A Silent Revolution to liberate Temples in AP-A Report

published on February 2, 2008


REPORT BY SRI S.V.BADRI ON MAHAPADAYATRA TO TIRUPATI TEMPLE WITH AN AIM TO LIBERATE ALL TEMPLES COMPLETELY FROM GOVERNMENT CONTROL

It was Bhagawan Balaji’s Blessings that made the meeting a grand success. He tested us at every stage. Testing our Bhakti, as only He would of His Bhaktas. And when we surrendered to Him with folded hands, having no way to go, He showed us ways that only He can unfold. Let me cite one example for which I have no explanation than
to credit it to His test of the Bhakta’s devotion:

On the morning of the 24th January, when Kamal Kumar ji commenced his Padayatra to reach the Annapoorneshwari mandir in Tirupati, there was a call to him from one of the volunteers. Police offloaded some 50 of our Bhaktas from the Krishna Express at the Vijayawada Station and he was sounding panicky. Kamal ji said he would call
back in five minutes. All that he could do was to turn towards the Seven Hills and pray to the Govinda to show us a way out, besides calling us to urge us to think of some way out.

In five minutes, there was a call from the same volunteer. He was very excited when he said that all of them are on board the train and are on the way to Tirupati. The simple Bhaktas who were offloaded shouted with their hands held high up in Pranam –”Govinda, Govinda”, with the entire train repeating the chant,reverberating the Vijayawada station. The four constables who stopped them, folded their hands in absolute Bhakti and repeated –”Govinda, Govinda”. The detainees were dutifully put back on train.

It appears that for the first time a saffron flag waved the train off from Vijayawada instead of the GREEN!

Each square inch of the train was occupied by the Bhaktas. Many of them traveled standing for more than 17 hours of their journey. This surely is not a gathering for a political rally. Nor were the crowds paid for to attend rallies. We later came to know that for more than 98% of them, it is their FIRST visit to the Balaji Mandir, Tirupati.
And we delighted that we could organize their Darshan with such dignity, reserved only for the VVIPs in Tirumala. Two days later, volunteers called us to tell that they were taken care of so well and compared the whole meet to their family wedding where guests are taken care with affection and dignity.

Three district volunteers confirmed that their district would have a strength of 10,000 each for the next meet during Feb, 2008.

The procession that started at 08-30 on 25 Jan was a splash of color and a blend of divine chants of Bhajans, Village folk art like Kolattam, flute, Nadaswaram and the frenzy of tribal drum beats reaching a crescendo. Two men were dressed as Kali and Durga. The endowment department was represented as the evil Mahisasura. And the
act of Mahisasuravadham was enacted enroute the procession. There was Ram, Krishna, Hanuman; Vali and Sugreeva with their famous battle of mace, enacted in street play. The whole procession through 5 K.M. route was very thrilling and absolutely disciplined. People lined up in hundreds on both sides of the road, cheering the crowd as they moved on. Each participant was carrying the Saffron flag,
the Dwaja. For the first time, the entire English and Vernacular Press, the Electronic Media gave extensive coverage of the meeting and the procession, with pictures splashed the next day and encouraging write-ups of the meet.

The meeting started at 11-30.

I had the honor of reading out the “Anugraha Bhashanam” in Telugu,of the Kanchi Seers. The Acharyas expressed the need to protect our Mandirs. And stated that it is time that we started taking over our own Mandirs. They offered their Blessings to the Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti and urged the gathering to follow our Sanatana
Dharma.

Pujyasri Aprameyanandagiri Swamiji, Vyasashram, Yerpedu expressed His solidarity with the movement. He offered His support and the Co-operation of Vyasashram in all the future activities of HDPS.

Sri Arjun Dasji Maharaj, Mahant of Hathiram ji Matham, Tirumala stated that it is the duty of every Hindu to retrieve the Mandirs from the clutches of the evil endowment department. He emphasized the need for unity amongst us to run our own temples in the most efficient manner.

Sri Vrathadara Srinivasa Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji of Jaggannath Matham, Hyderabad spoke in chaste Hindi. He said that Hindus have become docile. Indifferent, to our causes. And that the need of the hour is to get aggressive on Hindu issues. He flayed the pseudo- seculars and said that the word secularism has been hijacked by the politicians and Press to mean anti-Hindu.

Sri Paripoornananda Saraswati Swamiji of Sri Peetham, Kakinada asked the assembled Bhaktas – Can’t we send 270 “good Hindus” to our Assembly and to our Parliament? Are we so stupid that we allow even the so called Hindu parties to keep fooling us all the time, by becoming silent to Hindu issues even after coming to power? He cited the example of BJP who failed the Hindu voters by stating that they
had to abide by coalition Dharma after getting Hindus to vote for them. He said that He would have been happy had the party quit the government stating the partners are NOT for Hindu causes and that BJP would like the voters to give them a majority of their own to take up genuine Hindu causes. He expressed his happiness that this
meet is taking the dalits to the Govinda and not the other way around as is being done by the TTD. He said that the TTD should work out with the government to transport Bhaktas like these, free of cost once in two or three years and ensure they get good darshan of the Bhagawan. He questioned the Haj subsidy while no move is made by
the government to reach the poorest or poor and the most backwards to Govinda, the ultimate God of Kali Yuga.

