At a time when some people with vested interests are constantly trying to provoke caste based sentiments and create a rift in the society, Brahmin priests from South India gave a strong messages of equality and unity. On Monday evening in a never-before seen sight, a Brahmin priest of famous Ranganatha temple in Tamil Nadu, carried a Dalit devotee on his shoulders to inside the temple.
52 year old priest CS Rangarajan carried Dalit devotee Aditya Parasri on his shoulders into the temple admist vedic chants and roaring claps from the crowd that had gathered to witness the historic event. Parasri was sporting a turban, religious symbols on his head and was garlanded in flowers. The joy was of getting Darshan of the Lord was clearly visible on Aditya’s face.
Devotees being carried by the priests of the temple is not a new practice started by Rangarajan, but this was only the re-enactment of a 2,700 year old tradition in Tamil Nadu called ‘Muni Vahana Seva’.
Speaking about what made him to organize such an event, CS Rangarajan said “In January, I was part of a round-table conference (in Osmania University), which discussed how backward caste communities are denied entry into the temple. Since ‘Sanathana Dharma’ has treated everybody equally before the god, I came forward to reinstate it by doing the Muni Vahanai Seva,” adding, “The prime objective of this gesture is to propagate equality. The ritual coincided with the 1,000th birth anniversary celebrations of Vaishavaite saint Ramanucharya, who preached equality of human beings. So we did the activity like an utsavam (festival).”
The priest also said that one of his prime object behind the practice was to re-establish the greatness of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). “This is the re-enactment of a 2,700-year old incident. It is being done to re-establish the greatness of Sanatana Dharma and to propagate equality among all sections of the society,” said Mr Rangarajan. “Many vested interests are trying to disturb the peace and harmony in the country. “This act is enacted as a means to stop the oppression of dalits and promote universal brotherhood among different sections,” the priest added.
Aditya is himself a very devout Hindu who practices Brahmacharya (celibacy) and eats only once a day. Because of his religious nature and faith towards Hindu religion despite all the discrimination, his name was proposed by a Dalit association for the Seva which was happily accepted by the temple authorities.
Aditya who was very happy and grateful for the warm welcome that he received said that this could be beginning of a change in the society.