Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.


Should Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi be a one-time Spectacle of Harbinger of Hindu Dharma’s Revitalisation and Samajika Samatha?



Should Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi

be a one-time Spectacle of

Harbinger of Hindu Dharma’s Revitalisation

and Samajika Samatha?


- Dr T.H.Chowdary*


More than a 1000 years ago Saint Ramanujacharya proclaimed the  equality of all   men and women, irrespective of  in which caste they were born. He also  gave the  Gayathri Upadesh to the   so called untouchables and  other non-dwijas (non-twice born).  He  conducted the so called untouchables into temples and  gave them the right to worship. He called them   thirumular that is, the blessed original people. Ever since, there have been movements almost all over India proclaiming the equality of all people irrespective of their caste. The  bhakti movement in Maharasthra and Kabir  Panthis and Ravidasiyas in the  North  also preached and practised  equality.  So did Guru Govind  Singh of the  Sikh Panth. In recent times Dr Ambedkar , Jyothiba Phule and  Gandhiji and Savarkar  proclaimed and  agitated for the   equality of all castes, especially for the  rights of the  Dalits.   Gandhiji called  the dalits as Harijans,  people of Lord Vishnu.   He even started a Weekly, Harijan  to propagate among the Bharatiyas that untouchability and  discrimination are un-dharmic. The Constitution of India proclaimed the abolition of untouchability. Inspite of these  centuries- long movements  proclaiming  the equality of all people and special movements for the uplift of Dalits, why did not either caste or social  and economic disabilities  of Dalits and other  “low” caste people disappear?  


2.  In Feb 2022 H.H Tridandi Chinna Srimannarayana Ramanujana Jeeyar Swamiji in celebration of the Sahasrabdi of Saint Ramanuja  organized  spectacular functions  extending over two weeks for  unveiling of  216 feet high Ramanuja statue. The President and Prime Minister , Chief Ministers  of some States and Cabinet Ministers  from the  Central government   visited  the Divya Kshethra and some of them spoke eloquently of  Ramanuja’s message of  equality, Samatha .   It was a Rs. 1000 cr  event. Some of the figures  are astounding   -       108  Vaishnava  mini temples  were constructed ;  two thousand Archakas  participated in conducting  Yagnas and  pujas .  The golden statue weighs  120 Kgs; the Yagnas used 2,00,000 Kgs of cow’s ghee. Thousands of Ritviks were involved in this spectacular show.


3. There was a two-day Acharya Sabha,  possibly all belonged to   Visishta Advaitha Sakha of the   Sanatan Dharma.  I wanted to participate in the Acharya Sabha. I drew up an appeal to the Acharyas  as to  what their duty is  to defend , protect,  preserve and propagate  the Hindu Dharma.  I was told  that I would not be given time to speak and therefore  I did not go   just to listen to what the   Acharyas  would  be speaking as I had listened to too many of them, several times. Those Sabhas  and their discourses had  little consequence as regards the propagation, preservation and defense of the  Hindu Dharma .


4. It is sad to note that   with  Samatha  Moorti Ramanuja looking over the  Divya  Kshethra,  asamanatha and sectarianism are being practised.  All the  108 temples are for Vishnu. In the Hindu dharma Rama, Siva, Saraswati, Durga and others are also revered and worshiped . The  exclusion of all these is  discriminatory and ill-fitting to the mission of bringing  Samatha.  The amounts spent on the Yagnas and other rituals and ceremonies is running into hundreds of crores of rupees. For eg: 2 lakh kgs of  ghee from cows milk  and 120 kgs of gold   are  staggering figures.  2000 Ritviks being engaged does not seem to be  proper.   Why can’t all these  people be  deployed in villages? Why can’t the  Peethadhipathis and the Mathadhipathis  move about  instructing, inspiring  Hindus  to be truly and actively  Hindu  and organize themselves   for building up Hindu communities transcending castes . Such communities  can  influence  politicians  not to undermine  Hindu dharma by  entrusting the  management and administration to people who are  indifferent to and in fact subversive of the Hindu dharma.  Communities of bhaktas, the Hindu Samaj  irrespective of their political  affinities and transcending castes and languages should be built. We should have one single  agenda to prevail upon the  governments  to dis-engage themselves  from the  administration and management of Hindus temples and extend the freedom they have given to the   Christian  & Islamic communities for managing their places of worship,  to Hindus  also .


