Category Archives: Hindu Thought

Grama Devata and Kula Devata are like Brahmastra and Pashupatastra against religious conversions in villages

Swami Kamalananda Bharati is the founder of Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti, an organisation dedicated to ‘Jeernoddaara’ (restoration and revival) of Hindu temples. Swamiji has for the past few years been one of those at the forefront of the public movement against the Andhra Pradesh Hindu Religious Endowment Department’s total mismanagement and corrupt administration of Hindu temples, including the renowned Tirupati Balaji Devasthanam by the State Government.

To create awareness on the state of our mandirs, he has undertaken three padayatras, covering 8000 villages and totalling a distance of over 10,000 Km, in Andhra Pradesh, visiting each district and each village during these yatras. Swamiji is also at the forefront of anti-conversion work in Andhra Pradesh.

In an interview to Organiser, Swamiji talks about the threats to Hindu temple traditions, the forces and his work to counter forces and the future course of action for Hindus. Excerpts:

Q.What according to you is the biggest threat to Hindu temple traditions today?

With respect to conducting temple rituals and following traditions as per our Agama Shashtras and also the way temples are managed, we have to look at them in various angles. One of the threats to follow the age-old traditions in our temples is the interference by politically motivated temple management. The Government department’s aim has been to alter traditions and replace them with new rituals that fetch more money. Both officials of the Endowments Department and few politicians are involved in such activities. The next threat is from the Christian missionaries. They used to operate out of public glare earlier, but from the last decade, they are attacking our temple traditions openly. For instance, in Narasapuram they attacked the main murti at Shiva Temple, in Bheemavaram they attacked Bhagwan Krishna’s Murthy, in Chittoor, they desecrated the Grama Devata temples in 3 villages. In Guntur too they attacked Hindus and attempted to build a Church over a Hindu temple. In Kurnool, they forced the government to stop money that was being given to manage a temple from the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) funds. Hindu temples in almost all districts in Andhra Pradesh are under attack from Christian missionaries, and they are doing it openly. On the other hand, the Islamists do not attack Hindu temples or traditions openly, but they target those who follow them, either through Love Jihad or covert operation through educational and personality development programmes. But the real critical issue with the Hindu society is that most do not identify themselves proudly as Hindus. It is also true that most among Hindus stay away from temples that are in their towns and villages. It is one thing to undertake a pilgrimage to Sabarimala or Tirupati which most do. But an average Hindu is not connected emotionally to the temple near him/her. This was the primary concern of my ‘Sampoorna Grama Yatra’ where Sampoorna Devayala Sandarshana Grama was our aim. I visited every village and visit all the temples in the village and get every Hindu family to visit all the temples in their village and connect them with it. Subsequently, we also undertook a Rath Yatra called the Sampoorna Devayala Sandarshana Rath Yatra with the same aim.

Q.You have travelled thousands of kilometres covering more than 8,000 villages. What are the threats villagers face in maintaining their traditions?

The biggest issue with the temples today is that there is an enormous shortage of archakas for our temples in towns and villages. Today 95 per cent of the villages have no archakas in their temples. The archaka system that was prevalent has died down due to migration of people to cities and other places in search of different jobs, and no one is ready to take up the job of the archakas. Due to this, temples in villages are lying vacant without any pooja being performed, and villagers too do not visit them. There are villages where ten temples are closed due to non-availability of archakas. It is such villages that are the target of Christian missionaries. They have built 6-7 Churches in such villages, and each church has well-paid pastors. But there are Bhajana Mandalis in many villages where along with Bhajans, people involve in Kolaatam (Dandiya) kind of traditional activities. Those who conduct Bhajans in villages come from one particular caste. Similarly, among the Scheduled Caste communities also, Bhajan Mandalis is very much prevalent, and it is lead by the people from the same community. I can say Hindutva is alive in villages due to such Bhajan Mandalis. People irrespective of gender, caste, take part in Bhajans and it is a platform that unites all Hindus.

