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Cleanliness

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Oct 13 1999 - 06:58:29 PDT

It is unfortunate but true that general level of
cleanliness in temples in India times is quite low. 
Outside Parthasarathi Temple in Tiruvellekeni you can
find garbage dumped and stray cattle and flies
feeding. 
In Tiruvellore, the walls of outer 'prAkAra' are
smeared with dung and sometimes the adjoining area is
used as public toilet and the stench is overpowering.
The temple-tank is quite filthy and people use it to
wash clothes. 

Even in Tirupati one can see pilgrims spitting and
urinating in public. After eating prasAdam they will
throw plaintain-leaves and 'dhonnai' anywhere and
everywhere they like.

In smaller temples even the inner 'prAkara' is
sometimes badly littered. The 'madapalli' or holy
kitchen of some temples looks anything but holy.

The excuse usually trotted out for uncleanliness in
temple surroundings is "lack of money-power and
man-power". This is not always true as even rich
temples are kept unclean. (Puri and Kalighat, for
e.g.) 
Does it require great deal of money to desist from
spitting, urinating and dumping trash inside and in
the vicinity of temples. A temple administration does
not have to have a million rupees to ask temple-staff
like archakar or madapalli-assistant to at least
appear clean and well groomed. It requires only
"will-power" and basic discipline and sense of
decency.

Instead of spending lakhs and lakhs on building
gopurams and mani-mandapams why can't some money be
spent on keeping existing temples physically clean?
 
Another thing, nobody in our temples observes silence.
Even in sanctum people will talk loudly, chatter and
generally keep fidgeting all the time. Why do they do
this? Is there no code of decorum to observe while in
the sannidhi?

In comparison, you will all agree, the smallest church
or mosque in India is definitely much cleaner and
certainly much quieter. Why cannot we achieve it?

Were our temples and temple-worshippers always like
this? I doubt it. How were our temples described in
terms of basic cleanliness say, in the time of AcharyA
Ramanuja or AzhwArs? Any references to importance of
cleanliness in SriVaishnava literature?

Sampathkumaran

   



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