Veteran Tamil actor Sivakumar and his family have been in the news several times recently for their blatant anti-Hindu comments. The actor’s speech in a literary event at a private college almost a year ago has now resurfaced. A person named Tamil Mayan had sent the transcript of the speech denigrating the Tirumala Tirupati temple based on which Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has filed a complaint with the Andhra Pradesh police.
Sivakumar was widely admired as a dharmic intellectual for he spoke extensively about the Ramayana and Mahabharata and often quoted from Tamil literature. However, he increasingly appears to be a front for those who reject the Hindu roots of Tamils, and in doing so pave the way for a takeover by Abrahamic faiths.
Here is the English transcript of his speech in Tamil:
“I’ll tell you the reason for not going to temples. Untouchability is still being practiced in temples. There is discrimination between the rich and the poor. The construction of the Thanjavur Big Temple happened for six years from 1004 CE to 1010 CE. Recently, it’s 1000-year anniversary was also celebrated. Thousands of sculptors, masons and construction workers were involved in building the temple. Even the second generation worked on the project.
A sculptor sat on the 15 feet by 15 feet stone to transform it into a linga. The linga was then installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and then consecrated. Yet, the sculptor who made the linga and the masons and workers who helped build the temple were not permitted to go inside the temple and worship.
Do not make a wrong assumption that I’m making all this up. Untouchability still remains in temples. During the Chemmozhi conference, a person from the 12th generation of the shilpi (sculptor) who sculpted the Brihadeeshwara lingam told me that this practice of untouchability still continues and even those people from his generation are not being allowed inside the temple.
Shri Balaji of Tirupati is the world’s richest deity with an annual income of crores of rupees. A devotee fasts for 48 days, gets down at Katpadi and travels by foot to Tirumala. He intakes only water as he is on fast. On the way, vaccination is done for cholera and plague. Frightened that it’s poison, he wades through the forest braving snakes and scorpions. On the hill, it is festival time and there are eight circles around the deity coiling like a snake. He survives on chapatis cooked on a kerosene stove while passing through those eight circles. After four days, when he reaches the sanctum, he has darshan for only a few minutes as they beat him and show the way out shouting “Jarukandi! Jarukandi!” (A Telugu word that means “make way.”)
However, a billionaire, in the company of a woman, without the knowledge of his wife, stays in the guest house, gets drunk and enjoys himself. When he goes inside the temple without even bathing, he is given first-class treatment. I don’t talk just like that. I’m only saying what I saw.”
While the 11-month-old speech has been taken note of and has gone viral, his ten-year-old speech at Chemmozhi conference, which is exactly the same as the recent speech, went unnoticed as Social Media wasn’t used widely then. His first claim about sculptors shaping a 15 feet stone is anecdotal, spread by people based on the belief that the lingam is a monolithic structure. However, archaeologists and historians have said that it is not made of a single stone. Renowned archaeologist Kudavayil Balasubramaniam, in Thanjavur Rajarajeshwaram, his book on the Thanjavur Brihadeeswara temple (aka Big Temple), writes that the main deity is made of eight stones.
Next comes the claim that sculptors during the Chola period were not allowed inside the temple. Raja Raja Chola I who built the temple kept meticulous records of the temple and inscribed the names of the sthapathis (sculptors) involved in the construction of the temple.
Veerachozhan Kunjara Mallanana RajaRaja Perunthacchan, Gunavan Maduranthakananan Nitthavinotha Perunthacchan, Ilatthich Chadayanana Kandarathitha Perunthacchan are the names of sculptors who created the temple. We may not know what kind of castes existed a thousand years ago. Nevertheless, they did exist as Raja Raja followed Varnashrama. Nor can we be certain whether or not certain castes were barred from entering the temple. However, it sounds improbable that Raja Raja Chola, who inscribed the names of the sculptors to make their fame eternal, would not let them inside the temple.
Today, it is a punishable offense to not let a Hindu inside a temple. Even non-Hindus and foreigners are allowed inside many temples, although perhaps not near the sanctum sanctorum. Hence, Sivakumar‘s statement that the descendants of the sculptors of Raja Raja Chola’s era are not allowed to enter the temple built by their ancestors seems fabricated and a deliberate lie. In addition, whether he actually spoke to an actual descendant is itself doubtful as there are no other sources available to corroborate the claim.
