Sabarimala Controversy

The very nature of Human beings is that of dominating the others. Males have dominated women for thousands of years. Males somehow have managed to prove themselves a plane higher than the women. From the very old times, rituals are being practiced which are much more humiliating in nature and much harmful to the dignity of women than current Sabarimala issue. Religions also, have been utilized by men as a tool to dominate. Women have been tortured for hundreds of years under the name of religious practices. Religious authorities have been acting totally against what religions say. It is said that, the greatest risk faced by a religion is  not the one do not accept the religion but the people who administrate it.
The current issue is the controversy of Sabarimala temple. The question mainly focuses on the entry of menstruating women in the holy places. The people who are supporting this ban are raising lame excuses such as sanity of the temple. The first thing to note is that, these temples are the ugliest places that can ever be found in this world. The costumes which one has to wear compulsorily do not imply any hygienic cause; rather it is nothing but a way to rob the visitors. Sabarimala and almost all the religious shrines make it compulsory that you remove your clothes and wear those provided by the temple authority, for which visitors have to pay. These clothes many a times are most unhygienic.  Today with the rise in sanitary provisions, menstruation is not at all unhygienic. So, this excuse is totally a lame one.
The one group of supporters says that those who do not agree with these rules, are free to form a sect worshipping lord Ayappa which allows entry to menstruating women. This statement purely indicates dictatorship. Sbarimala shrine or any shrine is a medium to unite people. If the same medium is being used as a weapon to divide the people, I think it will be even better rather to close the temple. People who do not agree with these rules can form a new sect, but the unfortunate part is that, Sabarimala or any other temple authorities are not willing to change themselves according to the time. This attitude is nothing but dictatorship. If authorities maintain such a stand on these issues, I think, number of sensible people going to such places will reduce drastically.
In the previous days, reaching the shrine was a herculean task. Transport facilities were poor. Most of the holy places were situated on the top of some mountain and it was difficult for the women to reach the temples. Today, the situation is totally different. Facilities right up to the choppers are made available to the visitors. Thinking logically, we can find no reason for which entry of women should be barred from such shrines. The most important thing is that, the devotion of its followers is power of any religion. If holy temples like Sabarimala do not adopt themselves with time, I think, though the number of followers will remain the same, the trust, the faith, the inner love which followers had, will be lost. What will remain will be a bundle of masses going and bowing mechanically in front of the deity. The power of religions which can transform the lives, can give them the fragrance of divine will vanish away.     


More by :  Mandar Karanjkar

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Views: 3326      Comments: 6

Comment @ Raj Krishna: I know that it is very difficult for menstruating women to complete the journey. But so making a rule that they are not allowed inside is a foolishness. It is like a baby cant speak well, so it is not allowed even to mumble words. We should develop sanitation facilities. It can be done without nature being affected. Eco friendly toilets, washrooms which neither pollute nor harm the serenity have been developed. We should use them rather than barring the women.
And yes, those who are established even do not need an advertise. So, at such places, no priest and tumblers are needed. People are faithful enough to donate lakhs of rupees without they being asked for it. And I challenge, if this voluntary donation stops, temple authority will plant priests with tumblers every where.

22-Jan-2011 21:31 PM

Comment From my perspective all the hardships and sacrifice makes one truly redeem oneself . I have been visiting the temple for few years and would say it would be really difficult for a lady in menstruating period to undertake the journey due to the terraain & sanitation facilities .Though sanitation can be done nothing can be done on the terrain as the temple is in the middle of Periyar wildlife sanctuary . So far animals and devotees have co existed peacefully thanks to lack of Modern transportation and pollution.
Addressing the comments on looting(!) this is a temple where no one forces to give contribution.You cannot do it even from practical point of view as there will be many thousands who will pass infront of the deity in an hours time .One would be lucky if she/he gets more than a second to stand and see the God . In so many years of visits i have not seen the priest with the customery tumbler for taking contribution . All money and oferings are deposited in hundi .I have seen far more commercialised places where the priest demands money .As far as I have seen there are no helipads or such places which can take a helicopter which is mentioned by the writer .The black robes are to be brought the day one undertakes the plan to visit sabarimala which normally is many days earlier to the travel.One is expected to wear this clothes throughout the "vratam"period - a period of minimal needs .
There are a lot of improvements which needs to be done especially sanitation .
The day it becomes a tourist centre with all amenities it will loose its sanctity as well as it will be the last day for the wild animals .
Why are we modern men so hell bent on commercialising every place of wilderness , purity and sanctity ?

I wonder if the writer has ever visited the place .

Raj Krishna
15-Jan-2011 11:49 AM

Comment @ Parmesh: Thanks a lot for giving a thought. What I have written about is not only about Sabarimala Temple. It is about many shrines and their tendencies. For example, Padmanabh Tmple makes it compulsory to wear white lungi or like that. So, tourists have to take these robes on rent from authorities only as they are not aware about the rules. And yes, I am not saying that temples authorities are not religious. They are. But as you said, change should be adopted....

28-Dec-2010 22:00 PM

Comment You make a good point about menstruating women being prevented from visiting the temple. In a religion which gives equal importance to Devi worship, it does not make any sense to follow this outdated custom. It is the duty of every Hindu to protest against this and rectify a wrong done to the women.

Having said that, there are some inaccuracies in your piece that I wish to point out. The Sabarimala temple authorities do not make it compulsory to wear only clothes provided by them. Neither does any other temple I have visited. Yes, it is customary to wear only black for the Ayyappans, but this does not need to be purchased from the temple.

As a visitor to the Sabarimala shrine, I can attest to the high level of devotion and spiritual fervor of the devotees, as they face numerous hardships en route to the hilltop shrine. Lord Ayyappa is called Annadana Prabhu, the giver of food, and it is evident in ample measure all around, with free food supplied all through the mandala kalam. Yes, some archiac rules need to be changes, and it is the duty of every Hindu to contribute to this change. Sanatana Dharma has always adopted to change, and will continue to do so.

27-Dec-2010 15:27 PM

Comment @ Vijay: Thanks a lot for commenting sir!

22-Dec-2010 05:00 AM

Comment It is true that the authorities in temples are making such ridiculous rules only to loot the visitors. We have to change with time. The sensible people should stop following such practices and slowly change will happen.

22-Dec-2010 04:28 AM

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