Here I need to stress the difference between Hindus in urban and rural areas in maintaining our traditions. During the last 30 years, there is a change in our villages. The income of villagers has increased due to which their quality of life has also become better. Consequently, they have started taking an interest in our Dharma, temples, traditions and are involving themselves more in them. The point to be noted here is that those who are building temples and managing them in our villages in recent times are the people who are from the Backward Classes and SC/ST communities. I have witnessed this in Andhra and Telangana. I had also observed that when they remained within their caste-based professions, their income levels were low and they did not progress. But once they went out of their castes and joined new professions, they earned well which also leads to huge improvement in their quality of life. They then started going to temples, involved in building temples, managing them, undertook yatras and wearing malas, etc. Those families that did not even have proper clothes to wear and stood outside temples only to receive their share of prasad have today progressed to a level where they are funding temple renovation, wearing good clothes and take part in temple festivities with pride and honour. Historically too, whenever there has been economic progress in our backward communities, the strength and spirit of the Hindu society too has always increased. Villagers primarily have faith in their grama devata followed by their kula devata. Each caste also has a jati devata. Villagers duly perform pooja to their devatas with a lot of faith and devotion.

For example, Vishwabrahmins worship Vishwakarma, Vaishyas worship Kannikaparameshwari, Goudas worship Renuka Yellamma, Chamars perform pooja to Arundhati and Mathamma Devi, Mahars worships Channakeshava. Likewise, each caste worships its devatas. The faith they have in their grama devata or kula or jati devata has played a significant role in in clebrating diverse traditions of the Hindu fold. Villagers worship their devatas with lot of devotion and also a source of social cohesion. Villagers spend huge money in pooja festivities of their devathas. Mavulamma Talli (Devi) is the grama devatha of a village in the Bheemavaram municipality. Just the Sabzi Mandi near the temple here donates lakhs of rupees for the upkeep of the temple dedicated to Mavulamma Devi. It is in this way the local communities support and build temples of their devatas. The Grama Devata and the Kula Devata are like Brahmastra and Pashupatastra against religious conversions in villages. In cities and towns too, not all temples are well managed as thought. In several colonies in cities, temples suffer from similar issues of lack of archakas or funds. Many temples get enough funds only for basic pooja and for the archakas. Only few temples which get good number of devotees can get good funds for their regular activities and management.

Q.If temples are freed from Government control, do you think Hindus can take control of the temples and manage it well?

Firstly, we have to get all those trustees of temple management trusts which are well-managed by Hindus themselves and are not under the purview of the Endowments Department of the Governments. We have to take them into confidence. We have to note their experiences, their dedication, their values and the way they manage their temples. All these have to be laid before the Hindu society. There may not be many such temples but we have to do this to educate our society. For instance, there are about 80 temples in Andhra alone which are managed by the Ganapati Sachchidananda Peetha of Mysore. All rituals and traditions are followed as per their own norms. The purohits of all the 80 temples are trained in Agama shashtras in the Veda Pathashalas of the Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashram in Mysore. The committee members of these temple trusts go to Mysore every year and present their reports which is evaluated by the Ashram. This is a model that is already in front of us which can be emulated. Today people give sufficient money or donations for temple jewellery and other causes. But it has become difficult to find dedicated and trustworthy people to manage temple trusts. We need a process to find such people and train them in managing temple affairs. We should institute something like a ‘Temple Management course’ to find and train people who will become adept at managing temple affairs and administer the temples as per our Agama shastras. They have to be trained well about our shashtras, mahakavyas, traditional lifestyle, itihasa of Bharat and the temple itself. This has to be done professionally as a mainstream college course.

Q.How have your efforts enabled people to follow their traditions in their temples?