For a person of the 12th generation of a family to have spoken to Sivakumar, every generation must have lived close to 100 years. Sivakumar’s lack of logical thinking and mathematical prowess notwithstanding, if the descendants of the sthapathis who sculpted the great murti were alive today, they wouldn’t go unnoticed. If what he claims were true, they would at least come out to express the apathy shown towards them and their great ancestors.
It must be noted that some people claiming to be the descendants of Karuvoorar, the guru of Raja Raja I, for whom he built a sannidhi (shrine) inside the Big Temple complex, participated in the protests against usage of Sanskrit hymns in the consecration ceremony. However, their credibility is also doubtful. So, it is likely that Sivakumar has been repeating a lie for ten years as no one cared to challenge him.
Both claims—that the sculptor of the main deity was not allowed inside the temple and his descendants are not allowed inside the temple premises—are likely false. You can see Muslims thronging the temple, albeit only on the lawns. No one even questions them about why they are present in a temple. No one checks their identity or caste or religious affiliation. Most of the prominent temples in Bharat don’t do that. It happens only in the village kuladevata (family deities) temples where the pujari (temple priest) knows every individual associated with the temple.
In fact, there are videos made by foreign missionaries inside our temples, mocking, deriding our practice of worshipping our murtis which to them are ‘Satanic’. Shivakumar should have been immediately confronted with these hard truths, but as his first speech at the Chemmozhi conference was in the presence of explicit or disguised evangelists masquerading as rationalists, his lies went unquestioned.
Next comes the jibe against Shri Balaji, the presiding deity of Tirumala Tirupati. Despite the colossal earnings of the deity, is He the one availing the wealth? The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) runs the temple and its board members, elected by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, hold key positions in either government or business.
As a celebrity himself, Sivakumar would have received a traditional ceremonial welcome with poorna kumbam. Of course, he wouldn’t know the facilities and priorities given to pada yatris (people who undertake a temple pilgrimage on foot) or the difficulties of dharma darshan (darshan free of charge) unless he heard it from someone.
The list of facilities provided by TTD (source: TTD website), despite it being branded “corrupt,” and corroborated by several pada yatris includes:
- Darshan, accommodation (P.A.C.) and food –all free of charge.
- Transportation of luggage, free of charge, to Tirumala
- Drinking water along the footpath
- Shelters at important points along the way for resting.
- Constant patrol by security forces to prevent pilgrims from being cheated or robbed by unscrupulous elements.
- Relay of religious programmes through the local broadcasting system
- Twenty-four-hour medical assistance all along the route .
- Canteens that supply refreshment
- APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) runs free buses from the Tirupati Railway station to Alipiri at the foot of Tirumala Hills.
Pictures of Sivakumar’s younger son Karthi visiting Tirumala Tirupati were circulated on social media mockingly wondering whether he is the ‘rich man with a young woman’ as mentioned by his dad in his speech.
Pada yatris are also given priority for darshan – what some rich men like Sivakumar will be unable to understand is that those who walk up the hills of Tirumala and those who wait in the queue-complex for hours, sometimes days, do so willingly.
For simple folks, it is a pleasure to wait patiently to get darshan of the Almighty, even if it is only a second. This is beyond the comprehension of money-minded people like Sivakumar, as they focus only on time, money and respect received through that money. Sivakumar thinks that poor devotees don’t possess the intelligence to think like him. The truth is that they are far more intelligent and realize that irrespective of the distance from the Divine, whatever respect you get or don’t at His abode, it is the devotion with which you go there and on whom His eyes fall on that matters most.
Saudi Arabia has low-cost and luxury Hajj packages for Muslim pilgrims, with a vast difference in facilities and accessibility provided to different categories. Would Sivakumar care to comment on that?
Regarding the allegation of permitting a wife-cheating drunkard who came without bathing, even Sivakumar cannot know whether or not the person concerned had a bath! So, it becomes clear that he just spoke whatever came to his mind, or was tutored to use such words as there are similarities to his earlier speech made ten years ago!
Such immoral people can enter any temple, church or mosque – does their presence in the house of worship reflect on them or the religion? Temples cannot test every devotee’s physical state or character, especially if it is a famous temple that receives many devotees. If you do check for drunkenness, the temple priest will, however, certainly be in the news for discriminating and moral policing which is exactly what Sivakumar and his operators oppose!
Here is a photo of Sivakumar’s sons Surya and Karthi offering prayers at Simhachalam Narasimha Swamy temple and receiving ‘preferential’ treatment that their dad opposes.
