• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Temples: history, architecture and distribution
Times of India, February 28, 1995

Lucknow: In the narrow winding lane from the Dashwashwamedh Ghat leading towards the famed Vishwanath Mandir in Varanasi, the atmosphere is one of extreme piety at all times of the day. The temple is, perhaps, one of the most potent symbols of Hinduism in the country in a city which by all accounts is one of the oldest centers of pilgrimage for the Hindus.

   The original Vishwanath temple is supposed to have been built around 490 AD during the Gupta period. Historical records suggest that it was destroyed by Muslim rulers. <b>The first Muslim invader to attack Varanasi was Ahmed Nihalidin, the governor of the Indian province of the Ghazani empire, in the 11th century. His aim was to acquire the wealth accumulated in the temples of Varanasi. Later, Qutub-ud-din Aibak of the slave dynasty invaded the city and more than 1000 temples are said to have been destroyed in this onslaught.

    After the defeat of Ibrahim Lodi in 1526, the city passed under the control of Afghans but was later captured by the Moghul ruler Babur. In 1539, it was captured by Sher Shah Suri.</b> In the tolerant regime of Akbar, many temples and other structure were rebuilt by Hindu kings in Varanasi.

   Raja Todar mal, one of the "jewels" in Akbar's court, constructed a new temple on the site of the destroyed Vishwanath temple in 1585.<b> This was again destroyed by Aurangzeb in 1669 while on his way to conquer the Deccan. Aurangzeb got a mosque constructed in its place.</b> The present temple was reconstructed by Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1777. The dome of the Vishwanath temple was gold-plated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839.

   <b>Adjacent to the temple is the Gyanvapi Masjid, which was built by Auragzeb on the remnants of the original temple. He had, however, agreed to the plea of the Kashi Brahmins that a temple would be allowed to exist adjacent to the Gyanvapi masjid as also to the reconstruction of the Kali temple at Aurangabad, about three km away. This temple, too, was destroyed by the invading Muslim armies</b>.

   The remnants of the original Vishwanath temple are revered by the devout Hindus as Shrinagar Gauri, the abode of Lord Mahadev. <b>Muslims offer namaz in the premises of the Gyanvapi masjid but not in the main hall</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Last year attack on same temple by Indian Islamic terrorists was part of pan-islamic jihad. Media and government ignored main reason behind attack.
Dear Sir

I may humbly rquest to publish the following letter in the "letters to the editor" column after necessary editing.

I am writng this not to just add fire to the controversy now prevailing. Let wisdom overtake emotions among devotees at this time.

This is the only temple in India where religiuos harmony is prevaling.

It is most unfortunate that cinema actress Jayamala's reported revelation that she had touched the idol of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala temple when she was 27, has sparked a controversy al over India. All medias are giving due importance to this. It is customary that women between the age-group of 10-50 are not allowed inside the Sabarimala temple. This custom is being practiced considering the celibacy of the God Ayyappa.

This Sabarimala temple is situated atop a hill in Kerala and houses a bachelor God called Ayyappa. It is purported that around the 14th of January, every year, a celestial fire - a Jyothi with healing powers - glows in the sky near the Sabarimala shrine. A controversy exists for this also.

What is the relationship between religion and women's rights? Should we care about the treatment of women by religions of the world? Should we be bothered when we see, even in the twenty-first century, a woman being prohibited from doing certain things, like becoming ordained or entering a temple just because she is a woman?

But why does the Temple board tell her so? It gives a smorgasbord of reasons: The eight kilometer trek to the temple along dense woods is arduous for women; Ayyappa is a bachelor God and his bachelorhood will be broken if he sees a woman; the forty-one-day penance for the pilgrimage, where one must live as abstemiously as a saint, cannot be undertaken by women - they are too weak for that; men cohorts will be enticed to think bad thoughts if women joined them in their trek; letting women into the temple will disrupt law and order; women's menstrual blood will attract animals in the wild and jeopardize fellow travelers; menstruation is a no-no for God.

And so the list of lame reasons grows. Don't think that no one has ever questioned the inanity of those reasons. Several Indian feminists have fought, and keep fighting, with the Temple board in favor of the women devotees. But the Temple board remains implacable. It is backed by enormous political clout, and poor Indian feminists, like feminists almost everywhere, must fend for themselves. It doesn't help that many Indian women are disinterested in any feminist struggle. They think that it is presumptuous for women to defy established customs. It is hard to rally them, especially when it involves flouting tradition or religion.

Nevertheless, many brave and, sometimes, distressed women, boldly try to go where no young woman has gone before. " Here is a report from a publication called Hinduism Today: "The ban was upheld by Kerala's High Court in 1990, but the issue is now being raised by a 42-year old district collector, K.B. Valsala Kumari, who was ordered to coordinate pilgrim services at the shrine. A special court directive allowed her to perform her government duties at the shrine, but not to enter the sanctum sanctorum." In December 2002, Khaleej Times reported, "Women have made this year's Sabarimala pilgrim season controversial by entering the prohibited hill shrine...Kerala high court has ordered an inquiry to find out how a large number of women had reached the shrine in violation of court orders." Strange, isn't it, for the court to scribe such discriminatory orders?

Fifty-four years ago, when the Constitution of India was framed, "Untouchables" - the lower-caste Indians who were believed to be "impure" and hence objectionable to God - won the right to equality and broke open the gates of temples that were closed to them thus far. Article 25(2b) was instituted specifically for them; to ensure that they could pursue their religion unhampered. This article gives State the power to make laws for "the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus". Sabarimala is a publicly temple: Article 290A of the Indian Constitution entails the State of Kerala to pay, yearly, 4.65 million rupees to Sabarimala's Temple board. Nevertheless, it has so far remained shut to one section of Indians - the young Indian women. And the State, instead of opening it for them, works to ensure that it remains shut to them. Now it is the best time that all concerned should sit together and discuss whether permission can be given for women to enter Sabarimala

It is ironic that this shrine, praised as "an unmatched instance of religious tolerance", a temple open to men of all castes and religions, doesn't tolerate most women. The society that has grown, at least outwardly, to breach "God's decree" to keep lower-caste men out of His vicinity, is still struggling to defy "His despise" for women. especially, menstruating women.

Is it so because women are still regarded impure and detestable, at least during certain times? Is it because none in power is disposed to champion women's causes? Is it because women themselves are disinclined to unite against their discrimination? Is it because caste-discrimination is accepted to be viler than gender-discrimination? Is it because society is averse to disturbing the male-dominated hierarchy in India? This ban on women in Sabarimala, while it appears to be a religious issue, at its core, indicates an uglier problem - the oft-dismissed and court-sanctioned oppression of women in India.

What were the reasons and sentiments behind the human belief in the worship of God? Belief in the concept of God and worship of God are not one and the same. All those who worship God, cannot be said to have belief in the concept of God. There are many people, who think that there is no loss in worshipping God, even if such a God does not exist; but if there is one, it will bless them. The basic reason for the belief in the concept of God is the fear of death. Inability of mankind can be attributed as the next reason. The man, who set his foot on the soil of the Moon and who was able to send a missile to Mars, could neither defeat the phenomenon of death, nor could stop the natural disasters like earthquake, volcanic eruption, cyclone or floods. Apart from all these during the bad cycle of life many people have to suffer from unexpected sorrows aroused from close family members, friends and colleagues. Then majority of them will start believing that this is the curse of God. Comparatively, humanity’s sufferings, disasters and losses are more than the benefits it derived from the concept of God and Religion. Great wars fought, people killed or harassed in the name of God are numerous. Don't fear God, Love Him. In this context it is better to highlight a verse from Bhagavad Gita

Mind is very restless, forceful and strong, O Krishna, it is more difficult to control the mind than to control the wind ~ Arjuna to Sri Krishna.
Somebody needs to teach Mr. M.P.Bhattathiri the concept and conventions of a discussion forum.... He is being courteous all right, but there is no point making an argument out of his previous post, because from the look of his posts, there is going to be no reply.

Anyway, here goes...
Mr. Bhattathiri, I think you are wrong on this issue in a number of ways.

1. Why should women not be allowed into the temple?
The idea that women <b>should be treated the same as men in all respects by everyone in all circumstances</b>, is a very culture-specific idea. It is specific to the culture of <b><i>Modernism</i></b>, for want of a better word.
There is nothing inherently superior about either Modernism or this brand of equality that you are advocating. Human beings act in different ways in different circumstances, it is their right. In this case, it is the right of the temple-owners to forbid women between the ages of 10 and 50 from entering the temple. Actually, it is their right to impose whatever conditions they wish.

2. The government must intervene to force the temple authorities to allow women.
Government as a secular entity can only come into the picture, when there is a violation of a human right. <b>Nobody, women or men, has any inherent right to enter into a temple</b>. That is a privilege granted to people by the temple authorities. The temple authorities have the right to withdraw that privilege whenever it suits them.

3. But Sabarimala is a public temple: Article 290A of the Indian Constitution entails the State of Kerala to pay, yearly, 4.65 million rupees to Sabarimala's Temple board.
That is the problem in India. A strictly secular government, like in the US, will not interfere in the workings of a religious body. It can neither finance it, nor operate it, nor intervene in anyway in its religious activities. In fact, here is a definition of a secular government: <b>A secular government cannot, by legislative action or any other form of action, discriminate between religious and non-religious persons, organizations, speech or conduct.</b> By that definition, the government of India has <i>signally failed</i>. It is not secular. In fact, it is pretty much a <b>totalitarian democracy</b>. It uses its democratically invested authority to regulate all kinds of activities, by all kinds of persons. <b>It knows no limits in such regulation</b>.

This is not good for India, as a matter of general principle. A government must be limited. It must have limited goals, and limited means. These should be enforced by a constitution. Our constitution, unfortunately, allows the government to do practically anything it likes.

Ritual constructs in religion - either religious shrines or elaborate rituals, traditions and acts of faith - cannot be judged fairly on the basis of a modernists' view of the world. It is the believer's viewpoint that must be given overarching importance. It is the believer's faith that invests ritual and tradition with meaning, sanctity and authenticity.

For example, in the case of this temple, Ayyappa is considered a bachelor God, and for that reason, a centures-old tradition exists that prohibits women from entering the temple. From a modernists' viewpoint, none of the things involved (the religion, the tradition, the temple, the God, the worship, the bhajans, the rules on dress, the prohibition of sex and meat during the vratam, the prohibition on women, the lack of footwear) have any sanctity - all can be questioned. Why? Because, in modernism, none of these things is invested with meaning.

<b>That meaning, that sanctity is derived only from a believer's faith</b>. So, let us leave this issue where it should properly lie - in the hands of the devotees of Lord Ayyappa, and the temple authorities.
The twentieth century witnessed the re-emergence of appreciation for the feminine aspect of God. The concept of God as Goddess, while long the norm in Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), Yoga spirituality and other pre-Christo-Islamic religious traditions, has achieved wider acceptance in the Western world only in recent decades. As the twenty-first century begins, we find ourselves entering an era in which the more feminine qualities of compassion, nurturing, tolerance and love are rapidly replacing the outmoded anthropomorphic notion of God as a judgmental and vengeful old man in the sky so prevalent in the Abrahamic religions.

Coupled with the new acceptance of the importance of the feminine aspects of the Divine, we have also seen a growing recognition of the realm of nature as something that is itself a reflection of God's love in this world. Nature is no longer seen as something apart from God, wild and untamed. But rather, nature is now increasingly recognized as being an essential and especially sacred part of God's grace upon us. And more, an increasing number of both theologians and lay-persons alike are beginning to see nature as being distinctly feminine in essence – a fact that Sanatana Dharma and Yoga philosophy has known and taught for over 5000 years. The Earth is not a static dead rock floating in space that exists solely for man's economic purposes. The Earth was not created by God to be partitioned into artificial geographic regions, over which men will then foolishly war with one another. Rather, she is a living being, a mother, a woman, a Goddess, whom we are to love, respect and nurture - as she so patiently nurtures us. In the Hindu tradition, Mother Earth even has a name: Bhu-devi. In Sanatana Dharma, the dual issues of respecting the ways of nature and respecting women are ultimately inseparable concerns.

This work is dedicated to exploring the nature of the feminine aspect of Divinity as seen from the unique perspective of Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana Dharma is the world's most ancient continuously practiced spiritual tradition. It is a wise and venerable tradition. It is a tradition that contains within its ancient teachings some of the most profound, rational, and progressive ideas about the natures of both woman and God. Sanatana Dharma represents a philosophy and world-view that has spiritual liberation as its primary goal. In addition to Sanatana Dharma's vision of achieving the spiritual liberation of all living beings, Sanatana Dharma contains within its philosophical traditions a more immediate visionary framework for the liberation of women. Within the concept of Shakti, we find a profound and spiritually oriented philosophy of women's liberation. It is my hope that this brief introduction to the concept of Shakti will encourage my readers to explore further the teachings of Sanatana Dharma.

The Shakti Principle: Encountering the Feminine Power of God

The intricate dynamics of power and gender has grown to become an increasingly important topic within the realm of present day society - and justifiably so. Though representing half of the human race, women's voices, needs and inner psyches have, more often than not, been relegated to a place of unimportance in the history of the Western world. Throughout the history of post-Classical European civilization, the nature of the feminine was misunderstood, neglected and, in some cases, practically demonized. Consequently, for millennia women have been deprived of much of the power - political, economic, spiritual, even sexual - which men so take for granted. Recognizing the imperative need to correct this historic imbalance, many modern feminist leaders attempted to devise an ideological framework through which they felt that the roots of this imbalance could be properly understood. Additionally, there have been many attempts to wrest control over the primary mechanisms of power, specifically in the political and economic sectors. As a result, what were at one time conceived as the exclusive domains of the male gender have now begun to open up to women.

