Jun 25, 2012

Bharatiya Hindu Temple, Troy Petition

Now copied and pasted below is the text of the Bharatiya Hindu Temple Troy, Michigan Petition from change.org website; here is one more instance of a totally avoidable and unnecessary altercation.  It is not known who the author of this petition is but it appears that there are more than 350 supporters.

Everyone seems to have his/her interpretation of the rituals of Hinduism but fortunately most agree on 50 to 80% rituals of of Sanata Dharma.  I don't believe in the superstition of "accumulation of energy" in deities in any Hindu temple.  Why?  Because it is not a fact.  A deity is an object that is a symbolic representation of God.   The deity has zero energy in it  

"Shorter Balaji" is really funny.  The height, size, weight, color etc. of a deity is a convention more than anything else.  In my opinion, replacing one murthi with a different one should not make any real difference to anyone.  Petty issues like this take the Sanatana out of Sanatana Dharma IMO.  There is no North Indian/South Indian/UP/Tamil/Telugu/Punjabi/Bengali/Kannada/Malyali/Gujrati Sanatana Dharma even though there are community groups of these flavors.

But can 350 supporters be wrong?  If this petition ends up having 3,500 supporters, can they be wrong?  Given that many Hindus understand Hinduism superficially and/or ritualistically, I would say Yes.  There are overwhelmingly more ignorant Hindus than those who know Hinduism.  I have been to the Bharatiya Temple in Troy, Michigan and its pretty good.
   

Bharatiya Temple Petition at change.org

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We want Our Current Laxmi-Narayana to Stay! Do Not Send Them Away!!

Do you build a Temple for God or choose the Deity/God for the Temple you have built? Would you throw away your parents because they are or look old? Would you get rid of them for aesthetic reasons because your house is too beautiful to house an aging set of parents? Would you disown your them and get a set of new parents who fit better in your beautiful house?

This is what the Bharatiya Temple, Troy, Michigan Board of Trustees is planing to do to their Temple's currently Presiding Deities of Laxmi-Narayana who to many of us, are living God. They plan to get rid of them and install a new set of Deities because they do not fit in the aesthetics of the newly constructed building.
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The Board of Trustees of Bharatiya Temple has decided without ever giving any reason to its membership that it will do away with the current presiding Deities of Laxmi-Narayana and bring the new Deities during the Pran Pratishtha ceremony, June 13-17, 2012. Here are few facts:

1. Current Deities have been worshiped for last thirty years, have been deemed auspicious and have done good to the local Hindu community. It is believed by most Hindus that as a result of these thousands of worships they must have accumulated a tremendous amount of energy.

2. BOT of Year 2012 has gone back on the promises and decisions made by previous BOTs during previous years. These previous BOTs had promised that the current Vigrahas will be transferred to new Temple building.

3. This year’s (2012) BOT has not given any official reason for getting rid of current deities. The reason told informally is that it is being done for aesthetic reasons as the Vigrahas are already 30 years old (Temples in India have Vigrahas which are thousands of years old) and that our current Deities turn out, due to an oversight by people involved, to be few inches shorter than one of the new statues (of Balaji) that was ordered from India for new installation. Thus, with a backward logic BOT chose to order new presiding Laxmi Narayana deities rather than correcting their mistake by ordering the shorter Balaji.

4. A committee appointed by BOT recommended after discussing with several religious authorities, that the current Laxmi-Narayana should be installed as the presiding deities in the new Temple. These authorities said that there is absolutely no reason to replace a function Deities if the results of their worships have been positive. Several independent Hindu authorities have said that abandoning the worship of functioning Deities is Maha-papam (super-sin).

5. BOT currently intends to give the Deities away, although it has not confirmed whom they will be given. Many in community feel that it is very inappropriate to give away the accumulated positive energy in them which is hard earned by the sincere worship by our priests and community during last thirty years.

6. BOT was asked, five months ago, to hold a general body meeting to decide this issue in February on the ground that these very Deities define the Temple and hence the issue was too big to just be decided by a board of 15 members. BOT declined this request on the ground of “not enough time” to call general body meeting.

7. As indicated in (4) above, BOT ignored the recommendations of the committee. Consequently, two members of this four member committee resigned in disgust.

8. BOT also ignored a petition requesting not to get rid of these Deities. This petition was signed by more than 200 people but BOT stated albeit without any justification that since most people did not understand what they were signing for, hence the petition can be ignored. The petition had signatures from several previous BOT members, previous presidents of the Temples, members and chairs of current and previous Religious Committee, members of the Pran-Pratishtha Committee and many other committees. But BOT deemed the collective wisdom of all these as unreliable.