Today all are discussing temples, their traditions and threats. But when we started our movement in 2001-02, not many were bothered or even heard us. By 2006-07, due to the efforts of our temple movement, people and political parties were educated about it and in 2007 they took a unanimous decision to amend the Endowments Act. I have visited thousands of villages where I teach people about the importance of the temple and its traditions. I talk to people about the need to safeguard their temples due to which many have come forward to help us in our movement. Today, most mathadhipathis, sants, small and big Hindu organisations speak about saving temples both in India and abroad. But the efforts are still individualistic, and everyone is forwarding their memorandums to the Government which are different from each other. The Government cites the differences in memorandums and brushes aside their demands, which is exactlty what they want. However, if we all come together, arrive at a common minimum programme and submit one single memorandum after due deliberation, the Endowments Department and Government will be forced to listen and act on our demands. It is only due to such concerted efforts that we will get lasting solutions. Between 2007-09, I undertook a padayatra of 10,000 kms in 30 districts of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh in 3 years. More important than the kilometres I walked is the way the padayatra was conducted. During the yatra, I visited every temple in a village by involving all the resident Hindus of the village. We together performed a parikrama of all the village temples like the Shri Rama temples, Shiva Temples, Grama Devatha temples, Kula devatha temples, Vana Devatha, etc. Through this parikrama, I was able to connect all Hindus of the village to all the temples, including those they didn’t visit earlier. I have also observed that Hindu organisations and sant samaj takes up one issue today and forgets about it later. Then again after sometime they take up some other issue. If it’s temples today, it will be something else tomorrow. I suggest that all organisations and concerned people take up only one issue at a time, like the issue of temples now, and work on it for five years or so until we have found a permanent solution. For example, if we take up the save temples movement, we should all work on it for five years continuously, taking into consideration various aspects like, saving temple traditions, temple lands, utilisation of temple funds, taking temples out of government control, education for temple management, etc. Only by working together by being focused, without other distractions, will we be able to tackle all angles related to the single issue and arrive at a solution. I have been fighting many policies of the Endowments Department of Andhra and Telangana for the past 15 years. Due to our movement, the government brought in an amendment in 2007 to the Endowments Act, which mandated that the archakas be paid a proper salary. Earlier to our movement, the archakas were getting a pittance and even that was not guaranteed. Archakas in rural areas get Rs.5000 and those in urban areas get Rs.10,000 per month under the ‘Doop Deep Naivedyam Scheme’ of the Government after our continuous struggle. I have also been fighting legally to safeguard temple lands and have found success in all cases we have fought. Even in case of TTD, I have been successful in forcing the Government to make many changes in the way they run the affairs of the temple. For instance, the Left Unions and politically affiliated officials tried to stop the age old practice of people from the ‘Yadava’ community to be the first to have the darshan of Venkateshwara after the doors are opened every day. We have been able to force the TTD to continue with the tradition. But there are many machinations afoot to create Sabarimala kind of anarchy in Tirumala temple too. When I worked for saving temples, I focused only on temples where I visited temples both in rural and urban areas and talked to all stakeholders, approached government, filed cases in courts and worked continuously until we found a solution. We involved people in the process by making them understand that the issues related to temples are issues of the entire society too and their important role in the same. I have been successful in this endeavour. Today, due to our movement may youths from towns and villages have come forward and are volunteering to work towards reviving temples, safeguard temple lands or even to monitor utilisation of temple funds and resources.

Q.Hindu traditions and anything sacred is the target of the anti-Hindu brigade?

There have been concerted attempts to undermine or scuttle the ancient Hindu traditions. Rajahmundry Ghats and Nellore lake issue are the most recent attacks by Evangelists and Jihadists. Hindu organisations have been fighting back each time. More than 10-15 Hindu organisations like ‘Swahikti’, Dharma Jagran, Hindu Chetana Vedika, etc., are working to counter these forces. We are working to safeguard and revive temples. Many Dharmacharyas too are working seriously on several issues. Hindu samaj is ready to face them but we also need the political will to counter them. It is in the best interests of the Hindu society if all Hindu organisations come together, discuss and deliberate on these issues and chalk out a strategy and work concertedly. 

Source: Organiser, 28th Jan 2019

Rising Bharat National: August 8th 2020

  • Ram Desh mein

अयोध्या बस स्टेशन की शुरुआत स‍ितंबर से, पर्यटकों और श्रद्धालुओं को मिलेगी बड़ी राहत

Key points:

  1. अयोध्या स्थित परिवहन निगम का बस स्टेशन बनकर तैयार हो गया है।
  2. यहां आने वाले पर्यटकों को ध्यान में रखते हुए बस स्टेशन को संवारा जा रहा है।
  3. अगले माह इसका लोकार्पण होने के आसार हैं।
  4. मुख्यमंत्री से समय मांगा जा रहा है। करीब 6.57 करोड़ की लागत से इसका निर्माण हुआ है। करीब चार सौ बसों का संचालन इस बस स्टेशन से किया जाएगा।
  5. अभी तक शहर के आउटर स्थित मार्गों से बसों का संचालन किया जाता था। यात्रियों को सड़क पर ही उतार दिया जाता था।
  6. अयोध्या बस स्टेशन का लोकार्पण होने से लोगों को बड़ी राहत मिलेगी।

