Suchindram Temple, South India
photo attribution: Wael Hadi, CC BY-SA 4.0
via Wikimedia Commons

India is Not a rich nation. It's evident from its pathetic per-capita income figure. As I see it, over 90% of Indians are Below the Poverty Level. India is also the 2nd-largest populous country of the world. Thus, India has earned the dubious distinction of housing the largest army of poor folks. There're also two more things India has No dearth of : 1. Fake sadhus; 2. Awesome temples. Nevertheless, I don't think there exists any Sensible Indian that would differ with me about my view that the first item on this list is Not in the least something that should make a civilised nation feel proud of. But, what about the 2nd stuff, i.e. the huge number of awesome temples? Does the luxury of so many temples Really become a country like India?

State of the Indian Union

Let's now have a look at the true status of India and Indians in the world. India's global ranking in human development is 131* as against the Superpower USA's 17**. India's Gross national income per capita was $6 681* in 2020 (@ constant 2017 PPP $) as against the USA's $63 826** which is more than 9 times the former figure. Evidently, conditions of Indians leave a lot to be desired.

Furthermore, according to the UNDP Human Development Reports, India's poverty ratio is 27.9%. Nevertheless, I consider it unacceptable totally in the light of the fact that not more than 1% Indians pay income taxes***, which means around 99% of Indians are in the eyes of the Govt of India so poor as to deserve full exemption from the payment of income taxes. And further, according to a report released in 2018 by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University , “ 82% of male and 92% of female workers earn less than [Rs]10,000 a month, “ while the minimum salary recommended by the seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC) is “ [Rs]18,000 per month. “**** As I see it, the monthly income figure of Rs 18 000, as recommended by the seventh CPC, deserves to be taken as the Right poverty threshold for India in this 21st century, the Space age. On the basis of this, I think I'm a hundred percent Right to conclude that the army of Indians below the poverty level is comprised of no less than 90% of the country’s population. No wonder that 'In the 2021 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 101st out of the 116 countries ... With a score of 27.5, India has a level of hunger that is serious.'***** Does this India deserve the silly luxury of new sumptuous temples Really?

*Human Development Reports(India)

**Human Development Reports(USA)

***Only 1% Indians pay income tax, govt tells Lok Sabha 

****SWI 2018, Fig 4.10 & Fig 5.5; STATE OF WORKING INDIA 2018 REPORT FIGURES

*****India's current ranking in the World Hunger Index 

Shri Jagannath Temple
photo attribution: Abhishek Barua, CC BY-SA 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons

Rationale behind the Temple Culture

The Hindus as well as Hindutvaites of India are most bizarre people. They claim to be followers of the Vedic faith known as Sanatana dharma but keep mum on the fact that No such terms as Hindu, Hinduism, Hindutva, etc. occur in the Vedas or any other stuff they regard as their Holy Writ. They do not dare to respond to the assertion that religion in itself is a load of Rubbish or the view that there exists Not a grain of Truth in any religious faiths, theirs included. They love to stay mute in response to the claim that Sanatana dharma does not endorse building temples, nor does it endorse worshipping idols. The fact of the matter is Sanatana dharma preaches the attainment of moksha defined as the liberation of your atman (soul) from bondage to life as the Supreme goal of your life (Moksha; Moksha; moksha; Moksha: Liberation/Salvation). This is the essence of Sanatana dharma. A true follower of the Sanatana dharma must embrace sannyasa and go to a solitary mountain cave or retreat to the solitude of a dense forest to get himself lost in deep meditation until death and thus attain moksha when his atman gets complete freedom from the infinite cycle of life, death & rebirth and as a result, ceases to be reborn to lead a life full of sorrow and suffering (sannyasi; Ashrama; Nirvana Upanishad; Sanyasa in Vedic tradition). Evidently, the stuff like idol worship as well as the culture of temples housing idols seems to have No place in the Vedic Sanatana dharma.


Ten-Armed goddess Durga
Photo Attribution: Subhrajyoti07, CC BY-SA 4.0
via Wikimedia Commons
Vedas talk of multiple gods of whom the Supreme one is called Brahman the Absolute aka Para Brahman, Brahma, Prajapati, etc. and defined as an 'eternal, conscious, irreducible, infinite, omnipresent' entity (brahman). The Supreme god is also defined as 'nirguna brahman, or Brahman without form or qualities.' (Para Brahman) An entity that is 'infinite' or 'omnipresent' cannot assume a form; hence it can have No image nor any idol. It's an obvious fact. Something with form can neither be 'infinite' nor be 'omnipresent'. Also, in the Svetasvatara upanishad occurs this line: ' न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति यस्य न‌ाम महद् यशः ', the English transliteration of which is: ' na tasya pratimā asti yasya nāma mahad yaśaḥ ', and its meaning is: 'There is no likeness of Him. His name is Great Glory (Mahad Yasah).' (Svetasvatara Upanishad - Chap 4 ; see Mantra 19) The terms 'Him', 'His' and 'Great Glory' refer to the 'nirguna brahman'. It's clear as day that by 'nirguna', the Vedic sages meant something formless and 'infinite'. However, the choice of the term is damn silly. There can exist nothing in Reality that is' nirguna' (i.e. without attributes) because the term 'nirguna' is an attribute in itself, the way I see it. But you should not expect believers to possess this wisdom needed to realize this simple Truth.   

