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The after-effects of the Hindu Religious Endowments Act

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The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department by Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act XXII of 1959, which came into force with effect from 1 January 1960. It was subsequently passed by other Indian state. From 1991, no religious and spiritual leaders are involved in maintenance and administration of the Hindu Temples and Charitable Endowments rather the Temple Management was taken over by the Government. But this was not the case with other religious buildings e.g. Mosques, Churches, Jain temples etc.

This Act now controls 36,425 temples, 56 mutts or religious orders (and 47 temples belonging to mutts), 1,721 specific endowments and 189 trusts all over India.

Let us analyse how this act changed the condition of Hindus:

In earlier days, every Temple had a huge land around it. There were Dharamshala (charitable hotel) for devotees to stay, farm field to grow the grains, Ayurvedic hospitals for the treatment of patients and Gaushala(Cow home having hundreds of cows) for milk supply and taking care of cows in temple premise. It was rare in those times, to stay in a hotel as Dharamshalas were so common. The devotees stayed in Dharamshala at a very nominal cost or no cost. The temples being self-sufficient organized religious discourse of Saints (The priest of higher order) for many days. Devotees from all parts of the country visited and stayed in Dharamshalas for many days.

During his stay the devotee learnt the Vedas, Shashtras (religious texts), Karmkanda (religious rituals), Ayurveda(for treating patients), Yogasana & Pranayam (to keep himself fit and healthy), Yuddha Kaushal (techniques of how to protect our country in case of war or attack) and many other skills useful for himself and society. The Kshatriyas (Hindu sub cast whose duty was to protect country) on the other hand, learnt about warfare. Devotees also used to volunteer in temples and help in farming, cooking, making furniture etc. The rich people used to donate money to the temple. This way everyone contributes to the temple and used to gain many skills and all for no prize.

Many small temples were affiliated to large temples. The large temples also trained the priests in Vedas, Shastras, Religious rituals, Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation who were later deployed to these small temples. Sometimes the salary of priests was also given by large temples. This way nearly everyone was connected to temple and everyone’s life was guided by the temple priests. Everyone had required skills to earn their livelihood and keep themselves fit.

Let us analyse how miserable our society becomes after acquisition of temple under Government

  1. After the acquisition of temple under Government, as part of a secular political agenda, people from different religions and people having no knowledge of religion were also made part of the Temple Trust. Obviously, they had nothing to do with dharma by any means. They along with some of the corrupt Congress and Leftists leaders started misusing the Temple property like selling the Temple properties to their own people and commercialized the Temple premises by building Hotels, Restaurant, Prasad shops on that land. This however became unaffordable to lower and middle class people and that discouraged devotees from visiting Temples.
  2. Also the priests salary being too low, he resorted to other jobs other than priesthood to make ends meet. His time was now divided and he never got enough time to focus on religious text/practice meditation and follow religious practices so his grip over knowledge of Hinduism loosened. Their capability thus became questionable and started being criticized by society.
  3. Elite class (mostly businessman) always support the religion by donating the money to temple. Religion was mostly the subject of lower or middle class. Because of the unaffordable commercialized Hindu Temples, poor people stopped going to Temples. The Christian Missionaries took advantage of this and posed as spiritual saviour for these people. The poor people who were thus getting detached to Hinduism, became an easy prey for conversion by the Missionaries.

Now the people in the society are no more connected with each other. Communists and Congress then took the advantage of this and was successful in creating the divide in the society. Hindu’s were no more united and thus suppressed ruthlessly in their own country. This is how the whole structure of society collapsed. It is thus an irreparable damage to Hinduism.

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