5. Why should Hindus visiting Samatha Divya Kshetram be required to pay admission fee?  Cannot the  donors who gave the land and money to raise the statue of Samata Murthy and the 108 mini temples etc, create an endowment to meet the cost of maintaining the Samatha Kshetram and its activities?  It is  believed  by many  that much unaccounted money financed the establishment of His Holiness Tridandi Chinna  Srimannarayana Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji.  Dharmic conduct requires for belief in it, disclosure and publication of the  donors’ names and amounts they contributed.  These may be shown in the website.


 6. The mere existence of Ramanuja’s statues and the temples and the  pujas and  laser shows is  not going to bring about  samatha, be it spiritual or social; it must be propagated as the  cardinal message of Sanathana Dharma by the Dharmacharyas, Mathadhipathis, Peethadhipathis and Swamis of different  denominations. Hindu dharma is  under siege by the  purveyors of  intolerant and  imperialist religions,  theologies and equally intolerant,  aggressive  and  totalitarian political theology- like ideology, communism. 


7. In a perilous situation like this , statues and  temples and static swamis and dharmacharyas, cannot  save Sanatan/ Hindu Dharma.  Dharma udyamam / yuddham is need of the times of resist and defeat  the aggressions of  adharmic faiths and  political ideology .  The spectacular and fabulous Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi  celebration will have a social and spiritual justification  only if it promotes Dharma’s revitalization for its survival and shakti to foster and promote a Samatha Samaj.


Schism in the  Vaishnavite sect

Very lofty movement for reform  deteriorate over time  into  sectarian  disputes .  The  11th century  Vaishnavite Saint Ramanuja’s  followers also  divided themselves into two  serious factions over  the  Namam to be displayed  on the  foreheads    - vengalai ( south ) and vodagalai ( north). They led to serious  disputes between the two  eponymous  Vaishnavite sects. The dispute between these two forehead appellations among Vaishnavite  followers  has  a  history  of nearly 250 years. In 1978 the Chief  Justice of  Madras High Court, V. S Kailasam, deliberated the case that had been pending in the lower court since 1965 and earlier too in British India. Outlining the ritualistic divergence between the  two sects, Js. Kailasam had said, “  it has given rise to most  bitter unreasonable and  vicious fight  between the  two groups  for nearly 200 years . The case before Madras High Court  was to be decided if the new temple elephant of Sri Devaraja Swamy temple  in Kanchipuram had to sport  the Tengalai Namam which was the age-old custom or wear the  vodagalai namam because the deceased temple elephant  has sported it . The donor, Maharaja of  Travancore  had put a condition that it should sport   only the   U” shaped namam with the yellow line in the middle. Even after  the lower court had restored the Thengalai  namam, the  other  sect has  had tried to sabotage the effort and  attracted the Court’s contempt.  The dispute went  to as far back as 1854.  The vodagalai  sect was reluctant to accept the decision of the Courts. It is  this type of fundamentalism and dogmatism that have been coming in the way  of Ramanuja’s Samatha  bhavana getting wide acceptance in real life despite the  efforts of such  sages and  in recent times  Dr. Ambedkar and  Mahatma Gandhi.