(Jagran, 8 August 2020) News Link

15 हजार किमी पद यात्रा कर अयोध्‍या पहुंचे मोहम्‍मद फैज, सौंपी श्रीराम के नानके की मिट्टी

Key points:

  1. अयोध्या में श्रीराम मंदिर निर्माण के लिए भूमि पूजन की बात आई तो उनके नानके की मिट्टी और पानी के बिना यह कैसे पूरा होता।
  2. इसी भावना को आत्मसात करके माता कौशल्या के कौशलप्रदेश छत्तीसगढ़ के चंदखुरी गांव स्थित मंदिर से मिट्टी लेकर राष्ट्रीय मुस्लिम मंच के संयोजक एवं गोसेवा प्रकोष्ठ के राष्ट्रीय संयोजक रायपुर निवासी मोहम्मद फैज खान 13 दिन पैदल चलकर अयोध्या पहुंचे।
  3. इस मिट्टी-पानी को चार अगस्त की रात में ट्रस्ट के लोगों को सौंप दिया, जिसे भूमि पूजन के समय रखा गया।

(Jagran, 8 August 2020) News Link

700 कर्मियों ने सात दिन में चमका दी अयोध्या

Key points:

  1. राममंदिर के भूमि पूजन के दिन सजी-संवरी रामनगरी के पीछे 700 कर्मियों की कठिन मेहनत थी।
  2. नगर निगम ने महज सात दिनों के भीतर नगरी के स्वरूप को जो मोहक छवि प्रदान की वह निश्चित ही प्रशंसा का विषय है।
  3. 700 कर्मी रामनगरी को व्यवस्थित बनाने में लगाए गए, जिसमें पांच सौ सफाई कर्मियों की भागीदारी रही।
  4. नगर आयुक्त की ओर से 17 नोडल अधिकारी भी तैनात किए गए ताकि सभी कार्य किसी जिम्मेदार अधिकारी की निगरानी में गुणवत्तापूर्ण ढंग से पूरे हों।
  5. रामनगरी में स्थित महापौर के कैंप कार्यालय को आयोजन तक नगर निगम के अस्थाई कार्यालय के रूप में परिवर्तित कर दिया गया।
  6. सात के दिनों के भीतर वॉल पेंटिग, मकानों को पीले से रंग से रंगने, हनुमानगढ़ी रोड चौड़ीकरण, अतिक्रमण हटाने सहित सड़क व नालियों की मरम्मत का कार्य किया गया। (Jagran, 8 August 2020) News Link
  • Against: Ram Mandir

Ayodhya Ram Mandir : यूपी में सांप्रदायिक माहौल बिगाड़ने की साजिश, दो दिनों में 16 गिरफ्तार

Key points:

  1. अयोध्या में श्रीराम जन्मभूमि पर मंदिर निर्माण के लिए भूमि पूजन होने के बाद कुछ लोग उत्तर प्रदेश में माहौल बिगाड़ने की साजिश कर रहे हैं।
  2. नागरिकता संशोधन कानून (सीएए) विरोधी प्रदर्शनों के बाद पापुलर फ्रंट ऑफ इंडिया (पीएफआई) और सोशल डेमोक्रेटिक पार्टी ऑफ इंडिया (एसडीपीआई) समेत कुछ अन्य संगठन सोशल मीडिया पर सक्रिय हो गए हैं।
  3. इन संगठनों से जुड़े लोग सोशल मीडिया पर आपत्तिजनक पोस्ट के जरिए माहौल खराब करने की साजिश की जा रही है। ऐसे तत्व पुलिस के सीधे रडार पर आ गए हैं।
  4. पुलिस ने दो दिनों में अभियान के तहत आपत्तिजनक पोस्ट कर माहौल बिगाड़ने का प्रयास कर रहे 16 आरोपितों को गिरफ्तार किया है।
  5. साथ ही अलग-अलग जिलों में 17 मुकदमे दर्ज किए गए हैं।

