sacrifice for the fulfilment of the religious needs and spiritual upliftment for their future generations. They claimed no rights over the temples, lands and jewelry. They wanted their children to enjoy the beauty and bounties of their Temple culture. They donated the lands, jewelry and other rich materials for the sole purpose of maintaining, preserving, and protecting the Temples and see that the presiding Devatas are taken care of. They did not even want their names revealed in many cases. It was their selflessness that would have become the benchmark for the generations to come.  They only wanted to pass on the grandeur of their culture without claiming any rights over these temples.

If you look at the shilpis and Sthapathis who used their age old extraordinary talent and skilful for carving of the Temples, are they government employees? Not a chance. These artisans, the guilds, the jewelers, painters and planners have done their job with so much passion, sacrifice and skills,the human mind gets number to see the astounding work they have done on these Temples. They crisscrossed every state in the country to build these gigantic shrines. Their goal is to make the most beautiful befitting place for the Devatas who will be residents.  These temples bewildered student, scholars, engineers, researchers, and travelers alike.  These people lose their own individuality when they look at the stature, size, Shakti (power) of these massive structures. Meadows Taylor was astonished at looking at these colossal structures and the intricate artisanship. He observed that, "the carving on some of the pillars, and of the lintels and architraves of the doors, is quite beyond description. No chased work in silver or gold could possibly be finer. By what tools this very hard, tough stone could have been wrought and polished as it is, is not at all intelligible at the present day."

Are these shilpis, Sthapathis and those who built these extraordinary Temples are part of the government? Why the government has to take over these sacred places and run them with this perverted concept of secularism?What right do they have to discriminate only Hindus? Why they cannot honor the wishes of the donors?

It is time to look at the wishes of the donors of these lands and fulfill their sacred dreams as they deemed. No government has any authority to sell, distribute and encroach these lands. No government has any moral authority to disregard their dedicated commitment to preserve their Temples. In a Karma Bhumi and a Dharmic desam, do we need to educate our own Hindu politician about the potential danger of managing these sacred places by secularists, Christians, Marxists and atheists? It is already written on the wall about the impending danger of losing the temple lands and resources day by day. Every Hindu politician should search their soul, if it is still there, and ask a simple question “Why we are destroying our own Temples? Why we are controlling them while we allow other religions run their churches and mosques?” The Steps must be taken to recover all the lands to make sure the donors wishes are honored, respected and cherished. Let us go back as far as the records allow us to trace the donors’ wishes and recover these lands or properly compensated every cent of the land.

How did this government takeover happened? First the Muslims came and looted, destroyed and denigrated our Temples. Then the British wanted to control them for their own survival and eventual hegemony. Independence brought havoc in the Temple culture. Finally the Government entered the picture and started controlling every aspect of the Temples. Now the Hindus have become enemies of their own religion, passing laws to sell the Temple lands, diverting Hindu Temple funds to Christians and Muslims, allowing the Temples to dilapidated and looting Temple funds as much as 80 percent. Why Hindus have become the enemies of their own faith and helping their religion to be rooted out by their own action?

The governments have not built any of these Temples. Instead of playing the role of a caretaker or custodian, they started controlling the Temples as if it is their own property to dispose of the assets at its will. They claimed all the rights to control, passed all the laws to dismantle and issued any number of Government Orders (GO’s) to dispose of the Temple properties. What right do they have to control these temples, in the collection and distribution of funds, management of the temple lands, rental of the Temple lands {maanyam), encroachment of lands, disposal of jewelry, appointment of the priests, appointment of the administration, qualification of the administrators, interfere with the rituals and  sacred structures, and host of other areas.

Time has come for fresh new look at this unfortunate, hateful and discriminatory situation that is eroding the confidence of Hindus and dwindling the Hindu population. It is time for accountability. It is time for Hindus to wake from the slumber. The issues facing Hindus are far beyond Temple management. It is the survival of Hindus in their own land. Hindus are more responsible for the predicament of their religion. They are damaging, denigrating, and belittling their own faith by usurping the lands, mismanaging the Temple property and sacrificing their dharma for quick rich mentality.

Hindus are robbing the Hindu Temple

Let us not forget one thing. It is Hindus who have encroached the Temple land, who have bought the lands at lowest possible rate, who have transferred the temple property unscrupulously, and have become the most corrupt any one can imagine. Let us remember the words of Abraham Lincoln, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. “This is more apt and abundantly clear for all Hindu brethren.  If we fail to protect Bharath and keep it as a Hindu nation, we will lose the freedom for us but for our future generations.  If the roots of Vedic heritage is rooted out, if the Temple structures and temple sacredness is dismantled, if the morals and ethics are compromised, if the greatness of our past is maligned, and if the thousand headed corrupt serpent roaming every nook and corner, We as Hindus have faltered, have become devilishly selfish and have surrendered to adharma.

