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dated September 30, 1953: New Centre to Propagate Devotion

On the 28th evening Mr. C. Rajagopalachari, Chief Minister, declared open in "Bhakthi Vilas" on Usman Road in Thyagarayanagar, Madras, a centre called "Samaya Prachara Nilayam" set up by the Dharmapuram Aadheenam Devasthanam. It was to propagate the tenets of Hindu religion, conduct classes in Thevaram, Tiruppugazh and other religious songs, and organise lectures and festivals. His Holiness Srilasri Subramania Desika Gnanasambandha Paramacharya Swamigal, Aadheenakarthar, welcomed Mr. Rajagopalachari, and Isai Arasu M. M. Dandapani Desikar rendered a soulful prayer song. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. K. Venkataswami Naidu, Minister for Hindu Religious Endowments, lauded the Dharmapuram Aadheenam, as one of the biggest religious institutions in South India, managing as many as 23 temples, besides performing several kattalais. The Mutt had also taken up renovation of various temples. The Aadheenam was doing yeoman service in propagating religion. Mr. Rajagopalachari declared the Samaya Prachara Nilayam open, and said in his speech, ``In the past, those engaged in politics imposed on themselves restraint and preferred to observe silence on matters relating to dharma. I thought I should break that restraint, and have been talking about dharma and God. This approach has given satisfaction in some quarters and praises are showered upon me. Such praise will not go to my head, though I do derive from it encouragement to pursue my task. I believe that praise is meant to be received by one ear and let out by the other... Every living organism has some function or other to perform in the world. When that function is stopped, decay sets in and soon the organism dies. This applies to institutions as well. A temple will hum with activity so long as worship is regularly conducted in it. If such worship is neglected, the temple falls into ruins. We have seen that happen and also how the authority of the Mutts weakened. If the Mutts have now recaptured their functions, I see the hand of God in it. The hand of God can be seen also in the rising of groups opposed to religion. For, it is this opposition that has given rise to a new awakening, among religious institutions. That awakening is also bringing together the different Mutts. Separate mutts arose on account of the differences in the methods of pursuing gnana marga. Now we find that bhakti marga is bringing the institutions together. I have absolutely no doubt that Vaishnava Mutts like Ahobilam will also join in this noble work because all cults should come together in an institution intended to spread faith in God... When God is all-pervading, how can it be said that He is not present in a consecrated idol? The conception of God taking any particular form is only a way to develop devotion in the minds of the ordinary man; there is nothing wrong with that approach... ''

Correction: In the `This day that age' column published on Monday, the date should have been September 29, 1953 and not `2003' as published. The error is regretted.

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