Monday, June 26, 2006

Temple vs. Tourist Spot

Last week I visited two very famous temples in Maharashtra - Sri Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai and Panduranga Vithhal Temple, Pandharpur. #

There are many things that are burning inside me after visiting them. For now, I am just summarizing a typical temple scene.

Typical Temple Scene
  • Long serpentine Queues competing with the longest in the world surrounded by iron fences and walls accompanied with hawkers trying to sell garlands, beverages and eatables.
  • Bare-footed devotees trying every other alternate to get a quicker and longer sight of the deity's idol like
    • getting in Q hours before the temple opens
    • pushing, VIP pass
    • breaking queue
    • jumping the iron fences that I got to see in Pandharpur
  • Thanks to terrorism, security people live closer to GOD.
  • CCTVs used both for security and calming the queue by putting their deity LIVE, soon companies will have to approach the deities for a brand ambassador.
  • Priests asking you to part away with at least a 50 rupee note and offer it to the deity. The heftier the amount, the more seconds you remain in front of the idol. They also sometimes ask separately for dakshina. This is what happened with one of my groupmates recently.
  • The common belief among the followers as Rajiv Malik quotes:
    "Many ardent Hindus live by the conviction that the mere sight of this temple's central icon of Lord ... assures spiritual transformation." [That is only one of the thousand things people want assurance for]
A shocking fact that I came across through this piece of news article on Kali Temple
"Long serpentine queues of bare-footed devotees waiting for hours to get a “darshan” of the Devi may be common elsewhere also, but the Kali Devi Mandir here stands out for the large amount of liquor and sheep which are offered to the goddess on the occasion of Ashtami." [Kali Temple seems to make asuras out of them]

Is this what true Hinduism all about? For that sake I question every other religion in this 21st century, a continuation of the darkness, the human beings have lived in since their inception.

I appeal to all Bapus, Moraris, sants, sri sris and all such religious corporates - Can't you bring light in such people's dark minds in lieu of the Laxmi endowed on you?

# Other famous religious places that I have paid homage to are:
Vaishno Devi, Jammu * Neelkanth * Jwala Ji * Haaji Ali Dargaah, Mumbai * Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar * Doodheswar Nath Temple, Ghaziabad

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