Money Pours in for Temples, Not Schools

If Iskcon can do it, why not Tirupati, other temples?

OUTRAGE, IN INDIA, is not followed by action.

Scores of readers criticised the Patel community (Patidars) for raising ₹150 crores in just three hours, to erect one more community temple in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city. And Patels, who own most of the motels in the USA, have huge properties abroad and are a dominant community, are fighting for reservations and a backward tag.

The Congress is backing the agitation just to embarrass Narendra Modi as he is from Gujarat.

It prompted my blog calling for a moratorium on building of new temples, churches and mosques till the country has a society where no one goes hungry, there are no more homeless people and no one dies for lack of medical aid.

Iskcon (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) popularly known as Hare Krishna movement, has built Krishna temples all over India and abroad costing millions of rupees each. Every one of them is a tourist attraction and has thousands visiting them every day.

Having a large number of foreigners as devotees, Iscon has also started an organisation, Akshaya Patra, which has huge facilities with machines to cook hygeienically food for lakhs of school children.

A recent post (picture above) said the government has asked the Hare Krishna movement to feed the poor at centres run by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

Bangalore Iskcon Akshaya Patra has been such a resounding success that the government almost handed over the school mid-day meal scheme to it.

Akshaya Patra has scores of vehicles transporting the meals to the schools with departures so timed as to ensure hot food reaches the children in time, irrespective of their religion or caste. Watching the scheme run smoothly is a great experience.

There are temples in India which get cores of rupees as offerings. Why not make it compulsory for them to spend most of it for providing shelter for the homeless, free meals for the hungry and world-class medical facilities? Or build rural schools or toilets?

Tirupati is reputed to have crossed the Vatican in its wealth. Puttaparthi Satya Sai Baba Prshantinilayam too has huge resources. True Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) and the Satya Sai Ashram have some welfare schemes, especially the latter which runs some excellent hospitals and educational institutions. But a major part of the wealth of TTD and other temples gies to rituals and spreading religion.

Money pours into temples, but little comes in for building schools or poor homes.

Churches receive huge funding from prosperous Western countries and mosques from Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia – but only for converting more people to their religions. To suit their ends they have also back politics in states like Kerala.

Proselitising may be their compulsion and their present methods are better than than crusades and inquisition of Christianity and Islam’s Jehad against kaafirs, but at least Hinduism, with no such goals, should live up to its slogan that Manava seva (service of humans) is the same as Madhava seva (service of God).

On the other hand, Hindu godmen have amassed more wealth and got involved in more criminal cases than any corrupt politician,businessman or official.

It is unfortunate that the present BJP-led coalition has to depend on fringe elements in Hinduism which believe in Santana Dharma and ritualism. The groups will oppose a government bid to make temples spend for the poor as other religions are not subjected to such restrictions.

They should learn from Sikhs whose Gurudwaras run langars which feed all. And they should remember that it was C. Rajagopalacari (CR as he was known) heading Madras presidency, which included all southern states, and not a BJP government, which brought all big Hindu temples under the government’s endowments department in South India.

What is needed is political will

Choosing Words With Care

Beautiful face, ugly words

SASHI THAROOR obviously is proud of his mastery over words, as seen in his frequent verbal gymnastics with English words, flaunting obscure and rarely used ones dug out of some dictionary publishers.

For such a person to be be told by his own party to be careful in choice of words is nothing less than reprimand. More so for one who, by profession, deals in words; public relations is allied to journalism, if not a branch it, and that was his profession when he was an employee of the United Nations.

Perhaps he is one PR man who rose to the world’s highest position in his field, making India proud of him.

And so proud of mastery over words is Shashi Tharoor that he has been showing it off by using big bombastic words which made everyone rush to dictionaries. One suspected he was in the pay of dictionary k


Perhaps he, like all politicians, likes to stay in the limelight – even for wrong reasons like unsuccessful contest for the top UN post, multiple divorces, marriage (his third and her second or vice versa) or alleged affair with a Pakistani woman journalist, leading to his last wife’s suicide.

Sometimes over-enthusiasm makes people like Tharoor forget the very purpose of words – to communicate. Journalism is meant to communicate and not show off mastery over words, which are mere tools of the trade.

One may forgive Chidambaram for coining the term ‘saffron terror’ or former Home Minister Sushil Shinde for using a honorific for the Pakistani terrorist who masterminded Bombay blasts –in their over-enthusiasm to score over Bharatiya Janata Party.

But for Shashi Tharoor to say India was turning a ‘Hindu Pakistan’ under BJP is nothing but what the Congress high command chided him for: wrong choice of words.

And that is unpardonable for one who is primarily a wordsmith.

(Written on phone in train)

Think Before You Foward

IN A POST  ‘FORWARDED AS RECEIVED‘ (Feb.24, 2017) I wrote about many who keep forwarding WhatsApp posts “as received”, sometimes even without fully reading them, often  without verification.

So a young mother may get a forward about herself ‘missing’ as a schoolgirl, urging all to report is they saw her, posted years ago, but Continue reading Think Before You Foward

What India Can Teach Us

J. Donald Walters a k a Swami Kriyananda,  a proponent of yogic teachings,  became in 1948,  at the age of 22, a disciple of  the master, Paramhansa Yogananda, knownfor his famous book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’
HERE IS ONE POST THAT MAKES US THINK. Many Westerners have studied Indian philosophy and spiritualism deeply and considered India their spiritual motherland. He brought back to me memories of a book I cam across in the 1960s, ‘The Ocher Robe’ written by Swami Agehananda  Bharati, an Austrian who had was with the Ramakrishna Mission.
The following post  is by Swami Kriyananda, born in 1926 to American parents in Romania and a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda.
Since my childhood I have   traveled extensively, visiting more than fifty countries. I have enjoyed observing the superficial differences of national outlook and temperament, while at the same time recognizing underneath them a shared humanity. It was in India, however, where I lived for four years, that I met my greatest challenges.