Feminism as a political movement has, unfortunately, had very mixed results. On the one hand, feminism succeeded to a large degree in opening up to women previously exclusively male arenas. On the other hand, the positive and life-enhancing qualities of the feminine aspect of human nature – and especially the spiritual dimension of the feminine - has been to a very large extent denigrated by the very feminist leaders who claim to speak for women. In the modern West, power is no longer equated with the testosterone laden half of the human race. The question, however, is should this have ever been the view of Western civilization?

For, while it may have been the tradition in the post-Classical West to naturally equate power with the masculine, this is not at all a universally held outlook. One world-view that offers us a fresh and radically different approach to the issue of power and the feminine is found in the philosophy and culture of Sanatana Dharma (otherwise known as “Hinduism”) - and specifically in the Vedic concept of Shakti. Within the metaphysical framework of Shakti, we discover the concept of the feminine as being nothing less than the very manifestation of power itself. Power itself, by very definition, is intrinsically feminine according to the Dharmic world-view. In the following work, I'll accomplish three tasks: 1) I'll examine the concept of Shakti as it is found throughout the history and various schools of thought of Sanatana Dharma; 2) I'll explore the historical implications that this concept has contributed in forming the traditional Dharmic view of the nature of the feminine and the subsequent role of women in the social context; and finally 3) I'll share some thoughts on the important role that the principle of Shakti can potentially play in helping to bring about a reemergence of the much neglected and crucially needed feminine in our own Western culture. In addition to serving as a liberating force for women specifically, I believe, the principle of Shakti has the ability to bring about a spiritual renewal of each of us as individuals, as well as of our increasingly global society as a whole.

The Vedic Concept of God

Each of the major world religions has divergent and exclusive views on what constitutes the ontological and substantial nature of the Absolute (For a definite examination of the essential differences between the world's major religions vis-à-vis Sanatana Dharma, please refer to my work on the topic: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism). The three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam hold an Anthropomorphic-Monotheistic conception of the Absolute. For these religions, the Absolute consists of one, superlatively powerful being, who interacts with his creation, intercedes actively in human history, and exhibits many of the same emotive features (including anger, judgment, jealousy, vengeance, etc.) of his human devotees. Jainism is Anthropotheistic in outlook. For Jains, the Absolute consists of the sum total of liberated beings. For Buddhists, the only Absolute worthy of adherence is the nothingness (shunya) that constitutes the true nature of reality. Sanatana Dharma is a Panentheistic Monotheism. For Sanatana Dharma, the Absolute is seen in terms of the concept of Brahman, who is both perfectly transcendent, yet simultaneously imminent in all of creation. All that is perceivable and conceivable has its very existence secured due solely to the sustaining presence of Brahman. Brahman is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omni-present, wholly good, and the source of all attributive excellences to their maximally conceivable degree. Both philosophically and in terms of history, Brahman has been seen in both personal (saguna) and impersonal (nirguna) terms by the great rishis (seers), yogis and acharyas (preceptors) of Sanatana Dharma. Seen in predominantly saguna terms, the highest concept of Brahman (God) in Sanatana Dharma consists of God as a Monistic-Duality. God is One (sat-ekam), unitary, indivisible, and inviolable in essence, yet God is to be simultaneously conceived as a dual co-Absolute moiety of masculine/feminine.

As a somewhat comparable example, we know that in Christianity, even though God is taught to be one supreme, anthropomorphic, monotheistic being, he is at the same time viewed as three distinct aspectival beings in the form of the Trinity – “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Spirit”. God is seen as being three, and yet one. In a somewhat similar manner, in Sanatana Dharma, the Supreme God is simultaneously one, and yet is also a dual being, composed of both masculine and feminine aspects, co-Absolute, co-Infinite, co-Eternal, and together constituting the source of reality. God is seen as being two, and yet one. While Christianity proffers a Trinitarian ontology of God, Sanatana Dharma upholds a “Dualitarian” ontology. God, for Sanatana Dharma, is actually God/Goddess. God is two – yet simultaneously One. The feminine aspect of God, Shakti, is thus seen to be a crucial and indispensable component of the Godhead in both ontological terms, as well as in the functional process of cosmic creation. Indeed, significantly, the very word “Brahman” itself is neither an exclusively masculine nor exclusively feminine noun, but takes the neuter form in Sanskrit grammar. This fact very clearly demonstrates the mutually correlative relationship in which God and Goddess hold one another.

In a strictly philosophical sense, of course, when the terms “feminine” and “masculine” are used in both the context of Dharmic ontology, and throughout the contents of this paper, these terms are not in any way referring to genders in a sexual or biological sense. Rather, the terms are referring specifically to purely metaphysical categories and conceptual constructs, the substantial content of which does not refer to “men” and “women” in the normative sense.

The Nature of Shakti

The Sanskrit word Shakti can be translated as meaning “power”, “force” or “energy.” It is derived from the parasmaipada Sanskrit verb root “shak,” which means “to be able”, “to do”, “to act”. This energetic power is witnessed in all the various phenomena of life. It is the nourishing force responsible for the growth of vegetation, animals, human beings, and of the very Earth Herself. It is what is responsible for the kinetic movement of all things. The planets revolve around the sun as a result of the hidden power of Shakti. It is Shakti that makes the winds blow and the oceans churn. Shakti is manifest as the very affective ability of all the forces of nature. She is the heat of fire, the brilliance of the sun, the very life force of all living beings. In human beings, she is seen as the power of intelligence (buddhi), compassion (daya) and divine love (bhakti), among her many other functions (Sharma, 1974; Goswami 1995). It is the power of Shakti that “...keeps the gods in their position, makes a man virile or makes a sage of a man” (Sharma, 1974). Without the enabling presence of the metaphysical principle of Shakti, all physical creation would be rendered impotent.

Most significantly, Shakti is an exclusively feminine principle. Shakti is synonymous with the great Devi, or the Great Goddess of Sanatana Dharma, and is also found to be secondarily manifest in all the many natural and indigenous, pre-Abrahamic religious traditions of the world. As the great Devi, she is omnipresent in Hindu society via her many forms. She is propitiated by all segments of Hindu society, but especially by women. According to Professor Klaus Klostermaier, “...childless women implore her to conceive. In times of epidemics, it is the goddess who is implored to grant health and relief” (Klostermaier, 1990). Shakti has always been a living force throughout the long history of Sanatana Dharma.

The Importance of Shakti Throughout the Tradition of Sanatana Dharma

The importance of goddesses is evident throughout all the various sects and schools of thought of Sanatana Dharma (Gatwood, 1985). Additionally, the presence of goddesses is seen throughout the long literary tradition of India. In the Rig Veda (c. 3800 BC), for example, at least 40 goddesses are mentioned. These include: Sarasvati, goddess of wisdom; Ushas, the dawn; and Aditi, who is depicted as “birthless” (R.V., 10.7.2.). The very word “Shakti” itself appears in the Rig Veda some 12 times. Two of the word's derivatives, “shaktivat” and “shakman,” respectively appear twice and five times. Part of the Rig Veda text is known as the “Devi Sukta” and is certainly a recognition of Shakti as a cosmic principle. Shakti is directly addressed as the great Devi in the Atharva Veda (1.6.1). Shakti is also seen in the later Itihasas, or Epics of India. She is found in the Ramayana, one of these epics, where “...she is called Devi, and is respected by all” (Sharma, 1974). In the Mahabharata, the other great epic of India, there are two hymns dedicated to glorifying her. The various manifestations of the goddess are ubiquitous throughout another set of Hindu scriptures known as the Puranas. Indeed, the Devi Bhagavata Purana is entirely dedicated to her. One would be hard pressed to find a sacred work anywhere in the entirety of Hindu literature in which there is not at least some mention of a feminine power.

Sanatana Dharma's respect for Shakti is not limited to the religion's literary heritage. The various schools of Vedic philosophy (shad-darshanas) also took this principle quite seriously. The Mimamsakas, for example, are a school of philosophy that held that Shakti was no less than the inherent power of all things. The Naiyayika school of logicians attempted to explain Shakti in terms of being the function or property of any cause. For the Vedanta school, the most important tradition of Indian philosophy, Shakti was “...conceived as the activity of a cause revealing itself in the shape of an effect” (Dev, 1987). Of all the various schools of Vedic philosophy, however, the school most influential in helping to formulate a theory of Shakti is the Samkhya school.


Samkhya teaches the dualistic doctrine of Prakriti/Purusha. According to this principle, there are two radically distinct metaphysical principles at play during the creation of the cosmos: matter (Prakriti) and spirit (Purusha). Prakriti is the primordial matter that is present before the cosmos becomes manifest. It is material substance in the form of pure potentiality, pure energy. It is as a direct result of the devolution of this original matter-energy substance that the universe, with all its diversity of names and forms, comes into being. Prakriti is seen as being “...the power of nature, both animate and inanimate. As such, nature is seen as dynamic energy” (Rae, 1994). Prakriti is originally inert, immobile, and pure potentiality by nature. It is only as a direct result of her contact with the kinetic Purusha principle that she then unfolds into the variagatedness that we see before us. Sudhir Gupta explains this process of devolution from the perspective of a Shakta, or a devotee of Shakti, the Great Goddess:

The universe with all its diversity and multiplicity remains equated in the divine volition as conception before manifestation. It is manifested in the course of basic evolution, started under the influence of the creative volition of the Divine Mother. The Universal Mother in Her Absolute Self admits of no mutability, change or division. (Gupta, 1977)
Thus, Shakti is seen as being antecedent to the principle of Prakriti, with Shakti being the instrumental cause, in the form of the Devi, or the Great Goddess, and Prakriti serving as the material cause. Shakti, as a transcendent being, exists prior to matter (Prakriti).

Ontological Moiety: The Dynamic of Divine Consortship

The dynamic of Prakriti/Purusha is seen mirrored in another closely allied concept: the divine consort dynamic, or what I call Ontological Moiety. According to the teachings of Sanatana Dharma, Shakti, energy, cannot exist in a vacuum, devoid of meaning and purpose. If there is a discernable energy in any form, it must be an energy that is purposefully mediated and directed by a conduit. Without such purposeful mediation, this energy will lose all functional capacity. Thus, the metaphysical interplay of the symbiotically interdependent dyads of energy/conduit, feminine/masculine, goddess/god, Prakriti/Purusha, Shakti/Shiva, represent the natural dynamism necessary for the functionality of conceptual and perceptual reality as we know it.

In a clear reflection of this dyadic dynamism that I call an Ontological Moiety, almost every male divinity (deva) of the Hindu pantheon necessarily has a metaphysically feminine counterpart, a consort, a goddess. This Ontological Moiety, god/goddess principle is a foundational idea that is an indispensable element of every major sect of Hinduism. We see that in every major tradition of Sanatana Dharma, the Supreme Being is ultimately, not just God, but God in the form of God/Goddess. In Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism, the three largest traditions of Hinduism, the Supreme is ultimately seen as God/Goddess. In orthodox Vaishnavism, for example, the highest ontological Supreme is expressed as the God/Goddess Shriman Lakshmi-Narayana. In Vaisnavism, Sri-Lakshmi is viewed as being co-Absolute, co-eternal, and co-omnipresent with Narayana, and is able to offer liberation, grace, and bhakti in Her own right. Indeed, it is said that the esoteric truth of God's nature is that Narayana is never unaccompanied by Sri-Lakshmi. Even when Narayana descends upon the Earth in the form of avataras, Lakshmi always has Her own avatara who accompanies Narayana. Rama has Sita. Krishna has Radha. The Divine Couple are inseparable. (For a further analysis of the nature and role of Sri-Lakshmi in the Vaisnava tradition, see my paper on the subject: “Visnu-shakti: An Ontological Analysis of the Role of Sri-Laksmi as the Transcendent Feminine Power of the Vaisnava Tradition”). Similarly, for Shaivism, the Ontological Moiety is Shakti-Shiva. In the Shakta tradition, it is Prakriti-Purusha.

These goddess-consorts are said to personify nothing less than the essential energy of the god, without which, the god will be rendered impotent and powerless. Thus, rather than speaking of gods and goddesses in Sanatana Dharma as merely personified divinities, it is more correct to speak of these god/goddess dyads as integral and symbiotic moieties. In the words of Ernest Payne:

The energy of Vishnu and Shiva was personified as a goddess and identified with Prakriti, the primary source of the universe. The connubial relations between Devi and her husband were held to typify the mystical union of the eternal principles, matter and spirit, which produces the world. (Payne, 1933)
So essentially integral is the relationship between a particular male divinity and his Shakti that one is thought incapable of having a meaningful existence without the other. The relationship between god and goddess is similar to the relationship of the sun with sunshine, respectively. The sun is the medium that gives stability and purpose to the energy of sunshine. Both the sun and the sunshine represent two functionally distinctive elements of the one same unitive object. If one of the dual elements were missing, the composite whole would be rendered devoid of conceptual integrity. It is not possible to comprehend the existence of one without the other. The male and the female, masculine and feminine, god and goddess, give mutual meaning and being to each another, both in this world, and in the transcendent realm.

We have a vivid example of the interdependence of God/Goddess found in the grammatical rules of classical Sanskrit. It is said that in her manifestation as Shiva's consort and source of energy, Shakti is embodied in the “i” of his name. According to the rules of Sanskrit, if a consonant is not followed by a specified vowel, it is automatically assumed that this consonant is then followed by the vowel “a” by default. Consequently, without this empowering “i” in his name, Shiva becomes shava, or “a lifeless corpse”. It is the empowering presence of Shakti that gives Shiva his very life. Thus it is the feminine principle that is the animating force of life itself.

