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Sunday, June 28, 2020

jhanki darshan at Kashi Vishwanath Temple ~ no kanwar yatra 2020

The month of monsoon which is known as the 'Shrawan Maas' or 'Saawan' in is devoted to Lord Shiva and pilgrims from all over India visit the holy cities on the bank of the Ganges to collect its holy water.  Kanwar is a bamboo pole which has two pitchers hung with a rope on either side A Kanwariya, meaning a devotee, carries this bamboo on his shoulder or both the shoulders and does a yatra while balancing the weight of the two containers. They head to places where the river Ganga flows (Haridwar, Rishikesh, Gaumukh, Gangotri, Kashi etc.) and fill the pots with her waters and then offer it to Lord Shiva. Some devotees decorate the Kanwar with colourful papers and flowers.

Varanasi  (Holy Kasi) also known as Benares is a city on the banks of the river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (200 mi) south-east of the state capital, Lucknow, and 121 kilometres (75 mi) east of Allahabad. A major religious hub in India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism,    served by Varanasi Junction railway station and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport.

Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BCE when he gave his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma", at nearby Sarnath. The city's religious importance continued to grow in the 8th century, when Adi Shankara established the worship of Shiva as an official sect of Varanasi.   Tulsidas wrote his epic poem on Rama's life called Ram Charit Manas in Varanasi. Several other major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including Kabir and Ravidas.

Standing on the western bank of India's holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanath. Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the inexorable entanglements of the world. A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India.  Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values.  

                   The Temple has been referred to in Hindu scriptures for a very long time as a central part of worship in the Shaiva Philosophy. It has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in history. The last structure was demolished by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site. The current structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.  Maharaja Ranjit Singh, First Sikh Maharaja, donated 1 ton Gold for flaming Temple's Dome.

Lord Siva statue at Haridwar
On June 8, 2020 - with an elaborate 'Mangala aarti', the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi threw open its doors for devotees after a gap of almost 80 days. Devotees who thronged the temple were allowed to offer prayers from a distance and flowers and 'prasad' was not allowed into the temple. Only those devotees who wore a mask were allowed in after proper sanitization.  It was stated that   devotees were asked to sanitize their hands twice before entering into the temple. "We are allowing only five devotees at a time to ensure social distancing. Every devotee is being subjected to thermal scanning and no one is allowed to touch the deity or the bells," a temple official said.  Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath  inaugurated the 'e-Rudrabhishek' facility at the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Now comes the news that the Varanasi district authorities have made arrangements for three entry and exit gates for devotees for a jhanki darshan of Lord Shiva, the reigning deity of the Kashi Vishwanath temple, during the Hindu holy month of Shravan, beginning July 5, amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, said Deepak Agarwal, divisional commissioner, Varanasi. The bureaucrat said kanwarias, the saffron-clad Shaivites, have been barred from visiting the temple town during the holy month because of the viral outbreak.

Devotees wouldn’t be allowed to enter the shrine’s sanctum sanctorum and only permitted a jhanki darshan’, he added. Agarwal shared this information with media persons after holding a meeting with the Kashi Vishwanath Trust authorities, the district, and police administrations regarding the special preparations for the holy month amid the pandemic. He said that the predetermined routes for the temple’s entry and the exit had been obstructed due to the ongoing construction work of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor. He instructed the officials to put up a zig-zag barricade from Maidagin crossing to Godaulia and mark prominent circles on the ground to maintain a six-feet social distance for devotees while standing in a queue. Sanitiser cans would be placed at every 100 metres along the queue, he added.

The temple authorities have been directed to hold a meeting with the members of the Yadav community called Yadav Bandhus and other people regarding tweaking of rules while performing the over two-century-old special puja during the holy month because of the viral outbreak. In a marked departure from the age-old tradition, only five persons would be allowed to perform the special puja on Shravan Mondays this year instead of the usual group of 100, Agarwal said. The authorities are also making arrangements for heightened security, uninterrupted power supply, and maintaining cleanliness in and around the ancient shrine during the holy month.

