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visit to Kumbakonam

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A SUNDARARAMAN

Guest
Sir:

I visited Vaitheeswaran Kovil and Alangudi during last weekend. I beg to narrate my humble experiences here.

It is not my first visit to these places. However, I find that complacency has set in and it is worst now.

Vaitheeswaran Kovil: There are only two things at Vaitheeswaran Kovil. One is the Lord's Temple and the second one is Nadi Jothidam in every other building. The Temple is darker than before even in daytime. Cleanliness is not seen. As you enter the temple the shop keepers insist that you buy salt, jaggery etc to dissolve in the Temple Tank. In the Tank there is a big banner 'DO NOT DISSOLVE or throw Salt or any other item in the tank. This water is for drinking purposes".

There is no order inside the temple. People visiting the temple make so much noise, no orderliness and it is just a tourist crowd. No one seems to be interested in prayer.

Hotels/Lodges , Autorickshaws charge anything they feel like. An ordinary meal costing around Rs.45/- in Chennai is sold at Rs.85/- at Hotel Sadabhishekam. And if you need special meals it is Rs.115/-.

Much of the blame goes to our own people who have no civic sense. They make every place dirty, filthy, move in a disorderly manner. You can see two wheelers, especially bikes, zipping fast on the roads, even inside the temple; They park it everywhere obstructing the traffic.

Alangudi: Heavy crowd due to Guru peyarchi period. God gives priority to those who can pay Rs. 100 or Rs. 500/- ; All others stand in queue - some smart guys cross the barricades and move ahead in the queue ignoring other people standing in the queue. No separate queue for senior citizens or mothers with children. There are huge announcements all over Alangudi - one must light 24 Ghee lamps for the Lord. I think they have changed the Indian Constitution - so that no one is allowed to light anything less than 24 Ghee Lamps. The temple authorities here stoop to any level to increase the revenue by hook or crook. Free prasadams to be distributed to the devotees are sold at Rs.5/- per cup. (In a small leaf cup one ladle of rice item). Atrocius to say the least. Outside all the shops sell at whatever rate they feel like - for archanai - it ranges from Rs.15 to Rs.40/-. Basically the items remain same. As the authorities have outsourced everything to contractors after collecting the money and leaving the public (devotees) at the mercy of these exploiters. Near the drinking water tap so much of flies and it is filthy. Dont they have any staff for keeping the place clean. I will certainly blame our own people too who have no civic sense in maintaining the public places clean, especially Temples.

There are no regular buses and if at all they ply they are overcrowded. I am sure there is plenty of money in tamilnadu - taxis and vans zoom past you while you wait for a bus, which never comes in time; if it comes, you cannot board it due to bulging crowd inside.

No one can now say that rural tamilnadu is poor. They are filthy rich and they are out to make more and more money exploiting the tourists.

God save this country.

Agitated and exhausted:

A. Sundararaman
 

Iyyarooraan

Well-known member
Vaitheeswaran Koil is a good place apart from the Temple. The charm is in visiting the place not on commenting about it. When I did visit the place a couple of years back, it was a Muhurtham day and opposite the deity in the corridor there were marriages of at least 6X2 families and videographers spilling over the place cables criss-crossing the floor or over people (held by hands). Believe me, the entire marriage parties cleared the place by about 1 pm. Even today I keep wondering whether the families saw video show of their own families or others unknown. The lord would have taken care of things! All said and done the place invites you.
 

Raji Ram

Well-known member

I visited Vaitheeswaran Kovil about ten years back. There was a huge crowd and most of the people did not have any basic

sense of cleanliness. Coconuts were smashed on the pillars and there was dirty water everywhere inside the temple. Tourists

ate their food items spread out on mats, inside the temple premises and children used that area as toilets! Absolutely nasty.


