Temple should be the pivot of social transformation

Two-day national conference of temple executives in Delhi

Temple should be the pivot of social transformation  — Ashok Singhal

Akhil Bharatiya Mandir Prabandhak Parishad formed to make temples autonomous centre of worship, spiritual fulfillment and social services “Temples have always been the prominent centre of social transformation in our country. The government move to take over some of the Hindu temples now is basically aimed at grabbing the huge money offered by the devotees to the deities. Wherever the governments took over the Hindu temples the social activities being carried out by those temples earlier have adversely been affected. This must be arrested. We have to protect our temples at any cost and should make them the pivot of social transformation as per the Hindu traditions,” said veteran VHP leader Shri Ashok Singhal. He was addressing a gathering of temple executives assembled at a national conference organised in New Delhi on May 5.

The two-day conference was jointly organised by Badri Bhagat Jhandewala Temple Society and Indraprastha Vishva Hindu Parishad from May 5 to 6. The conference was inaugurated by president of Shri Sanatan Dharma Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Swami Raghwananad, Mahamandaleshwar of Shri Akhand Paramdham Mandir, Delhi, Swami Anubhutanand Giri, VHP general secretary Shri Champatrai, VHP general secretary (organization) Shri Dinesh Chandra, chairman of Badri Bhagat Jhandewala Temple Society Shri Navin Kapur.

A total of 60 executives representing various prominent temples of the country including Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, etc attended the conference. Prominent among the temples represented were Shri Adyakatyayani Shakti Peeth, Chhatarpur (Delhi), Shri Swaminarayan Temple (Delhi), Shri Durgyana Temple, Amritsar (Punjab), Shri Akhand Paramdham (Delhi), Shri Balaji Temple, Chilkur (Andhra Pradesh), Shri Jwaladham Shaktipeeth, Umaria (Madhya Pradesh), Shri Dudheshwar Nath Math Mandir, Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh), Shri Sidhpeeth Hanuman Mandir (Delhi), Shri Shamlaji Vishnu Mandir, Banaskantha (Gujarat), Shri Durgadevi Devsthan, Nagpur (Maharashtra), Shri Mahavir Mandir, Patna (Bihar), Devidipally, Mahaboobnagar (Andhra Pradesh), etc.

Addressing the delegates, Shri Ashok Singhal further said temples are only money making machines for the government while for the Hindus they are the foundation of preserving and promoting the Hindu culture and samskars. “This work cannot be done by governments. The only social activity for the government is opening schools or dispensaries. But there are so many kinds of other activities also that have to be carried out by the temples like pujari training, providing Hindu samskars to the devotees, cow protection, etc.,” he said adding that it is need of the hour that arrangements in the temples should be in perfect shape. For this objective, it is necessary that the executive bodies of the various temples should be in touch with each other and this work should be done under a particular banner. He pointed out that this work is going on smoothly in many counties outside India. He said a big conference of various Hindu temples of America will be organised in USA from August 17-18. The objective of the conference is to strengthen and uphold the traditional standards of worship in Mandirs, involve and integrate youth to the temples, create leadership continuity to achieve Hindu unity, create a support network for all temples, and support the World Hindu Congress to be organised in India in 2014.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Shri Dinesh Chandra said that the governments are spending temple money on non-Hindu activities. This behavior of the governments is against the feelings and beliefs of the devotees who donates in temples and also is against the secular structure of our constitution. “Temples have been the prime centre of our social samskars. They also played a key role in educating the Hindu society on various vital issues. This work should continue,” he added. Swami Raghwanand said the saints, literature and temples are the symbol of Hindu identity and all these are on the target of alien forces. He called upon the Hindu society to come forward for protection of all these three things. Shri Soundara Rajan of Balaji Temple, Chilkur, described the government control on temples as a cancer, which needs immediate surgery. He said the secular governments are bent upon destroying the Hindu temples, which should not be tolerated. He said the priority of the charitable activities to be started on behalf of the temples has to be decided by the Hindu society keeping in view the needs of the society and it cannot be left at the whims and fancies of the government officials. “There are thousands of temples in the country which need renovation. But this work cannot be expected from the government officials who are managing some of the temples. Similarly, the gousewa, is another prominent task which has to be taken up by the temples. But we cannot expect it too from the governments. Opening health centre of schools can be a priority for the government, but there are so many other priorities which are of utmost prominence for the Hindus,” he said.

Shri YD Venkat from Adi Katyayani Shaktipeeth appreciated the move to create a platform of the coordination among the temples. He said the government move to take over the temples has to be opposed tooth and nail by the entire Hindu society.

In the beginning, chairman of the Badri Bhagat Jhandewala Temple society Shri Navin Kapur formally welcomed all the temple executives and hoped that the conference would prove a mile stone in protecting the temples from the government evil eye and also enhancing the temple administration.

After thorough discussions in various sessions the conference unanimously adopted a resolution declaring the formation of a national body called the Akhil Bharatiya Mandir Prabandhak Parishad to make the temples autonomous centers of worship, spiritual fulfillment and social services devoid of any sort of governmental control.

“The Akhil Bharatiya Mandir Prabandhak Parishad will be a friend, philosopher and guide to cooperate and coordinate to make each and every Mandir to be fully independent, sovereign, autonomous, self-reliant and self-sufficient in dispensing spiritual, religious, national, social and cultural, etc. responsibilities of the Hindu society and to be fully free from all kinds of governmental control in their establishment, functioning, development and administration. The Parishad will strive ardently to achieve the goal of preservation of Mandirs by making them totally immune from the perils of commercialization and politicization and also from the deviant attitude and improve competency of the pujaris and other karmacharis,” the resolution said.

According to the resolution, the proposed Akhil Bharatiya Mandir Prabandhak Parishad would work to make the temples a confluence of social service activity in the sectors of education, health, employment, empowerment of women and children, create social harmony, eradication of social evils, environmental protection, for the up-liftment of the poor etc. “The Parishad will start Refresher Courses for education, training and enlightenment of pujaris and archakas and all others vested with the rights and duties of performance of rituals and other aspects of the inner discipline of the Mandir with the aim of enhancing the knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, mantras, tantras etc. It will also cooperate in highlighting and disseminating the recent trends of government decontrol in the southern states by amending the relevant legislation and thereby recognising the autonomy of the temples, so that the Governments should realize that this is the work of the society, not of the Government” the resolution added.

According to Shri Umashankar Sharma, Akhil Bharatiya Math Mandir Pramukh of Vishva Hindu Parishad, only the temples which are managed by the society through various trusts, etc. would be part of the proposed Parishad and those temples which are being managed by various Mahants, Akharas or the government agencies would not join the Parishad. He said the executive committee and the team of office bearers of the proposed Parishad would be announced shortly after consultation with the member temple bodies.