The impact of Munivahana Seva in removing caste discrimination – An incident near Nagarjuna Sagar

Rangarajan had taken up 'Munivahana Seva' by carrying a Dalit devotee Aditya Parasari on his shoulders from the temple to 'Dhwaja Sthambam' of Ranganatha Swamy temple in Jiyaguda last year

The impact of Munivahana Seva in removing caste discrimination an incident Near Nagarjuna Sagar
The impact of Munivahana Seva in removing caste discrimination an incident Near Nagarjuna Sagar

The prime objective of this gesture is to propagate equality. The ritual coincided with the 1,000th birth anniversary celebrations of Vaishavaite saint Ramanujacharya, who preached equality of human beings

This incident happened a few days back, in a small village in Andhra Pradesh. The details of the place are not important. What is important is the feeling among Hindus that all are equal.

The villagers had installed a new umbilical stone…Boddu Rayi, after which the Dalits of the village wanted to perform Abhishekam to the new installation…

The village elders and forward caste people objected to their participation in the rituals.

There was a severe argument brewing and a law and order situation was slowly emerging.

Some Dalit leaders proposed to file an Atrocities Act complaint.

At this time, one of the Kolattam artists intervened. He is a Chilkur devotee. He showed the village elders the videos of Munivahana Utsavam of 2018 where the Chilkur Priest Sri Rangarajan Chilkur lifted a Dalit on his shoulders for temple entry. “If an archaka can lift a Dalit, can’t you people allow them to participate in this ritual?” asked the artist.

Commission member Tenzin Dorjee wrote in his report about the April 16 incident of carrying a Dalit devotee on the shoulders of the priest which he described as a rare incident.

There was a sense of shock and surprise with the elders repenting for their mistake…

The Boddu Rayi installation happened in a very festive atmosphere.

Relating the above story, Sri Rangarajan Chilkur said that he was happy that there has been a slow transformation in the rural areas but a lot more has to be done. The names of the village have been kept secret for obvious reasons.

Munivahana Seva

Rangarajan had taken up ‘Munivahana Seva‘ by carrying a Dalit devotee Aditya Parasari on his shoulders from the temple to ‘Dhwaja Sthambam‘ of Ranganatha Swamy temple in Jiyaguda last year.

The priest of  Chilkur Balaji temple C.S. Rangarajan has apparently performed “Muni Vahana Seva”, a 2,700-year-old ritual famous in Tamil Nadu, at Ranganatha Swamy temple in Jiyaguda on 17th April 2019.

Rangarajan carried a 25-year-old Dalit devotee, Aditya Parasri, on his shoulders from the entrance to the temple’s Dwaja sthambam in the midst of floral decorations, nadaswaram music and Vedic hymns and Annamayya’s famous chant “Brahmam Okkate Parabrahmam Okkate”.

A massive crowd had gathered to witness this significant event and the act was received with a huge round of applause.

Giving a back-story to what prompted him to do the Seva, 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 Vahana 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).”

When asked how he picked up Aditya, he reveals, “I approached one of the Dalit associations to lookout for someone who is a thin devotee (since I am an old man). They referred to Aditya, who eats only once a day and follows all the Hindu customs.”

Aditya, a Brahmachari and a devotee of Goddess Devi, excitedly said that he was honoured to receive such a warm welcome. He also noted that this could be the beginning of breaking the barriers of social evils like untouchability and caste discrimination, etc., which is dividing the country [1].

“Being a Dalit, my family was oppressed and was humiliated when I was denied entry into Lord Hanuman temple in my native Mahbubnagar. This practice is still existent in several temples.  It is very sad that although our Constitution provides for the protection of the downtrodden sections, we are still being looked down upon,” he explains.

“So, I was determined to change things and approached my Guru (Siddheshwar Maharaj), took Deeksha and learnt all the sacred rituals, and eventually gained the right to enter the temple premises. But I hope this is just the beginning of the change,” he added.

‘Munivahana Seva’ taken up by Chilkur Balaji temple head priest C S Rangarajan has been praised by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in its annual report. The organisation was formed by the government of the United States of America.

Rangarajan issued a press communication in which he said that the Commission started by the government of USA, in its annual report has mentioned the Munivahana Seva taken up by him.

The international Commission looks after religious freedom in the world explained Rangarajan.

The organisation keeps a check on whether all the religions have the freedom to follow their religion and also oversees whether there are any religious attacks on minorities.

The commission gives a report every year and this year’s annual report of 2018-19 has been released this month [2].

Commission member Tenzin Dorjee wrote in his report about the April 16 incident of carrying a Dalit devotee on the shoulders of the priest which he described as a rare incident.

Rangarajan expressed his pleasure for having an opportunity to perform Munivahana Seva.

References:

[1] Chilkur Balaji temple priest re-enacts 2,700-year-old ritualApril 17, 2018, Deccan Chronicle

[2] Munivahana Seva by Chilkur Balaji temple’s head priest wins US praise May 29, 2019, The Hans India

Team PGurus

We are a team of focused individuals with expertise in at least one of the following fields viz. Journalism, Technology, Economics, Politics, Sports & Business. We are factual, accurate and unbiased.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here