Say No to mid-night temple visits on new year eve


As the English New Year eve is here, one of the key things we need to remember that January 1st is the English new year and we do not have to attach great importance to it. Having said that, it is perfectly fine to wish and return the wishes on this day as for all practical purpose (at least that is how we were trained) it is a new year. We should leave it there. There has been an increasing trend that people throng to temples at midnight and sadly the temple administration is keeping the temple open, which is against agama sastra. Please protest and stop going to the temple at night – if you want to go to temple, go during the day. I saw one article in Hindu that someone has filed a PIL to get a court order not to open the temples.

The intent of this posting is not to just protest something but to remind all that while we take extraordinary effort to celebrate other customs, let us not forget the fact that our roots much deeper and stronger, our customs are much more scientific than anything else you could think of.

Here is Sri Sarma Sastrigal talks about the same – in his style. Thanks mama for the wonderful message.

Periyava Sharanam



Categories: Periyava TV

14 replies

  1. Dear Sridhar,

    I hope my apologies have reached you by now and I apologize once more,

    You spoke of people going to temples instead of pubs, etc. and that is why you stand by your suggestion.

    Please may i offer some thoughts.

    A temple has several parts to it, one part of which is called a “naat mandir”, especially in Bengal. It is separate from the garbha or sanctorum and also apart from any part that is connected to the Deity.

    It is the custom in Bengal, and I am not sure what the lokachara in southern India is, that people may gather in the naat mandir, even when the bhog raag is being offered to the Deity, and choose to sing to the Deity, etc. at a time when silence in otherwise mandated. It is their way of offering their heartfelt worship. The sanctum doors remain shut, by the way.

    So, for night visits or on New Year’s eve, it is fine to gather in the naat mandir, and create any sort of program of song, bhajan, etc. to provide an alternative to the pub and wine shop or other fruitless engagement. If karma, manas, vak is kept engaged in the thought and service of the Divine in whatever way possible it is all to the good.

    For example, upanyasams, bhagavat katha, musical performances etc. could be arranged. This is entirely different from suggesting that the temple proper should be opened up for the formal worship.

    It is said that the Holy shrine of Bhagavan Venkatesha is opened up at unearthly hours for “special pujas” that are offered at huge cost, and the shayana or laying to rest of the Lord also occurs very late. The worship serivce there is supposed to be according to the Paancharaatra traditions as established by Sri Ramanujacharya, and the overriding principle is “atmavat seva”, so I cannot speak to the legitimacy of such procedures.

    As for your own suggestions, there is no need to think in any complicated terms. Suppose you have a most beloved infant child. Would you allow his or her rest to be disturbed at night for any reason whatsoever? Please ask yourslef that question? I am not fortunate enough to have either wife or child, but hope that the Holy Lord has blessed you with both. When they were little, would you allow just anyone to interfere with their rest, especially when they were tired?

    If our little babies are worthy of such protective care from our parental hearts, should the Holy Deities not also be loved and cherished at least as much as we love our babies or our parents?

    This is something we must each decide for ourselves. We have seen how Sri Mahaperiyava tirelessly gave of Himself even in His late 90s, even when it was late in the evening. Suppose He had just retired to sleep, how many of us would allow His rest to be disturbed, just because some newly-arrived wished to see him just that very minute?

    Is He not present in very real ways in His mUrta form in the temple just as surely as He used to sit in the SriMatham?