The thought which came to my mind: The Deity is very very powerful because, we came back home safe and sound, without

catching any type of infection!! :thumb: . . . :hail:
 

DR.C.NARAYANI

Active member
Hello MR.Sundram sir ,i hope even after a tough time you had your darshan peacefully .i feel so sad for your experience.vaitheeswaran temple is one of the most well known in all means .powerful temple.ie for lord vaithanadhan ,lord muthukumaraswamy ,thaiyalnagayi and for lord mars --cheevai .and also naadhi jyothidam. sir i want to insist that during tuesdays ,krithigai,and murtham days and summer holidays its crowded &over crowded. the fault is actually on the each and every person ,who are suppose to know the moral values, basic cleanliness ,valuable temples basic ethics ,public manners.its start in family ,then group later our society.at least we teach our further generation for on it. Then on alangudi ,people make use of situation and convert it as money, sir please keep it in mind earning money on proper purpose will stay ,earning on other expense will go in vain.i do not blame on business people,profit is required ,but only thats the goal will have a fall ,one can never be clever at all time, it remains me the saying WHAT GOES AROUND WILL COME BACK AROUND.
 

mahakavi

Active member
Well, let me pitch in with my own gripe. I visited Vaitheeswaran kovil (VK) several years ago. One friend who is a resident of Chennai and a native of Mayavaram accompanied me with a personal taxi from Chennai. Everything went smoothly. We performed archanai at several sannidis at VK. The temple premises were neat and well-maintained. Perhaps because of the crowd things have deteriorated which I noticed elsewhere too on my visit to India a few years ago. It is sad that India has a rich tradition but people are not mindful of that. The ancient products (temples) are excellent but the process of getting there is awful (unhygienic environment, dirty roads with potholes, and most of all congestion). As for Alangudi or any other kshetram please make sure you never visit any of these places on special occasios. God is the same on a tiruvAdirai, vaikunta ekAdasi, or guru peyarcci or just anothe monday. We were caught in a melee on a Friday in Meenakshi temple in Madurai. Anything that could go bad did. The officials are helpless against the huge crowds and sometimes they resort to control beyond the norms. As for using money to buy audience with God, it is the norm these days, unfortunate as it is.
 

mahakavi

Active member
[h=3]Using money to buy audience with God[/h]

In the old days if you want to visit a temple you just went there and if it was the right time for a pUjA you considered yourself lucky, worshipped and got home. Usually the temple is open for several hours in the morning and evening. Some temples are open late into the night too. If you feel like (which most people do) you drop some coins or bills into the hundi and/or the deepAradanai plate which the priest holds for you. Simple, right? Yes, but not always in all locations either in India or in the US. You have to consider yourself lucky if you can see the idol at close quarters whenever you wish.

In popular temples the lines are long and in order to control the crowd the temple authorities have instituted a nominal fee to go into the temple. The line is pretty long and it may take a long time before you enter the sanctum. But wait. If you pay an extra fee you can cut into the line at some point closer to the sanctum. This is a revenue-enhancing measure for the temple. In spite of such ease of entry one cannot stay in the sanctum for more than a few seconds because the officials there will force you to move out of the sanctum. That is because the long line (of devotees) is waiting to get in to see the idol at close quarters.

Now there is a twist to all this in the United States. If you are a sponsor for some big temple events, you get to sit inside an enclosure which is closer to the sanctum than that is available to the non-sponsors. The sponsorship comes at a hefty price. Not bad, considering it takes a lot of money to build and maintain a temple in the US. Churches too have some mandatory collection schedule from those attending congregations.

What is disturbing though is how did God permit all this, if at all He did so. At certain important functions, the non-sponsors (remember it takes a few thousand dollars to be a sponsor at these events), can get to see what is happening inside the sanctum only through closed-circuit television because there is only a limited space inside the temple to accommodate the privileged devotees---otherwise called sponsors. So the rest of the devotees have to sit on bleachers outside the temple. God is getting farther and farther from the average devotee. Pathetic indeed!

Is there a solution for this? Perhaps. If you consider that God is inside you---i.e., you are part of the bigger Atman, then he is not far from you. It takes a higher level of consciousness to realize that. But that may be a problem for Hindu religion which depends on idol worship. The Hindu theologists have shaped God in the image of man. So one has to see the idol in close quarters in order to feel close to God. For that you need money.

In the nandanAr caritram, written by Gopalakrishna Bharati, nandanAr (a farmhand and an untouchable) goes to see the Lord at a place called tiruppunkUr. He cannot get to see the Lord at or near the sanctum. Instead he wants to see the idol from the place where the temple chariot is parked. But from that distance his view is hidden by the huge bull in front of the sanctum. So he appeals to the Lord to let the bull move slightly out of center. He sings, "vazhi maRaittirukkudE, oru mADu ....." (a bull is blocking the view like a mountain). The Lord listens to his prayer and orders the bull to move, "saTrE vilagi irum piLLAy" ( hey sonny, please move a bit). We don't know if it happened for fact. But in tiruppunkUr the bull is found to be slightly out of center line.