Both the feminine and the masculine are necessarily present in the Divine. This is dramatically illustrated in the image of Ardhanarishvara, the representation of God as being half man and half woman. Veneration of God necessarily entails veneration of the Goddess. They are two aspects of the same one being and are, as such, mutually dependent upon one another in the form of an Ontological Moiety. God and Goddess, masculine and feminine, are one.

Shakti as Co-Creator

The intimacy of God and Goddess can be more clearly illustrated by examining one of the sacred stories involving the co-creative function of Devi that is found in the Devi Bhagavata Purana. Importantly, although this scripture is clearly a Shakta Purana dedicated to glorifying the great Goddess, the Devi Bhagavata Purana describes Vishnu/Krishna as being the supreme God (IX. 2. 12 - 23) who “...is said to be the root and creator of all” (Dev, 1987). For even the great Devi, ultimately Vishnu/Krishna is seen as being the absolute source of all existence and the one true God. According to this account, Krishna was at one time the only being in existence. Desiring to create the universe, He apportioned His inexhaustible essence into two co-Absolute parts, the left being female and the right male. That female was none other than Radha, the eternal consort and Shakti of Krishna, and who is described as being the Mula Prakriti, or the root source of all existence. From the transcendent conjugal sport of Radha and Krishna a golden egg was born that was the repository of the material from which our universe was created. Thus Devi existed antecedent to even Prakriti as Prakriti's causal and material agent. Creation, then, is depicted in the Devi Bhagavata Purana as proceeding from Krishna, the Supreme Being of Sanatana Dharma, via the power of Radha, His consort and Shakti. Thus both God and Goddess are responsible for the manifestation of Creation.

The Metaphysical Interplay of the Masculine and Feminine

The relationship that is enjoyed between God and Goddess in Sanatana Dharma is one of the mediator of power (shaktiman, the masculine principal) and the power itself (Shakti, the feminine). Each is ineffectual without the existence of the other. While the possessor of power is the guiding force as to the power's direction and purpose, it is the power itself that provides the ability to perform any task. To use a rudimentary example, we might say that God is similar to the computer while the Goddess is the electricity that makes the computer's functioning possible. Both are different, yet essential, components if a computer is going to have any functional meaning. Shaktiman is the principle that gives guidance and direction to power. Shakti is the vital, life-giving force of God, as well as the personification of His power, inner effulgence, and essence. As Shrivatsa Goswami explains this concept:

On the transcendental plane this functional duality implies the split of the Absolute into power or potency (shakti), the subjective component, and the possessor of power (shaktiman), the objective one. On the phenomenal plane too there exists such a duality. (Goswami, 1985)
Together, the Deva and Devi, the God and Goddess of Sanatana Dharma, are the “Able” and the “Ability”, respectively. While distinction can be seen between a) the power of ability and b) the able one who projects the power of ability, they are at the same time one and the same. For one gives meaning to the other. In the same way, though an apparent distinction can be seen between God and Goddess, they in actuality together constitute the one Supreme Being in the form of an eternal, transcendent Ontological Moiety. Moreover, this principle of Shakti is not relegated solely to the realm of the Divine, but is clearly reflected in the lives of each and every human being.

Made In Goddess's Image: The Feminine Principle Instantiated

What is true on the macrocosmic level is also the rule on the microcosmic. As above, so below. Human beings too are said to participate in the interplay of shakti and shaktiman; and in so doing, replicate the perfect wholeness of God/Goddess in their lives. For in Sanatana Dharma, every woman is said to be a partial manifestation of the divine Shakti. Every man, likewise, is a replication of the divine Shaktiman. The Atharva-veda readily confirms this fact: “Women and Men are both born from the Supreme Being; Women are manifestations of the Supreme Being, as are men” (8.9.11cd). The power of Shakti, the feminine principle, is believed to be directly present in creation in the form of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. As the contemporary feminist author Elinor Gadon explains, “the truth of the Goddess is the mystery of our being. She is the dynamic life force within. Her form is embedded in our collective psyche...” (Gadon, 1989). As a natural consequence of this view, Sanatana Dharma encourages all people to have both respect and reverence for women. While Shakti is primarily present as personified in woman, however, she is also present in man in the form of his vitality and strength.

The Shakti Principle in Spiritual Practice

There are many traditions of spiritual unfoldment in India that teach the notion that Shakti resides within each and every human being, and that spiritual liberation can be achieved by the proper utilization of the feminine principle within. One example of such a tradition is the path of Kundalini-yoga. According to Kundalini-yoga philosophy, Shakti resides at the base of the spine in the form of the kundalini energy. The goal of this path of Yoga is to raise this vital energy through the various energy centers (chakras) of the subtle, or astral, body. As each energy portal is open, the yogi achieves newer and higher levels of spiritual realization and power. Once this Shakti has reached the top chakra located at the crown of the head (sahasrara-chakra, “the chakra of the thousand-petaled lotus”), full self-realization, personal empowerment, and liberation can be achieved. This very process is itself, interestingly, described as the union of Shiva and Shakti (Dev, 1987).

In addition to Kundalini-yoga, there is an entire denomination of Sanatana Dharma dedicated to the realization of the Great Goddess, known as Shaktism. The tradition of Shaktism is most influential in West Bengal and Assam. Its influence, however, has been felt throughout the length and breath of South Asia. While some references to Shaktism can certainly be found in the ancient Vedic literature (Sharma, 1974), it is the works known as the Tantras that are considered most authoritative by adherents. Philosophically, the teachings of Shaktism seem to occupy a middle position between the dualism of the Samkhya school and the extremely monistic interpretation of Vedanta posited by the great philosopher Shankara (8th century CE).

Unlike the philosophy of Shankara, for Shaktism the world is not seen as being merely an illusionary phenomenon (mithya); it is in fact extremely real. In Shaktism, it is believed that Shakti (the goddess Prakriti) evolves Her own being into 36 tattvas, or constituents of reality, in order to create the universe. The present diversified universe that we see around us is nothing less than the creative manifestation of the uncreated Goddess Prakriti, or Shakti. Prakrti, both in the form of this world and the human body, is in fact viewed as a potential vehicle for salvation. In practice, Shaktism stresses the potentially sacramental nature of the human body due to its being the locus of spiritual unfoldment as a result of the presence of Shakti-devi (Kumar, 1986). For Shaktas, as for the majority of Hindus, women are greatly respected as being the personifications of Shakti in human - and therefore very spiritually accessible - form.

The Immediate Impact on Women

How has this uniquely positive view of the feminine affected the Hindu perspective on the nature and role of women in the Vedic community? How do metaphysical principles translate to social reality? Men and women are clearly different in a variety of ways. What the precise extent and implications of these difference are, however, are very crucial questions. When acknowledging natural distinctions between the genders that are empirically verifiable realities, it is important to not leap to extreme conclusions about the implications of such differences. To make the irrational claim that there are no differences between the genders, and that any such discernable differences are nothing more than mere social constructs – as many of the more shortsighted feminist theorists attempted in the 1970s – is a claim that is no longer taken seriously by anyone, including most modern women's rights advocates. On the other hand, to artificially accentuate gender differences in such a manner as to unjustifiably claim the superiority of one gender over the other, or as an excuse to oppress women, is clearly going too far in the opposite extreme. What the concept of Shakti has to offer humanity is a balanced, integrated, and healthy approach to the nature of gender, in which the natural distinctions between men and women are acknowledged and celebrated, but without one gender being artificially relegated to a place of inferiority merely due to these discernable differences.

Like all other ancient and authentic religious traditions, Sanatana Dharma teaches that, while women and men naturally share much in common (such as the same degree of aptitude for intelligence, moral goodness, spiritual development, courage, etc.), their different psycho-physical states and outlooks should not be overlooked. In very general terms, while men tend to exhibit more aggressive, cerebral (i.e., more mentally absorbed), and self-promoting tendencies, women have a propensity to be more nurturing, intuitive, mature, wise, and giving. While there are certainly always exceptions to any general rule, these very general characteristics are, nonetheless, not negated by the exceptions. Both masculine and feminine qualities are positive and necessary, and it is in the holistic combination of all of these qualities that we find the most effective basis for creating a society that is healthy, progressive, nurturing, just, and spiritually oriented.

Interestingly, it is precisely the positive feminine qualities of nurturance, intuition, maturity, wisdom, and generousness that are to be aspired toward in spiritual life - by both men and women. Both men and women should strive to become more loving, more nurturing, more intuitive and giving in all of our inter-personal activities. As is inevitably true for every other religion and culture known to history, individual Hindus have sometimes had difficulty putting their high spiritual ideals into actual practice. Overall, however, the record of Sanatana Dharma vis-à-vis the treatment of women has been an overwhelmingly positive one in comparison to almost any other religion in the world today. As a result, according to Klaus Klostermaier:

Traditional Hinduism is still strongly supported by women; women form the largest portion of temple goers and festival attendants, and women keep traditional domestic rituals alive and pass on the familiar stories of the gods and goddesses to their children. (Klostermaier, 1994)
As we will see, Hindu women have not only historically enjoyed the respected status of being the repository of Shakti, but have very often actually had the opportunity to wield quite a bit of actual power and authority in the everyday world.

The Principle of Shakti and Women of Power

Unlike the accounts that are clearly observed in the majority of Western religious literature, Vedic literature is overflowing with colorful accounts of heroic, strong and brave women. There are many accounts of such women in the Mahabharata, one of India's most ancient classical epics. We find Queen Draupadi, for example, who is depicted throughout the epic as a brave and iron-willed woman. There is also Queen Kunti, who perseveres with her honor and her faith intact despite a life riddled with tragedies. Similarly, in the epic Ramayana, we meet Sita, the wife - and Shakti - of Rama, an incarnation of God. Though arranged marriages were the norm in Vedic society (as they were throughout most European cultures until only recent decades), we find that Sita chooses her own husband in a svayamvara ceremony. Also of her own free will, she chooses to accompany Rama to the forest when He is sent into exile, thus exhibiting her strength, fearlessness, and commitment to loyalty (this, despite the fact that the people of Ayodhya offered to make her queen during Rama's exile). While living in the forest, she continues to display her independent nature, as when she convinces Rama to chase the gold-spotted dear. Vedic literature is replete with such examples of strong, and heroic women.

Images of powerful women in Sanatana Dharma are not limited to the realm of literature alone. They are also witnessed throughout the living historical record of India as well. Women in the Vedic tradition have historically easily risen to heights of power within various monastic and religious hierarchical structures, parallels of which would have been unheard of in Western religion and society until only extremely recently. In the earliest Vedic era, for example, women were commonly awarded the sacred thread (upavita-sutra) of priests (brahmanas) (Gobhila Grhya-sutra 2.1.9; Klostermaier, 1994). Women were accepted as priests, shared with men the privilege of reciting the Gayatri mantra, and officiated in sacred fire ceremonies (yajna). One section of the Rig Veda (V, 28) mentions that there were multiple female rishis, or revealers of sacred truth. In this section one is specifically named as Vishvara. Of the 407 rishis responsible for revealing the Rig Veda, at least 21 of these were women. There were also very formidable women philosophers such as Sulabha Maitreyi (Mahabharata XII.320), Vadava Prathitheyi (Ashvalayana Grhya-sutra 3.4.4; Shankhayana Grhya-sutra 4.10), as well as Vachaknavi, who debated the sage Yajnavalkya of Upanishadic fame (Madhyandina Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3.8). Interestingly, the famous Sanskrit grammarian, Panini, observed the distinction in the Sanskrit language between a) “aachaarya”, a male preceptor; b) “aachaaryani” (the wife of a preceptor), and c) “aacaaryaa” (a lady preceptor), indicating that women were thoroughly accepted as spiritual teachers (Ashtadhyayi 4.1.14). Such women saints as Andal (8th century), Mirabai (1498-1546 CE), Jahnavi (16th century), and many hundreds of others were leaders of the devotional Bhakti movement “...that initiated the religious liberation of women [and] was largely promoted and supported by women devotees” (Ibid., 1994). Both Andal and Mirabai were celebrated for being very independent minded women. Mirabai, in fact, was originally a Rajasthani princess who rebelled against her entire royal family in order to devote herself to devotion to Krishna and the path of self-realization.

Women have continued this long tradition as leaders of various Yoga and Hindu communities to this day. Such examples of this phenomenon can be seen in the forms of such modern day women gurus as Sri Anandamayi Ma, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, Amritanandamayi (“Ammachi”), and Meera Ma, among many, many hundreds of others (Johnsen, 1994).

Indeed, both historically, as well as today, there is no stratum of authority anywhere within the leadership hierarchy of Sanatana Dharma that has not been held by women at one point or another. For every leadership position held by a man, the same positions have been held by women. This fact is even reflected in the sacred Sanskrit language, in which, for every masculine title of authority, there have always been feminine equivalents. For as long as there have been yogis, there have been yoginis (women yogis). There have been both sadhus (ascetics), and sadhvis (women sadhus); both svamis (masters), and svaminis (women svamis); panditas (scholars) and panditaas (women scholars); bhikshus (mendicants) and bhikshunis (women mendicants); rishis (seers), as well as rishikas (women seers). Considering that Indian culture has always been a culture in which religion has arguably been the most important social institution in society, it is no small accomplishment for women to have risen so high, and to have attained such religiously important titles, in the echelons of Vedic leadership.

