Landing Page

Free Hindu Temples From Govt Control

Interviewer: Joining us now is Sadhguruji, of the Isha Foundation, and he's somebody who has also very actively spoken about their need for the Tamil Nadu government to let go of the control over Hindu temples or Hindu insti… religious institutions. Sadhguruji, let me start with your thought, because we… we here have said that it's time to take the right stand to free Hindu temples, but let me understand from you. Sadhguru: So, let me bring a little historical perspective to how these things have happened. It all started with a regulation, a Madras regulation – it was called the Madras Regulation of 1817. So, this was done by East India Company, not even by the British government. Then by 1840, it… you know, the resistance built up within their own society that Christian men were managing pagan temples, so resistance came up in England. So, in 1840, they wanted to give it back. So, they put out a directive and said, “Okay, hand it over to the trustees.” But then, by then they had taken over, trusts were dismantled, all this had happened. So, few main temples they handed over. By 1845, most of the temples were handed over, important one's. Then they passed a Religious Endowment Act in 1863, with which they made a complete handover of the religious institutions and endowments, back to the Hindu community. Then in 1925, they passed a Madras Religious and Charitable Endowment Act – this included all religions. By now, this was a strategy to stem the independence movement in the country, and they found whether it's a mosque or a church or a temple, all of these things were becoming hubs of… for people to meet and, you know, come together and act. So, they tried to take over all religious institutions. But there was a vigorous resistance from the minorities, so they excluded them and brought the act only for the Hindus, as… it was called as the Hindu Endowment Act, Hindu Temple and Endowment Act, whatever it was called. Then further, they tightened the screws in 1935, that they could give, you know, like a notification to any temple to take it over. And this is all happening before independence, but post-independence in 1951, they passed this law of Hindu Religious and Charib… Charitable Endowment Act, 1951, and many provisions of this 1951 act were struck down, both by the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court. So, during the Kamaraj Era in 1959, they passed another… this Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act was passed, which is still in operation right now, with this over 37,000 temples are in government control. So, what is the issue here? The issue is – one thing it's a disgrace, that in a secular country, that one community… I mean if you say this in any other country, if you mention this, nobody will believe you. Nobody will believe in India, religious institutions are managed by the government. So, secular institutions means they should have no business with any… any religious institution. When I… when we talk about the Hindu temples, immediately there's a whole group of people who will say, “Then take over churches also, take over mosques also.” I'm saying that government has no business to touch a mosque or a church or a temple or a gurudwara or anything for that matter. Right now, there is one problem, so let us multiply the problem – that is not a solution. All right? The important thing is – the devotee should manage the temple, because fundamentally the Indian temples were not created as places of prayer. There is no single person leading a prayer for a group of people. It is largely different types of energy centers where people can go soak themselves in that energy. Whatever, whether you believe or not, it is true for millions and millions of people, for millennia it has been the experience of people. Whether you believe, you don't believe, that is your issue. But in terms of basic human rights, this must happen. In terms of constitutional rights, as fundamental rights, this must happen. But now there is a whole lot of people arguing, their argument is generally, but it was under kings, and kings are also government, so it was always under government. This is not true. Because kings were devotees. Interviewer: Yeah. Sadhguru: Kings were very strong devotees to such a point, in many kingdoms, the deity was the king. The king was a dewan or a minister for the deity. So always the deity ruled, only in the deity's name he ruled the country. So, they were a different people altogether and there also the contributions came from the people to build the temples. Above all these are, especially the South Indian temples, the Tamil Nadu temples particularly, they are magnificent creations of engineering and architecture. If you see what they have done 1000 years ago, 1200, 15 years… 1500 years ago, you will feel proud of being human because it's absolutely incredible in terms of engineering, the mastery of engineering that they had, and how they built these structures is too phenomenal. But they're all being systematically being rundown, all the artifacts are being stolen, they're all mostly gone, because people who have no feeling, no heart for the temple are managing the temple. And there are various aspects, economic aspects, to it, that is not my interest. My interest is – fundamentally if you want this country to move ahead, you don't discriminate between people. Everybody should have the same rights. This is the whole thing. One country, one law, all this we are talking everywhere, but it's not happening in a very fundamental way. So, Tamil Nadu temples have to be released, because the tightest endowment act probably is in Tamil Nadu. In other states maybe it's a little more lax, but even that it should not be there, that's a different matter. But here it's a proper control. Even if you build a new temple, and if it becomes a popular temple, government will send a notification to take it over. (Sadhguru laughs) This is just ridiculous. You can't do this in any country. I'm saying, even in countries like Russia or China you don't do these things. How can you do this in a country like India which is a secular nation, which is a democratically elected leadership? And our constitution gives absolute right for everybody to practice their religion, irrespective of what faith they are. You can even start a new faith and practice it, I'm saying. It's not just the existing faith. You can start any new faith and practice it. When this is the case, the majority populations… places of worship or their temples are being managed by the government is a very shameful thing. Interviewer: But the reality is Sadhguruji, irrespective of the political party, the eyes are always on the temples. And if you from left to right, of the political spectrum, left in Kerala, if you look at AIADMK, DMK, you know successively in Tamil Nadu, you look at TDP, YSRC Congress in Andhra Pradesh, if you look at YR…, you know, the TRS in Telangana or the BJP in Uttarak

Related Articles

Back to top button