The beauty about Sanathana Dharma is that you can be an Agama follower or a non-ritualistic, a Shaivite or a Vaishnavite, a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, you can follow any of the six schools of worship, or you can even be an atheist. You can attain Nirvana by any means. The ritualistic Agama worship is the most layman form of worship although it is very popular. It can be our kinder garten at best, but most of us refuse to progress from here.
I think this is watershed moment for those like me to come to a decision. It will be very difficult to forsake the Agama temples but i am contemplating completely giving up Agama temples for the bastion of caste prejudice they have come to symbolize. They are filled with so much hatred and bias where the torch bearers are unwilling to help others grow spiritually . They seem to have reduced everything to Abhishekam and Alankaram. Decorating deities with gold and diamonds is what is their level of piety or religiosity. We are aware of Kshama Prarthana for the rituals still skipped. Everything is convenient to correct, should those in charge make a mistake. The kind of hypocrisy i am witnessing in our temples and the spewing of so much of venom belittling others is horrible. I am not saying the usurping of temple admin is right either. There is a gentle way of introducing the new appointees where those in service of god can receive them with understanding, willing to teach them and grow with them. The initial state of denial and shock are unavoidable. We must be giving them time to settle down. Neither should the serving ones be financially deprived with their services cut short. For all this to happen, a society must be very mature and literate. However, this is not the case.
I would like that every non-brahmin gives up Agama worship totally and seeks meditation and other means of Dharma to attain Mukthi. Even the new OBC archakas can withdraw and leave the hollow granite structures to the heartless cruel people who can go to hell. My heart goes out to the poorest of poor called names, insulted by their caste card. I would ask every vettiyan to refuse to burn an FC body. That is how bad i feel. It looks like forever, these lower caste people must be confined to their fates, denied an equal social status.
I would definitely try to withdraw from my temple routine. I would though go to the non Agamic temples that are not bound by prejudiced practices.
It won’t be easy not stepping into Kapali temple or Valleeshwara temple. Both were originally maintained for decades by my community. Now i am ashamed that we even exercised such a privilege. But i will try to personally stay away from Agama temples as much as possible. I would stress upon every single OBC community to withdraw their support and allegiance with Agama temples. Just grow out, wean yourself okay? Move on to the next level. Climb to the next step in your spiritual ladder.
My Devi, My Goddess resides within me. I don’t have to seek Her outside anywhere. A temple is only after your Puja at home. On that I am clear. I have made some promises to visit some shrines with family in future. I shall have to keep up those promises. But for that, i will be slowly easing out of the Agama ritualistic temples. May be enlightenment will follow this way who knows.
I shall press every single OBC who i come across and who i can influence to give up Agama temples and concentrate on meditation and Puja at home or in non-Agama temples. No more this can be our collective responsibility either. If after serving in the sanctum for centuries these people still cannot understand God’s will or can’t embrace the masses and take them into their bosoms and show them the God, it is not worth it.
Hinduism is such a vast ocean. There are offensive scriptures still that we can give up. There are unfair practices that we need not have to heed to. Let us follow what we are comfortable with. The more ritualistic we become, the more distant we move away from self-realization. It is one thing to usurp the temple admin, but it another thing not to share knowledge but lead an otherwise materialistic adharmic life in every other way.
Dear Hindus, it is time to forsake the Agama temples. Just grow up. Shiva and Shakthi and Lord Balaji and Rama and Hanuman live in your hearts first. You don’t need these vedics or the purohits and pundits. But forever they will need you especially even after their death. Let them always stay indebted to you. I change my mind. Forsake the Agama, but burn their bodies. Sweep clean their ugliness. May you always be one step above them in every aspect – by virtue of birth. Your ways and means may be crude, but your end aspiration is merited. God be with you!