Shakti and the Abrahamic Religions

Such respect for the feminine has not been as readily visible in the history of the Western world, unfortunately. The documented treatment of women in the Western religions has been a truly horrendous record - to state the situation quite lightly. The Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have not had anywhere near the same abundant degree of women in leadership throughout their respective histories. Indeed, in Abrahamic religious institutions, the norm historically has been to actively and systematically bar women from any and all positions of authority. To this day, for example, women are barred from the priesthood, and any other important position of real authority, in the Roman Catholic Church. There are no women priests, no women monsignors, no women bishops, no women archbishops, no women cardinals, no women Popes. Thousands of wise and independent women healers and herbalists were burnt at the stake by the church during the post-Classical Dark Ages. In strict Islamic nations today, women are not even allowed to drive cars, go to the market unaccompanied by a man, or strive for an education. Throughout the radically patriarchal Islamic world, it is inconceivable that a woman could ever seek to become an imam, or a religious leader of any sort. It has only been in the latter third of the twentieth century that a reemergence of the feminine has slowly begun to take place in European and American societies, and to a very limited degree in some Western religions (specifically Reform Judaism and liberal Protestant denominations).

Honoring Our Common Mother

For too long has the nurturing influence of the Divine Feminine (Shakti) been in exile from the Abrahamic world. Thus the more masculine qualities of aggression, competitiveness, authoritarian control, and distrust have shaped the collective psyche of the Western world. Recognizing the terrible price that this gaping deficiency has wrought upon the world in the forms of war, terrorism, the environmental crisis, and the exploitation of women and children, many present day women thinkers are openly calling for a reclaiming of feminine spiritual values in many different sectors of life. In the words of Eleanor Rae: “while the feminine is not limited in its context, there are nevertheless certain key places where it is most appropriately rediscovered. These are in women, in the Earth, and in the Divinity” (Rae, 1994). By recognizing the sacred nature of women as personifications of the feminine aspect of Divinity, and by seeing the Earth, not as a lifeless object, there solely for our exploitation, but rather as the living personality of our common Mother (known in Sanskrit as Bhudevi), we can end much of the needless violence and suffering brought about by denying the feminine in our culture. Agreeing with this assessment, Vandana Shiva has written:

The violence to nature as symptomatized by the ecological crisis, and the violence to women, as symptomitized by their subjugation and exploitation, arise from this subjugation of the feminine principle. (Shiva, 1989)
Ultimately, the ecological, civilizational, and social crises the Earth is currently facing; the need of a greater role for women in positions of religious authority in society; and the much needed re-emergence of the principle of Shakti in the Abrahamic religions, are all one and the same concern. In the metaphysical concept of Shakti, we find a spiritually based philosophical framework in which many practical concerns can be both understood and powerfully addressed.

In a crystal-clear display of the ancient concept of Shakti coming full circle to occupy the center stage of current social and intellectual debate, it has finally been recognized that the feminine aspect of the very Divinity Him(Her)self has been too long neglected. In the works of such people as Matthew Fox and Vicki Noble, we are now witnessing a call for the reemergence of the concept of the sacred feminine power of God - of Shakti. In such remarkable developments as these, I venture to say that we are not so much witnessing the “Hinduization” of Western thought, as we are seeing the rediscovery of the metaphysical feminine principle as an integral, a natural, and an inseparable component of healthy religious expression, and of our very being.


These more recent developments in the West, as well as their origin in the long and positive history of the concept of Shakti in Sanatana Dharma, have shown us that the idea of a sacred feminine power originating from Divinity and, therefore, necessarily inherent in all things, is a very relevant subject for further exploration. This is true both on a social, as well as on a very personal, spiritual level. While arising from the ancient and esoteric depths of the philosophy and sacred stories (divya-katha) of Sanatana Dharma, the Shakti Principle is actually a force that has the ability to affect all human culture: politically, socially, and at the deepest levels of our consciousness.

Today, much of humanity is again beginning to hear the loving whispers of our Divine Mother call out to us from within the deepest core of our collective being; from the teachings of the world's most ancient religious tradition: Sanatana Dharma; and from the very depths of the Earth Herself. Shakti-devi is ready and eager to re-embrace us and bring us back to both a personal and a cultural state of well-being - if we will only allow Her to do so.


I wish to thank the following people for their encouragement, support and inspiration: Ms. Frances Elizabeth Morales, Param Pujya Sri Swami Dayananda Sarasvati, Mr. Vishal Agarwal, Dr. David Frawley, Mr. Sashi Kejriwal, Ms. Heather Lim, Dr. Anita Bhagat Patel, Dr. Manan Patel, Professor Mekhala Natavar, Professor David Knipe, Professor Keith Yandell, Professor Ramesh Rao, Dr. Patricia Bauhs.


Agarwal, Vishal. Women in Hindu Dharma: A Tribute. Unpublished manuscript. Minneapolis, MN. 2004.
Bhattacharyya, Narendra Nath. History of the Sakta Religion. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers: New Delhi, 1973.
Brown, C. Mackenzie. The Triumph of the Goddess. State University of New York Press: Albany, 1990.
Coburn, Thomas B. Devi-mahatmya: the Crystallization of the Goddess Tradition. Motilal Banarsidass: New Delhi, 1984.
Dev, Usha. The Concept of Sakti in the Puranas. Nag Publishers: New Delhi, 1987.
Gadon, Elinor W. The Once and Future Goddess. HarperCollins: San Francisco, 1989.
Gatwood, Lynn E. Devi and the Spouse Goddess: Women, Sexuality and Marriage in India. Manohar: New Delhi, 1985.
Gupta, Sudhir Ranjan Sen. Mother Cult. Firma Klm Private Ltd.: Calcutta, 1977.
Hawley, John S. and Donna M. Wulff, eds. The Divine Consort: Radha and the Goddesses of India. Beacon Press: Boston, 1982.
Hurtado, Larry W., ed. Goddesses in Religions and Modern Debate. Scholars Press, Atlanta GA, 1990.
Johnsen, Linda. Daughters of the Goddess: The Women Saints of India. Yes International Publishers: St. Paul MN, 1994.
Johnson, Robert A. Femininity Lost and Regained. Harper & Row: New York, 1990.
Kinsley, David. The Goddesses' Mirror: Visions of the Divine from East and West. State University of New York Press: Albany, 1989.
----- Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1986.
Klostermaier, Klaus. “Sri Tattva (The Goddess Principle),” Journal of Vaisnava Studies. (4) 1995-96: 21-36.
----- A Survey of Hinduism. State University of New York Press: Albany, 1994.
Kumar, Pushpendra. The Principle of Sakti. Eastern Book Linkers: New Delhi, 1986.
----- Sakti Cult in Ancient India. Bhartiya Publishing House: Varanasi, 1974.
Lalye, P.G. Studies in Devi Bhagavata. Popular Prakashan: Bombay, 1973.
Massey, Marilyn C. Feminine Soul: The Fate of an Ideal. Beacon Press: Boston, 1985.
Noble, Vicki. Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World: The New Female Shamanism. HarperCollins: San Francisco, 1991.
Payne, Ernest A. The Saktas: An Introductory and Comparative Study. Oxford University Press: London, 1933.
Shiva, Vandana. “Development, Ecology and Women,” Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism. Plant, Judith, ed. New Society Publishers: Philadelphia, 1989.
Rae, Eleanor. Women, the Earth, the Divine. Orbis Books: Maryknoll NY, 1994.
Sebastian, Joseph. God as Feminine: A Dialogue. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 1995.
Sinha, Jadunath. Shakta Monism: The Cult of Shakti. Sinha Publishing House: Calcutta, 1966.
Stone, Merlin. Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood, Vol. 2. New Sibylline Books: Village Station NY, 1979.
Sundar Raj, M. Sakti-Power. International Society for the Investigation of Ancient Civilization: Madras, 1983.
Vijnanananda, Swami. The Srimad Devi Bhagavatam. Sudhindra Nath Vasu: Allahabad, 1921.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Tirupati Declaration: Hindus of the world unite</b>
Chennai, July 18:

With Hinduism under siege from various quarters, it was time
for a show of unity and purpose. And that is what was witnessed at the
historic meeting of Tirumala Tirupati Samrakshana Samiti (TTSS) at
Tirupati Saturday last.

The meeting's purpose was simple and straightforward ? to show
in no uncertain terms the protest against the rampant and brazen
evangelical activities in Tirupati and Tirmula by Christian

Led by the two most respectable and revered sawmijis in our
midst today, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Vishveshwara Theertha Swami
of Pejawar Mutt, the meeting, made a clarion call against the sinister
attempts at proselytization by the missionaries and adopted the
historical Tirupati Declaration.

The following are the three cardinal Articles of this Historic

I) We Hindus assembled here declare that we do not support,
directly or indirectly, any group, institution, religion, media, or
political force, which preaches, practices or works against Hindu
dharma in this country.

ii) We appeal to all the Hindus in this country and elsewhere
to subscribe to and support this declaration, the Tirupathi

iii) We want all the Hindu religious endowments to be managed
by Hindu bodies, and not by the government. We want the secular
government to release all religious endowments from its hold.

In addition to the above declarations, the following
resolutions were also adopted unanimously:

a) Immediate action must be taken to bring under TTD control
over 250 sq. kilometre area covering various Theerthams closely
associated with the legend of Lord Venkateswara as against the 27.5
sq. kilometres under Andhra Pradesh Government order (G.O.) No.338. In
this context, they quoted Mackenzie's manuscript of the year 1801 as
per which the Seven Hills extended up to the Swarnamukhi River near
Sri Kalahasti in the east, Nagapatala Devarakonda in the west,
Yerraguntla Thota in Rayachoti Taluk in the north and Pillari Kanuma
near Narayana Vanam in the south. Such a law would ward off any threat
of non-Hindu activities on the Seven Hills.

b) Only Hindus by law should be made eligible for appointment
in TTD Service.

c) Andhra Pradesh Government should immediately give up its
plans to convert Tirumala into a luxury tourist spot.

d) There should be a legal ban on all non-Hindu activities in
TTD. medical and educational institutions.

e) TTD funds should be used only for Hindu spiritual activities.

f) The Dharma Prachara Parishad should be renamed as Hindu
Dharma Prachara Parishad.

Speaking on the prohibition of non-Hindu appointments in TTD,
the Swamijis urged that immediate steps should be taken to deport 40
Christian employees and other non-Hindus at Tirumala.

The Swamijis alleged that the TTD's medical and educational
institutions have become centres of proselytisation by non-Hindus.
They demanded that the Devastanam should punish those non-Hindus
indulging in such evangelical activities and identify the TTD and
State Government Officials encouraging them directly or indirectly and
to transfer them from Tirupati forthwith.

The TTSS also charged TTD with diverting devotees' offerings
to other activities owing to Government political pressure. 'These
offerings made by Hindu devotees were meant for running temples,
conducting religious festivals and providing pilgrim amenities and
propagating Hindu Dharma. They are not meant for the evangelization
programmes of Andhra Pradesh Government under a Christian Chief
Minister,' they said.

The TTSS also expressed its deep concern over the increase in
evangelical activities at Tirumala and Tirupati and cited the
documentary evidence adduced by the Five Member Fact Finding Committee
appointed by the Pontiff of Pejawar with Justice Bikshapathi, former
High Court Judge as its head.

The meet also cited High Court Ruling which said: 'The rights
of Tirumala-Tirupati vest with Lord Venkateswara himself and the Trust
Board and the EO are only trustees of the property. None can take any
measures violating the right. All the Seven Hills fall under Tirumala
(W.P. No. 26145 of 1996-97(2) and 59 (DB) dated 7.9.1996).

In conclusion, Pejawar Swamiji categorically told media
persons that the Members of the TTSS fervently hope that their
legitimate demand would be acted upon before 9 August, 2006 and that
further action by the TTSS would be decided after ascertaining the
nature, intention and direction of Government response.

A host of other influential Swamijis from different parts of
India including Varada Ramanuja Jeeyar from Uttar Pradesh and Members
of the Tirupati Fact Finding Committee, T S Rao, former Director
General of Police, R. Srihari, former Vice Chancellor of the Dravidian
University, Krishniah, State Backward Classes Welfare Leader and other
prominent persons also attended the meeting. Several thousand Devotees
deeply concerned about the need for protecting the Seven Hills and the
Tirupati Temple joined in in the call.

http://newstodaynet .com/18jul/ ss2.htm
ISRO’S Milestone

The analysis of satellite pictures of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) can give enough insights into the “cosmic cities” mentioned in the Hindu epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. A senior scientist with the Space Application Centre of ISRO in Ahmedabad, P.S. Thakker has underlined the importance of ISRO pictures sent by the satellite orbiting the space, 800 km above the earth. Although people know about “cosmic cities”, it is not possible for them to know the settlement pattern as these cities have been destroyed with the passage of time. But by looking at the satellite pictures one can see things that are not visible to the naked eye. Remote-sensing can play an important role to correlate archaeological findings of ancient cities, which are mentioned in the Hindu scriptures including the Vedas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. —By Rambler

FWD Email
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Please circulate our presentation below to the "Expert Committee" on Chilkur Balaji Temple. You may also send your comments to:

Sri Prasad, Chairman,
Expert Committee on Chilkur Balaji Temple.
email: opinions_pvrkprasad_committee@yahoo.com

He is to decide on the proposed takeover of Chilkur Balaji temple by AP govt. that is contested by Sri Soundra Rajan, Chief Archaka of the temple ( as well as all devoted Hindus).
Please try to send your comments ASAP (as soon as possible) but preferably by the 27th.


Sri P.V.R.K. Prasad, IAS (Retd.)

Expert Committee on Chilkur Balaji Temple,


Subject: Proposal to takeover the Chilkur Balaji temple by AP Govt. represents the continuation of State's assault on Hinduism.