9. During a dinner meeting organized by BOT on June 3, 2012, many devotees questioned BOT’s decision and wanted it to reverse it. BOT cut the discussion off for the reason of lack of time. No future meeting was either offered or promised to allow membership to discuss this important issue with BOT.

10. Many members of the Hindu community including young adults, have written to BOT or conveyed to it orally their objections, disagreement and disappointment with BOT’s justification as unjustified or inappropriate or against the Hindu religious practices/norms or the Maha-papam (Super-sin). Many have testified that they are sentimentally and emotionally attached to the current Deities. Many devotees have told BOT that they view these deities as the living God. However, BOT seems to consider the egos of certain people more important than the voice of the community and continue to ignore community’s genuine concerns. 

11. BOT has no concrete plan as to what will be done of current Deities. It has given the impression that if the fate of the current deities remains undecided even after Pran-Pratishtha, it will prevent the worship of the current Deities once the Pran-Pratishtha of new Deities is done. The presumed reason of their insecurity is that many of the devotees will continue to come to current Deities instead of going to new Temple. This prevention is contrary to the prevalent belief that a functioning Deity should be worshipped regularly on a daily basis.

Clearly, whether Temple member or not, the BOT’s these actions and decision hurt the sentiments of many Hindus. Please sign this petition and forward this petition to your friends and fellow devotees as well as to other religious authorities so as to persuade the Bharatiya Temple Troy, MI BOT to right the wrong they are currently committing. If you wish to send the BOT members an email, here are their email addresses:

TribhovanPatel@yahoo.com, bpgarapati@hotmail.com, kansarav@gmail.com,
anantb@sbcglobal.net, anandvj@hotmail.com, doctor0072@yahoo.com,
ggarg@comcast.net, gayatrigarg@yahoo.com, johnandbindu@gmail.com,
Khattree@gmail.com, mdiwan01@yahoo.com, nate.viswanathan@us.army.mil, oakfamily@gmail.com, premkhilanani@yahoo.com, rkmohindra@yahoo.com, ramu@trinity-health.org, sri.ram@mac.com

Sincerely,

Laxmi Narayana Devotee

[Your name]

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely false propaganda. Of course you are entitled to your own views. It is a free country

For your info, this item is for discussion on today's agenda for BOT meeting. If the decision has already been made to abandon the Dieties, as claimed by you, then what is the point of its being on today's agenda. This is all hearsay.
Dr R Mohindra, Trustee,Board, BT

Cleveland Desi said...

@ Dr. Mohindra: Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

About the post by Mohindra, either the post is not by Mohindra himself or he is blatantly lying. Absolutely false propaganda? Which part of the petition is he questioning? All of it? That certainly cannot be true because I know that most of it is certainly true. Possibly, all of it is true. Further, it is hard to believe that they did not think of what to do with the murthies all this time before their Pran-pratishtha and will discuss it first time in today’s meeting. That is not what I felt during conversations when I visited the Troy Temple.

I was in Bharatiya Temple during the month of May during the Balaji grand function and there was a lady collecting signatures for this petition asking BOT to keep the murties. When I returned during their Pran –Pratishtha in June, I was told by people involved in the decision making that the Temple had considered and started exploring the process for immersing the murthies into the Detroit River but the State of Michigan as well as US Army Corp had denied the permission to do so. That means the sensitive issue was well and alive then and their trustees including Mohindra had discussed the plans of removing the murthies from the premises. The petition with 350 signatures at change.org (browse by phrase Bharatiya Temple), was already active then and I suppose the meeting to discuss plan that Mohindra mentions is a result of these petitions. The local Cleveland Temple priest was also present there for this ceremony and may be, he knows more about this issue than I do. Contrary to what this trustee claims, I know the issue is genuine and not a false propaganda at all and I recommend that Cleveland community should support this petition. By Mohindra’s comment with false claim, I now also believe that their BOT members cannot be trusted for what they say. If this can happen in Detroit then this can also happen anywhere else, especially when a precedence has been set.

So, I urge everyone to support this petition.

Anonymous said...

About the post by Mohindra, either the post is not by Mohindra himself or he is blatantly lying. Absolutely false propaganda? Which part of the petition is he questioning? All of it? That certainly cannot be true because I know that most of it is certainly true. Possibly, all of it is true. Further, it is hard to believe that they did not think of what to do with the murthies all this time before their Pran-pratishtha and will discuss it first time in today’s meeting. That is not what I felt during conversations when I visited the Troy Temple.

