Deity is a Person per Law: Rajiv Malhotra with Paramahamsa Nithyananda
This is part of the Q&A session by Sri Rajiv Malhotra with Paramahamsa Nithyananda. In this segment Swami Nithyananda answers to basic questions of Sanatana Dharma that a Hindu Deity is a person and the property of the deity must be respected as such.
Swami Nithyananda: Those should be called as worship centres, not temples. See, in Hindu tradition, temple can be used as an education centre, worship altar, social gathering place, all that, but the important thing is that it is a place where God resides, lives. That is why a temple cannot be demolished, it cannot be changed. You can’t shift a Hindu temple.
Rajiv Malhotra: Yeah, a mosque is not a place where there is divinity, they don’t want you to worship a mosque, it’s a place where people get together and point at the Kaaba.
Swami Nithyananda: In Hindu tradition, in Āgama, it’s very, very clear, God resides in the temple. So, Temple cannot be demolished, cannot be relocated, cannot be bulldozed. Once installed, it is installed.
Rajiv Malhotra: So, Swamiji, the deity being a person, divine person, when I give a donation or a contribution or some kind of thing to the deity…
Swami Nithyananda: That is owned by deity.
Rajiv Malhotra: So, deity should be respected by law as a being, as somebody who has assets. So, the land belonging to the deity, they cannot sell it off.
Swami Nithyananda: Yes. They cannot touch.
Rajiv Malhotra: They cannot touch. So, this is a major problem in this secular government because large amount of temple lands where people gave to the deity, the old kings, whatever, they all gave these lands to the deity, the secular government in the interest of separating all this stuff and controlling temples, they’ve been selling off temple lands.
Swami Nithyananda: That is not right.
Rajiv Malhotra: That is actually – should be considered illegal.
Swami Nithyananda: Yes. You see, either, they should respect the concept and the context with which temples are built and donations are given. They should respect that whole context and operate because that should be the operating methodology. For example, when this deity was installed, what is the context; and based on that context only I gave donation.
Rajiv Malhotra: Yes.
Rajiv Malhotra: Yes. So, Swamiji, even in case of a trust, the law respects that idea. The money belongs to the trust. It cannot be taken away even though the trust may not be considered a person, but it is an entity.
Swami Nithyananda: Yes.
Rajiv Malhotra: So, at least, from that point of view, all the wealth given over thousands of years to deities, the deity is at least a trust, at least it is an entity to which people have given the money. It is no right of some government or some other local people to take it away and sell it off.
Swami Nithyananda: Yes. Nobody has the right.
Rajiv Malhotra: So, this should be actually prosecuted in the Supreme Court as a very fundamental violation of Hinduism.