8. We are lamenting  that unlike the churches of Christians,  the mosques of Muslims and the Gurudwaras of Sikhs, only Hindus’  temples are   under the management & administration   of the   governments of   AP,  Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala,  Tamilnadu and some other states.  We have been witnessing that  whenever there is a change in the ruling party, members of the  Trust Boards appointed by the  previous government  are removed and Trust Boards  with  new persons,  most of them  financiers  and patrons  of the new party in power, irrespective of their knowledge  of Hindu Dharma  or their contribution for its preservation and  propagation   are appointed.  Some times, the Chief Ministers are non-Hindus and    are votaries of a religion  whose functionaries are engaged    in vile propaganda against Hinduism to convert vulnerable sections of Hindus  to their religion.  Some trustees are  not Hindus  ; they are  converts to Christianity without disclosing the fact of conversion to  enjoy the benefits of  reservations and other   welfare schemes meant for Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh  Dalits.


9. While we are denouncing  the indifference and in fact, the misuse of the temples’ s assets for partisan ends by the ruling parties;  some of us have been asking and requesting the Peethadhipathis and Mathadhipathis  to actively engage in the  defense and promotion of Hindu dharma by utilizing  the  considerable  incomes that come from the  huge properties the Mathadhipathis  and Peethadhipathis  are owning and controlling . During  India’s struggle for freedom, responding  listening to the  call of the   leaders,  National Schools and Colleges, some with prefix  Hindu” were founded, in order to impart such education  as would  promote  patriotism,   nationalism and dharmic conduct. Spirited  teachers and professors working  in government institutions  resigned their jobs and came to serve in these  national institutions at considerable  sacrifice  in their emoluments.


10. Christian missionaries and their organisations  are running several schools and  colleges  where, about 90%  of the students are non-Christians, Hindus.  Christian organisations are running hospitals and through these  to people- serving  institutions they are influencing Hindus to convert. We say, that  Manava seva is Madhava seva that is, service to   people, is service to God. Should this not inspire the Peethadhipathis and Mathadhipathis to use   their assets  to render service through  schools and   hospitals? Should they themselves  instead of sitting in their  Asramas,  move among villages and towns and  give pravachans  to expound  Hindi dharma dharmic through narration of episodes  in  Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagawata and  the lives  of so many of our Saints like Ramanuja, Sankara  and reformers like the Maharasthra’s Bhakti saints.


11. Since my appeal to the Dharmacharyas  gathered at the Samatha Sthal  organized by  H.H Tridandi Chinna Srimannarayana Ramanujana Jeeyar Swamiji  was published in the  Telugu  daily Sakshi on 22 Feb 2022, from almost all districts of  AP and some in Telangana, calls  asking  me as  what should be done to protect  Hinduism from the onslaught of  proselytizing  religions. The ultimate solution is for the temples to be handed over to Hindu organisations  and their   resources utilized for the protection, defense  and promotion  of the Hindu dharma among the people. Till  such justice is  forthcoming, every individual can  participate   in the Dharma Rakshana.  He/She should  invite and attract  the young  to the  temple nearest  to his/her home say,  every Sunday   morning at 10’O clock, a pravachan may be  given by a Telugu Pandit  on the episodes in Ramayana , Mahabharata or Bhagawata .  The attendees, especially  boys   and girls should be  attracted  by some incentive like good prasadam .  The pravachan should be followed  by  bhajan and then a prasadam should be distributed. At the end, the people should  go with the feeling that we are  knowing  correct message of the Hindu dharma and that we all, irrespective of  our caste belong to  the Hindu community and  just like other  communities  we too should be organized. The goal should be  the liberation  of  temples   from   government  administration & management   and their management  by  bhakta samajas  which could be either  specific temple- centric  or common for all the  temples together in the village and all of them federating  at the district and   state level.  If such  associations / societies are organized, a legal framework could be worked out and  political parties  required  to bring in legislation  for  the divestment  by  government and  management  by   bhakta samajas under guidance from a central   Dharmacharya Sabha.  Every concerned Hindu should  participate in this   dharma yuddha . Individual  initiative  will snow-ball into  a state level collective  action.  (1,973 words)