Hon'ble Chairman Sri Prasad,

A<b> billion Hindus across the Globe are aghast at the proposal by AP Govt. to takeover the 500 year old Chilkur Balaji temple so efficiently run by the pujaris and locals. Blinded by their thirst to Sovietize the regime of control upon the Hindu temples and thereby on the Hindu society, the state authorities seem oblivious that under the provisions of the Indian constitution, controlling, discriminating, managing, reforming or patronizing religions is completely and fully outside the scope of government jurisdiction. </b>

The AP Govt. seriously violates the Constitution: a) by denying Hindus their fundamental "Religious Rights" guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution. These articles guarantee to Indian citizenry freedom to establish and maintain religious institutions; own and acquire movable and immovable property for them; and administer such property in accordance with law; and, b) by  gross misuse and abuse of state powers under the Concurrent List (Article 246 (2).

The Indian Parliament through an Act in 1991 specifically legislated that –"the status of religious places, as on August 15, 1947 shall be retained".  A faithful implementation of these laws will require removal of unconstitutional govt. control upon Hindu temples.

It is baffling to note how the AP State legislature could pass laws on temples that : a) are violative of the Constitution; b) infringe clearly expressed will of the Parliament;  and, c) are against the universally accepted norms in all free and democratic societies. Given the recent history of speedily selling temples lands, one after the other, it appears that the AP Govt. has assumed leadership role in the field of de-Hinduizing the state.

Injurious Governance: There prevail serious charges that 85% of temple revenues are illegally transferred to the state exchequer for funding a fat-filled ministry with 77,000 bureaucrats to supposedly manage 33,000 temples while leaving many pujaris penniless and starving. Furthermore, the criminal destruction of centuries old historic Mandapam at TTD with official participation that has been universally condemned by all Hindu ranks and which generated enormous resentment, shows the incapacity of Govt. to understand and manage Hindu religious institutions. The fact that even with  huge battalions of staff for oversight, the Govt. could not protect the temple lands from illegal occupation simply proves either incompetence, indifference or both of the authorities in performing their responsibilities. Such an incompetent apparatus cannot and must not be allowed to mess up these centuries' old temples and their estates belonging to Hindu community any further .

Sir, why can't the Govt. follow a politically correct and democratically acceptable method of honoring the autonomy of Hindu temples and establish an autonomous Hindu board to govern temples under the guidance of religious leaders, just as is the practice in other religion formations? The Waqf Board of Muslims and the management of Christian religious institutions have vast funds, properties and endowments, in addition to the immense flow of foreign funds - yet their autonomy is allowed to remain intact! Why are only the Hindu religious centers targeted for being brought under the govt. over-lordship?

In regard to the management and governance of Hindu religious institutions, the Allahabad High Court's recent directive to the Central  and Uttar Pradesh authorities (attachment A) to prepare a scheme for constituting a Board for Hindu religious organizations on the pattern of the UP Muslim Waqf Board could be a guide for AP authorities. This decree by the said judicial body has been widely acclaimed as a welcome development.

Vital Functions of Temples are denied: The temples are not just for rituals by purohits but also the centers of community's socio-cultural and religious life, a place of learning with Acharyas, for community sewa, dharma prachar and for character building . The exposition of the grandeur of Hinduism - its Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana,  Mahabharata, the Bhagwad Geeta - its glorious ancient culture, spirituality and values that the community would like to project and propagate - have not only been denied by state control, but the deliberate and irreversible Govt. actions in controlling and liquidating perpetual resources of endowments could stop these for good. 

Widespread resentment: The latest decision by the AP Govt. for taking over the Balaji Temple under its control has caused widespread resentment and deeply hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus. If the Govt. decision is not reversed the consequences of such a belligerence by the authorities are likely to be extremely serious. The protests against Prophet Mohammed's cartoon in a Danish paper and against the film "Da Vinci Code" should provide some clues about such possibilities.

To redress such extremely serious complaints of the majority community, may we request the Hon'ble Chairman of the Committee to recommend to the AP Govt. to:

1) Let the autonomy of the Balaji temple be left in tact and unfettered.

2) Constitute a Waqf like Hindu Board, on the pattern of the Allahabad High Court's decree, for overseeing the management of Hindu institutions in Andhra Pradesh.

3) And, advise the state authorities in general to adopt a "hands-off" policy in relation to the Hindu temples as required by the Constitution and subsequent laws formulated by the national Parliament.

Thanks for your time and with best wishes.


Dr. Jagan Kaul                                        July 24, 2006 
Krishan Bhatnagar 
Hindu Jagran Forum (USA)
email: krishan.kb@verizon.net


Attachment A

Make Waqf-like board for Hindu religious bodies: HC

Press Trust of India

Allahabad, June 6, 2006

Hindustan Times

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and Uttar Pradesh to prepare a scheme for constitution of a Board for Hindu religious organisations on the pattern of the UP Muslim Waqf Board.
Passing the order, Justice SN Srivastava said the Board so constituted shall be an autonomous body and it will register all such religious and charitable establishments and endowments according to the norms represented by mutts, monasteries, temples and religious and charitable trusts or societies, as the case may be, through their heads.

The Centre as well as the state government may also frame schemes for providing minimum wages and other welfare measures for those working in temples, the court added.

The judgement was passed on a writ petition filed by Shree Satya Narain Tulsi Manas Mandir at Varanasi.

The court said that the schemes so framed may be placed before the court on September nine.
The court was of the view that though provisions of Minimum Wages Act were not applicable to temple as it is not an industry, fair wages cannot be denied merely on the ground that the establishment or institution is of a religious or charitable nature or that persons who are engaged are 'sevadars' or employees at the pleasure of management.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>This is the Ramayana month</b>
<b>Great temples of Rama</b>

Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya. It is a holy city and is an important pilgrimage site. It is said to have once had the perimeter of 96 miles and was the capital of Kosala. It is on the banks of the Gogra (Sarayu) River, bathing in which is supposed to destroy all sins.

At Ramjanmabhoomi Lord Rama took birth. There was a huge Lord Rama temple here, which was destroyed by Babur in the 15th century and a mosque was built in its place which led to the famous Ramjanmabhoomi Liberation Movement.

<b>Guptar Ghat</b>
At Guptar Ghat there are some nice temples and nearby there is a park. ‘Guptar’ means disappearance. It is said that Lord Rama disappeared at this spot. There are three temples in this area called, Gupta Harji, Chakra Harji Vishnu and the Raja Mandir. In the Chakra Harji Vishnu temple there are imprints of Lord Rama’s feet.

There is a popular temple dedicated to Hanuman called Hanuman Garhi. It is located very close to the main road where the tempos from Faizabad stop. Kanak Bhavan, which is an interesting temple, and Kala Rama Temple, by the river, have both got the idols of Sita and Rama.

There is a nice area by the river surrounding Lakshmana Ghat. Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama, is said to have bathed at Lakshmana Ghat.

Vasistha Kund is a temple with a small round kund (pond) like a well.

Rama is said to have performed a yajna (sacrifice) at Treta Ka Mandir. There are Sita and Rama idols in this temple.

Kaushalya, the mother of Rama, is said to have built the Ksiresvara Natha Temple for Sita.

Bharat Kund, at Nandigram, 20 km from Ayodhya, is a place where Bharat ruled while Rama was in exile for 14 years.

One and a half km North of Ramjanmabhoomi is Svarga Dvara or Rama Ghat, which is an important bathing ghat.

There are four dhamas— Badrinath, Jagannath Puri, Rameshvaram and Dwaraka.

Rameshvaram is located at the south-eastern end of the Indian Peninsula. Rameshvaram is on an island, which is the shape of a conch shell, in the Gulf of Mannar. The island is sanctified by the footprints of Lord Rama. It is said that Lord Rama bathed at Dhanushkodi, where the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. There is a major Lord Shiva temple here, called the Ramanathasvami Temple. Lord Shiva’s worshipable deity is Lord Rama.

<b>Temple Story</b>
It is said that the Shivalinga in the Ramanathasvami Temple was installed by Shri Rama on His return to the mainland from the island of Lanka, after killing Ravana. Rama wanted to install a Shivalinga at Rameshvaram to absolve Himself of the sin of killing Ravana, who was a Brahmana. Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailas to get the linga. Since Hanuman was late when the auspicious time for installation neared, Sita made a Shivalinga out of sand. This linga was then installed by Rama and is known as the Ramalinga, because it was installed by Lord Rama.

When Hanuman came with the Shivalinga from Mount Kailas, he was disappointed to find a linga already installed. Rama told Hanuman that he could remove the linga made by Sita and install the one He brought in its place. Hanuman took hold of the linga with his hands but could not move it. He then wrapped his tail around it and tried to pull the linga out, but it did not move. This linga has the marks of Hanuman’s tail on it. To pacify Hanuman, Rama had the linga, Hanuman had brought, the Vishvalinga, installed alongside the Ramalinga. Rama ordered that pooja (worship) be performed first of the Vishvalinga, which is still being done today.

<b>Gandhamadhana Parvata</b>
This two-storey temple is on a small hilltop, about 2.5 km north-west of the Ramanathasvami Temple. There is a set of Lord Rama’s footprints on a cakra here and the small Ramjharoka Temple. One can have a good view of the island from here. The place is called Vedaranyam. It is said that Hanuman made his great leap to Lanka from here.

<b>Kothandaramsvami Temple</b>
There are idols of Shri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibhishana here. It is said that Vibhishana, Ravana’s brother, surrendered to Lord Rama at this place. A series of paintings inside the temple tells the story. In 1964, a cyclone wiped out everything in the surrounding area. The only thing left, was the temple. It is located about eight km from the southern-most tip of the island going toward Dhanushkodi.

This is the place where the bay meets the ocean. Pilgrims are supposed to bathe in the small lagoon here called Ratnakara. This is a place to offer prayer to the ancestors. It is considered auspicious to bathe here during the month of May.

Dhanushkodi is about 20 km south-east of Rameshvaram. It is said that Lord Rama destroyed a small bridge with His bow here due to the request made by Vibhishana.

<b>Darbha Sayanam and Adi Jagannatha Temple</b>
At Darbha Sayanam (Tirupallani, Pullanranyam) Shri Rama observed penance, lying on darbha grass here for three days. It is said that Adi Jagannatha appeared before Him, gave Him the weapon called Divya Chapa, and blessed Him with success.

About five km south of Darbha Sayanam at Adi Setu is the Adi Jagannatha Temple. The idol of Shri Vishnu here is in a reclining posture on Shesha Naga. It is said that King Dasharatha, the father of Rama, came here to pray for a child, when all his wives were childless. Hindu couples still visit this temple to pray for children. The place where Lord Rama built His bridge is not far from here.

It is said that at the coastal town of Devi Patnam (Navapasanam) Lord Rama put nine stones standing upright in the shallow bay. They are supposed to represent the nine planets that He worshiped for success.

<b>Other Places</b>
There are many pastime places connected with the Ramayana in this area. There is a temple near the bridge that one has to cross to enter Rameshvaram. The temple has got a floating rock inside. When Lord Rama went to Lanka with the monkey army, they crossed the ocean on a bridge of floating rocks. Near this temple, close to the bridge, is Lakshmana Tirtha and Rama Tirtha. Lord Rama is said to have bathed in these two tanks. Kodi Tirtha is supposed to be a spring that Lord Rama created by shooting an arrow into the ground. It is said that at Jata Tirtha, Shri Rama washed His hair to get rid of any sins that He might have incurred in the battle at Lanka.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Coutesy: Hinduism Today and Hindustan Times

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Accusations of Irregularities in Bihar's Temple Properties


PATNA, INDIA, August 7, 2006: According the Bihar State Board of Religious Trusts, there are serious questions of irregularities regarding the loss of properties belonging to temples. Kishore Kunal, Religious Trust Administrator says, "We are yet to make a full assessment, but it is estimated that the worth of lost properties could go beyond US$454 million." <b>Kunal says the Trust came across serious irregularities in the management of several temples, mutts and trusts, which over the years have slipped into the hands of criminals masquerading as priests and swamis. </b>"The alienation of property has taken place in three ways -- sale, lease and forcible occupation by persons with criminal antecedents," said Kunal, adding that it was a violation of Section 44 of the Bihar Hindu Religious Trusts Act 1951.
DMK govt ordered six cases dropped against Muslim hardliners in TN

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The six cases, relating to desecration of idols of Hindu deities in villages surrounding Melapalayam near Tirunelveli, were at the trial stage in the district court when the GO (MS No. 431 dated May 27, 2006) was issued by the state Home department, ordering the Tirunelveli district collector to drop the cases.

The accused, initially detained under the National Security Act, had obtained bail. Senior policemen in Tirunelveli are shocked by what they term the DMK government’s “blatant sympathy” for the Muslim fundamentalists.

“Obviously, the accused committed the offence with the grave intention to create law and order problems and disrupt peace in Tirunelveli district, known to be communally sensitive. Also, all of them have links with Muslim fundamentalist outfits. The government should have allowed the law to take its natural course. For a new government to resort to such a move is rather demoralising for the police force,” said a senior police officer in Tirunelveli.

Police officials say that in one of the cases, Crime No. 15 of 2001 registered at the Melapalayam police station, while two of the five accused were juveniles and let off given their age, the other three, including M S Syed Mohammed Buhari, Sheik Hyed and Jafer Ali had “admitted to the offence”. “Despite this, the government ordered the withdrawal of cases against them,” an officer said.