Will God find a way to remove the fees for the common devotee so that the devotee can physically reach Him?​
 

pcramabadran

Active member
The blame lies on the visitors who in a hurry to get into the sanctum go to any extent
in spoiling the cleanliness and orderliness. The temple authorities and the security
personnel remain as mute spectators some times. You cannot voice any complaint to them;The
plight of the people is understandable when there are traders, hoteliers, tourist
operators and others out to fleece them.This is the situation prevailing in some
other temples in Tamil Nadu but I must say that at Tirumala Hills the TTD
has made reasonably good arrangement for Senior Citizens to have darshan with
minimum discomfort . Even there due to heavy rush everyday
the authorities are unable to reduce the long wait for dharma darshan and seegra
darshan. I do hope and pray that that things would improve slowly but surely.

PC RAMABADRAN
 
OP
OP
A

A SUNDARARAMAN

Guest
Thanks to all for the comments. I visited Vaitheeswaran Kovil on Saturday, 26 May. What pained me most was this culture of outsourcing by the Temple authorities, be they the Govt of Tamilnadu or Private Trust. For a lump sum they just outsource to a vendor to sell 'Prasadams' on behalf of the temple. They are not actually prasadams but made privately and never has been offered to Lord as Naivedhyam. The vendor just uses the temple space for selling his product. What goes in the name of Panchamirtham at Vaitheeswaran kovil is a substandard product of jaggery mixed with water. These all fraudsters operate very much in front of the Lord who stands helpless.

Anyway forget all these things. I have a small querry. I request any enlightened soul to clarify this doubt.]

In all temples the Lord faces the East. Whereas in Vaitheeswaran Kovil the Lord faces West. Any idea why?

A. Sundararaman
 

Raji Ram

Well-known member

Lord Bala Dhandayudhapani also faces west, in Palani temple. Wikipedia gives the following reason:



'One curious aspect of the deity is that He faces west rather than east, the traditional direction at most Hindu temples.

This is held to be on account of the temple having been re-consecrated by the Cheras, whose dominions lay to the west,

and the guardian of whose eastern frontier was supposed to be the Lord Kartikeya of Palani. Another fact that will be

remarked upon by any observer, are the rather disproportionately large ears the Lord is endowed with. This is reflective of

the faith that the Lord listens carefully to each of his many devotees' prayers and requests.'

 

mahakavi

Active member
I made 2 posts yesterday. How come they have not appeared here yet? Messages posted today (#7 and 8) have appeared. When I posted the message "comment awaits moderation" appeared. Moderator, pl explain.
 

praveen

Life is a dream
Staff member
I made 2 posts yesterday. How come they have not appeared here yet? Messages posted today (#7 and 8) have appeared. When I posted the message "comment awaits moderation" appeared. Moderator, pl explain.

There is nothing to explain. Due to various reasons posts get into an approval queue and must be approved by a moderator. This could be due to certain words being used (not necessarily improper language) or if it has links/email ids etc... This happens to new members and to those with less posts.

I have now approved your posts.
 

Iyyarooraan

Well-known member
Cleanliness is a habit. With all the sufferings and fears of unhygienic conditions you are forced to pray to lord not only for yourself but also for others. When you visit ISKCON like temples you remain admiring spic and span premises and ignore the Lord. I do not mean it is better to be unclean. That is why most of us have migrated to urban areas or metro cities? One should know about Kaasi and the conditions there. Emily Zola graphically described Lourdes. I read in a tidbit that presence of one man in a place tells that there are 31 mn. bacteria. I am sure the coming up generation in TN will be different to show changes.
 

Haridasa Siva

New member
Ironically one faces many challenges in temples - a place one actually goes to get relief for one's challenges in life.
Unhygenic environment
Apathetic priest
Money sucking administration
Irritating beggars
Poor infrastructure
The list goes on....

But we have somehow managed to align ourselves to this environment and people still go to temples. Do we call this "the power of God"?:bump2:
 

mahakavi

Active member
>>Do we call this "the power of God"?<<

Yes and no.
Yes because faith still guides most people's religious activity come what may.
No because the power of man has overtaken that of God. I am referring to the declaration 'parithrANAya sAdhUnAm vinAsAyaca dushkritAm...." which is not working.

