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Puri Temple in ‘Cleansing Act’

I read yet another shocking news and could not resist commenting on it. Here is an dialogue account of what might have taken place.

Paul Roediger (PR) is the American tourist amazed by the Indian culture and Hindu religion. He has traveled far and wide and read lots of books and articles about India. He visits Puri and is greeted by Ramachandra Panda (Priest) is a priest at Jaganath Temple.

PR: I see this majestic temple, and thousands of devotees. What is this place?
Priest: It is the temple of Lord Jaganath, the King of the Creation. Subjects from all over the world come to pay their respects to their mighty Lord. The Lord blesses them and cleanses their soul.
PR: Did you say the Lord of the Entire World? I also have a grievance, can I also worship here?
Priest: NO!
PR: Please, I promise i won’t take more than 15 seconds of my lords time.
Priest: No, you cannot meet him… you need to be a Hindu.
PR: So if I am a Hindu and an Indian, I can meet him?
Priest: Yes, But provided you are not a Shudhra.
(confused why someone would want to be a Shurdhra on the first place)
PR: How do I become a respectable Hindu?
Priest: You can never become one… you need to be born a hindu to be one.
(Seriously disappointed, and not knowing what to do. This devotee PR is turning back)
Priest: Hey wait! I can make a special provision for you.
PR: What sort of provision? (thinks for a while) Will 500/- do?
Priest: (smiles) You are the most generous and noble man I have ever seen.

Gist of the story….
I seriously believe that in a Modern egalitarian India, there is no place for temples like this. Temples like Jaganath breed religious hatred and casteism. and keep the Indian mentality primitive. SC/ST/OBC and females are still barred from visiting many of the holy sites.

You cannot cleanse these temples by throwing 300,000/- worth of prasad (food), but by DEMOLISHING Jaganath temples and putting all the priests and authorities behind bars. What use is this grandeur if there is no humanity and brotherhood?

27 replies on “Puri Temple in ‘Cleansing Act’”

thanks for dropping by…
Think of Brahmin caste as one large extended family who proscribes against marrying outside the family. Priest of today is a result of 3000 years of incest.
Most youth of today are ashamed of Hinduism when they hear their words and witness their practices. In a couple of decades some revolution might correct them.

this news is really shocking..bcoz at one level hindu religion is aying all are one..no need to discriminate and the care taker of the religion or prist used to discriminate people on such basis..
Today only, i read an article in news paper says that the authorities of the temple will take action against priest..
but how can a person decide who to enter in temple or not if the god doesnt have any problem..and doing such stupid acts by throwing so much prasad…

You know, Steven Weinberg once said,

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

That’s just disgusting! It’s a shame that these are the people who claim to represent my religion. But such exclusion is nothing new, it happens in so many other temples around the country. As a Hindu, I’d like to see this attitude change. After all its Hinduism which talks about ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’.

The priest taking money and making everything “alright” cannot be blamed on the religion. Our society is to blame for this. Everywhere you go you’ll be asked to pay a bribe. Politicians, govt offices, cops, school & colleges, everywhere. Irrespective of their religion people ask/accept bribes. Again, I feel ashamed and disgusted by those who ask for money to do their work. And I’m not talking about the low paid govt clerk, but well paid officials in respectable positions. These people just do not have any self respect.

And I do not agree with your assumption that most youth of today are ashamed with Hinduism Pegasus. That seems like a very big generalization. And to your question on my blog, well I’ve been busy at work. But now I’m back 🙂

@mona… Exactly…. if god is has created everyone than how can we forbid anybody from worshiping him.
@parseval….. Thanks for the quote… its worth treasuring.
@Roshan… yes it is hapenning in too many temples… and for the sake of mankind we have to correct it.
yes bribes and corruption is everywhere and it is spreading like cancer.

regarding hindus being ashamed of hinduism.. I ask you a simple question isn’t it fashionable to be an atheist? most people visiting Varanasi try their level best to stay away from pandits.. and call them Pandas.