The annual pilgrimage of devotees of lord shiva, known as Kanwarias, would occur in towns like Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri, Varanasi, etc. The pilgrimage is a quest to fetch the holy water of river Ganga in the Hindu month of Shrawan (July -August) devoted to Lord Shiva.  The number of Kanwars who reached the holy city Haridwar last year to collect holy water was approximately 3.76 crore, with which they walked back home in faraway states.

Sad, all these are curtailed by Corona. At least in important temples  in the North, some darshan is allowed unlike Tamil Nadu where Temple remain closed from 20th Mar 2020.

With grief and concern of a devotee
S. Sampathkumar

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Corona ~ Sun eclipse - Mahabaratha - வெங்கதிரோன் மாயப் பொழில் மறைய 2020

மஹாபாரதம் பாண்டவர்கள்  ஐவர்க்கும்  கௌரவர்கள்  நூறு பேருக்கும்  நடந்த போட்டி. துர்யோதனனின் (திருதராஷ்ட்ரனின்)  பதவி மோகத்தால் தர்ம அதர்ம யுத்தமாக மாறியது. திருதராஷ்டிரன் காந்தாரி தம்பதிகளின் நூறு ஆண்மகன்களைத் தவிர ஒரே ஒரு பெண் பிறந்தாள்.  அவள் பெயர் துச்சலை  இவளது கணவன் ஜயத்ரதன் ஒரு பெரிய வீரன், . சிந்து நாட்டு அரசன்.

In the final moments before a total solar eclipse, the temperature drops, birds and insects sing, and the ambient light becomes otherworldly.   Daytime morphs into a 360-degree dusk, and where the Sun once hung a black hole punches through the sky, wreathed by a white ethereal glow  -  what are we talking about ?  Some might be surprised.  ‘Corona’ is not a new word, not a bad one either.  That white ethereal glow   described in the starting para is the solar corona, the Sun’s tenuous upper atmosphere of ionized gas.  The Sun’s corona is the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere. The corona is usually hidden by the bright light of the Sun's surface. That makes it difficult to see without using special instruments. However, the corona can be viewed during a total solar eclipse.

The Sun god is driven by a seven-horsed Chariot depicting the seven days of the week.    The charioteer of Surya is Aruna, who is also personified as the redness that accompanies the sunlight in dawn and dusk. Aruna was born to Vinatai and Sage Kashyapa….. the other son is the most illustrious Periya Thiruvadi (Sri Garuda Azhwar)  ~ to Aruna was born Jatayu and Sampati, who are mentioned in the epic Ramayana.  The chariot of Sun travels at a speed of 3,400,800 yojanas calculated as 27,206,400 miles in a muhurtha.  

Solar Eclipse occurs when the new Moon gets between Earth and Sun and covers the solar disc completely. We all know that the   Earth and the Moon are not fixed objects. The moon is busy orbiting the earth. The earth is busy orbiting the sun and additionally rotating on its axis. This means that the spot on the earth where the umbra falls is always in motion and actually traces out a path.  At the time of eclipse, the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from the earth.     There would be Total, Annular, Hybrid and partial eclipses.  Total solar eclipse is the most spectacular celestial event when an eerie darkness would descend in its totality, birds fall silent and stars peer out in day time. .. .. Mahabaratha has reference to Solar  eclipse.  

