Temples, Priests and Corruption!
I wanted to write a blog about the above topic for the past few weeks and interestingly Kavitha has raised the same issue in one of her blogs. TJ Swami has posted a blog detailing the plight of the brahmins in today's world. So I thought it would be wise for me to write about it today.
I have visited almost all the temples in Tamil Nadu and for me they are my passion. At this moment, I would like to thank my Divine Mother for taking me to these beautiful temples during my childhood days. But nowdays, I hesistate going to temples like Chidambaram, Palani and Tiruchendur because of the corrupt priests whose only goal is to make money out of you! Last december, we went to Tiruchendur to do an abhishekam to Lord Muruga. We met one of the temple's main priest Veerbahu Iyer's son who has been performing pujas every year and sending Vibhuthi to my aunty in London. My aunty wanted to give him 50 pounds, so my Mother and I met him and gave him the money and told him that we wanted to perform an abhishekam. He told us that he can do it, and also asked us to come to the temple in the early morning to perform the pooja. So next day early morning, he and his brothers were ready to do the pooja and we went to the temple and performed the abhishekam to Lord Muruga which went really well. Then the climax came, and all his brothers, cousins, uncles, sons, grandfathers, nephews rounded us for money!!! Not only the priests but even the security guards rounded us! We ended giving 100/- notes to each of them and still the priests werent happy. Mind you we gave 50 pounds just the night before apart from the money we paid towards the abhishekam! What the heck! We had a tough time coming out from these priests and I vowed not to go to Tiruchendur anymore!!
According to me Chidambaram is the worst temple when it comes to corrupted priests! There would be a priest in every sanithi asking you for your address and other details, and if you give them your address, then you are dead!! They end up coming to your houses asking for money saying that they are doing some pooja! You cant even say no to them and you end up giving money! Palani is horrid! There the priests used to scratch the navapashanam (9 herbal elements) on the statue of Lord Murugan and sell it, and now poor Lord Muruga's back is completely removed!
Why do these priests behave like this? I heard the Chidambaram temple is not run by the government. So the priests have to find their own earnings and I was told that they eat only the prasadam that was given to Lord Nataraja. But is this the way to earn money? We go to temples for peace but these priests and security guards dont let us get us any peace in there!
Contrary to what Kavitha said, I loved the temples of Tiruvanamalai and Madurai. There everything seems to be regulated. Last January when I did a sanghabhishekam in Tiruvanamalai, the entire monetary process was coordinated by the temple secretary. We didnt have a single problem and at the end we were very happy.
I guess its high time the government does something and regulates these priests and also make sure they have proper earnings for them to live properly. Your views would be appreciated.