Regarding the issue of allowing entry of women between the ages of 10-50 years in Sabarimala, initially, Sivakumar completely supported the entry of women. Later, amidst widespread protests and the Supreme Court ruling that women of all ages should be allowed inside, he cautioned women against going to Sabarimala during peak season and even advised them that they could be allowed during non-peak time when the temple is open. He also said that while we may prevent women from going to Sabarimala now, it will certainly happen in five or ten years as women are ‘moving towards equality with men’. Viewing the Sabarimala temple issue through lens of liberalism and feminism shows a superficial understanding of Dharma.
Even a year ago, his controversial speech about temples had created a widespread sensation and made him issue a clarification about his religious beliefs. He claimed that he too, like his father who fasted on the day of Kruthika nakshatra and used to sing Tamil devotional hymns in praise of Skanda in the Pazhani temple, is an ardent devotee of Skanda. He also claimed that he has the images of Hindu devas in his puja room and that his family often visits famous temples.
However, he openly supported his daughter-in-law, the famous Tamil actress Jyothika, who advised cinema fans to donate to schools and hospitals instead of offering money in temple hundis. She made an ill-advised comparison between government schools, hospitals and the Thanjavur Big Temple on how differently they’re maintained.
She said “It looks like it’s (the temple) maintained well like the Jaipur palace. But I didn’t have the heart to visit it after I saw the state of the government hospital in Thanjavur.”
However, all the places she has mentioned are maintained by the government and come under the control of the government. For the government to maintain these places, we citizens pay taxes. What we offer in the hundi is for the welfare of people in low socio-economic groups of Hindu society. But the government and its establishment being corrupt, maintains neither of the places efficiently nor spends the money allocated to them appropriately. If the government wants to control the temples, it must pay for their maintenance. But it actually takes money from the Hindu temples and spends it for other purposes while neglecting their needs and thereby abandons Hindu society as well.
People like Sivakumar who are looked upon as icons worthy of emulation, never bother to question why the government does not do fulfill its obligations to the people. He failed to inform people concerned about the possible breach of code of conduct; he failed to expose the corruption in the management of temples. On the contrary, he didn’t even care about such things happening. One day, however, when he had to please the so-called rationalists in a program run by them, he decided to run down Dharma, even ignoring the central contribution of Bhakti literature towards classical Tamil language.
Sivakumar is lauded as a well-read person and is widely regarded for his erudite discourses on the Mahabharata and Ramayana. How can such a person not understand the weight of his words when he slanders the deity instead of the authority that executes the actions on behalf of the deity?
Even in Sivakumar’s own house, someone who is immoral can enter. The authority of stopping the entry of such persons is with Sivakumar. In a similar vein, why would he delegitimize the deity instead of the government that holds the authority?
There lies the designs of the Breaking Bharat forces with their anti-Hindu perspectives. It is similar to how many devotees stopped going to the Shani Shignapur Temple after Trupti Desai of Bhumata Brigade, because it was believed that the powers of the deity receded as the temple was desecrated.
After the drama enacted by the feminist brigade, women devotees from the locality didn’t want to enter the sanctum as a personal choice. But Trupti Desai still peddles her imagination as truth by asserting that men pressure women not to break traditions and hence she wanted to visit the temple again to ‘change the mindset’. There was no news about any woman wanting to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple after that. But the damage has already been done and this time-tested method will be rinsed and repeated until one day, Hindus give up. Similarly, the intention of Sivakumar and his family members also stands exposed.
Are people like Sivakumar just pawns of the Breaking Bharat forces that want to destroy Hindu Dharma and hence spout nonsense without understanding the implications? Are they willful participants who enjoy performing before a crowd who will accept anything they say? Are they willfully using their stardom to manipulate their audience?
At the moment, it is unclear. This confusion arises from the fact that the same Sivakumar who says he wouldn’t go to famous temples because there is discrimination wrote a beautiful eulogy (albeit with historically incorrect details) about the Thanjavur Big Temple on the occasion of its consecration ceremony. One can, therefore, conclude that the time-tested methods of the enemies of Hindu dharma are now being reintroduced through cinema celebrities. These have been successful in the past and are taking on new mutations that are part of the Break Bharat grand narrative.
-With inputs from @tskrishnan & @ethirajans
Sivakumar family visiting Tiruthani temple https://youtu.be/m6unmpay-Uo
Sivakumar family visiting Tiruthani temple https://youtu.be/2WatW7GPNEc
(Featured image source: India Today)
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