மஹாபாரதம் ஒரு வாழ்வியல் இலக்கியம். பாரதப்போர் வெறும் யுத்த காலமல்ல.  சிந்து நாட்டு அரசன் மற்றும் கௌரவர்களின் தங்கை துச்சலையின் கணவன் ஜெயத்ரதன்  மிக்க வீரமானவன். இவனது தந்தை விருத்தக்ஷத்ரன் அவனக்காக்க வரம் பெற்றிருந்தான்.  அபிமன்யு   சக்கர வியூகத்தை  உடைத்து உள் நுழைந்து, எதிரிகளை பந்தாடிய போது  கௌரவர் பக்கம் உள்ள அணைத்து வீரர்களும் சிறுவனிடம் யுத்த தர்மங்களை கடந்து தாக்குகின்றனர்.   அபிமன்யுவைப் பின் தொடர்ந்த நான்கு பாண்டவர்களையும் ஜெயத்ரதன் முன்னேற விடாமல் தடுத்து விடுகிறான்.  கடும் போராட்டத்துக்குப் பிறகு, அபிமன்யு வஞ்சகமாக  வீழ்த்திக் கொல்லப்படுகிறான். அப்போரையும் தர்மமற்ற முறையில் அவன் கொல்லப்பட்டதையும் கேட்டு வெகுண்ட  அருச்சுனன் அடுத்த நாள் சூரியன் மறைவதற்குள் ஜயத்ரதனை கொல்வதாகவும் அவ்வாறு இயலாவிடில் தீப்புகுவதாகவும் சபதம் செய்கிறான். 

ஜயத்திரதனை  துரோணர், கர்ணன் உள்ளிட்ட அனைவரும் காப்பாற்ற முயற்சிக்கின்றனர்.  கதிரவன் மறையும் நேரம் நெருங்கியும் ஜயத்திரதனைக் காணாது பாண்டவர்கள் கலக்கமடைகின்றனர்.அப்போது கிருஷ்ணர் தனது சுதர்சன சக்கரத்தால் சூரியனைத் தற்காலிகமாக மறைக்க ஜயத்திரதன் வெற்றிக்களிப்புடன் வெளிப்படுகிறான். கிருஷ்ணர் சக்கரத்தை  விலக்கி கொள்ள பகல்பொழுது மீள்கிறது. சவ்யசாசி அர்ஜுனன்  விட்ட அம்பு ஜெயத்திரதன் தலையை கவ்வி தன்னுடன் மேலே எடுத்து செல்கிறது.  எல்லாம் வல்ல கண்ணன் இல்லாமல் அர்ஜுனனின் சபதம் தோற்றிருக்கும். 

திருமழிசைப்பிரான் தமது நான்முகன் திருவந்தாதியில் :

நிலைமன்னும் என்னெஞ்சம் அந்நான்று, தேவர்
தலைமன்னர் தாமே  மாற்றாக, - பலர்மன்னர்
போர்மாள வெங்கதிரோன் மாயப் பொழில்  மறைய
தேராழியால்    மறைத்தாரால்.

மஹாபாரதயுத்தம் நடந்த அக்காலத்தில்,  தேவாதிதேவனான கண்ணபிரான் தானே  பாண்டவர் பக்கலும் - அவர்தம் எதிரிகளுக்கு எதிரியாகவும் பல மன்னர்களை, குருக்ஷேத்திர யுத்த களத்திலே வதைக்க காரணமாய் இருந்தான்.  அர்ஜுனனுக்காக - ஒளிகொண்ட சூரியனையே அகாலத்தில்  அஸ்தமிக்கும் படியாகவும்,  பூ மண்டலம் முழுதும் இருள் மூடும்படியாகவும் - தேர் ஆழியால் (சக்கராயுதத்தினால்) மறைத்த ஸ்ரீ பார்த்தசாரதியான கண்ணபிரானையே எனது மனம் என்றென்றும் சலிப்பற்று நிலை நிற்கப் பெற்றது ~ என நமக்கு வழிகாட்டுகிறார் நம் திருமழிசைப்பிரான்.

Sri Thirumazhisai Alwar guides us to reach to that Lord who by His divine act of holding high His Sudarshana chakra, caused temporary eclipse of Sun.  Enjoying the false sense of security concluding that the Sun has set for the day, Jayadrada came out.  Arjuna who had vowed to eliminate him before sunset, thereby utilized the opportunity to avenge the killing of his valiant son Abhimanyu. 