(Jagran, 8 August 2020) News Link

राम मंदिर निर्माण को लेकर धमकी भरा ऑडियो क्लिप वायरल, मामला दर्ज

Shri Ram Mandir 3D Model (Pic via Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Temple Trust)

Key points:

  1. लखनऊ में शनिवार को अलग-अलग इंटरनेशनल नंबर से मीडिया कर्मियों व अन्य लोगों को कॉल आए। कॉल करने वाले ने सभी को एक धमकी भरा ऑडियो क्लिप सुनाया।
  2. जिसमें राम मंदिर के निर्माण कराने के लिए सरकार विरोधी बातें कहीं गई हैं। दोपहर में सोशल मीडिया पर ऑडियो क्लिप वायरल हो गया इसके बाद पुलिस महकमा सकते में आ गया आनन-फानन में हजरतगंज थाने में मुकदमा दर्ज कराया गया।
  3. पुलिस आयुक्त सुजीत पांडेय के मुताबिक अज्ञात नंबर से लोगों को फोन आ रहे हैं। फोन करने वाला व्यक्ति भड़काऊ बयान दे रहा है। मामले की पड़ताल की जा रही है।
  4. एसीपी हजरतगंज अभय कुमार मिश्र ने बताया कि दारोगा महेश दत्त शुक्ला की तहरीर पर मुकदमा दर्ज किया गया है।
  5. यूसुफ अली नाम के युवक ने कई मीडियाकर्मियों के मोबाइल फोन पर वीआईओपी नंबर से कॉल किया था।
  6. फोन करने वाले ने राष्ट्र विरोधी और धार्मिक भावना भड़काने वाली बात कही है। इससे शांति व्यवस्था कभी भी भंग हो सकती है।

(Amar Ujala, 8 August 2020) News Link

राम मंदिर: क्रिकेटर मोहम्मद शमी की पत्नी हसीन को मिली जान से मारने की धमकी, पीएम मोदी से मांगी मदद

Key points:

  1. अयोध्या में राम मंदिर भूमि पूजन की सोशल मीडिया पर बधाई देना भारतीय क्रिकेटर मोहम्मद शमी की पत्नी हसीन जहां को भारी पड़ गया।
  2. जिसे लेकर हसीन जहां एक बार फिर सुर्खियों में आ गई है। कुछ कट्टरपंथियों ने उन्हें धमकी दे डाली है।
  3. कई प्रशंसकों ने उनकी राम मंदिर बधाई को सौहार्द का प्रतीक बताया तो कट्टरपंथियों ने उन्हें निशाने पर ले लिया। उनकी हत्या करने तक की धमकी दे डाली है।

(Amar Ujala, 8 August 2020) News Link

  • Dan: Ram Mandir
  1. Ayodhya Ram Mandir: श्रीराम जन्मभूमि तीर्थ क्षेत्र ट्रस्ट को एक महीने में मिला करीब एक क्विंटल सोना-चांदी

Key points:

  1. सुप्रीम बीते करीब एक महीने के समय में अयोध्या में रामलला का दर्शन करने आने वाले भक्तों ने राम मंदिर निर्माण के लिए करीब एक क्विंटल सोना-चांदी दान में दिया था।
  2. शनिवार को ट्रस्ट के अध्यक्ष महंत नृत्य गोपाल दास ने महासचिव चम्पत राय बंसल को दान में मिला सोना-चांदी के साथ एक लाख रुपया का चेक भी सौंप दिया।

(Jagran, 8 August 2020) News Link

  • View: Ram Mandir
  1. Ayodhya Ram Mandir : बिहार में इस चुनावी साल में मां जानकी जन्मभूमि का विकास बनेगा मुद्दा

Key points:

  1. अयोध्या में श्री राम मंदिर निर्माण के भूमि पूजन के अवसर पर प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी द्वारा जय श्री राम की जगह अब जय सियाराम के उद्घघोष से मां जानकी जन्मस्थली सीतामढ़ी में मां जानकी के भव्य मंदिर के निर्माण के साथ जानकी जन्मभूमि के विकास की आस जग गई है।
  2. परशुराम सेना के जिलाध्यक्ष रौशन झा बिट्टू एवं मीडिया प्रभारी हिमांशु कुमार कहते हैं कि चुनावी वर्ष है।
  3. प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने अयोध्या में श्री राम मंदिर निर्माण का भूमि पूजन कर चुनाव में किए वादे को पूरा किया।
  4. इसी तरह मुख्यमंत्री नीतीश कुमार को भी सीता मंदिर निर्माण व जानकी जन्मस्थली के विकास के दो वर्ष पूर्व किए वादे को पूरा करना चाहिए।
  5. जब तक वादा पूरा नहीं होता संगठन इसके लिए आवाज बुलंद करता रहेगा।

