Spiritual leader and Isha Foundation head Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev made an impassioned appeal to the Tamil Nadu government to free temples from their clutches. He said, “Temples should be managed by the community.” Emphasising the importance and need of temples for the Hindus, Sadhguru said, “A temple is not just a palace for prayer, it is the soul of this community.” In a video message, uploaded on social media platforms, Sadhguru said many temples are dying a slow death in Tamil Nadu and urgently require the intervention of the devotees to bring them to life. Highlighting the poor condition of temples and temple management in Tamil Nadu, Sadhguru said “11,999 temples dying without a single pooja taking place. 34,000 temples struggling with less than Rs 10,000 a year. 37,000 temples have just one person for pooja, maintenance, security etc!” He explained how the East India Company had looted the wealth of the rich Indian temples in the 1700s. “Nothing has changed since Independence”, he added. Throwing light on the cultural significance of temples in Tamil Nadu, he said towns in the state were built around temples. It was not that a town was developed and then a temple was built in it. Managing temples won’t be easy but it’s better left to the devotees, he added. “Even if it is at the cost of our lives, we will manage it.” In a case of land encroachment of temples in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court had noted in November last year “...the HR&CE Department, which is the custodian of the temple properties, has not taken any steps to protect the interests of temples, though the subject falls within its purview. Such a callous attitude on their part cannot be countenanced.”
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