The other cases include Crime Nos. 377, 378, 379, 380 and 391 of 2000, all relating to desecration of idols of Hindu deities in villages surrounding Melapalayam. Rasool Mohammed and eight others had been booked under Sections 153 A and 120 B of the IPC in all these cases.
Indian Temple - Covers Tanjoor Temples and Raja kingdom
<img src='http://www.hindujagruti.org/images/newsimages/nandi.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<b>Remnants of temple found in a Mosque washed out in floods </b>

Posted on 14 August, 2006
• Attempt by Muslims to rebuild the structure overnight
• Severe tension in Paithan
• Assaults with lathis (sticks) on Shivsainiks <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Paithan: 13th August-In a 'Mosque' situated at the foot of Nathsagar in Jaikwadi, a wall of the Mosque collapsed with the onslaught of massive floods and some remnants of an ancient temple along with 'Nandi' head have been found. To suppress this evidence of treasure of Hindu culture, Muslims overnight tried to build the structure.

On getting information about it, the Shivsainiks rushed to the spot and stopped the construction. After police assaulted the angry Shivsainiks with lathis, they shouted powerful slogans in the city of,” We will build the temple there only" .As a result of this there is severe tension in the city of Paithan. In the meanwhile the police officer who did lathi assault on the Shivsainiks has been urgently transferred.

As the waters of the massive Godavari floods receded, the remnants of the razed Mosque came to light. The steps constructed of stones were also seen going towards the river. In the morning some of the young fishermen had gone to this area. At that time they found carved pillars of the temple and idol of Nandi in shattered state in the ruins of the Mosque.This news spread quickly like air in the whole city of Paithan. Immediately thereafter along with the Shivsena M.L.A Sandeepan Bhumre, the Taluka chief Arun Kale, Shri Somnath Pardeshi of the Durga Group,Khushal Bhavre, Nandalal Kale, Shivsainiks rushed to the incident spot. Thereafter the Tahsildar Madhav Nilawade was given the news about this. The Police Inspector Balasaheb Khillor and the officers of Archaelogy Department inspected the site.
Restoring Sita's Ashoka vana


The epic Ramayana gives a detailed description of Lord Hanuman destroying the 'Ashok Van (vatika)' where the demon king Ravana had kept Sita after abducting her to his kingdom of Lanka.

<b>For a visitor to the ancient temple dedicated to Sita at this very spot in Sri Lanka, at first sight, nothing seems to have changed since then. Most of the temple is in ruins but the famous garden still has a lot of huge trees and other vegetation.</b>

NRI Ramayana enthusiast Ashok Kainth, an employee of Kuwait Supreme Court, told UNI here that he had come upon the shrine during his search for places associated with the Ramayana in Sri Lanka.

<b>The present-day Sita Eliya, is a Buddhist-dominated village,seven km from Nuwara Eliya and about 200 km from Colombo, he said. </b>

The temple of Janaki, stands desolately under the shade of huge trees, as the goddess herself was described as having spent her confinement in Lanka in the epic, Mr Kainth, who is on a visit here,told UNI.

<b>A hillock by the side of a stream is said to be the spot where Sita was believed to spent long hours in meditation, another rock has footprints of Lord Hanuman, made when he first set foot in the Vatika and a cave in which Ravana is believed to have performed his penance.</b>

According to local people, the water in the stream near the rock, tastes different, perhaps because the copious tears Sita may have shed pining for her Lord mingling with the water.

<b>The antique stone idols of Lord Rama, his brother Lakshmana,consort Janaki and Jatayu, which were said to be found near the temple site centuries ago, are in a ''khandit'' (broken) condition, Mr Kainth said.</b>

He took up the matter with Chief Minister of the Central Province V Radhakrishanan and Muthu Shivlingam, member of Parliament from the area and a Minister in the Sri Lankan Government and persuaded them to get the temple restored to its pristine glory.

<b>Mr Kainth</b>, who hails from Banga town in Nawanshahar district of Punjab, said as Hindus in the area were not in a position to do much, <b>he had approached prominent Hindu leaders as well as social and religious organisation across the world for renovation of the temple and got encouraging results.</b>

<b>So far about Rs 50 lakh has poured in for the renovation of the temple now managed by ''Shri Sita Amaan Temple Trust.'' Work to build a grand edifice has already started in February this year in cooperation with Sri Lanka Religious Reforms Committee, he said.</b>

Mr Kainth, an ardent devotee of Lord Ram, had made eleven trips to Sri Lanka and has offered to send idols of “Shri Ram Parivar “(family) to the temple.

Please try to get more info on the trust so that it can get some contributions.
One more link on this: http://www.lankalibrary.com/heritage/sita.htm
<b>Jagnath Temple--Jageswar , Uttaranchal </b>

<img src='http://www.fotoindia.net/photos/large/00001/00310.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
34km from Almora is a cluster of ancient temples from 8th to 12th century A.D. the complex consisting of 124 temples and hundreds of statues is not merely famous for its exquisite craftsmanship but also for its Swaymbhu Lingam named Naagesh. The main temples are dedicated to Maha Mritunjaya, Mahisasur Mardini, Kedarnath, Baleswar, Surya, Navagarha, Mahakali, Navdurga etc.

Jageswar is amongst the 12 Jyotirlingas in India and Adi Shankaracharya also meditated here. Vridha Jageswar, 12 km from here by motor road is the source of the river Jata Ganga. The view of the surrounding countryside is very imposing and 1.5km beyond Hiriya Shikhar (2200m), the view of the towering Himalayas are awe inspiring. Uttar Vrindavan is enroute to Jageswar and in close proximity. It is 3km beyond Panuwa Naula on the left hand side. The Uttar Vrindavan Ashram of Mirtola was established in 1929 by Yashoda Ma, the spouse of Dr. G. N. Chakravarty, first Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University and her disciple Krishna Prem. The present temple was constructed in 1937.

<i>I will try to get more pictures, my parents just returned after visiting Jageswar</i>
<b>TN govt withdraws ordinance on priests</b> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Monday, August 21, 2006 (Chennai):
The Tamil Nadu Government has withdrawn its ordinance to allow non-Brahmins to become priests in the state's temples.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court put a stay on the ordinance passed by the Karunanidhi government in July which had said any Hindu could become a priest.

<b>The decision to break the brahminical hold over temples was a major election promise of the DMK.</b>

However <b>Chief Minister M Karunanidhi says this was the dream of the Periyar - the father of the Dravidian movement</b>.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><i>The following mail was sent to Hon'ble Shri Chandra Babu Naidu


Pls, I urge each one of you to flood him with mails objecting to the presence of Bhumana Brothers - both Karunakara Reddy and Subramanya Reddy in the affairs of the TTD. Urge him with a string of letters to take this issue in the Assembly. Pls mark a copy of your mail for follow up in court if required.

The Christists are already in. These are equally dangerous crypto-christo-commies.

This is what I wrote to him:</i>

Dear Shri Hon'ble Chandra Babu Naidu Garu,

You hail from Naravaripally, some 10 Kms from Tirupati, where I was born and educated. We graduated from the same college - the S V Arts College, though by the time I was in, you were already into your Masters in Economics in the S.V.University in the early Seventies. Therefore, It is quite natural for me to firmly believe that we must be sharing the same great affinity to our region.

I write this with the fond hope that your care for this region, which is special to both of us, will effortlessly match the affection you have shown consistently for our State and the Country. Therefore, I deemed it my duty to write to you on something I strongly feel about and something  you can help resolve.

I am pained at the way the TTD Board Chairmen are appointed. More so by the current Congress regime. I write the following not with the intention of testing your memory, for you know Mr Bhumana Karunakara Reddy  better than I, because he hails closer to the place of your birth, than mine.

However, it is my duty as a devout Bhakta of Bhagawan Venkateshwara, who is common to both of us, that I should bring certain vital points on how his choice as the Chairman of the TTD Board can NEVER be justified by the current Congress regime.

With your access to verify the facts presented and your exceptional eye for detail, you will take the  Assembly by storm  to demand answers from the present regime and as a consequence send both the Bhumana brothers packing, while greatly embarrassing this Government. I am  looking forward to it.

Here is why they should go:

Locals in Tirupati are painfully aware that  around 1977 he was arrested as a radical - anti-social and remanded to Nellore jail,  where he came into contact with Sri Raja Reddy, the well-known factionist (late) father of the current Chief Minister Sri Y Samuel Rajasekhar. It appears that Bhumana's graph started soaring with this new found bonhomie with Sri Raja Reddy in the prison.

Locals are aware that he dropped out of his graduation mid-way from S V Arts College, because he had a scuffle with the then ASP, Sri Ramachandra Reddy. He continues to remain an under-graduate.

Subsequently, he became project manager for some itsy-bitsy projects of Sri Raja Reddy before moving to Tirupati to run the Sidharth Travels, unfortunately wound up because of total lack of financial transperancy.

He was then supported by Sri Raja Reddy and with some Press Support from the late Sri Durga Prasad  of Andhra Jyoti/Andhra Prabha, started the Y S Rajasekhara Reddy Youth Forum and started conducting some street meeting tamashas etc.,  When Sri Y Samuel Rajasekhar became the chief minister of AP in 2004, Bhumana Karunakara Reddy was instantly rewarded with the post of Chairman of TUDA ( Tirupati Urban Development Authority).

What is most surprising is that Sri Y Samuel Rajasekhar went one step ahead to please the "adopted son" of his father late Sri Raja Reddy, by making the post of Chairman of TUDA as an Ex-Officio Member of the TTD Board.

Today, he is made the Chairman of TTD. There are some of his contemporaries of early days, who will swear before Bhagawan Venkateshwara that in their presence, this man had said - " Oka Pata Cheppu Ivvandi - Ah Nalla Ratini Kodatanu" - Give me an old chappal - I will hit that black stone with that" - The Black stone here referred to is the Vigraha of Bhagawan Venkateshwara.

It is well known to locals in Tirupati that his marriage was not a traditional Hindu marriage and took place under the leadership of the late Communist stalwart, Sri Tripuraneni Madusudana Rao, with the exchange of garlands at the Balaji Bhavan, Tirupati. I have no problems with this kind of marriage as long as it is not done to sanctify a no-religion-commie or a Hindu-bashing-selective-athiest.

You would have certainly noticed the sudden rise of the elder Bhumana brother, Sri Bhumana Subramanya Reddy, who as you may be aware was arrested around 1974 as an anti-social and released after he gave an undertaking not to involve himself in such activities. He completed his PG and managed to get a job as a lecturer in TTD run College. However, he was actively associated with the VIRASAM (Viplava Rachayitala Sangham). Today,  Sri Y Samuel Rajasekhar  has made him the Director of SVETA (Sri Venkateshwara Employees' Training Academy) and wields a power similar to the E.O.

Locals say that they came to know that he was the local guardian of the son of the Communist Balladeer Gadhar only after the news of the unsuccessful attempt on the balladeer's life broke out. Such is the proximity of the family to the rabid naxal-communist group. 

Sir, Honestly, I visualize two options. The better of the two is that you should take this matter up in the State Assembly and demand the Government for probity in public life.  While both of us concur that no Congress Government can ever have probity in Public life, you will agree that certainly the TTD should be spared and can do better without the Bhumana brothers, the elder heading their staff training and the younger as the Chairman of the Board. Many locals I spoke to shared similar opinion that having such persons at the healm of affairs is disastrous to TTD,  Hindu Dharma and it's most sacred Mandir.

The second option for me is to move the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, for which I am sure your shrewdness will never permit me as you will grab the issue to embarrass the Congress Government to no end. 

Having watched  you since the days of  the beginning of your Public life in the S V University and  through years in your Political life, I am confident that Bhagawan Venkateshwara has chosen you to ensure that this sacrilege is not heaped on Him.

S V Badri

ps: Honestly, most people do not care if Sri Y Samuel Rajasekhar sends him to the Rajya Sabha on a Congress ticket. But their feelings are hurt seeing him made the  Chairman of the Board of the Most respected of our Mandirs.
varAhamihira was a medieval Hindu encyclopedist who lived in the 500s of the CE era. He may have descended from a family of shAkadvIpI brAhmaNas, as suggested by the mihira epithet in his name combined with varAha. This is also suggested by his tendencies for solar-system worship which appears to have been a trait of the shAkadvIpI brAhmaNas or Iranian Hindu brahmins. He covers an extraordinary range of topics in his encyclopedic works ranging from astronomy, mathematics, rituals, yavana jAtaka-s, sooth-saying of various kinds, and worship of Hindu gods through idols. In the same breadth he introduces some of the best know trigonometric formulae like sinx^2 + cosx^2 = 1; the double angle expansions like cos2*x=1-2*sinx^2 as well as the basics of Hindu iconography. Thus, it is not suprising when we find trigonmetry mensuration and agamic issues pertain to idols being linked even the works of the later day nambutiri mathematician and tantric Chennas Narayanan Nambutiripad.

In his bR^ihat saMhitA he gives a succint section on construction of icons of gods, which gives a good picture of what was the iconographic situation around, 500-600 CE, the culmination of the gupta period. Many of these topics are dealt with in great detail in the purANas and Agamas of the various streams, but varAhamihira's account appears to give a summary of what was popular, such that it can be compared with surviving temples of the period, like the glorious Udayagiri complex.