Dr Subramanian Swamy spoke in Hindi. Since the majority of the people in the audience are from the Telengana and Hindi speaking areas, they could appreciate his message. Dr Swamy spoke briefly on Ram Setu and said how he could succeed in the Supreme Court and obtain a stay of the dredging. This was received with a thunderous
applause and shouts of “Jai Sri Ram”. He said that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister ignored his advice and he had to go to court. Similarly he would move the court if the Andhra Chief Minister refuses to understand the demands of the Hindu society to restore the Mandirs to the Samaj, by dismantling the Endowment Act and the
Department. He told the audience that he will be shortly leading a delegation to meet the CM as also the leader of Opposition in AP, Mr Chandrababu Naidu on the issue of Mandirs in AP.

Sri Stephen Knapp, Vedic Friends Association, USA spoke on why he became a Hindu, though being born to Christian parents. He briefly narrated his early years when he could find no answers to all his questions in all the major religions in the world and how only Sanatana Dharma could answer all his nagging doubts. He told a
cheering audience that he has been practicing Hindu for the last 40 years. His lament was that Hindus in America had more freedom to practice their religion than Hindus in the land of birth of this great religion, because of such discriminatory laws and anti-Hindu governments, ironically led by Hindus in many cases. He said that it
is the duty of Hindus that they should never allow this great Punyabhoomi to such a fall that they should start importing Hindu dharma from abroad, where there is so much freedom to practice.

Sri Velagapudi Prakasa Rao, Chairman, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, USA and world wide, the organization that supported the Maha Padayatra and the meet spoke of the need for the Pada Yatra, what it had achieved. He explained the support of the Foundation in the cause of retrieving our Mandirs from the Government clutches
back to the Hindu Samaj. He said that the Foundation will stand by the activities of HDPS and would ensure that we stay focused on our goal.

Sri Yalamanchi Prasad Rao, Secretary, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation made a very emotional appeal to the Hindus to come together in the fight against the unjust Department. He introduced the Kali, Durga and other artists by calling them to the stage where they regaled the audience with a spirited Nrtya to the mind-boggling
rhythm of the tribal beats.

Sri Dussarla Satyanarayana, President Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti, Telangana Region brought the house down with his most eloquent call for dismantling the Endowment department. He was very critical of successive governments that openly had an anti-Hindu slant. He said it is time to question ourselves should we vote such anti-Hindu people back to power. As a powerful tribal leader, his voice carried much weight as we could see and the crowd roared at every word that he spoke.

Sri Kamal Kumar ji spoke at the end. He shared few of his experiences during his 130 day 3200 Km Maha Pada Yatra. He made following vital points:

The Government should state firmly that it would not add any new Mandirs to the list of Mandirs already under its control under the Endowment Act.

It should instantly stop public auction and or sale of Mandir lands in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

The Fixed Deposits of money belonging to various Mandirs have suddenly vanished because of withdrawals by the Department. The government should immediately replenish the funds and restore it to the rightful Mandirs.

The sale proceeds received by the Government so far by the sale of lands belonging to the Mandirs have not been credited to the Mandir Accounts. The Government should pay to these Mandirs the amounts as per today’s market value and not on any notional value.

Kamal Kumarji announced a cheering audience that his second Maha Padayatra will commence during August, 2008 and will take him through innumerable villages. He will commence his Yatra from Srikakulam District and will travel through the districts of Vijayanagaram, East Godavari, Khammam, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, Chittoor and will culminate at Tirupati. He will be reaching Tirupati during the first week of February, 2009. 5000 Kms in all.

One lakh very simple Bhaktas will converge at Tirupati. I am sure we will be geared up to receive all of them.We have already identified the open ground which will be our venue or the meet.

You have a lot of time to plan your itinerary. Be there at Tirupati. Strengthen our cause.

I shall write in a separate article, the follow-up and consolidation work that we intend doing, the brief plan for the second Yatra and what we intend taking up during our meet with the AP Chief Minister and the Leader of Opposition, A.P. around 15th Feb, 2008.

Tail piece:

Each Bhakta on the Padayatra to Tirumala carried one Saffron Dwaja as he/she marched valiantly in one group. When these Bhaktas went to Alipiri, the foot-hill of the Sapthagiri, they were stopped by over- zealous TTD security. The reason being that they were carrying the Saffron Dwaja in hands. “No political rallies” – was the diktat. We had to step in vociferously and educate the TTD employees and the security that these are NOT political flags, but Hindu religious symbols – the Dwaja of Bhagawan Krishna. After a few minutes of “convincing”, we were allowed to proceed, EACH one with a Dwaja in hand to Tirumala! Perhaps, another first.

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