Wednesday, November 2, 2011


In the previous blog i discussed historical and social views about temples. Here i am trying to offer thoughts expressed by Basavanna, kuvempu and Rabindranath Tagore on temples:-
Vachana in English [ Commentary ]In Kannada
ಉಳ್ಳವರು ಶಿವಾಲಯವ ಮಾಡುವರು ನಾನೇನ ಮಾಡಲಿ ಬಡವನಯ್ಯ
ಎನ್ನ ಕಾಲೆ ಕಂಬ ದೇಹವೆ ದೇಗುಲ ಶಿರ ಹೊನ್ನ ಕಳಸವಯ್ಯ
ಕೂಡಲ ಸಂಗಮದೇವ ಕೇಳಯ್ಯ ಸ್ಥಾವರಕ್ಕಳಿವುಂಟು ಜಂಗಮಕ್ಕಳಿವಿಲ್ಲ
Rich build temples to shiva, what can i build ?
A poor man, Lord am I !, My body is the shrine
Its pillars are my legs, The golden pinnacle my head
Hear me, kudala sangama Lord
standstill perishes, which moves alone persists

Vachana by Allamaprabhu
Having built a stone temple,
And chiselled God out of stone,
If you put one stone on another,
Where did your God go ?
He who installs the stone Linga
Goes to hell, O Guheswara !

These vachanas are so crystal clear that they need no further explanation. If there is a temple, it must have priest. Priests of yesteryear ruined the harmony among fellow hindus by tweaking chaturvarna system, shastras and agamas according to their needs and made temples as their means to enjoy the worldly pleasures.
As swami vivekananda puts it ,
"Its not the problem of hinduism but its the problem with the orthodox people in it, its the fault of the priests".

Further reading
Basavanna's Vachana needs to be understood in the backdrop of
1. All along the history we have seen that Temples catered a particular section of people especially financially strong class and suppressed people were denied entry in the name of chaturvarna.
Basavanna who is deeply pained with the behavior of temple priests expresses a great social concern, he says Let us respect the human beings first, so what if you are denied entry to temple, here   we are, the body itself is a temple, our Legs are the pillars, this body is the shrine and Head is the Golden dome.
2. Some Orthodox and traditional hindus argue that, basavanna did not condemn the temple concept but just the ill practices carried out by them.  

 For such, the answer lies in the last line, Basavanna says bluntly, that which is standstill will perish just like those ancient huge fortresses which remain as ruins. So this applies to Church, temples and Masjids also..., if at all mankind is progressing then all such barriers will have to be overcome, such structures will eventually fall as time passes and collective human mind becomes rational.
References: Basaveshar-Ambedkar [ De ja gau ]