In Kannada, there is a phrase, “Sankata bandaga Venkataramana”, meaning we go to God only when we are in trouble. The ancestors who formed these phrases were all intelligent and great thinkers. They imagined all sorts of situations and have phrased some fantastic phrases as above which, in just about a few words, unfolds the gist of whole purpose of life and the human actions. But even they didn’t think of a situation where Venkataramana himself fell in danger!!!!!
True. The founders of those phrases, how brilliant let them be, couldn’t even imagine this situation. The situation has arrived; And Venkataramana is in trouble now. Call it anything, in Tirumala, abode of Lord Venkateshwara; there are some people, who have started calling the God as a ‘black stone decorated with garlands’!!! Do we go there to see this black stone?!! How can a small man ever understand the deep inherent science of worship, being practiced in Hinduism, behind that black stone? But its true that some un healthy things are happening in Tirumala, the aftermath of the Govt. change in Andhra Pradesh, in which state Tirumala exists.
One Rajashekhara Reddy Samuel, a converted Christian himself and the present CM of Andhra Pradesh, is said to be behind all these thick skinned attack on the Hindu pilgrims at the premier institute of Hindu religion. No need to say the Catholic heroin(ala Sonia Gandhi) is motivating YRS Redddy to indulge in all these things.(Well…these are the points raised by some Hindu fanatics, lets not dig these), but lets consider the fact-findings by a committee against these silent religious attacks on Hinduism.
I list here some of the important points found by the fact finding committee.
1. Propagation of Christianity with an ulterior motive of conversion is taking place in Tirupathi and Tirumala.
2. Shop Nos. 192 and 72 in the Shopping Complex are run by Sri Jamal Khadar and Maithri, both Muslims
3. Opposite to Lepakshi Emporium, there are about 50 Nepali shopkeepers who are Christians and they also offer prayers on Sundays, reading Bible and other Christian religious material in Tirumala.
4. About 40 Muslim shopkeepers also are there in Tirumala. They offer Namaz on Fridays in Tirumala. There are also some Muslim hawkers mostly from Kadiri (Ananthapur District).
5. TTD also stated that they did not verify the religion particulars of the contract labourers and also scouts and guides.
6. The Committee is informed that various illegal activities both at Tirumala and Tirupathi are going on, such as sale and consumption of liquor, sale and consumption of meat, flesh trade, gambling etc.
7. It is also brought to the notice of the Committee that cow slaughter is also going on in down hill at Tirupathi near D.R. Mahal and that the meat is being transported to Tirumala clandestinely.
8. TTD Kalyana Mandapam at Nagalapuram is being used by the Christians for their prayer congregations and for performance of Christian marriages. Near Sree Rama and Siva Temple in Tirupathi, Christian prayers and propagation of religion are taking place intercepting the Hindu devotees visiting the temples and persuade them to join Christianity.
9. The newly constituted Specified Authority in place of the Board of Trustees (the term of which has expired) is being headed by Sri D. Rosaiah, I.A.S. who is said to be a Christian.
10. The Tourism Department is going to take up erection and operation of Rope Way from Tirupathi to Tirumala. It is also learnt that the Tourism Department plans to establish Multiplexes, Food Courts and other Entertainment and Recreational Spots on Tirumala Hills. The Committee feels that in order to facilitate the activities of Tourism Department on the hills, the area of TTD is restricted to two hills covering an area of 27.5 sq.kms.
The Division Bench has observed in the judgment of a Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court reported in 1997(2) ALD Page 59 (DB) – Tallapakam Koppu Raghavan Vs State of A.P. as follows: -
"Although there is no documentation available as the origin is lost in antiquity, there is no attempt made before us to question the ownership of the Lord Venkateswara of Seven Hills. This being true and a real concept the Board of Trustees, the Committee or the Executive Officer are only administrators of the property of Lord Venkateswara. They can have no right of ownership in themselves and they cannot thus decide to do anything against the interest of the right of the owner i.e., in the instant case, Lord Venkateswara. Once the ownership is resolved and the right to administer is deemed to vest as provided under Article 26 of the Constitution of India in the plurality of the devotees and regulated by the provisions of the Act and Rules framed there under, no administrator, whether appointed under the Act or otherwise can take liberty to destroy the sanctity and Holiness of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams and domain, as we have already held, extends to all the Seven Hills called 'Tirumala'."
Also in the same judgment,
"It is not in dispute that pilgrims in thousands and millions in number sometimes visit the temple and there is no day which is not full of activities of the pilgrims and various rituals, pooja and rites of the cult preserved since antiquity and no part of the Seven Hills, except some secular activities which are essential for the service of Lord Venkateswara, is free from religious activities in and around the temple right from the Foot Hills on all sides."
11. The Committee is of the considered opinion that restricting the area of TTD to only 21 KMs covering 2 hills, runs counter to the ancient texts and age old traditions and practices of the temple and that the Hindus always considered Sri Venkateswara as Lord of the Seven Hills and lakhs of devotees climb the Seven Hills with utmost devotion and reverence bare footed chanting the names of Lord Venkateswara. The Committee further feels that opening the Seven Hills to the Tourism Department will destroy the sanctity, serenity and spirituality of the Seven Hills and will seriously hurt the feelings of the Hindus throughout the Country and the World.
12. It is brought to the notice of the Committee that previously Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Samithi was organizing various activities like Harikathas, devotional lectures and concerts in religious music and dance by eminent artists. Now, the name Hindu has been removed and a Dharma Prachara Parishad is in its place which is hardly conducting any religious discourses by eminent Hindu spiritual leaders and is not conducting any religious cultural activities by prominent artists. The members of the public further expressed that eminent Hindu spiritual leaders should be invited to give discourses regularly at important places through out the country and even abroad. They are of the further opinion that contributions of the devotees running into Hundreds of Crores should be utilized only for Hindu Religious and Dharmic activities and various service activities in the name of Lord Venkateswara only. The funds should not be diverted to other activities.
13. Devasthanam has donated considerable land to a Muslim organization for construction of Mosque which has seriously hurt and agitated Hindus and arousing their religious sentiments. Several persons have expressed that more than 35,000 temples in the State are not having any means for performing daily pooja and donating for other religions is wholly unwarranted.
Above notes are those extracted from a report formulated by a committee formed to find the facts first hand at the holy land of Tirumala and Tirupati.
His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Visweswara Theertha of Pejavar Mutt, Udupi, requested the members viz., Sri Justice G. Bikshapathy, Sri Justice K.B. Siddappa, former Judges of Andhra Pradesh High Court, Sri T.S. Rao, former Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, Smt. Dr. P. Geervani, former Vice-Chancellor of Sri Padmavathi Mahila Viswa Vidyala and Sri Dr. R. Shrihari, Former Vice-Chancellor of Dravidian University, Kuppam, to function as a Fact Finding Committee under the Chairmanship of Sri Justice G. Bikshapathy to ascertain the factual position as regards the activities of Non-Hindu religious communities in Tirumala and Tirupathi and to furnish a report to His Holiness for considering the steps to be taken to prevent undesirable activities of the Christian and other Non-Hindu Communities.