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August - September 2008
Yesterday I received a copy of the magazine in which you have published my article – many thanks for both.
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KERALA AND TEMPLE VANDALISM
There is a seamy and malevolent side to the halcyon picture of Kerala as a beautiful, culturally rich panorama. That is the endemic, ongoing attacks on the Hindu way of life and civilization in the form of temple vandalism, murti destruction, and violent assaults on spiritual personalities. Isolated examples of fraudulent swamis have been exposed and used by the political elite to attack Hindu Dharma and Hindu institutions as a whole. The culminating effect is to drive out and eradicate living Hindu culture and sanskars. It is alleged that these forays are conducted by Kerala’s Marxist youth in the context of the Keralan government’s official hunt for fake “godmen”. Not even such a world renowned personality as Ma Amritanandamayi and her charitable institution have been exempt from the cold scrutiny of the LDF and its henchmen.
The latest drive occurred in May 2008 when a state wide array of assaults took place upon the facilities of Holy Persons and Hindu Swamis in Kerala. Hordes of up to 400 individuals , blackmasked in some instances, have swarmed into many temples and ashrams, intimidating occupants and smashing up everything in sight.
One person whose ashrams have been the target of such attacks is HH Swami Atmachaithanya of Uppaychal, Kerala (www.atmachaithanya.org). He has been visiting the United Kingdom for the past 18 years, and for the past 6 years Europe, Australia & New Zealand, America. Many educated and knowledgeable people in the UK are Swami’s devotees and supporters. He stands for the Truth, helps anyone with their health and gives healing and unconditional love to everyone. In Kerala he has been carrying out many charitable activities such as free food and healthcare and free school books and financial assistance with house constructions, especially with the adivasis. Many of his devotees and supporters have experienced positive changes in their lives through their association with him.
“I would just like to write briefly in support of Swami Atmachaithanya. I first met Swamiji around 9 years ago. He has been one of the very few people I have been able to confide in over the years. He has helped me through the deaths of both of my parents with his support, advice and prayers. When I have had personal problems he was the only person I could turn to for help. His prayers for me made me feel that however bad things may appear on the surface, I would receive healing through our mutual connection. He has also helped me frequently with his homeopathic remedies for a chronic health condition for which doctors have no treatment to offer. There is no charge for Swamiji's help, healing and support. He travels all over the world helping people with their spiritual, mundane and health problems.” Claudine Godber, London (UK).
Swami’s Ashrams are open to people of any background or religion to pursue their spiritual practices such as meditation and worship (Bhakti Yoga).
On the 21st and 23rd May 2008 Swami’s two ashrams near Kannur were attacked by mobs the Ganesha and Nag murtis, worshipped daily over decades, were overturned and smashed. All the windows and doors in another ashram were demolished. The elderly mother of Swami was pelted and injured with stones and the lives of the attendants at the other ashram were threatened. They were told that Kerala had no place for sadhus, that such people should leave Kerala and go to the Himalayas to practice their calling. Protection and intervention by the State Police has been tardy.
The Keralan government usually explains any temple vandalism, theft of sacred icons and destruction of spiritual institutions as the natural outcome of social tensions between various Hindu organizations. Yet we learn that in Kerala itself there have been largescale killings of Hindu office bearers and members belonging to VHP, RSS, BJP and other Hindu organizations. It is alleged that such murders are the carefully orchestrated work of CPI members and their supporters. We find it frightening should the present government provide a protective shield to those committing such aggressive and destructive attacks.
It is in the Hindu temples of Kerala (and other Indian states) where the world’s most powerful rituals for puja are still practiced. Such temple rituals in Kerala result in the strong evocation and presence of the various aspects of the deities of Bhagavan – these extremely high vibrations are very powerful contributing to more positive, peaceful and loving environment worldwide. One result of the sacrilege and destruction of these temples is a lowering of such positive energies, a hurling down of humanity into chaos and Adharma.
It is the right of Keralans who believe in Hinduism to keep the temple customs and traditions alive in Kerala. Hindu Dharma is the main spring of the development of the artistic, cultural, culinary, spiritual, social and medicinal aspects which give Kerala its unique flavour and appeal – a significant attraction for tourists and pilgrims from India and abroad.
Kerala is said to be the land of educated people and in fact Kerala’s office of Tourism refers to it as “God’s own country”. Meanwhile, in the same breath, the government and its protagonists pursue a policy of harassment and destruction of the very quality they use as their calling card. They are intent upon destroying the very essence of cultural and spiritual India, namely the temples as well as those who impart such qualities.
The time has come for the righteous people of Kerala and India to stand up to this abominable destruction. The politicians, influential people and organizations as well as Indian representations worldwide (the High Commissions) are requested to act rather than keeping up a wall of silence.