    • Sir
      There is no need for any apologies as you have just put your opinion, just like I did.
      This is a platform for Mahaperiyava devotees and I am also one of them, albeit the least qualified. And to stress once more, I am not an Orthodox Devotee, like many, (though Mahaperiyava is the Central Theme in my Life), and I do not follow most of these orthodox customs, till date.
      Now coming to the debate, the subject matter was very simple.
      1. Some temples being kept open on new year’s eve which was against the agamas and so it was suggested we should protest against such deviations.
      2. I agreed it was a deviation, but I was firm that there is nothing wrong in this as most of of such temples were small/medium temples which have sprung within the last 30-40 years.
      3. But your prolonged arguments only made everyone feel as if I had supported the complete demolition of Dharma Shatras. It is not so.
      But my firm opinion, which I have expressed earlier also, is that we should give importance for internal purity. All other things (including the Agamas an Shastras) come next. Ofcourse when I write this earlier every one quoted Mahaperiyava to prove I was wrong. Yes I was wrong but I HAVE NOT CHANGED MY OPINION ON THIS ASPECT.
      In the changing world, if we have to lead our younger generation towards the Vedic Life, then some external rituals have to be modified. I know it is a transgression but it is inevitable. If we do not do it the younger generation might just break it.
      Mahaperiyava has spoken about ‘Acharas’ and ‘Rituals’, but He has spoken repeatedly more about ethical habits, inner purity, and a God-centred life. I consider this as the fulcrum of his entire Teachings. As I said earlier leading a God-Centric Life with ‘inner-Purity’ as the main condition, is a primary requirement. It is a long journey but everyone can reach the Destination.
      I STAND BY MY COMMENTS. I also know that 99% of the bloggers on this portal will NOT agree with my opinion. Even on earlier occasions, I had received several brickbats for the opinions expressed by me. Everyone has a right to their opinion and there is no need to ‘retort to every comment’. When we disagree we shall do it with decency and let us not have the feeling that we need to correct everyone of their opinion.
      So do not take things to heart. Let us all us continue this journey with our own understanding of Mahaperiyava’s Teachings.

  2. Jai Ma

    My Apologies. What makes/made me angry is an indulgent permission, to allow something to happen.

    Parents tell their children, OH, it is OK. It is alright.

    I see this indulgence taking over too much in India, and in the USA, it is astonishing, even in orthodox homes.

    I am deeply sorry, but in the words of Sri Sridhar, I heard just this type of “modern day” attitude, Oh, let it be, what is the harm? They are “just”…….( add whatever their reason).

    SriSri Mahaswamigal explained in His ekadasi teachings, the point is to create a SHARP break with the attidude, I AM THIS BODY.

    In the Srimadbhagavad Gita, also, SriBhagavan also using the term ATMA in a careful series, just as SriHanuman does in a famous sloka. ATMA is used as SELF, and begins as I AM THE BODY, then I AM THE MIND, finally, I AM THE PURE SOUL.

    Mahaperiyava is saying, break sharply with the notion, I AM THE BODY, by FORCING the body to follow some rules, especially some few rules that are a bit hard, a bit unpleasant, inconvenient. Even if only for short period, MAKE that body become servant to these inconveniences, like fasting for half a day, then full day, etc.

    One of the points for temple rules, MAY BE, and I am no authority, is precisely what Sri Mahaperiyava is saying: NOT making it convenient for the body.

    Now, to urge a solution that allows GREATER CONVENIENCE to the body for whatever reason, greater EASE, relaxation, to my narrow vision, is to go against Mahaswamigal’s urgent caution. What would you senior devotees say?

    Recently, someone published a youtube video of his visit to the holy temple at Ujjain. Sweet man, but he specially praised the hotel staff for being so kind as to wake up at 2 am and make him tea before he attended the mangal arati. He comes out with the tilak, etc. apparently not very aware why we fast, bathe etc. before going to the Mahakaleshwar temple!!

    I am very sure that some few people, mainly younger Indian men, who learn from Youtube all their wisdom, will follow his example and do this very same thing. Go to that same hotel, get up at 2 am, innocently and happily have their chai from the same obliging staff, then go to the temple. People do what they are taught, and their elders show the way. That is the danger.

    Will something terrible have happened? Will the karunavataram Bhagavan Maheshwara not understand, not bless them with love? Of course they will be blessed.

    But you can appreciate the gradual erosion that is taking place all over our country.

    I was watching Sri Dushyanta Sridhar speaking with an Indian lady who seemed to be from a Brahmin family and was interviewing him about many dharma issues, possibly for a westernized Indian audience. The types of questions she was asking, about “idol worship” “karma” etc. shocked me.

