Wednesday, June 18, 2008

QUESTIONS CONCERNING WHO CAN BUILD A TEMPLE AND

if a hierarchy as in the case of churches exists in the Hindu temples and if there is an authority like Pope etc.

I would try to answser these questions according to the best of my knowledge, which is very limited; however with my large experience and exposure to the Hindu religion, my answers are as follows:-

1. Any one who has enough shraddha or BHAKTI BHAO for God, to find God and to realize him will only get involved in making a temple. Anyone having these qualities can make a temple.

2. Hindu dharm is a SANATAN DHARM; no one knows when it started; it has most probably existed as long as humanity has existed or maybe a little later than that but it is one of the original religions on this earth practised by the human beings, mostly by Hindus.

3. There is no authority as pope in Christianity or hierarchy as such in Hinduism. The authority for the Hindu religion and practises emanates from Hindu shashtras, Vedas, Bhagwad Gita and innumerable other religious scriptures, most of whom came from God himself through our reverred saints, who are born from time to time and some of whom are with us even today.

4. There are some sankaracharyas who have authority in their own temples, ashrams, math or in their respective regions. However, it is not easy to separate the grain from the husk, i.e. to know who is the real saint or who is not, even though one may call himself as God or with another name.

5. Practise of hinduism requires strict practises to be followed which not many of the people can do even though they may make big claims of being God or whatever.

6. For the training of the pujaris, these pujaris must have a very good knowoledge of the Vedas and our shastras and must have been trained in a temple for several years from their young age whose practises and ceremonies they will follow, whether from North or South of India or West or East.

7. But the basic tenets or qualifications for all the pundits are the same: they must be truly interested in God, their behaviour and character must be impeccable, they should be prepared to live in poverty, with their minimum needs met and be satisfied, etc. etc. They should not be greedy and must be above sensuality or such.

8. Bhagwan Ram, Bhagwan Krishn, Bhagwan Buddh, Guru Nanak, just to name a few, who came as incarnation of God or humans, are some of the exemplary Gods/saints who graced the earth to show the world the true path to God.

9. The ultimate aim of a human soul, which is covered by a shell of body and mind, etc., is to go back and immerse into God from which it started as an 'anshi' and to get out of the cycle of chaurasi lakh yonis in which each one of us keeps wandering aimlessly, the end of which comes to 'nothing'.

10. In connection with the foregoing, I would like to take the opportunity to emphasize that the pandits who work in USA and Europe etc. must dress properly and cover their upper part of the body and leave behind the practise of naked body in India not to bring disgrace to the Hindu religious practises. Jaisa desh vaisha bhesh.

11. The following stories may also clarify the basis of the Hindu religion somewhat:

12. You must have heard the name of Sri Ramkrishn Param Hans who was the pujari in the Devi mandir near Calcutta on the banks of the river ganges there. From time to time, several wandering mendicants used to come to the temple and after a stay of a day or several days, they used to depart. One such sadhu came to the temple and after finishing his morning routine, he used to sit down and read from a very thick book all day. He only stopped reading from the book for eating a frugal lunch and then continued reading it until he went to bed. So people became quite curious that he must have a very good granth and wanted to know the contents of it. After several days they approached him and requested that if they could see the granth as to what it contained. When they saw the book, on each and every page was written RAM RAM RAM RAM and that's all. People were very surprised and asked the sadhu it only had RAM NAM and nothing else. The sadhu said what else is there in the Dharm; it is only RAM NAM and the rest is commentary.

I will continue the next two stories in the next email.

Yours comments and further additions to the above about Hindu dharm and Pujaris would be highly appreciated.