2020 has changed the lives of people and the Whole world is worried at the Covid 19 spread.  Six days after it recorded four lakh infections, India's COVID-19 tally raced past five lakhs  with the highest single-day jump of 18,552 cases, according to Union health ministry data.  However, the  number of active cases stands at 1,97,387, while 2,95,880 people have recovered.

Tamil Nadu on Thursday crossed the million mark in terms of number of Covid-19 tests. It was the first state to do so. That translates to around 15,000 tests per million of population (or 1.5% of the population), lower than Delhi’s 23,000+ and even Andhra’s 15,000+, but still among the highest in the country. The number is also much lower than that in some of the countries ravaged by the coronavirus disease - but it is still higher than the national average in India of around 5,834 tests per million of population. The state has rapidly increased testing. On June 11, it carried out only 16,829 tests. By June 25, this number increased to 32,543. And its daily positivity rate hasn’t changed much.  At a time when there are talks that going by the daily figures, the lockdown would perforce have to be extended for a month the least – we are concerned.

Let us pray to Emperuman for immediate containment and total eradication of the dreaded Corona sooner.  Here are some photos of Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman from thavana Uthsavam in 2018.

adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
Mamandur  Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar

Friday, June 26, 2020

Aani makam ~ Thirumazhisai Piran

Today is ‘Aani Makam’ marking the thirunakshathiram of Thirumazhisai Alwar.

Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) is an organization dedicated to a process of inner development.  On June 24,   Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) took over the Covid Care Centre at Radha Soami Beas Chattarpur, New Delhi as nodal agency to take care of the operations at the facility.  A day earlier, ITBP was nominated as a nodal agency by the Union Home Ministry to provide the doctors and team of other professionals to this centre as requested by the Delhi government.  It is expected that a 2,000 bed facility will be operational at the Centre from June 26. The total bed capacity at this centre may go upto 10,200. This will be the largest single Covid Care Centre in Delhi and the country.

Former India cricketer Robin Singh was on Thursday fined Rs 500 and his car impounded for allegedly violating lockdown rules in the city, police said. The 56-year-old former Tamil Nadu player had gone by car to purchase vegetables and was caught by police personnel for the violation, police sources said. He was fined Rs.500 for the violation, they added. Chennai and three adjoining districts are under intense lockdown from June 19 to 30 as part of steps to contain the Covid-19 spread.  According to lockdown rules, people are advised to move only within two km of their residences to buy essential items and asked not to use their vehicles.

Fifa's ruling council has unanimously approved the Covid-19 Relief Plan giving a total of $1.5 billion to help the global football community weather the coronavirus pandemic. Fifa said that each of the 211 member associations will get a one million dollars payment, part of which will be granted in July this year, while the rest in January next year.

India's Covid-19 tally crossed the 4.9 lakh with yet another highest single-day spike of 17,296 new cases.   With more than 17,000 new cases of novel Coronavirus on Thursday, India moved closer to half the million mark, which is expected to be crossed on Friday itself. Only three countries, United States, Brazil and Russia, have a higher caseload.  The surge is coming mainly from Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, though on Thursday, Maharashtra too seems to have joined in. Maharashtra, the state with the highest caseload in the country, had been consistently showing a declining growth rate, but on Thursday reported 4,841 new cases, an unusually high number considering the recent trends.

Covid-19 is a new disease and there is no drug or vaccine for it as of now and the patients are being given medicines that were approved for treating other viral infections. At least five medicines have either been given a go-ahead from the government to treat coronavirus infected patients in India or are in the final stages of the trial being carried out. India has also been using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), an antimalarial drug, for treating Covid patients.  The treatment protocols for coronavirus are being revised from time to time based on emerging evidences.  

In Tamil Nadu, the vegetable market at Koyambedu was identified as a cluster where from more cases were emanating and authorities set up temporary markets in Thirumazhisai and Madhavaram for vegetables and fruits.  It is reported that the vegetable market  saw a dip in sales on  the first day of the complete lockdown period announced by the State government. The recent summer rains (nothing much in Chennai though !) had added to the woes with some shops getting inundated at Thirumazhisai wholesale market making the conditions worser.  

