TWO DAY NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Two-day national conference of temple executives in Delhi
“”Temples have always been the prominent centre of social transformation in our society. The government move to take over some of the temples is basically aimed at grabbing the huge money offered to the deities there. Wherever the governments took over the temples the social activities being carried out by those temples earlier have adversely been affected. This must be stopped. 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 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 Vishwa Hindu Parishad from May 5 to 6. The conference was inaugurated by president of Shri Sanatan Dharma Pratinidhi Sabha, Swami Raghwananad, Mahamandaleshwar Swami Anubhootanand Giri of Akhand Paramdham Mandir, VHP general secretary Shri Champatrai, VHP general secretary (organisation) Shri Dinesh Chandra and chairman of Badri Bhagat Jhandewala Temple Society Shri Navin Kapur. Swami Krishnanand Saraswati of Maniramdas Chhavani, Ayodhya, Shri Anil Gupta of the Temple Society and many other senior officials of the Temple Society and VHP were also present on the occasion.
A total of 60 executives representing various temples from 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 Mandir (Delhi), Shri Balaji Temple, Chiklur (Andhra Pradesh), Shri Jwaladham Shaktipeeth, Umaria (Madhya Pradesh), Shri Dudheshwar Nath Math Mandir, Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh), Shri Valmiki Mandir (Delhi), Shri Siddhpeeth Hanuman Mandir (Delhi), Shri Shamlaji Vishnu Mandir, Banaskantha (Gujarat), Shri Durgadevi Devsthan, Nagpur (Maharashtra), Shri Mahavir Mandir, Patna (Bihar), Devitipally, 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 their 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 more than 50 kinds of other activities that have to be carried out by the temple like pujari training, providing Hindu samskars, 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 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 temples, involve and integrate youth to the temples, create leadership continuity to achieve Hindu unity and create a support network for all temples.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Shri Dinesh Chandra warned the governments which are misusing temple money on non-Hindu activities. Describing it an onslaught on the Hindu society, he said it would not be tolerated at all. He also warned that if the government did not reconsider its policy of taking over the Hindu temples, the Hindu society would not sit silent. At the same time he stressed the need to make the temples the centre of social awakening. “Temples have been the prime centre of social samskars. They also play a key role in educating the society on various vital issues. This work should continue,” he added.
Shri Sondara Rajan of Balaji Temple, Chiklur, 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,” he said.
Swami Raghwanand from Shri Sanatan Dharma Pratinidhi Sabha and Shri YD Venkat from Adi Katyayani Shaktipeeth appreciated the idea of creating a platform for coordination among the temples. In the beginning, chairman of the Badri Bhagat Jhandewala Temple society Shri Navin Kapur formally welcomed the temple executives and hoped that the conference would prove a mile stone in protecting the temples.
In the last session, 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 centres 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 government 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 commercialisation and politicisation 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 evil, environmental protection, housing, feeding 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 ritual and other aspects of the inner discipline of 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 temple which can be an eye-opener and a deterrent to the state governments in other parts of the country and to the Central Government as such,” the resolution added.
According to Shri Umashankar Sharma, Akhil Bharatiya Math Mandir Pramukh of VHP, the office bearers of the proposed Parishad would be announced shortly.