The deities who were iconographically depicted in varAhamihira's times were:
1)rAma the son of dasharatha; 2) bali the son of virochana, the asura. 3) viShNu with 8 arms etc 4) balabhadra or the saMkarShaNa 5) sAmba 6) pradyumna 7) ekAnaMshA (3-7 appear to represent a vaiShNava set parallel to the set expounded in the iconographic chapters of the pA~ncharAtra tantras) 8)4-headed brahmA 9) kumAra or skanda 10) indra 11) rudra, holding uma by his side 12) the buddha 13) the naked jain ascetic 14) sUrya 16) li~Nga 17) revanta 18) yama 19) varuNa 20) kubera 21) vinAyaka 22) sapta-mAtR^ika

Appended below are the relevant verses along with some notes and my translation (the text follows the one provided freely by Indologist Michio Yano and one published by obscure press in the drAviDa country of which the title pages are worn off):

57.30 dasharatha-tanayo rAmo balish cha vairochaniH shataM viMsham
57.30 dvAdasha-hAnyA sheShAH pravara-sama-nyUna-parimANAH
rAma, son of dasharatha, and bali, son of virochana, should be made 120 [digits tall]. The heights of other images, i.e. large, medium and small, are less by 12 digits in succession (108, 96 and 84).

57.31 kAryo aShTabhujo bhagavAMsh chatur-bhujo dvibhuja eva vA viShNuH
57.31 shrIvatsa-a~Nkita-vakShAH kaustubha-maNi-bhUShita-uraskaH
The idols of viShNu must be made with eight, four or two arms. His chest is marked with the shrIvatsa and is adorned with the Kaustubha gem.

57.32 atasI-kusuma-shyAmaH pIta-ambara-nivasanaH prasanna-mukhaH
57.32 kuNDala-kirITa-dhArI pIna-gala-uraHsthala-aMsa-bhujaH
He colored like a deep colored flax flower (deep blue), with yellow robes, having a calm and happy face. He wears ear-rings, a crown and has a muscular neck, chest, shoulders and arms.

57.33 khaDga-gadA-shara-pANir dakShiNataH shAntidash chaturtha-karaH
57.33 vAma-kareShu cha kArmuka-kheTaka-chakrANi sha~Nkhash cha
[In the eight handed form] the four on the right side must have the sword, mace, arrow and the peace-giving mudra. The four left hands have a bow, shield, discus and conch.

57.34 atha cha chaturbhujam ichChati shAntida eko gadA-dharash cha-anyaH
57.34 dakShiNa-pArshve hy evaM vAme sha~Nkhash cha chakraM cha
In case a four armed idol is desired, the two hands on the right side will bear the peace mudra (=abhaya) and a mace. On the left he bears a conch and discus.

57.35 dvibhujasya tu shAnti-karo dakShiNa-hasto aparash cha sha~Nkha-dharaH
57.35 evaM viShNoH pratimA kartavyA bhUtim ichChadbhiH
If a two armed idol is made then the right hand has the shanti-mudra and the left holds a conch. Thus, the image of the viShNu is to be made when wealth is desired

57.36 baladevo hala-pANir mada-vibhrama-lochanash cha kartavyaH
57.36 bibhrat kuNDalam ekaM sha~Nkha-indu-mR^iNAla-gaura-tanuH
baladeva should be with a hala in his hand, with his eyes intoxicated with beer. He should be shown wearing a single ear-ring, his body being as white as conch, the moon and lotus.

57.37 ekAnaMshA kAryA devI baladeva-kR^iShNayor madhye
57.37 kaTi-saMsthita-vAma-karA sarojam itareNa cha-udvahatI
The goddess ekAnamshA should be placed between baladeva and kR^iShNa. Her left hand is placed on the hip and the other hand holds a lotus.

57.38 kAryA chaturbhujA yA vAma-karAbhyAM sa-pustakaM kamalam
57.38 dvAbhyAM dakShiNa-pArshve varam arthiShv akSha-sUtraM cha
If she is made with four arms, then her left hands hold a book and a lotus. Her two right hands show the boon-giving mudra to the votaries and a rosary.

57.39 vAmo atha vA-aShTa-bhujAyAH kamaNDalush chApam ambujaM shAstram
57.39 vara-shara-darpaNa-yuktAH savya-bhujAH sa-akSha-sUtrAsh cha
[If in the] eight armed form, in the left hands she has a kamaNDalu, a bow, a lotus, and a book. In the right ones, boon-giving mudra, an arrow, a mirror and a rosary.

57.40 shAmbash cha gadA-hastaH pradyumnash chApa-bhR^it surUpash cha
57.40 anayoH striyau cha kArye kheTaka-nistriMsha-dhAriNyau
shAmba should be made with a mace in his hand; pradyumna, is shown in a handsome form, with a bow in his hand. Their wives are also made with sword and shields in their hands.

57.41 brahmA kamaNDalu-karash chatur-mukhaH paNkaja-Asana-sthash cha
57.41 skandaH kumAra-rUpaH shakti-dharo barhiketush cha
brahmA is made with four faces, a kamaNDalu in his hand and seated on a lotus. skanda is made as a youth, holding a spear in his hand and with peacock feathers.

57.42 shukla-chatur-viShANo dvipo mahendrasya vajra-pANitvam
57.42 tiryag lalATa-saMsthaM tR^itIyam api lochanaM chihnam
The great indra is [made] with a white, four tusked elephant, and a thunderbolt in his hand. He should also be show with the mark of a third eye placed horizontally on the forehead.

57.43 shambhoH shirasi-indukalA vR^iSha-dhvajo akShi cha tR^itIyam api cha-Urdhvam
57.43 shUlaM dhanuH pinAkaM vAma-ardhe vA girisutA-ardham
shiva [is made] with the cresent moon on the head, and a bull-banner, as also the third eye, placed vertically on the forehead. He has a trident in one hand and a pinAka bow in the other. He may be shown as having the daughter of the mountains for his left half.

57.44 padma-a~Nkita-kara-charaNaH prasanna-mUrtiH sunIla-keshash cha
57.44 padmAsana-upaviShTaH pitA-iva jagato bhavati buddhaH
His hands and feet are marked with lotuses, he is of happy form and good black hair. Thus the buddha is depicted in the padmAsana pose, showing a fatherly attitude to the world.

57.45 AjAnu-lamba-bAhuH shrIvatsa-a~NkaH prashAnta-mUrtish cha
57.45 dig-vAsAs taruNo rUpavAMsh cha kAryo arhatAM devaH
His idol [is shown] with long arms reaching to knees, with the shrivatsa mark and of serene appearance. Thus is the god of the arhats [jainas] made as a sky-clad, handsome youth.

57.46 nAsA-lalATa-ja~Ngha-Uru-gaNDa-vakShAMsi cha-unnatAni raveH
57.46 kuryAd udIchya-veShaM gUDhaM pAdAd uro yAvat
ravi should be shown with a prominent nose, forehead, calves, thighs, cheeks and chest. He should be made with the dress of northerners, covering the feet and chest entirely.

57.47 bibhrANaH sva-kara-ruhe pANibhyAM pa~Nkaje mukuTa-dhArI
57.47 kuNDala-bhUShita-vadanaH pralamba-hAro viya~Nga-vR^itaH
He holds two lotus sprouts in his hands and wears a crown. His face is decorated with ear-rings, he bears a long necklace and is girdled with an Iranian sacred-thread.

57.48 kamala-udara-dyuti-mukhaH ka~nchuka-guptaH smita-prasanna-mukhaH
57.48 ratna-ujjvala-prabhA-maNDalash cha kartuH shubhakaro arkaH
His face is lustrous as the inner surface of the lotus petal, he covered with a leather jacket and face is happy and smiling. He has a halo with the bright glitter of gems, such a depiction of the sun is beneficient to the maker.

57.49 saumyA tu hasta-mAtrA vasudA hasta-dvaya-uchChritA pratimA
57.49 kShema-subhikShAya bhavet tri-chatur-hasta-pramANA yA
An image just one cubit [in height] is good, an idol two cubits (hands) in height gives weath. An idol 3 and 4 cubits in height respectively confer well-being and abundance of food.

57.50 nR^ipa-bhayam atya~NgAyAM hIna-a~NgAyAm akalyatA kartuH
57.50 shAta-udaryAM kShud-bhayam artha-vinAshaH kR^isha-a~NgAyAm
If the image has extra limbs [than prescribed] the maker suffers the wrath of kings, while lack of [appropriate] limbs causes illness.

57.51 maraNaM tu sakShatAyAM shastra-nipAtena nirdishet kartuH
57.51 vAma-avanatA patnIM dakShiNa-vinatA hinasty AyuH
If the idol is split the maker will die by injury from weapons. If the left side is dented then the maker's wife suffers, if the right side is dented the maker life is shortened.

57.52 andhatvam Urdhva-dR^iShTyA karoti chintAm adhomukhI dR^iShTiH
57.52 sarva-pratimAsv evaM shubha-ashubhaM bhAskara-ukta-samam
If [the idol's] eyes look upwards it causes blindness, if it looks downwards it causes worries. These [precautions are applicable ]to both the images of other gods as well as the sun.

57.53 li~Ngasya vR^itta-paradhiM dairghyeNa-AsUtrya tat tridhA vibhajet
57.53 mUle tach chaturasraM madhye tv aShTAshriM vR^ittam ataH
The circumference of the li~Nga is equal to its height and its [height] is divided into three equal parts. The root [lowest part] should be quadrilateral, the middle part is octagonal and the uppermost one, cylindrical.

57.54 chaturasram avani-khAte madhyaM kAryaM tu piNDikA-shvabhre
57.54 dR^ishya-uchChrAyeNa samA samantataH piNDikA shvabhrAt
The quadrilaterial part should be buried in the earth, the middle one, in the cavity of the pedestal; and the width of the pedestal around the cavity must be equal to the visible height of the li~Nga (1/3 of circumference).

57.55 kR^isha-dIrghaM deshaghnaM pArshva-vihInaM purasya nAshaya
57.55 yasya kShataM bhaved mastake vinAshAya tal-li~Ngam
[A li~Nga] made thin and tall will destroy the country, one without [with defective] sides with destroy forts. One with a crack in the top part will cause destruction.

57.56 mAtR^i-gaNaH kartavyaH sva-nAma-deva-anurUpa-kR^ita-chihnaH
57.56 revanto ashva-ArUDho mR^igayA-krIDA-Adi-parivAraH
The band of goddesses (7/8 mAtR^ikA-s) are made with the form and insignia of the gods whose names they bear [1) brAhmi, 2) vaiShNavI, 3) mAheshvarI, 4) kaumArI, 5) aindrI, 6) vArAhI 7) chAmuNDA /8) mahAlakShmI/]. revanta (the Sun's son) should be shown seated on horseback with his attendants as hunters and acrobats.

57.57 daNDI yamo mahiShago haMsa-ArUDhash cha pAshabhR^id varuNaH
57.57 nara-vAhanaH kubero vAma-kirITI bR^ihat-kukShiH
The rod wielding yamA should be shown riding a water-buffalo and varuNa mounted on a swan, with a noose in his hand. The man-borne kubera has a beautiful crown and is pot-bellied.

57.58 pramathAdhipo gajamukhaH pralamba-jaTharaH kuThAradhArI syAt
57.58 ekaviShANo bibhran mUlakakandaM sunIladalakandam
The lord of the pramathas with an elephant head and a pot-belly holds an axe. He has a single tusk and holds a radish bulb with deelply colored leaves and root.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->============ ========= ========= ====
<b>Open Memorandum to Shri Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar </b>

<i>Subject: Govt. control of Hindu religious infrastructure is:  a) the instrument of decimating Hindu religion and culture; b)  It is anti-Hindu, anti-secular and amounts to suppression of  Hindus right of religious freedom; and c)  Jurisdiction of temples should be transferred to a Waqf- like Hindu Board.</i>

Hon'ble Chief Minister Nistish Kumar,

Your announcement on the Independence Day that establishing the rule of law in the state is your government's top priority is highly appreciated so is your initiative for new fast track courts in Bihar that meet out justice quickly. However, we must draw your attention towards the Bihar Endowment Department's failure to manage Hindu temple endowments in a befitting manner. According to Kishore Kunal, Religious Trust Administrator, <b>"We are yet to make a full assessment, but it is estimated that the worth of lost properties of temples could go beyond Rs. 2,000 crores (US$454 million) ... the Trust came across serious irregularities in the management of several temples, mutts and trusts, which over the years have slipped into the hands of criminals masquerading as priests and swamis." </b>(attachment A). It is reprehensible that the Hindu religious infrastructure is robbed and demolished under the trusteeship of the Govt. when the official take over of temples and their estates was supposed to mean better protection and transparent and efficient management. 

<b>Govt. control of temples equals to "denial of freedom of religion".  </b>The Govt. control of Hindu temples is in itself deeply outrageous, unconstitutional and revolting in a society claiming to be free, secular and democratic. The secular constitution of India does not permit such infringement by a state authority. The illegally enforced nationalization of temples obliterates the boundaries of separation between state and religion and indicates official contempt for such separation.  The custodians of law in the state have failed to realize that under the provisions of the Indian constitution, controlling, discriminating, managing, reforming or patronizing religions is completely and fully out side the parameters of government jurisdiction. 

    Therefore, to correct this highly provocative transgression and illegal extension of state power the jurisdiction of temples should speedily be transferred to a Waqf- like Hindu Board. Some of the superior judicial authorities of the land have already upheld such a transformation. (Attachment B). A socially conscious and dedicated Board, utilizing temple resources and donations, could among other things develop a vast network of educational institutions, medical facilities and orphanages for the benefit of the community, as is done by missionaries. 

Some basic questions: Hon'ble Chief Minister, there are some basic questions that need to be considered while dealing with this issue. What legal authority, background, specialization and competence do the govt. operatives possess for controlling every aspect of these Hindu cultural centers?  Why not allow an autonomous Hindu board to govern temples under the guidance of religious leaders, just as in other religious formations? In spite of their vast funds, properties and endowments in addition to the immense flow of foreign funds the Waqf Board of Muslims and the management of Christian religious institutions enjoy full freedom, self governance and autonomy. Why are only the Hindu religious centers and their priests targeted for being kept under the over lordship of the Govt.?