(Jagran, 8 August 2020) News Link

Somnath to Ayodhya : Journey of an Awakened Civilisation

It is not a time for chest-thumping or triumphalism. But isn’t it time to rejoice?

What the Ayodhya movement overcame was not just the opposition of certain Muslim groups, but countless hurdles put up by the courts as well as overzealous secular shenanigans. Not a small thing, given the fact that Hagia Sofia cathedral in Istanbul, in contrast, has been turned once again into a mosque, and Jerusalem is still struggling to decide which history to accept.

Somnath to Ayodhya is journey of an awakened civilisation. It was a struggle of five centuries. Hindus never accepted Babur’s commander Mir Baqi’s vandalism of the temple at the sacred site in Ayodhya, considered the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram. As happened in parts of Europe during the crusades, the site kept changing from temple to mosque to temple. The last time was in 1949 when idols of Ram durbar appeared under the domes of the dysfunctional mosque. Since then it once again became a functioning temple. Another seven decades of wait has finally resulted in the dream of millions of Hindus coming true. The abode of Shri Ram is again springing to life with majesty and magnificence.

It is not a time for chest-thumping or triumphalism. But isn’t it time to rejoice? What the Ayodhya movement overcame was not just the opposition of certain Muslim groups, but countless hurdles put up by the courts as well as overzealous secular shenanigans. Not a small thing, given the fact that Hagia Sofia cathedral in Istanbul, in contrast, has been turned once again into a mosque, and Jerusalem is still struggling to decide which history to accept.

Certainly, the construction of the Ram Janmaboomi temple is a glorious epitome of a civilisational reassertion. “So, new people come up and they begin to look at their world and from being great acceptors, they have become questioners. And I think we should simply try to understand this passion. It is not an ignoble passion at all. It is men trying to understand themselves. Do not dismiss them. Treat them seriously”, warned Sir Vidia Naipaul, the Nobel laureate talking about this reassertion in the mid-1990s.

Renowned British historian Arnold Toynbee had taunted the Hindus four decades before Naipaul commended them. “Aurangzeb’s purpose in building those three mosques (Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura) was the same intentionally offensive political purpose that moved the Russians to build their Orthodox cathedral in the city centre at Warsaw. Those mosques were intended to signify that an Islamic government was reigning supreme, even over Hinduism’s holiest of holy places. Perhaps the Poles were really kinder in destroying the Russians’ self-discrediting monument in Warsaw than you have been in sparing Aurangzeb’s mosques”, said Toynbee in a speech at Delhi.

The Orthodox cathedral that Toynbee referred to was Alexander Nevsky Cathedral built by the Russians in the Polish capital Warsaw. When Poland unshackled itself from Czarist Russia after the First World War, the cathedral was demolished by the Polish authorities in the mid-1920s. It took 18 years to complete the cathedral for the Russians – built between 1894 and 1912, but it didn’t survive even 15 years. Intense debate preceded the demolition. Poles saw it not as a religious monument but as a symbol of Russian domination. Like the pseudo-secularists in India, there were a few voices opposing the demolition, mostly from the Orthodox community. They were contemptuously dismissed as ‘Cathedralists’. Not that the Poles were against Orthodox Christianity. There were several other Orthodox churches in Poland. Many remnants of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral were later shifted to the Mary Magdalene Orthodox Cathedral in the Warsaw suburb.

Poles took less than 10 years after their freedom to remove the Orthodox cathedral. Indians had to wait much longer in the case of Ayodhya. There was a precedent though. The Somnath temple in Gujarat, that was looted and destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, had been restored in 1951 immediately after India’s independence. Its restoration had Gandhi’s blessings and the initiative came from Sardar Patel and K M Munshi. Gandhi’s only suggestion to Patel was that the reconstruction of the temple should happen with the funds collected from the people, not from the public exchequer.

