India’s most popular pilgrim centre, Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD), is experiencing fireworks over morality ahead of the New Year.A major controversy is brewing between Tridandi Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamy and the TTD administration. The Jeeyar’s comment that the temple has been turned into a club and much of its sanctity has been lost has kicked up a row that threatens to spread to the seven hills.
The Jeeyar, who is held in high esteem and is considered the repository of vedic knowledge is unhappy that the government and administration are turning the temple into a tourist centre, violating its purity and sanctity.
But many have expressed shock and consternation at the Swamy’s open criticism of a temple, that is identified with AP’s preeminent place in pilgrimage tourism.
The BJP spokesperson from Tirupathi, Bhanu Prakash found fault with the comments of Jeeyar Swamy and said that it is not right on the part of Swamy to find fault with the TTD. He said that comparing the TTD with a club is objectionable and that Swamy must withdraw these comments.
Banu Prakash said Tirupati is a renowned place and it would hurt the sentiments of millions across the globe. “Small mistakes here and there will happen in such a huge temple complex. But to compare it with a club is going too far.”But, a member of the Temple Properties Protection Committee NVVS Prabhakar thinks otherwise. He saw in the Jeeyar Swamy’s criticism much truth and wanted the TTD’s ‘dharmic asthan’ to be kept in tact. He found fault with TTD for “going western” like celebrating new year on January 1. For the Telugu people and for religious places, Ugadi is the new year he said.
Citing this exmaple, Prabhakar said that taking these kind of things into account, Jeeyar Swamy must have made those comments and there is nothing to find fault with him, he opined.Another religious leader, who wanted anonymity, said the TTD was being highly commercialised. “Lord is not a money spinner, we should stop this practice.”