Secular Government controls only Hindu Temples, not Mosques, not Churches

India declared itself as Secular Republic without ever defining the word secular. It is left up to the government branch to interpret without any regard for logic, reason or objectivity. According to definition from various sources Secularism is a belief system where religion should not be considered in making any decisions at the state level or educational level. Politics and religion should not be mixed at the decision making level. Thomas Jeffersonargued we 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. “Secularism has not been defined in the constitution and Supreme Court refused to define it. The Congress government with the help of selfish, warped, corrupt and crooked Hindu politicians never ever questioned the government for its failure to define and in fact abetted the government by equating secularism with minority appeasement. Hindu politician greed has sacrificed the Hindu freedom, Hindu Temples and Hindu dharma and indirectly contributing to the Islamic terrorism and Christian deception. Hindu politician greed knows no bounds. They will jump the parties to be even more power, more fame and more corrupt rather than being Dharmic.

In spite of India being a secular country, it is the only country that injects religion in every phase of the decision making favoring Christianity and Islam and rejecting the freedom to 80 percent of Hindus. They have passed so many laws rejecting the fundamental rights of Hindus and denying the freedom to manage their own Temples. All four Southern States passed Endowment Act controlling all the Temples that make money. Other temples with less money are left to the dust and wind. In North all the richest Temples are taken over by the respective states. All rich, famous and well-known Hindu temples in Puri, Tirupati, Guruvayoor, Kashi, Mathura, Ayodhya, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Vaishno Devi, Mumbai (Shree Siddhi Vinayak Temple, and Shirdi Saibaba), Amarnath, and others are under control.

The brochure we just circulated gives the number of temple controlled by the Southern States, the number of Temple lands that were sold, encroached lands and lands used for government schemes. The state governments have diverted the Temple money to other religions for the construction of churches and mosques, subsidized Muslims to go to Hajj and Christians to Jerusalem; Hindu Donors money is deposited in the state treasury; and it is used for personal gratification.  In general, takeover of these Hindu temples has resulted in gross mismanagement and embezzlement of temple funds, closure of many smaller temples, encroachments, sale and alienation of temple lands, and dismantling of temple infra-structure which is leading to gradual demolition of Hindu religion. It is even difficult to know how many acres of land each Temples has, how many of them are sold, encroached and remaining to date. Thousands of acres of lands are given for lease for mind boggling two bags for acre. It has been going on for decades. Government has totally failed to fetch fair market value for leasing the lands. Bigger fishes always escape. Even that two acre lease money is not given to these temples resulting in the priests leaving the Temples and eventual closure of many temples. Government which is supposed to maintain law and order is breaking the law each day of the year in failing to protect the Temples and providing the needed security.

Almost all the Endowment Ministers for the last two decades have been so frustrated with the rampant and uncontrollable corruption and they themselves openly declared that this department is the most corrupt they have ever seen.  Nothing can be done. Some of them even resigned with agony and hopelessness. The employees have been immune to the criticism. They think it is their right to be corrupt. It does not even bother that they are abusing the God’s resources. In fact one of the Minister told us when he was talking about the criticism of the department, one employee said to him, “Sir, we are all Gods Children. What is wrong with using Temple money? Can’t the children of God use His resources?”  God save Bharath!

What is the position of GHHF?

The primary goal of GHHF and similar other organizations across the globe feel that Endowment Act must be repealed and handover these Temples to Hindus where they belong.

Till such time, we demand the same freedom the Christians and Moslems are enjoying in managing their affairs. The governments have been abusing the Hindu tolerance, patience and silence. Let us not allow push the Hindus to the wall.

The funds of these temples should be used only for administration of these temples, their repairs, the emoluments, the infrastructure and facilities around these temples and the surplus for the upkeep of other less known temples especially the historical ones. Take up the renovation of all historical, ancient Temples irrespective of their grade level in the Department. Mission of the Department is to preserve our rich heritage of our amazing Temples.

Goshalas must be established for each Temples.

Conversion efforts must be addressed by the Department and find out how to thwart these deceptive tactics.

With the initiation of Dr. Ghazal Srinivas, GHHF invited Honorable Sri C Ramachandraiah, the Endowment Minister in 2012 to Dallas Texas and had about eight hours seminar. Nearly 20 of our members have suggested number of recommendations to the Minister for his perusal and implementation.  Approximately, 100 suggestions were made.

Please visit our website and click on the link given below t read all the recommendations:

http://worldpeaceactivists.org/savetemplestest/2015/10/08/recommendations-to-improve-and-protect-hindu-temples-in-andhra-pradesh/

May God save this land, May God give all of us the needed viveka to preserve the richest culture on the planet, May God allow us to search our conscience to preserve, not destroy our Temples, May the Lord give enough courage to be free from these corrupt practices, and May Lord grant the endowment department concentrate on providing the needed services to the visiting devotees.

Another lesson came from a faraway place near Walden Pond by Henry David Thoreau, who astutely observed that, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” [Thoreau, Walden, p65]. By this thought Thoreau suggests that while many individuals may appear to be busily engaged in doing what they consider to be meaningful things to enrich the quality of life for the poor and needy, only rarely do we see someone striking at the root of the problem to find real solutions to the root causes of confusion and discord that we see in the world today.

Prof. Prakasarao Velagapudi Speech on "Symposium on Repeal of Endowment Act" 

 

 
 

 

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