Tirumala becoming a political rehabilitation center – Politics are replacing Spirituality in Hindu Spiritual System

There is a hidden business world in Tirumala, its annual turnover runs in several thousand crores. Most of this business continues with political support

The recently elected Andhra Chief minister has appointed his Uncle Y. V. Subba Reddy as the new Chairman of Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD). There was a huge cry on Social Media that the new Chairman is a Christian. Putta Sudhakar Yadav was the previous TTD  Chairman, who was a known Christian supporter. He was appointed by Mr Chandra Babu Naidu. Soon after winning the election, the ruling party replaced the TTD board with their men and lately, it has become a new norm to do so. The present situation is critical because the cash strapped Andhra Pradesh government seems to be discreetly making moves to use Tirumala wealth. This appointment appears to be a move with that goal in mind.
The carelessness of the politicians coupled with their ignorance and selfishness is killing Hindu spirituality. This is happening not only in Andhra Pradesh but across India. The political class across India is abusing temple wealth. The current Chief Minister of Andhra has announced many schemes to the public, which require lots of funds. The present financial situation of Andhra Pradesh is in a critical condition and there is no money in the treasury. Under these circumstances, there are fears among Hindus that he will use Tirumala wealth and endowment funds to fulfil his promises. In 2016, the then Chief Minister Mr Naidu’s tried to use the temple funds for his political gains[1]. These temple funds are meant to be spent for Hindu religious propagation, building Vedic schools, reviving old temples and such Hindu religious activities.
There are many Hindu Gurus who follow very strict Sadhanas, Tapas and Niyamas to attain the Samadhi state. Niyama may sound simple but, it is very difficult to practice.
Who should be administering temples?
Realistically Tirumala temple should be administered by Vaishnava Gurus, Archakas, Pandits and by practicing Hindus who have mastered in Vedas and Hindu Scriptures. Instead, it is being administered by ruling party members who did not get an election ticket in previous elections, or by people related to the ruling party leader, or his/her caste members or by members of the ruling party who contested and lost the election. This is all making Tirumala a political rehabilitation center of the ruling party.  Politicians have mastered the art of abusing Tirumala and other Hindu endowment wealth.

N.T. Rama Rao’s regime implemented Justice Challa Kondaiah commission’s recommendations[15]. This gave politicians a stronghold on Endowment wealth in United Andhra Pradesh. The temples are supposed to be the centers of Hindu Education and Samskruti. This is also where the research on Vedas and Sastras should progress. Presently these are done for namesake.

Because of political interference spirituality is declining at a rapid pace in Hindu dharmic places in both Telugu States and across Bharat. In the past temples were serving the poor and were giving free education[2]. Present day in the name of the poor the politicians are doing Bhakti business. The selfish and ignorant politicians are directing or forcing the Archakas (priests) to alter certain rituals and practices and in some cases stopping them altogether. The authenticity of some of the spiritual practices is being tampered to suit the political agendas. This irresponsibility of our politicians will show their effect on the coming generations.

These politicians and bureaucrats do not care about the poor. TTD administration is very much busy in worshipping the VIP’s while ignoring the poor. The endowment department is spending crores of rupees on salaries and other benefits to the employees. To add to this misery, the government increases the bus charges during Hindu festivals but gives gifts to Muslims and Christians during their festivals. It is well known that the endowment money is diverted to the states common good funds and that will be used for the political gains of the ruling party. Anti-corruption bureau confiscated hundreds of crores worth wealth from many endowment employees[3] [4].

A common man with great devotion donates his hard-earned money into temple Hundi, thinking that the money will be used for Hindu Dharmic causes. But that’s not happening. The money is supposed to be used for propagating Sanatana Dharma, spreading Vedic knowledge and for maintaining Hindu temples, is being misused. Tirumala temple has so much wealth that it could revive the Hindu Education system which is presently on its death bed with emergency oxygen.

Back to Hindu education system
India was under foreign rule for 800 years. During this period of foreign rule, the Indian education system declined rapidly. And finally, with the coming of the British to the subcontinent, Indian education was virtually exterminated. Now we have a golden opportunity to revive the native Hindu education which invented great things. Due to the greed of these politicians we are losing this great opportunity. The temple wealth can alone revive the Vedic education and knowledge systems which are unique to India. For the past 200 years, the western Christian civilization has been slowly appropriating Vedic and Indian knowledge [5] [6]. We can use temple money to preserve Hindu knowledge. Also, we can take the necessary precautions to get this authentic knowledge passed down to the coming generations.