Swayambhu Shiva with a Belly button 

photo attribution:

InspiredImages, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nevertheless, Vedas also talk of 'Saguna Brahman' defined as 'Brahman with qualities'. (Saguna brahman) The most basic distinction, as I see it, between the two variants of the Vedic Brahman is the fact that the saguna brahman can assume any forms while the other one is formless in absolute terms. This led the believers to give their beloved gods and Gods any forms they liked and thus make a silly display of their oceanic stupidity. Thus, they visualized even the swayambhu (self-created) gods as idols with belly buttons like mammals that develop inside their mothers' wombs before seeing the light of day. Adi Shankara, a somebody among Hindu theologians, viewed the 'Saguna Brahman' as 'merely illusory' meaning that it's false, hence nonexistent. (ibid) However, my main objection to the idea of the two variants of the Vedic Brahman is they're irreconcilable with one another. An entity with a form can neither be infinite nor be omnipresent. The example of the wave-particle duality of an electron or a photon to justify this silly idea is damn silly. The benighted fools don't know that an electron as well as a photon is far smaller than even an atom. They don't know either that neither electrons nor photons are infinite in number or mass or energy because none of them exist beyond the universe that happens to be finite itself. Yes, cosmologists hold the view that our universe is expanding at a very high speed (Mystery of the Universe’s Expansion Rate Widens With New Hubble Data). An expanding body cannot and will Never be infinite. In fact, Nothing that exists is infinite as Nothing exists beyond the universe. And further, stuff like electrons or photons is a lifeless, insensible object while Brahman the Absolute, be it nirguna or saguna, is endowed with consciousness. 

Vishnu, another Swayambhu god, with a Navel supporting a stem with a Lotus (with the god Brahma seated on it) 
photo attribution: Leon Meerson, CC BY-SA 2.0

Vivekananda, the famed Brahmajnani Hindu monk, used to be, like his spiritual guru Ramkrishna Paramhamsa, fond of worshipping idols of a naked female (the goddess Kali in bhaktas' eyes) and continued it throughout his spiritual life. A famous saying of his was: 'I see God, therefore He exists.' (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda‎ | Volume 1‎ | Lectures And Discourses) But then, he also said, 'A God known is no more God; ... He cannot be known He is always the Unknowable One.' ( The Absolute and Manifestation – Swami Vivekananda ) So, we see Vivekananda claimed to have seen 'God' that he claimed to be 'Unknowable' too. He further said: 'He [God] is the Essence of our souls, [so] we cannot project Him outside ourselves' the way we can project the 'pictures' in our mind of chairs, etc. (i.e. all the things visible to eyes) outside our mind. (ibid) The Brahmajnani sannyasin said all these words to explain why he thinks his beloved God is Not visible, hence Not knowable. 'You cannot know your own self;' he also remarked by way of explanation, 'you cannot move it out and make it an object to look at, because you are that and cannot separate yourself from it.' (ibid) Still, the Brahmajnani claimed that he clapped eyes on 'God' that had looks of a naked female and worshipped a clay-idol with similar looks as his 'God' till his death.

Naked goddess MahaKali

attribution: Asha Patel; flickr

Another wise saying by Vivekananda is this one:' “The fool, dwelling on the bank of the Ganga, digs a well for water!” Such are we! ... We project Him [God] in the form of the image, while all the time He [God] exists in the temple of our body. We are lunatics, ... '(The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda‎ ; Volume 8/Lectures And Discourses)

And then the wise monk also remarked: 'This external worship of images has, however, been described in all our Shastras as the lowest of all the low forms of worship.' ( The Religion we are born in – Swami Vivekananda )

Still, this Brahmajnani sannyasin stood for 'the lowest of all the low forms of worship', the silly practice considered by himself to be befitting 'lunatics', and his defence was his belief that 'idol-worship' had the capability to produce 'Ramakrishna Paramahamsas'. ( My Plan of Campaign – Swami Vivekananda

Another image of goddess Kali

attribution: National Museum, Copenhagen (1)

by Prof. Mortel; licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another Hindu genius named A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada that founded ISKCON, the international Hare- Krishna society, made a most delicate distinction between the 'Deity worship' and the 'idol worship', and considered the latter 'an offense.' (The Hare Krishna Movement)

A Luxurious ISKCON Temple

attribution: Rohini, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Does India Really Deserve The Luxury Of A New Luxurious Temple?

Does India Really need any temples? The foregoing analysis clearly shows the hollowness of the Vedic concept of the Supreme God or gods as well as the silliness of idolatry, and so the answer to this query seems glaring like the mid-day summer Sun.

The Ram-bhakts have resolved to add a new luxurious temple to the sea of temples in India. It's meant to house an idol of an epic character named Rama looked upon by them as an avatar of Vishnu, a Swayambhu god with a belly button. The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust raised Rs 2,100 crore before March 2021 for the construction of the new RamMandir. (₹2,100 crores raised for Ram Temple so far: Trust) Does India Really deserve the luxury of this temple?

I've thrown light on the ignominious plight of Indians. So, I'd like to leave the task of providing the Right answer to the last query for you.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an avowed Ram-Bhakta, addressing the gathering at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ram-Mandir (in the background: an image of the proposed model of the mandir)

photo attribution: Prime Minister's Office (GODL-India), GODL-India, via Wikimedia Commons

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