சென்னையிலிருந்து பூவிருந்தவல்லி (பூந்தமல்லி) வழியாக திருவள்ளூர்திருப்பதி செல்லும் பாதையில் அமைந்துள்ள ஊர் "திருமழிசை". - உலகு மழிசையும் உள்ளுணர்ந்துஉலகு தன்னை வைத்து எடுத்த பக்கத்தும் மாநீர் மழிசை வலிது என பிரசித்தி பெற்ற இத்தலத்தில்   துவாபரயுகம் முதலாழ்வார்கள் அவதரித்த சித்தார்த்தி வருஷம் தை மாசம்  கிருஷ்ண பக்ஷம் பிரதமை திதி கூடிய மகம் நட்சத்திரத்தில்பார்க்கவ முனிவருக்கும் கநகாங்கி என்கிற அப்ஸரஸ் ஸ்த்ரீக்கும் குமாரராக  திருமழிசைப்பிரான் அவதரித்தார். இவர் ஸுதர்சனமென்னும் சக்கரதாழ்வாரின் திரு அம்சம். 

  For Srivaishnavaites, Azhwaars and their birthdays  are of great significance.    Bhakthisarar,  well known as Thirumazhisai Azhwar was born in Thirumazhisai and hence is hailed as Thirumazhisai Piran.  This  place is near Poonamallee around 20 kms away from Chennai on the Bangalore High Road. Thirumazhisaippiran’s  works are : Naanmukhan Thiruvanthathi (96) and Thiruchanda Virutham (120).  He was born in the Magam nakshathiram of Thai month.  

முக்கண் மூர்த்தியான சிவபெருமான் இவருக்கு பக்திசாரர் என திருநாமம் சாற்றினார். இவர் பல இடங்களுக்கு சென்று பல மதங்களையும் பரிசோதித்தவர். பேயாழ்வார் இவரை திருத்தி பணி கொண்டார்.     இவர் அருளிச் செய்த பிரபந்தங்கள் : 2 -  நான்முகன் திருவந்தாதி (96) திருச்சந்த விருத்தம் (120) ஆக மொத்தம் 216 பாசுரங்கள். இவரை "துய்ய மதி பெற்ற" என ஸ்ரீமணவாளமாமுனிகள் கொண்டாடுகிறார். 
Thirumazhisaippiran  @ Thiruvallikkeni

தனது நான்முகன் திருவந்தாதியில் சக்கரத்தைக் கையில் கொண்ட திருமால் ஒருவன்தான் தேவன். அவன் பெருமையை  வேதம் முதலிய நூல்களால் ஆராயப்படும் பொருள்அவன் திருவடி தொழுவதே எல்லா அருளும் தர வல்லது என்று பாடிய திருமழிசை செல்வன் பக்திசாரர்  அவதரித்த நன்னாளை கொண்டாடுவோம். 

தேருங்கால்  தேவன் ஒருவனே என்று உரைப்பர்;
ஆரும் அறியார் அவன் பெருமை; - ஓரும்
பொருள்முடிவும் இத்தனையேஎத் தவம் செய்தார்க்கும்
அருள்முடிவது ஆழியான் பால்

Here are some photos taken earlier of Thirumazhisai and Azhwar.    

அடியேன் : ஸ்ரீனிவாச தாசன் (S. Sampathkumar)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

administration of holy Kedarnath !

Hari Om.. Hari Om... Hari Om... Hari Om.. Hari Om... Hari Om...