    The way she spoke and her manner suggested a foreigner entirely ignorant of our dharma. Perhaps her intended audience were Indians of a similar level that she was trying to inform about important topics. But we are rapidly falling to this level as a society, with Jaggi Vasudev and Ramdev becoming our leading spiritual luminaries, along with SriSri Ravishankar. Two Shri-s!! Some Muslim Pir, another “luminary”, saying Sri Ramana and Sri Ramakrishna were ignorant and illiterate, and Sw. Vivekananda was the “greater” of the two!!! Please verify his words for yourself, and this is a “realized soul” and an exponent of the Upanishads!!!

    But again, my heartfelt apologies to all.

    Sri Ramakrishna use to say, Bhakta, Bhagavan and Bhagavan are equivalent. In that vein, all who come to this site are part and parcel of SriSriMahaswamigal and any insult offred to one is insult to Him, that same seva aparadha and droha i was speaking about. So, deepest apology to Mahaswamigal Himself, most of all.

  3. Thanks all for the feedback.
    As Mahesh suggested earlier it is better we do not get into personal vilification .
    So I just brush aside he comments made by Mr Gautam, as most of it goes above my head.

    But what I said was very clear and I stand by it.
    This New-Year eve celebrations are restricted mostly to small/medium temples in residential areas.
    I fully agree with everyone it is against the Shastras to do such thing.
    But it gives solace to several people and hence I think not to bother about Shanstric injunctions in this respect.
    It is always better to see people go to a temple than to a pub or wine-shop to celebrate New-Year Day,
    But for those who have reached a level above normal human being like me, this may sound absurd and also wrong.

    • One aspect I would like to add here.
      In Tamil Nadu we have a lot of religious groups and publications owing allegiance to Mahaperiyava and His teachings.
      Many of them have been quite admirably performing the Seva in their own little way, but within their limited space
      By and large they are groups of Brahmins and the younger generation forms a very very small part.

      So when Mahesh started this blog I was happy that there was something through which, Mahaperiyava’s teachings could be spread across the globe to most of the younger generation, irrespective of caste and gender.
      Since both Mahesh and Sai Srinivasan were residing in USA, I felt that this portal should be fine-tuned to cater to the needs of these Younger Minds living in far off lands, than the people living in India.

      For that to happen, i think, we should highlight more on the Inner-Transformation of the individual, and the steps prescribed by Mahaperiyava to achieve it.
      His wonderful exposition of various Hymns like Soundaryalahari, His lucid explanation of Adwaita Vedanta, His detailed commentary on our Indian History etc should be more predominantly brought to the notice of these youngsters,
      Once the youngsters are given a taste of ‘Mahaperiyava’s teachings on Inner Transformation, then we can proceed with other aspects.
      Most of these Shastras have to be explained to them in a convincing way, which not be fully possible as of now.
      So I think they should take back seat on this portal for some time to come.
      But if you are going to highlight these small transgressions at the cost of other greater aspects, then it is going to drive away the younger generations, which is not good for out religion as a whole.

      There have been topics on this portals where sparks were flying on ‘orthodox’ issues, which had NO direct significance to the Spiritual Life.
      So with this in mind I keep communicating on this portal.
      Many may NOT agree to my comments.
      But let us be a little decent in disagreeing to any comment.
      That is my request.

  4. Folks – healthy discussion is ok. Let it not cross the limits by disrespecting others. I am sure we are not experts in this area. However, it is clear that things have changed significantly in the past several years when it comes to shastras – no one can argue about it. This posting’s intent is to remind everyone that we should ALWAYS abide by our shastras – no one is above shastras.

  5. The management of the religious affairs should be entrusted to well qualified knowledgeable persons with a professional approach. Let us go into the past and at least in future we all Hindus must take a vow to bring apt professionalism in this regard. The professional qualification in all affairs of the temples should be made mandatory.

  6. Humbly what I feel is What is being preached and practiced are not be in our old customs back 2000 years I HOPE

  7. Very well said. Many Tamilians are not celebrating Tamil new Year but for some reason celebrating January 1st. For Hindu festivals people don’t go to temples but on January 1st they go to temples.