I would say it is God's own fault since he has a hands-off management and is practically oblivious of all that goes on. Certain money-hungry individuals filled the vacuum. It is going to be a struggle.

 

tbs

Well-known member
hi
rural tamil nadu is not poor anymore....all temple towns/tourist places have a lot of money.....they just loot money from
innocent devotees/tourists.....its fate of tamil nadu....may be india too
 

mahakavi

Active member
I have no problem if the fees collected at the temple is revenue-neutral, i.e., the money collected should be spent on improving the premises, enhance the ambiance, and spruce up the area around the temple in terms of hygiene and facilities for the visitors. We can't blame the officials if crowds throng these temples. They have to institute control measures. My only objection is that if the money collected goes to enrich the officials then that is bad. There must be transparency in the accounting. Maybe paying to worship is a new reality.
 

guruvayurappan

Well-known member
I have no problem if the fees collected at the temple is revenue-neutral, i.e., the money collected should be spent on improving the premises, enhance the ambiance, and spruce up the area around the temple in terms of hygiene and facilities for the visitors. We can't blame the officials if crowds throng these temples. They have to institute control measures. My only objection is that if the money collected goes to enrich the officials then that is bad. There must be transparency in the accounting. Maybe paying to worship is a new reality.
dear mahakavi !
i appreciate your practical thinking. only when we realize that GOD is omni present and worshiping him in any form in the temple either as utsava murthy or moolavar is same worship .that is why swamy proceesion is coducted . why should all crowd a place in a single occation. on many days the temple(except very few famous ) is without crowd and they utilize that day. when you are having a purpose ,why to use the holidays and festival period.
guruvayurappan
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
Now a days Hindu Religious Endowment Board is having a watch on the income
and expenditure. Still we cannot say anything. Of late, we are seeing the Tamasha
of Nithyananda in Madurai Aadheenam (may be for its wealth). There is a proverb
in Tamil, Thein eduthavan kaiyai nakkamal iruppana!! i.e. a person who fetches
honey from the bee nest, will he leave it like that.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 

mahakavi

Active member
>>Thein eduthavan kaiyai nakkamal iruppana!! i.e. a person who fetches
honey from the bee nest, will he leave it like that.<<

Sure, but pour all the honey where it is needed and just lick only your hand, instead of washing it away, as a fringe benefit.
The solution for all that is to appoint a vigilance officer from out of the region (state) who will have the authority to prosecute corrupt officials and whose job will not be in peril as a consequence. The same approach has to be adopted at the political front where the investigating officer will not be subjected to political influence of the offending politician
 

prasad1

Well-known member
I have no problem if the fees collected at the temple is revenue-neutral, i.e., the money collected should be spent on improving the premises, enhance the ambiance, and spruce up the area around the temple in terms of hygiene and facilities for the visitors. We can't blame the officials if crowds throng these temples. They have to institute control measures. My only objection is that if the money collected goes to enrich the officials then that is bad. There must be transparency in the accounting. Maybe paying to worship is a new reality.

I fully agree with you. A place that attracts people must cater to the people. Unfortunately In India we know nothing of customer service. Even in business we are interested in one time sale, we do not cater to repete customer.
Very sad.
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
#21

Mahakavi

I totally agree with you. You have been watching the Tamasha in India
about eradication of corruption for the past one year. There were many
meetings amongst the officials besides the Team led by Anna Hazare to
this effect. No positive legislation seems to be coming up in spite of discussions
at various levels amongst the political parties. Because of political influence,
many people are involved in such activities. Actually, the sufferers are Bureaucrats.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 

prasad1

Well-known member
#21

Mahakavi

I totally agree with you. You have been watching the Tamasha in India
about eradication of corruption for the past one year. There were many
meetings amongst the officials besides the Team led by Anna Hazare to
this effect. No positive legislation seems to be coming up in spite of discussions
at various levels amongst the political parties. Because of political influence,
many people are involved in such activities. Actually, the sufferers are Bureaucrats.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur

I think the AAM ADMI is the suffere. The bureaucrats are the beneficiary. Corruption is because of the bureaucrats.
 

guruvayurappan

Well-known member
I think the AAM ADMI is the suffere. The bureaucrats are the beneficiary. Corruption is because of the bureaucrats.
it is true . they will say breaking the rule is wrong and we are only pending it slighty to our convenience for benifit of both . till our mind is not changed ,it is going to be a big mount difficult to claim.
guruvayurappan
 
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