Turning Hindu temples into courts: Prejudice against Hinduism on the rise in India

Turning Hindu temples into courts: Prejudice against Hinduism on the rise in India

Political activists should not be allowed to use religious places for political agitation.

By DR DAVID FRAWLEY @davidfrawleyved

Visiting Hindu temples is an amazing experience, an inner journey through history, culture and cosmic dimensions. Each temple is profoundly unique with its own identity. Such temples represent one of the most important cultural heritages of all humanity.

As a Western-Hindu visiting Hindu temples for several decades, each temple has been a transformative event in sacred time and space.

Unfortunately, there are a few temples where as a Westerner I have been unable to enter. Having an Arya Samaj certificate of conversion to Hinduism does help, but is not always enough. Yet there are many Hindu temples that let everyone in. Often we are taken to the front of long queues in respect of having come so far in our pilgrimage.

Some complain that there are not enough Hindu women priests, though that situation is improving, or that women cannot enter certain temples, though they can get into most. These are areas of genuine concern. Hindu dharma honours Shakti and this should extend into the society overall.

Yet my wife, who is an Indian and a Hindu religious teacher, always receives special respect at any temple she visits, often from the head pujari, even at temples that I am not able to enter. But she approaches temples with genuine heartfelt devotion, not as an angry activist.

I know something of history, how thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed by Islamic invaders, and how the British belittled Hinduism. I can sympathise with temples that do not want non-Hindus to enter as mere tourist sites. Temples, just as churches, have dress and codes of conduct that should be followed and security concerns in this age of terrorism.

Politics of temple going

CZveINwWkAAYkIyIt is sad to see temple entry in India being made into a political football. It is strange to see the Indian judiciary ruling on who can go into temples and how far, as if temples should be under court jurisdiction.

This is compounded by the fact that churches and mosques in India are exempt from such interference and regulation. In addition, temple revenues are taken by state governments for their own usage, while church and mosques receive state subsidies.

Clearly, there is a tremendous prejudice against the majority religion in India that is unparalleled in any country. In other countries majority religions are treated as well or better than minority religions. In Islamic states like Pakistan and Bangladesh, Islam is given precedence and prestige over all other religions.

In the secular USA, there is a strict separation of church and state, and the judiciary does not rule on church practises. On the contrary, the government grants extensive and equal tax benefits to all approved religious groups, with majority Christianity granted the most regard.

The sanctum sanctorum

Going into temples should be an act of devotion, not of political assertion. Allowing political activists into the sanctum sanctorum of temples can be a gross violation of religious respect. That is an area of the temple reserved for the priests, not for the general public.

There are Hindu temples and festivals for men or women only. There is nothing wrong with this, any more than gyms or clinics that cater to male or female only concerns. There is a strict separation of men and women in certain temples. That is also fine and creates a different type of energy than the free mingling of the sexes.

Hindu temples have a vast array of deity forms and worship at special times and in distinctive ways. There is no single standard church service or namaz. Such local variations of practise should be honoured and preserved. They reflect the richness of Indian civilisation.

Judges should not dictate religious practises. Political activists should not be allowed to use temples for political agitation.

At the same time, temple entry policy should be respectful of different types of devotees in terms of age, sex or ethnicity – but this can be done without destroying the sanctity of the temple or curtailing the myriad forms of temple worship.


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2 Responses to "Turning Hindu temples into courts: Prejudice against Hinduism on the rise in India"

  1. a.ganga viswanathan  April 23, 2016 at 2:46 am

    JUDICIARY cannot have a say on religeous practices at individual temples. They are selectively interfering in HINDU affairs. As for entry into sanctum -in south no one is allowed other than the prohit. In north public is allowed to touch the idols, not desirable. NOBODY SHOULD HAVE ACCESS OTHER THAN THE PROHIT TO THE SANCTUM.
    There are certain temples where only womrn are allowed. So the judiciary better understand and respect these. JUDICIARY is not above faith -judges are mere mortals.
    They are incapable of passing orders on mi ority issues, the majority are soft targets because of lack of unity -a bane of Hindus.

  2. H.N.Ramakrishna  April 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    This raises an interesting point,The Supreme court in 2014 gave sole power of worship to the Dikshitar community in the Chidambaram temple after almost a century of litigation.How does this reconcile with Bombay High court.Temple worship is based on ancient rituals however archiac it may sound today..If the women’s brigade is so keen on rights why don’t they take over the worship in the temples and its rituals and ask the priestly community go Are they ready for this challenge? Temple rituals and modes of worship are not uniform across the country.They vary from region to region and in some only wome are the prests.


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