  8. Your message is apt and also true.
    As you rightly said, the temples should be opened and closed strictly as per the Agama-Shastras.
    Most of the old big temples in this country strictly follow this aspect, to a great extent, even today.

    But the Agama-Shastras are explicitly flouted in some temples.
    In Tirupathi the temple is shut around 1 am and opened at 2.30 am the next day.
    On some days the closure is less than 30 minutes,
    Is there no violation of the Agama-Shastra in this ?

    In Tamilnadu atleast, the transgression of rules in mainly in small temples in residential areas
    It is wrong I agree.
    But you have to keep in mind that all of us follow only the Gregorian calendar for every aspect of our lives.
    Infact for our present generation, new year means only 1st Jan.
    The people thronging these temples on New Years eve go with a prayer on their lips and a prayer for their well-being, and they are doing this only to the Lord.
    And you will also agree that people thronging the temples on News Year’s eve are mostly the Middle, Lower-Middle and lower class, who face several problems in the day-to-day life.
    This temple visit for them is a faint hope that everything will be okay in the next year,
    So I personally feel there is nothing wrong in bending the rules slightly on this occasion.

    • Sir, what you say makes sense and seems logical.

      But our Sanatana Dharma has NOT been created by people who have not yet attained the state of a Jeevan Muktha.

      It is eternal, and has strict rules of do’s and Don’ts. There are consequences attached to disobeying these rules.

      If one big temple is disobeying these, we all love to set right that wrong, not make every temple do the same wrong.

      We who have not created it do not have the right to bend or circumvent it. Doing so brings consequences on everybody, and also us, for guiding people in the wrong direction.

      Such disobeying can only lead to vipareetham for all, including those same poor and hard up people we care for.

      Mahaperiyava Himself has always asked us to blindly Obey our Shastras And Sampradayam.

      Is not His word final in everything?

    • Sridhar,

      Respectfully, you are DEAD DEAD DAD WRONG. How wrong, would take a bit to explain, or maybe your samskaras woulld not allow those explanations to penetrate, since you appear pre-programmed to flout the vidhis with your “superior” logical inferences, anyway.

      What is ONE core assumption behind murti puja in a temple?

      Murti means that which has become form, taken shape, mUrta, sAdhakAnAm hitArthAya brahmaNo rUpakalpanA; for the benefit of aspirants, form(s) are attributed to [ created for] Brahman.

      SrimadBhagavat 7.9.11. offers a very detailed explanation. Are you willing to think prayerfully or interpose your own cleverness? Otherwise, it is harmful to express holy scriptures to those immune to their sanctity or contemptuous of their conclusions. Hopefully, since you are on this site, none applies to you.

      Om namo bhagavate Vasudevaya naivAtmanaH prabhurayam nija-lAbha-pUrNo mAnam janad aviduSaH karuNo vRNite yad yad (j) jano bhagavate vidhadhiita mAnam tat (c) cAtmane prati-mukhasya mukhashriiH

      The most Holy Lord is self-fulfilled to the utmost degree nija-lAbha-purNaH. Nothing can be offered for the Lord’s benefit, needs or delectation. Everything done or offered is solely for the devotees’ own benefit.

      If Lord is Adya/AdyA, the Primordial, then only if That Primordial or original, or ‘only” FACE is decorated, the mUrta mUrti, so compassionately vouchsafed by the Holy Lord is decorated, loved, served, it is tantamount to the devotees’ own faces being seen, similarly served, decorated, enhanced. Just as a mirror placed before the real face will be able to show the image, so also the mUrti allows the devotees see their own faces, via the service. The Lord is NOT being served, per se. But only, via His infinite love and compassion, is the devotee being given a pathway to serve him/herself. It is a little more involvd than this, but this is a stepping-off point, that leads deeper and deeper.

      Service in the temple has some condtions. When the temple was founded, there always is a set of samkalpas particular to THAT specific temple that lays out specific and detailed terms of worship and service down to the minute details of foods offered as prasad, who will be allowed to enter or not enter, what the timings of worship will be, what will be the EXACT minutiae of worship.