Omkareswari Sri hari nagari idhigo ra badari
Vaikunteswari siri ki nagari Adhigo mahima giri..
Ee kondapai Maa kandaga ~ aa vishu paadame Velasindhi
Vedaalane virachinchina sri vyasa peetamai nilichidhi
Alaka nanda jala sangeetam Sri hari naamam
Vushna kunda jala daaralalo hari bhakthula snanam
Gnanam, Moksham mosage vaikuntam

.. .. .. song from Allu Arjun starrer ‘Badrinath’ sung by Shankar Mahadevan, MM Keeravani – music by Maragathamani Keeravani.  In recent times, I have heard this song at least 100 times ~ so impressed by the Song, music, picturisation and most importantly .. .. ‘Jai Bolo Badrinath’ – the holy place for Sri Vaishnavaites.

The story of Yayati  is mentioned in Bhagavata Puranam as also in Maha Baratham. Yayati,  the son of king Nahusha is considered to be the ancestor of Pandavas and one of ancestors of Pandavas. He ruled over this place.  It is here that the most important rivers of the Nation ~ the Ganges and Yamuna originate. It has the religiously important places of Badrinath and Kedarnath.  It also has the  Valley of Flowers, a Unesco World Heritage Site known for the variety and rarity of the flowers and plants……… but is in news making all of us sad.

It is Uttarakhand known  "Land of the Gods" due to the many holy Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres.   This became a State in Nov 1999. The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total of 13 districts. The provisional capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun, the largest city in the region, which is a railhead. The high court of the state is in Nainital.  These places were affected so badly due to flash floods and cloud bursts in 2012.  With pilgrims and tourists stranded in flash floods in Uttarakahand, Govts  rushed teams to the hill state to help bring back the affected persons and also announced aid. Good administration has ensured that the holy places have recovered so well now. 

Badri & Kedar are associated .. ..  .. .. Kēdārnāth Mandir is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to November (Kartik Purnima - the autumn full moon). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of the region. Our Prime Minister worshipped here when the Temple was opened after the floods and visits almost every year on special occasions –  in year 2019,  he visited on Deepavali day and celebrated the festival with our army jawans in the region.

The Kedarnath temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 18 kilometres (11 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund.  Pony and manchan services are available to reach the structure. The  temple was initially built by Pandavas, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva  It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, expounded in Thevaram. Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath . The temple is one of the four major sites in India's Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of Northern Himalayas.

In 2012, massive flash floods swept through Uttarakhand. The deluge claimed 197 lives.  Kedarnath was the worst affected area during the 2013 flash floods in North India. The temple complex, surrounding areas and Kedarnath town suffered extensive damage, but the temple structure did not suffer any "major" damage, apart from a few cracks on one side of the four walls which was caused by the flowing debris from the higher mountains. 

When I heard the name of the movie as ‘Kedarnath’ – I feared that it could be yet another stupid, so called ‘love-story’.  One review stated that it takes 10 quick minutes to figure out the story of Abhishek Kapoor’s Kedarnath. Starring Sushant Singh Rajput and debutant Sara Ali Khan, Kedarnath begins by paying tribute to the victims of the “Uttarakhand floods in June 2013”.   You know how this will end, which is fine. An old, predictable story can be a good story, too. .. but why again and again a hindu girl falling for a muslim youth and why bring in Pandit of the holy Temple !! – take it elsewhere in any valley, any city, any town .. put any hero, any heroine … why – why Kedarnath ?  ~ another stupid love story of rich girl believing that only poor is good at heart and falling for him !! (how many fathers will like this happening in real life – we all know the reaction of one director cum hero who preaches love in movies – but when his daughter fell in love, he resorted to rowdyism !!)   Kedarnath movie’s mediocrity was unique: it did not entertain; had no logic, only offended Hindu sentiments – yet another movie showing that Hinduism can be ridiculed so easily.

Moving away, in 2011, there was a Telegu film by name ‘Badrinath’  directed by V. V. Vinayak, produced by Allu Aravind.  The first para was about the song ‘Omkareswari’ from that film starring Allu Arjun in leading role along with Tamannaah and Prakash Raj. The film revolves around Badri, a skilled warrior trained by a religious Guru Bheeshma Narayan. After being made the protector of Badrinath temple, he finds his loyalties divided when he tries to revive the faith of Alakananda, an atheist, in God and gets caught in violent battles with her cruel uncle Sarkar, while his Guru suspects him to be in love with Alakananda, something against the rules for becoming his successor.