    In general, the Govt. is charged with the responsibility of upholding the law but in the present case the state has seriously violated the constitution by: a) denying Hindus  their fundamental "Religious Rights' guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution (which guarantee to public the establishment and maintenance of religious institutions; to own and acquire movable and immovable property;  and to administer such property in accordance with law); and, b)  gross misuse and abuse of state powers under Concurrent List (Article 246 (2) , Seventh Schedule) on religious institutions by unwarranted acquisition of temples and squarely discriminating against Hindu religious institutions, leaving Christian, Islamic and institutions of other religious formations free from Govt. interference.

Anticipating possible dishonorable designs of trouble makers and anti- national elements in various administrations the Indian Parliament through an Act in 1991 specifically legislated that –"the status of religious places, as on August 15, 1947 shall be retained".  A faithful implementation of these laws will require removal of unconstitutional govt. control upon Hindu temples. However, the Bihar state Govt. seems to have failed to take note of this legal requirement.

In utter disregard towards these legal and constitutional considerations, it is baffling to note how the Bihar State legislature could pass and continue with laws on temples that :  a) are violative of the Constitution; b) infringe the clearly expressed will of Parliament;  and, c) are against the universally accepted norms in all free and democratic societies?

<b>Vital Functions of Temples denied: </b>The temples are not just for rituals by purohits but also the centers of community's socio-cultural and religious life. They are a place of learning from Acharyas various facets of community sewa, dharma prachar and character building . The exposition of the grandeur of Hinduism - its Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata, the Bhagwad Geeta - its glorious ancient culture, spirituality and values that the community would like to project and propagate - have been denied by state control. Further, the Govt. mismanagement resulting in deliberate and irreversible liquidation of endowment lands, meant for sustenance in perpetuity would lead to the detriment of the community and bring these most important functions to an end.

Our contention encompasses the legal and philosophical commitment of the secular Indian State - that the management and administration of the religious institutions, their estates and places of worship, must reside in the hands of the representative bodies of the believers.  For instance: How would Sikhs (Golden temple), Muslims (Jama Masjid, Ajmer Sharif) or Christians react to Govt. control of their places of worship?  Such an intrusion by the authorities in otherwise an autonomous domain could constitute a serious charge against the state itself for being a leading instrument of dismantling Hinduism. 

<b>Shocking Reverse Discrimination: </b>How corrupt, dishonest and disgraceful it is that on the one hand the Indian Govt. subsidizes the "Hajj" pilgrimage of the Muslims to the tune of Rs. 200 crores annually, provides Rs. 1000 crores per year for Imams salaries, and reservations are proposed on the basis of minority status, but on the other hand the Bihar authorities are crusading to stealthily destroy the self- supporting foundations and structures of Hindu places of worship under state control. Democratic and secular governments do not patronize or penalize religions.  Such extra legal actions constitute a reverse discrimination against the religion of India's majority community.

The fact that even with huge battalions of staff for oversight, the Govt. failed to protect the temple lands from illegal occupation , and  temples and Mutts from slipping into the hands of criminals masquerading as priests and swamis,  simply proves either incompetence, indifference or both of the authorities in delivering their responsibilities. Having fully established that an irresponsible trusteeship agency has utterly failed to protect, administer and safely handle these centuries old religious entities strengthens the case for their reversion back to the Hindu community.

<b>Compensating the community for damages:</b> Hon'ble Chief Minister, India was once Asia's cultural capital, spreading eastward our influence through languages, art, culture and more importantly through Hindu and Buddhist philosophies . However, alien sponsored anti-Hindu campaigns followed by the state control of religious entities have robbed the community of its ability to launch cultural initiatives. The usurpation of temple resources by the state has resulted in  cultural stagnation and decline in the spread of Hinduism. Hence, they will greatly appreciate your initiative as a way to start compensating them if you sanction a Nalanda type Hindu cultural center and University managed by an autonomous body of eminent community scholars and experts. Such a step could be in the right direction, for it will enhance the interests of both the community and the nation. 

Note should be taken of the fact that Western & Muslim Universities have departments of divinity to educate and train priests and preachers in Christianity and Islam. Mr. Mulayam Singh, Chief Minister UP, has already sanctioned a University in Rampur for Urdu, Persian and Arabic, and Mr. Mufti, the former Chief Minister J&K had approved the establishment of an Islamic University in Kashmir. Accordingly there should be no political hindrance or legal roadblocks in establishing a cultural university for Hindus. 

<b>Dharma prachar by liberated temples could help alleviate Lawlessness in Bihar :</b> Sir, we firmly believe that the destabilizing lawlessness in Bihar is partly due to suppression of the prachar of peaceful Hindu dharmic philosophy and by encouragement of anti- national and divisive elements like Naxalites, Maoists and Jihadists on the other hand for vote bank politics . The liberation of temples and sanctioning of a Hindu cultural University to propagate dharmic education should go a long way in instilling the value of law and order in the public psyche.

A Hindu community Board of reformist orientation could soften the intensity of casteism and possibly help in eradicating this divisive custom. Such a progress will remove one of the major hurdles that keeps Bihar from social and economic progress . As is well understood casteism has been further encouraged by political and minority horse traders who thrive on social fragmentation caused by castes.

<b>The Dalits are an integral part of the Hindu society.</b> Yet  some of the ill practices, traditions and social evils persistent in the Hindu society resulted in to the practice of untouchability which in turn has brought havoc on them and deprived the Hindu community of its unity. This volatile phenomenon could be alleviated through awareness campaign spearheaded by the liberated temples with reformist background and many Dharma Acharyas who are dedicated to social cohesiveness. We may point out that before his politically motivated arrest, the Kanchi Shankaracharya, used to frequently visit Dalits in their colonies and facilitate their participation in joint religious ceremonies. By so doing he was bringing down the artificially erected social barriers in search of much needed social and national unity. 

Hon'ble Chief Minister, it is disgraceful that the state of Bihar still allows the enforcement of draconian laws to control temples, mutts and trusts. For rectifying these historic blunders, may we suggest that representatives of shrines, temples, Hindu community and religious leaders from Dharma Sansad, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, etc. be motivated to convene an assembly for clearly defining the new legal and organizational framework ensuring community governance of temples and other religious places. This body's jurisdiction could also include training priests and constructing a religious based curriculum. Such an approach among other things should make the proposed Board completely autonomous and thereby responsible and accountable for the entire administration,  including planning, executing,  auditing, guiding, investigating and taking corrective steps as and when needed .

  In  regard to the management and governance of Hindu religious institutions, the Allahabad High Court's recent directive to the Central and Uttar Pradesh authorities (attachment B) to prepare a scheme for constituting a Board of the representatives of Hindu religious organizations on the pattern of the UP Muslim Waqf Board could be a guide for Bihar authorities. This decree by the said judicial body has been widely acclaimed as a welcome development.

Hon'ble Chief Minister, it is a matter of national disgrace that India, boasting to be the largest secular democracy and aspiring to be a member of the UN Security Council denies its own national majority community the human right of religious freedom.  To redress these disturbing grievances and possibly help alleviate a lawless environment by creating a peaceful social outlook, may we request you to :

<b>1) Initiate urgent action to:</b> a) restore alienated lands back under the possession of the temples, trusts and mutts; and, b) remove any criminals who masquerading as priests and Swamis have taken over these institutions. The usurpers of lands and temples could be referred to the fast track courts, for quick redressal.

<b>2)  Constitute a Waqf like Hindu Board, </b>as advised by the Allahabad High Court, for overseeing the management of Hindu institutions. As an NGO, with temple funds and donations, the Board could develop a network of educational institutions, medical facilities and orphanages for the benefit of the poor.

<b>3) appoint an advisory interim Hindu Council,</b> with representatives from the community, from Hindu religious organizations like Dharma Sansad and Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha etc., and from Govt. :  a) to advise the Chief Minister; b) for oversight and guidance of Religious Trust department,  to ensure transparency and operation of temples according to the wishes of the community till denationalization; c) to find the current status of temples, mutts and trusts under the endowment Trust; d) to help protect religious assets ;  and e)  to ensure smooth transition to an autonomous Hindu Board.

            Taking these measures on way to the complete liberation i.e., de-nationalization of Hindu religious teerthistans is absolutely necessary for providing necessary relief to the Hindu community against the damages caused by ill-advised and unconstitutional Govt. control and nationalization of Hindu religious institutions including the temples and their estates.

Hoping for a prompt action and response.

With best wishes,


Dr. Jagan Kaul                                      September 05, 2006 
Krishan Bhatnagar 
Hindu Jagran Forum (USA)
Forwarded email:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>ADHARMA REDDY KICKED OUT OF TTD</b>

Adharma Reddy. The Special officer in TTD has been kicked out of his all-powerful post.

He was brought in by the former Chairman of TTD, T.Subbirami Reddy. He could not be made the Joint Executive Officer (who is normally more powerful than the E.O), because he is not an IAS officer. Therefore, he was made the Special officer of TTD and  JEO's post was kept vacant, thus giving him sweeping powers on the Mandir affairs. 

This man was a one man army - the Salvation Army, that is.

He is now shunted to some Municipal corporation outside Hyderabad or some such insignificant posting.

The new Chairman of the TTD, Bhuman Karunakara Reddy and Adharma Reddy do not see eye to eye. And our Samuel has a strange love-hate relationship with T Subbirami Reddy, while he really is in some love with Karuna. The moment Samuel announced that Karunakar Reddy would be the new TTD Chairman, shivers ran up the spine of Adharma Reddy. These are just mafiasos of different gangs.

It has also become evident that  the evangelical activities in Tirumala had the tacit support of Adharma Reddy. And with the heat that was generated against this, some heads had to roll.

Another incident that worked against Adharma Reddy took place on the day the new Chairman and the Board members took their oath in the Mandir. As per protocol and tradition over years, the EO renders the Oath of office and secrecy first to the Chairman and the Chairman renders the oath to the newly nominated board members.

Though T Subburami Reddy's term as Chairman is over, he ensured his family had a say in the TTD affairs by having his wife, Indira Reddy nominated this year. As a Sonia boot-licker,  this was easy for him to manage and overrule Samuel's  objections.  An astrologer seems to have given Indira Reddy an auspicious time for taking the oath, fixed it at some three hours before the Chairman actually took his oath. Adharma Reddy being the henchman of T Subbirami Reddy, threw the protocol and the tradition to the winds,  took her to Mandir and had her take the oath before even the Chairman took the oath. She had left long before the Chairman and the rest of the Board members came to the Mandir for taking oath.

This infuriated Karunakar Reddy and naturally, Samuel saw the opportunity to strike at Subbi's man and it was strike three for  Adharma Reddy while Karuna got a ball four - a free base in the TTD

In such simple matters like taking oath, if the current TTD administration is not able to follow certain established traditiions, how can one expect this management to follow the age old sacred traditiions of the Mandir's Pujas?

Now, what is more surprising is that one O.V.Ramana, a Janata Dal (S) sympathiser and a friend of Deva Gowda has become the member of the current TTD Board. One would naturally wonder how the Congress Government would favour the recommendations of Deva Gowda, specially after what happened in Karnataka. If you just look deep into how this happened, everything becomes crystal clear. Samuel's son Jagan Mohan Reddy, has major business interests (mining) in Bangalore and rest of Karnataka . Gowda is a shrewd person. It is seriously discussed in known circles that Ramana becoming a Board member is pay-back time for Samuel to Gowda.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>HC strikes down Act on temples </b>

<b>The Karnataka High Court on Friday struck down the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act, 1997 as unconstitutional pointing out that its provisions amounted to "dividing Hindu religion." </b>

A division bench comprising Justice R Gururajan and Justice C R Kumaraswamy struck down the Act stating that the legislation <b>violated Articles 14, 25 and 26 of the Constitution</b> which provided for right to equality, freedom of conscience and freedom of profession, practice and propagation of religion and also the freedom to manage the religious affairs. The order will come into effect prospectively.

The bench also side aside an order of a single judge who had upheld the constitutional validity of the Act last year. Several trustees of the temples and archaks had challenged the order contending that the Act divided the Hindu community, besides denying the right guaranteed under the constitution to establish and manage religious institution.

The court, in its 176-page order, observed that keeping out Maths and denomination temples from the purview of the Act amounted to violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. "Religious denomination does not in any way stand on a different footing than other temples," the court observed and said the state has to justify its action of exclusion of Maths in the Act, which were earlier included in local Acts.

The court said the Act defined Hindu as not to include Sikh, Jain and Buddist contrary to constitutional provisions.<b> "Hindu religion is already divided by way of castes and sub-castes. Now the state wants to divide Hindus by excluding Jains, Sikhs in terms of a statute", </b>the court observed. Regarding the provision in the Act, which makes it mandatory for a notified temple to contribute 5 per cent of its total annual income to the "Common Pool Fund", regulated by the Endowment Commissioner, the court said there cannot be compulsion only for Hindu temples to provide assistance to institutions of other religions. <b>"Devotees of Hindu temples provide money for temple purposes and it cannot be spent for non-Hindu causes," </b>the court observed . <b>The court said the government could have a commission constituted for temple affairs and involve Hindu religious leaders, social reformers and other experts and thereafter proceed to pass a uniform law. </b>

The government can also think of having different regulatory measures for temples, maths and Jain institutions depending on their religious beliefs within the provision of the Constitution. "We deem it proper to observe that the government would be doing a great service to Hindu society by eliminating all evil corrupt practices, if at all, prevailing in Hindu institutions. This would go a long way in Hindu temple reformation," the court observed 


Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)