      For example, there is a temple dedicated to Sri Mahavir, which specifies, 5 bhoga prasadams per day, each of which to consist solely of khichadi. And so it continues to this day.

      In Bengal, ALL Kali temples are open to ALL wrshippers egardless of caste and creed, with the exception of one particular important shrine in Dhaka that has in its original contract particular exclusions. And so those are enforced.

      Likewise, each temple has particular times when the Holy Deity is awakened, the procedures for awakening, what pujas to take place when, what hours of rest for the Holy Deity, when the Deity is to be put to bed for night and temple shut down.

      ATMAVAT SEVA, and Seva aparAdha are 2 very salient principles, Sridhar. How is it that you seem so ignorant of these, and yet come to this website?

      Atamavat Seva means the Deity is to be treated as ONESELF, and more so, as beloved child, or parent, or lover, etc. Don’t you believe that the Holy Diety is alive, after prana pratishtha? You seriously feel that the Deity is NOT working, 365 days a year, not taking any rest, dawn to dusk, taking care of you? Mahaperiyava is not present in HIS form as a mUrti? How would YOU like to be volunteered for such a duty, without any rest, 365 days a year? NO rest even for 6 hours for you at night? May God soon place you in a position where you may learn from your own situation how bitter that will feel.

      You are saying, let the Holy Deity experience any such cruelty, but oh, let Sridhar enjoy all the comforts, without any break. Shame, shame, triple shame. You are no devotee, but an asura. Even asuras had more concern for their chosen deities when they were doing worship.

      YOu are giving orders on how Deities can be deprived of rest, of food, sleep, etc.? Do you realize this is SEVA APARAADHA, one of the worst crimes a devotee or worshipper can commit? You invite an honored guest into your house and then kick him in the face? That is what you are suggesting! Let whatever is suitable for the greedy public be foisted upon the honored visitor? So, if I come to your house and some thousands feel like coming in to chat or take my autograph, that is what you will allow, just because you feel like indulging your own whims and attitudes? Wow! Will that guest ever return to darken your doors?

      This was the original contract made between the founders of that particular temple and the deity. Sridhar, say you work with TCS. You work as per the WORK CONTRACT rules of TCS, NOT of Cognizant. If you do not like the very very specific contract terms of TCS, you are free NOT to engage with them, no? GO to some other firm. Do you feel you have the capacity to change those? Since you are less rich, less powerful, less influential, than TCS, you will meekly wobble your silly head and run fast. But because you feel able to impose DMK tactics, you are confident you can bully Dharma pratishthanas and coerce them, with the help of Govt., liberals, even Owaisi types, right? TCS can give you such a punishment, you will not forget soon, blacklisting you. Cognizant will also remember that this Sridhar is a troublemaker, let us also blacklist him for our own benefit. But Sridhar is pretty confidant that the deities in the temple are mere stone clowns, who have no prana, and are mere toys to be played with, no? Sridhar is their boss? Sri-dhar, that very name is useless, then! It is not about Shrii, but the opposite, vi-Shrii, ku-Shrii.

      Please allow yourself to become educated in the ground rules of what our traditions are. Or else, it is always easy to go to Owaisi and change, like Mr. Rehman and Iliyah Raja’s son did, and throw all our “stupid traditions” into the garbage heap. Millions are doing it, why not one more super-enlightened prAjna vyakti such as you? For it is the ones from within the home who are most effective in undermining the walls of the house, not the opponent without.

      Hare Srinivasa

      • Namaskaram Shri Gautam,

        While I agree with most of the points you said I definitely don’t agree with you getting on a personal attack and being harsh on Shri. Sridhar. There are always going to be varying opinions and the harsher you express, it will only make it less impactful on the opponent which in-turn will deviate from the main subject that is being discussed. If your objective is to get your point across there are subtler ways to do it like Shri. Sayi Suresh did above beautifully.

        In this context, I would like to refer to Deivathin Kural where Sri Periyava has stated this quite a few times. Love should be sole motive for everything even when someone is reprimanded or chided and nothing else. Even when we are putting across a correct message tell it the right way. We should always keep this point in mind. Rama Rama

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