Unfortunately, by the time the consecration happened, both Gandhi and Patel were no more. Prime Minister Nehru was opposed to the idea of the reconstruction of the Somnath temple. He first tried to dissuade Munshi. Munshi refused to heed. Nehru then tried to discourage President Rajendra Prasad from attending the consecration ceremony. “I believe in my religion and cannot cut myself away from it”, Rajendra Prasad bluntly told Nehru. Nehru then wrote to all the Chief Ministers stating that his government had nothing to do with the Somnath reconstruction and they too shouldn’t have anything to do with it.

The Somnath temple returned to its past glory on May 11, 1951, when it was inaugurated in a grand function. Dr Rajendra Prasad was present in person to witness the making of history. “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction”, he told in his address, adding “By rising from its ashes again, this temple of Somnath will proclaim to the world that no man and no power in the world can destroy that for which people have boundless faith and love in their hearts…

Seventy years after Somnath, the same spirit is bringing Ayodhya to life. Sardar Patel was the prime mover of Somnath reconstruction. But he was not there when it finally happened. Ayodhya owes a lot to Ashok Singhal, but it will miss him on this historic occasion.

When Prime Minister Modi stands at Ayodhya, laying the first brick for the temple, it would be a symbolic reiteration of what Dr Rajendra Prasad had said at Somnath some 69 years ago: “Today, our attempt is not to rectify history. Our only aim is to proclaim anew our attachment to the faith, convictions and to the values on which our religion has rested since immemorial ages.

Courtesy: Shri Ram Madhav
(The article was originally published in Chintan – India Foundation blogs on August 5, 2020. Views expressed are personal.)

Bhagwan Sri Rama’s Vamsh-Vruksh

The world knows the Ramayana Itihasa, although many of us are unaware that the Surya Vamsi Ikshvaku dynasty has a longer lineage of powerful kings prior to the Avatara of Sri Rama.

These kings include the great names of Indian history like Kashyapa, Bhageeratha, Trisankhu, Dileep, Sagara, Raghu, Ambareesha and so on.  Mahakavi Kalidasa described  Sri Rama’s lineage, and especially Maharaja Sri Raghu’s military expeditions in his famous Kavya `Raghu-vamsa’. Let’s take a look at a quick look.

Brahma

Mareechi   

Kashyapa

 ↓

Surya

 ↓

Manu

 ↓

Ikshvaku

 ↓

Kukshi

 ↓

Vikukshi

 ↓

Bana

 ↓

Anaranya

 ↓

Prudhu

 ↓

Trisankhu

 ↓

Dundhumara/Yavanasya

 ↓

Mandhatha

 ↓

Susandhi

 ↓

Dhruvasandhi

 ↓

Bharatha

 ↓

Ashitha

 ↓

Sagara

 ↓

Asamanjasa

 ↓

Anshuman

 ↓

Dileep

 ↓

Bhageeratha

 ↓

Kakuthsa

 ↓

Raghu

 ↓

Pravurtha

 ↓

Shankhana

 ↓

Sudarshan

 ↓

Agnivarna

 ↓

Seeghraveda

 ↓

Maru

 ↓

Prasishyaka

 ↓

Ambareesh

 ↓

Nahusha

 ↓

Yayathi

 ↓

Nabhaga

 ↓

Aja

 ↓

Dasaratha

 ↓

Sri Rama

 ↓

Lava & Kusha

Swami Sri Vidyaranya – The Seer Who Laid the Foundations of Vijayanagara Samrajya

ॐ श्रीवल्लभमहागणपति-शारदाम्बा-शङ्कराचार्यसद्गुरुभ्यो नमः

Sri Vidyaranya was the 12th Jagadguru of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham from 1380 to 1386 CE. He built temples at Sringeri and Hampi and established Mutts to propagate Vedanta. He was not only a sage and empire builder, but also a savant and a scholar par excellence. His works constituted the greatest treatises in post-Shankara Advaitic literature. His marvellous interpretative skills reconciled many apparent differences in philosophic texts. His works include Vivaranaprameya Sangraha, Panchaadasi, Jivanmukti Viveka, Drig Drisya Viveka, Aparokshanubhuti-Tika, and six Upanishad-Dipikas. Also Madhaviya Shankara Vijaya is the work of Sri Vidyaranya. Because of its high poetic merit and objectivity, it is considered the best for recitation during Shankara Jayanti.

