Hindu Temples in a truly Dharmic State

In response to an innocuous question from a gentleman, yrs truly tweet stormed him

The gentleman being the patient @by2kaafi , he bore with me. I decided to just leave it here in the form of a short post.

How should Hindu enterprises operate in a truly Dharmic state?

we define Hindu enterprises as – Family/clan temples, dhArmika pAThashAlas for advanced study in Indic topics that are financed by specific communities. They would operate independently with oversight by independent body composed of people across all Hindu castes. Almost 80% of temples and maThas will come under this category.

Temples and maThas should be allowed independence and only restricted from indulging in fraud, money laundering or other illegal activities. Oversight should also be provided to confirm if office bearers are being rotated across all parts of the temple’s worshipper community and if selection is based on free and fair means, elections to be held where no tradition exists.

Money from endowments should be spent ONLY for activities related to purpose of endowment. Transparency in accounts, employee welfare, cultural and philanthropic engagement will all be monitored by this oversight body. Most importantly, wealth and income of the temple vests with the temple and temple management authority is to be allowed leeway in expenditure, subject to the condition that all sections of devotees are represented on temple board.

Various arts – classical, folk music and dance painting, puppetry should be associated with temples. The tradition of AstAna vidwAn, vidushi, is to be re-introduced in all temples with income > 1Cr pa, with honorarium and obligation to perform in important festivals. Such artists to be drawn from local population or trained experts to be provided employment. thEvAra oduvArs, prabandham singers, aRaiyars, gotipuas, gomantaks will come under this category and competitions held among temples. Grand prize giving ceremonies to be held by the State on the special occasions in each region, like Pongal, Bihu etc. Each temple having income > 5 crores pa should necessarily have a gaushAla If income > 10 crores pa, a pAThashAla with periodic shrauta and Agamic yajna performances. All orphans will become wards of the State and be placed under the protection of maThs/temples. Destitute and derelicts to be provided occupation, irrespective of caste in temple kitchens, in flower garland preparation, maintenance, security duties, forestry of sacred groves. Temples to be grouped into clusters, for protection of IP relating to preparation of food, cosmetics, worship practices, cultural artefacts, ayurvedic treatments. In all these, the State shall have an organizing role and oversight. Individual temples shall pick their own areas of interest.

By the very nature of practice, worship and rituals are to be managed through oversight and consultation with vaidika, shAstra and Agama experts, but eventually individual practice shall prevail, as determined by chief priests appointed to the temple.

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