I was in Bharatiya Temple during the month of May during the Balaji grand function and there was a lady collecting signatures for this petition asking BOT to keep the murties. When I returned during their Pran –Pratishtha in June, I was told by people involved in the decision making that the Temple had considered and started exploring the process for immersing the murthies into the Detroit River but the State of Michigan as well as US Army Corp had denied the permission to do so. That means the sensitive issue was well and alive then and their trustees including Mohindra had discussed the plans of removing the murthies from the premises. The petition with 350 signatures at change.org (browse by phrase Bharatiya Temple), was already active then and I suppose the meeting to discuss plan that Mohindra mentions is a result of these petitions. The local Cleveland Temple priest was also present there for this ceremony and may be, he knows more about this issue than I do. Contrary to what this trustee claims, I know the issue is genuine and not a false propaganda at all and I recommend that Cleveland community should support this petition. By Mohindra’s comment with false claim, I now also believe that their BOT members cannot be trusted for what they say. If this can happen in Detroit then this can also happen anywhere else, especially when a precedence has been set.

So, I urge everyone to support this petition.

Cleveland Desi said...

@ Anonymous on June 28: Thank you for the comment.

Anonymous said...

I think this is because of the changes in the organization every year. Whenever new people take place in the BOT, the views and ideas are changing.The new comers in the Board never cares about what was the promises given by the previous Board and they take their own decisions ignoring all the advises of the dedicated people who start the temple.This process is not really going to helpful for any of the religious organization.When some group of people started the temple they have some good vision and many ideas of how to develop the temple. And later on once the temple is completed so many new comers are joining the temple (because there is temple,they never show up when all the pain was taken by the starters(like founders)) as donors,volunteers and trying to push their own views in the Board.This is really painful to see the way the temples are running. My opinion is Whoever the founders are there ,they should really jump in and take the initiative to resolve the problem because they are the one who put their real time and pain to build this temple.

Cleveland Desi said...

Non-founding community members contribute by money or effort to temples and community organizations and therefore they feel entitled to a role in the functioning.

Founding members believe that since they gave birth to the temple/community organization, they have a superior/senior right in the functioning. Its a clash between these two position plus the usual Indian issues like language, state, egos etc.

If the standard is what is right for the temple/community organization, then maybe maybe these kinds of situations can be avoided.

Anonymous said...

Bharatiya Temple was/is a cultural/community show center. Temple is a side show.

Anonymous said...

If someone says that the religion is a side show at Troy Temple then why do they have so many more Deities there in the new building? What you must instead say is that Bharatiya Temple is more welcoming and less region/language specific than other Temples in US.

Having said that, it is the administration who implemented an ill conceived idea and the congregation/members have to (literally) pay for it.

Issue about shorter Balaji is not funny at all. The point is that the baseline reference point, if that matters, for comparison should have been the size of the original presiding deity murties and not the one they just purchased.

Even old retired flags receive more respect than what Temple administration is giving to the original Deities. Undeniably, they stands for something much more than a flag.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous: What is the source (HTML link, book, author, paper?) of your information for the baseline reference point for Balaji at the Bharatiya Temple of Troy Michigan?

Anonymous said...

Source of information for baseline reference point? You probably misunderstood what I meant. The point is, for exmaple, you choose someone to marry you by comparing his or her height or social status to that of yours. You do not (or cannot)adjust your height/social status based on who you want to marry. In other words, the baseline reference point to make any comparison is you and not the other person. The same idea applies here. The baseline reference point is the presiding deity for whom the Temple is/was constructed and everything else should be done by taking the presiding deity as the reference point. For this Temple, the new Balaji was supposed to be an added feature and its addition should be governed by the central feature which were the original Laxmi-Narayana deities.

In any case, important point is that their Board should not compound on their already ill conceived actions and the only way to stop them (or should we say stop their ego inflation) is by petitioning them in large numbers. "Absolutely false propaganda" phrase mentioned by a Troy Temple BOT member here in this blog just shows that either they are still in denial or they have lost their sense of ethics to blatantly deny the occurances of well known real events and developments that have taken place so far.

Please sign the petition. The address is:

http://www.change.org/petitions/the-bharatiya-temple-we-want-our-current-laxmi-narayana-to-stay-do-not-send-them-away

Cleveland Desi said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for the comments. I believe it is Dr. Ramesh Mohindra of Bharatiya Temple of Troy and not someone pretending to be him. He has not elaborated why he thinks this is false propaganda, so the details are missing.

Anonymous said...

Stop bickering.

Anonymous said...

people dont understad the men and women in power at temples are entitle to do anything they want, have an entrance fee to the temple like in Tirupati, run the temple in any way they see fit because they are in the board. simble.