Sad this is happening in today’s times,for some Religion & religious heads seem to be greater than God.As the saying goes, Even if God allows darshan,The priest obstructs The darshan.

Yeah Pegasus, it does seem fashionable to be an atheist. But I’m not, maybe I’m out of fashion. But even those who are in fashion, I don’t think its for real. Just coz it’s fashionable ppl say they are atheist. But they are the same people who would pray and go to a temple just before their exams/results.

Even I was like that earlier. Having faith and belief in God, but when asked in public it was always a NO. But now I have realized that I don’t have to be ashamed of my religion. I believe in God, the Hindu gods. But I don’t follow all our rituals or celebrate all the festival. But I do have faith. Hinduism for me is nothing to be ashamed of. Its the people ‘running’ the religion who I’m ashamed of.

Just my thought on the topic, maybe there are (quite a) few who are atheist and ashamed of their religion.

Hey Pegasus..I saw the incident telecasted in one of the channels…the American was interrogated in a police station and I could sense the shock on the tourist’s face.
He was baffled and infact was wondering what the whole uproar was about..
The police and the priests were talking in an English that even we Indians cannot understand..imagine the plight of that poor guy!
The behavior of the priests was down-right cheap and I agree that they shd be put behind bars and the temple shd me made a museum (why demolish it? )!

@sree…
I know it is an unreasonably harsh stand, but
as a orthodox indian, I would say that only a flawless idol/temple can be worshiped. Centuries of sin committed by the keepers has rendered the temple unfit to serve its orignal purpose. Hence should be rebuild from scratch.

well, i’ve been to puri and to the jagannath temple as well. it’s ridiculous, how they are treated. and they call it ‘tradition’. they also check if the tourists are carrying any leather goods, as they are not allowed in. a worst-case scenario, what is their point?

moreover a high-born hindu, no shudras’ allowed, atrocious!

@mouna….
Exactly…. How do you expect me to worship in an institution which practices UNTOUCHABILITY?
checking for leather goods or alcohol is an inconvenience but is ok, but checking for for my caste or religion is a strict NO NO.

Hey Pegasus…
When I said that the temple shd not be demolished , its not b’cos it is immoral or its against the religion..the only thgt was why waste an ancient piece of architecture..
It shd not remain a place of worship but converted to a museum to display artifacts..
Untouchability ? ..High time the temple was boycotted!!

well it will be inappropriate to comment on the Religion and Tradition by itself, when the priest is commiting the henious crime of accepting the money to show the Lord to the foreigner.
It’s pity that our rich culture and tradition is blackmarked by the behaviour of such stupid peoples.

Hi, Pegasus.

I disagree that to be a hindu you must be born a hindu. I was born a Jain and I converted to hinduism and practiced devoutly for a long time. Just because a priest cant convert you, doesn’t mean the scriptures dont have provisions (there are so many of them, you can pick any one lol). The basic idea of hinduism is “Atman is Brahman” and “Aum”. If you embrace these and live by the prescriptions of the scriptures, who can deny your faith in hinduism, and the fact that you are a hindu?

Whether this faith, no matter how deep or true it is, can grant you a place in the social structure and hierarchy of hinduism, is a different story altogether.

People should not pay so-called “holy men” who want bribes. The temple is already defiled by their presence (the presence of bribe-takers and casteists). If you realise that the place is defiled, you wont have such a desire to worship there anymore, but if you still want to worship, take a lawyer with you, the Constitution of India provides for all hindus to be allowed into hindu places of worship – Jains are also hindus – you can convert to Jainism, hence go inside the temple freely. lol

-RED

@red… I agree with most of the points you raised. but what i meant by no way to become Hindu was:
“Whether this faith, no matter how deep or true it is, can grant you a place in the social structure and hierarchy of hinduism, is a different story altogether.”

however I am raising one more question… for a temple to be called ‘Jaganath’ shouldn’t all of the god’s creatures be allowed inside…. that includes Non-Brahmins, Non-Hindu, and maybe even non-Humans

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