Tradition has it that Madhava (the generally accepted pre-ascetic name of Sri Vidyaranya) was the elder of two Brahmachari brothers belonging to a poor but learned Brahmin family of Ekasila Nagari (present-day Warangal). The younger of the two, wandering south in search of true knowledge, reached Sringeri when the great Vidyashankara Tirtha was the reigning pontiff. On seeing the innate greatness of the young Brahmachari, Sri Vidyatirtha readily gave him sanyasa diksha with the ascetic name of Bharati Krishna Tirtha in 1328 CE.

In the meanwhile, Madhava left home in search of his younger brother. After much wandering, he finally reached Sringeri where he found his brother as the junior pontiff Bharati Krishna Tirtha. At the junior pontiff’s request, Sri Vidyatirtha readily gave Madhava sanyasa diksha in 1331 CE under the ascetic name of Sri Vidyaranya, in other words, verily a forest of knowledge. Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha, though younger than Vidyaranya became his senior by virtue of his earlier ordainment into Sanyasa Ashrama and came to be known as the senior Sripada and Vidyaranya the junior.

Sri Vidyaranya then started on a pilgrimage and reached Kashi. At the direction of Sri Vyasa, he went to Badrikashrama where the great sage himself initiated him into Sri Vidya. Returning south, he retired to Matanga hill, near Hampi, where he immersed himself in intense meditation. It was at this time that the two brothers, Madhava and Sayana, the sons of Mayana of Bharadwaja Gotra, approached Sri Vidyaranya and sought his blessings. Sri Vidyaranya graciously gave them his unfinished Veda bhashyas and some other works. He blessed them to complete the works in their own names as Madhaviyam and Sayaniyam. Later, both the brothers served as ministers in the Vijayanagara empire under Bukkaraya and Harihara I and II.

It was while Sri Vidyaranya was doing tapas at Matanga hill that the two warrior brothers, Harihara and Bukka, sons of Sangama, approached him. Directed by a dream, they sought his blessings and guidance. Earlier, these two brothers had been taken prisoner and led to Delhi. It is believed they were under compulsion to embrace Islam. But the Delhi ruler recognising their valour sent them back to the south. They were sent back as the heads of an army to contain the rebellions brewing in the Deccan.

Seizing this opportunity, the two brothers asserted their independence. With the guidance and blessings of Sri Vidyaranya, they established their own independent kingdom with its capital on the left bank of Tungabhadra river. Following the sage’s counsel, they shifted their capital to the right bank, naming it Vidyanagara, as a mark of respect and gratitude to the sage, whom they regarded as their Guru, God and saviour. The city, which came to be popularly known as Vijayanagara or City of Victory was planned in accordance with the directions of sage Vidyaranya in the form of a Sri Chakra, with the Virupaksha temple in the middle and nine gates all around.

A copper plate grant of 1336 CE bearing the sign manual ‘Virupaksha’ recounts, ‘Harihara was seated on the throne as directed by Vidyaranya. He made the 16 great gifts resplendent in the city called Vidya, of vast dimensions” The emperor placed at the feet of his master Sri Vidyaranya, all his imperial insignia. Sri Vidyaranya initiated him into Atmavidya and conferred on him the titles, Srimad Rajadhiraja Parameshwara, Aparimita Pratapavira and Narapati. From then on, the Sringeri Jagadguru came to be addressed as ‘Karnataka Simhasana Pratishtapanacharya’ which is part of their birudavali (titles) even to this day.

Without Vidyaranya there would have been no Vijayanagara samrajya and without that Dakshina Bharat/ South India would not have retained its dharma and culture. We remember this great Acharya and dharmika and offer our namaskarams. Om.

Source: https://www.sringeri.net/jagadgurus/sri-vidyaranya

Note : 

Vaishakha Shukla Saptami is celebrated as Vidyaranya Jayanthi. Vaishakha Shukla Saptami is also celebrated as Ganga Saptami / Jahnu Saptami / Gangotpatti / Gangavataran.