Now there is some trouble and Indian Express reports that ‘Priest protests half-naked in freezing temperatures in Kedarnath’  against constitution of Devasthanam board while Hindustan Times words better stating ‘Kedarnath Priest protests bare-chested’ – it is the views that matters !!

                   A 32-year-old priest is staging a unique protest for the last 10-days just outside Kedarnath temple at an elevation of ever 11,300 feet against the constitution of Devesthanam board by Uttarakhand state government. Santosh Trivedi, the priest who sits three times a day just in front of the revered shrine in just one cloth which is a 'Dhoti' draped around his lower body at freezing temperatures of 3-5 degrees has not seized to sit on protest even if it rains.

"My protest is against the formation of the Devsthanam Board. This move is to deprive us priests from our traditional rights. I will continue my protests," says Trivedi.  Trivedi sits on protest for the duration of 45 minutes to 90 minutes thrice a day. The first sit-in starts as early as 5: 30 am during the morning aarti when temperature is almost freezing at 3 or 4 degree celsius. The second sit-in starts at around 12 pm in the noon, for 45 minutes, during 'Bhog Prasad' of the lord Kedarnath and lastly, he sits for around 1.30 hours during the evening aarti, around 6 pm. Brijesh Sati, spokesperson of Devbhoomi Teerthpurohit Char Dham Mahapanchayat, a body representing the priests, commenting on the issue said, "We are planning to hold such protest in all 4 temples of Char Dham which includes Gangotri, Yamunotri and Badrinath. We will sit in similar kind of protest soon if the government fails to address our concerns."

Meanwhile, thousands of priests associated with Char Dham and 47 other temples (Total 51) from across the hill state are already protesting against the state government since it has passed the Char Dham Shrine Board Bill, last year. According to the priests, the arrangement by the State government  on the lines of Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Tirupati Balaji Shrine Board aims to deprive them of their traditional rights and take control of the shines. Earlier, last year, the priests associations of Uttarakhand in a blood-written letter to Prime Minister of India has requested to intervene in a matter concerning new law about managment of Char Dhams.  In December 2019, in a big win for government, the bill related to management of Char Dham was passed after discussion in Uttarakhand state assembly.  After discussion of over two hours, and suggestions to 'improvise' the law, the name of the bill was changed from Char Dham Shrine Board Management Bill 2019 to Uttarakhand Char Dham Devshtanam Management Board 2019.

For us in Tamil Nadu, nothing is news – our Temples are firmly in the grip of State Govt and mostly in the hands of non-believers who use the temple funds for purposes other than those for which they were made.  There appears separate laws of Hindu religious places, Temples, Mutts while other places of worship get financial grant, support and are totally independent.  We hear of corruptions, misuse and even changing of Idol but the perpetrators are free, recently an official arrested on severe charges was reinstated.  Govt announces that crores would be diverted from Temple funds for relief but not from other religious places. When there is trouble to any of these temples, the Department never protests – temples are divided into zones of hierarchy according to their revenue collection, the officials are paid huge salaries, funds gets diverted to every activity but not much spent on the Temple and other Hindu religious activities.

Sad is the state of affairs – from end Mar 2020, the Temples remain closed; annual Uthsavams are not taking place, yet majority Hindus do not realize, do not make a whimper for proper conduct of temple rituals and do not cry for their inability to offer worship. Sad .. .. we miss darshan of our Emperuman Sri Parthasarathi and it is almost certain that the annual Aani Brahmothsavam of Sri Azhagiya Singar scheduled to start on June 29 too would not take place.

What do we do ! .. .. not even condemnation .. .. some of us cry at heart !

With grief – adiyen dhasan
S. Sampathkumar
All photos in this post taken from twitter (source not known)