The current CM of Andhra Pradesh, Y. S. Jagan Reddy is a Christian and his father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was a great supporter of Christian Missionaries. During his regime as Andhra chief Minister, YSR tried to separate 5 hills from Tirumala saying that Tirumala has only 2 hills. When there was a huge cry from the Hindu community across the world he backed off and issued an order declaring the seven hills belong to Bhagavan Shri Venkateshwara. There are rumours that during his regime a treasure was removed from Tirumala Pushkarini and transported in 108 ambulances. During YSR’s administration, many Christian evangelists tried to proselytize in Tirumala [7] and many Schedule and Backward Caste people were converted to Christianity on a large scale across the state (about 20% of united Andhra population)[8]. Many Christians were also given jobs in Hindu Dharmic administration. There was news in 2012 that Radar scanners were used to check the temple structures. What was not said in the news was that with these scanners it is possible to check for treasures hidden underground. [9]

After YSR came N. Chandrababu Naidu. During his regime, the main Archaka of Bhagavan Shri Venkateshwara accused the administration of digging in the temple kitchen for treasure. There were news reports that the temple gold was tampered with[10]. The main Archaka also accused the administration of stealing Bhagavan Venkateshwara’s gold. In 2018, in the name of Maha Samprokshana Naidu’s administration closed the temple, and there were allegations that this closure was to remove treasure from the temple premise. During the 2019 elections, about 1400 kg gold that belonged to TTD was found in Chennai. This raised suspicions[11].

Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy openly practices Christianity and his family supports evangelical missionaries. With this background what moral or ethical right has he, to meddle in Hindu temples? Does it not constitute a conflict of interest? How are Hindus supposed to understand this double-crossing? British leased lots of land to Churches in India. In many places, these leases have ended. But these politicians do not dare touch these lands.

There is a hidden business world in Tirumala, its annual turnover runs in several thousand crores. Most of this business continues with political support. TTD announces their hundi collection every day, But not the gold collection. There are allegations that 60% of the donated gold disappears in the form of impurity during the minting process. There is no account of valuable stones and gems in those ornaments.  There are many allegations that TTD cash is virtual. With the help of the bankers, these politicians are allegedly using temple cash. During an audit, they somehow arrange the cash but most of the time this cash is serving the interest of politicians. Thousands of acres of temple lands are being sold or leased to benamis of politicians[12] [13] [14]. Most importantly, let any party’s govt come to power – the auditing of the temple’s wealth does not happen as it should be, and there is no transparency.

There are many Hindu Gurus who follow very strict Sadhanas, Tapas and Niyamas to attain the Samadhi state. Niyama may sound simple but, it is very difficult to practice. Yet, Gurus like Shri Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamy, Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy, Shri Vibhudeswara Maha Swamy are following this strict lifestyle. Gurus like them are the leaders of Hindu Spirituality and have no blot on their character. No other religion in the world has this difficult sadhana which is unique to Hinduism. It is these kinds of Gurus who should be heading or administering Tirumala and other temples across Bharat. Politicians and their boot-licking bureaucrats are only serving their own self-interest and not that of the poor Hindus.

The way out of this situation is to minimize government interference in Hindu Dharmic places. The present central government should enact a law freeing temples from the clutches of greedy politicians across Bharat. Subsequently, the administration must be handed over to Devout Hindu Gurus, who are well reputed and respected in Hindu Society. By doing so we will get the opportunity to revive the spiritual and Hindu education system. If we do not correct this mess now, the future generations can never forgive us.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

References :

[1] Is cash-strapped Andhra Pradesh eyeing Tirumala’s surplus funds? July 14, 2016, First Post

[2] Beautiful Tree- Dharam Pal

[3] Top Endowments official in ACB net Nov 08 2017, The Hindu

[4] Andhra endowments officer held DA case ACB finds assets worth Rs 50cr Dec 13, 2017, The News Minute

[5] Securing Indian Traditional Knowledge from Western Patents Feb 21, 2012, Boloji.com

[6] Veda appropriated by German firm Feb 2, 2003, The Times of India

[6] Veda appropriated by German firm Feb 2, 2003, The Times of India

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YCY8voabkg

[8] Protest against Andhra CM YSR in Chicago Apr 5, 2007, Hindu Jagruti

[9] Oh Balaji! The richest temple in India faces the danger of sinking July 7, 2012, India Today

[10] Tirupati jewelry pilfered, replaced with fakes Aug 27, 2010, India Today

[11] Storm over Tirumala temple’s 1400 kg gold transfer, Telangana orders probe Apr 22 2019, Hindustan Times

[12] On temples, some little known facts and a story of “secular” loot Jan 7, 2013, The Times of India

[13] Who Owns Temple Lands July 19, 2018, Organiser

[14] Probe into land grabs belonging to temples in Andhra Pradesh July 8, 2014, Deccan Chronicle

[15] Andhra Pradesh Hindu clergy slams recommendations of Hindu Endowments Commission report Dec 15, 1986, India today

Source & Inputs: Pgurus

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