Posts Tagged ‘MHS’

Mechanised paal abhishegam

January 28th, 2015
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Video source from The Rakyat Post:

Automated milk abishegam at Batu Caves

Picture source from The Rakyat Post

So, this year Thaipusam brings a new controversy at Batu Caves. The temple management introduced an mechanised method to conduct paal (milk) abhishegam (offering) for Lord Muruga. Usually, Hindus will do penance of carrying the paal kudam (silver container) for a distance and pouring it on Lord Muruga statue as way of fulfilling their vows, be it good results in exams, better job, recovery from illness, etc etc.

Fulfilling a vow is not just limited to the carrying and pouring of the milk. The person has to be in penance, like fast for certain amount of days, refrain from worldly activities as much as possible, be vegetarian and so on. The whole process is to reflect the hardship one is willing to go through in order to fulfill his/her part of the vow. And it ends as you offer your gift to Lord Muruga.

However due to very large number of devotees doing paal abhishegam at Batu Caves, the temple management find it hard to please those coming to pray who get blocked by the act of pouring milk non-stop. Imagine, even though Thaipusam is a week away, devotees had started fulfilling vows about a week earlier (since start of the month of Thai). Thaipusam falls on specific days, so I’m not sure if their vow is to do paal abishegam during Thai month or during Thaipusam day (but that’s another story for another day).

But this didn’t go down well those who intended to fulfill the vow and also many otherr Hindus. The general feeling is that the pouring of milk should done physically by the person or the priest.

The Hindu Sangam via its president also issued a statement (though I’m not sure why the statement is saying Dato Mohan Shan “vendukol” – request instead of Hindu Sangam “arivippu” – notice or “arikai” -statement).

Basically what the notice above states is that the practise of using mechanised method is not according Hindu agamas (scriptures dealing with temples, rituals, yoga, etc) as the items for abhishegam which is intended for Lord Muruga should not be poured into another container first. The excuse given that there’s lack of volunteers and priests to assist in the manual process should be tackled in other ways.

I’m not sure how the Mariamman Devasthanam can implement such decision without consulting the main Hinduism body in the country. Does this show some conflict or ego? Or lack of belief in MHS?

As for me, I would say, devotee need to be clear on what they vowed. There are many Murugan temples in Malaysia, so perhaps in future can vow in different temple. One can say, its the thought that counts, while another will say must do it as vowed. Each to his own, as we can’t know how God decides. This may be part of your Karma, for all we know.

Perhaps in future Batu Caves temple can issue limited place for paal abhishegam. Let’s say 500,000 and divided into different time shifts on the day. Same goes for kavadi bearers. So before you do the vow, you will need to buy the “voucher” earlier. Voucher should be non-transferable and sold in a transparent manner. Just my two cents.

Below is comment from Hindraf regarding the move by Batu Caves temple management.

Article from Rakyat Post:

For Hindus, paying penance to their deities by carrying milk pots is a common practice, especially during the annual Thaipusam festival.
This year, the Batu Caves Murugan temple management will be implementing a new system to ease congestion.
A spokesman said the temple would be using an automated system for the first four days of Thaipusam, which would see devotees emptying their milk pots into a drum.
The drum would then channel the liquid via hoses, to a pot attached to a machine inside the main temple, where the milk offering ritual is done.
Typically, the milk pots carried by devotees are passed to the temple’s priests, who will then shower the deities’ statues with milk while uttering mantras as a form of blessing.
“We just want to ease congestion during this festive period. We expect a huge crowd this time around,” said the spokesman.

This system, which has been in the testing stage the last two days, will only be used on the first four days of Thaipusam, which falls on Feb 3. It is not known how much the system costs.

Meanwhile, Hindraf has lambasted the temple management over the system’s implementation.
“Hindraf is totally mystified by the committee’s attitude in pursuing the system as it clearly desecrates the Hindu rites and practices.
“It appears that the committee has no regard for the feelings of thousands of devotees who have undertaken severe penance to participate in showering their Paal Kodam (milk pots) in the final ritual known as abishekam during the Thaipusam festival,” Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy said in a statement.
He added it was widely believed that the practice of showering milk on the deity was a process of cleansing oneself of one’s sins.
“Such practice is conducted worldwide in India, Fiji, Sri Lanka, USA, the United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore during the Thaipusam month.
“Even in India, millions of people who bring their milk pots have the satisfaction of their milk being showered individually by priests, who normally chant mantras, as opposed to the motorised method intended to be practised in Batu Caves.
Waytha said motorising a “personal and spiritual” ritual not only desecrated Hindu rites, but also insulted individual devotees who had painstakingly undertaken severe penance to fulfil their devotion to the deity.
He called on the temple management to review the use of the machine, failing which he urged devotees to forgo Batu Caves and pay their penance elsewhere.

DBKL disallow decoration at MHS event

September 3rd, 2012
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This is quite surprising. I remember reading interview with new mayor where he talked about karma and all (sounded like a well-read and understanding guy), and then this news appears on FMT. Decoration like kolam is quite common even in shopping centers!  Banana trees are usually put at the entrance – can see it at Hindu weddings especially at temples. Wonder what’s the reason for DBKL’s actions. Is it because of cleanliness factors or there are considered religious symbols?  Or perhaps MHS wasn’t aware of such rules?

Senator S Ramakrishnan of the DAP today demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak over Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) decision to disallow cultural decorations to be put up in their hall for an event by Malaysia Hindu Sangam.

“Najib must investigate why an event officiated by his representative was marred by DBKL’s stupid act which hurts the feeling of delegates,” said Ramakrishnan in a press statement today.

“It is totally unbecoming of DBKL since they are under the Federal Territories and Urban Well Being Ministry that has a Hindu deputy minister,” said Ramakrishnan.

He was commenting on DBKL’s decision to disallow MHS from decorating the venue – a DBKL hall – with kolam, a colourful rice based decoration, and banana trees in conjunction with a conference which was held yesterday.

MHS had organised a conference to launch temple worship guidelines yesterday at the DBKL training institute hall in Cheras.

The conference was attended by about 800 delegates from all over the country with PM’s representative honouring the event.

The hall was rented for RM4,600 and an additional RM300 paid for DBKL staff manning the hall for the event.

The conference was supposed to be officiated by Najib but was subsequently delegated to Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

Ramakrishnan also lashed out at DBKL for their lack of sensitivity.

“Why is DBKL afraid to allow such simple cultural decorations?

“DBKL is a public body that serves all Malaysians, so why did it abstain MHS from putting up biodegradable and easily disposal cultural decorations?

“If it is a rule not to allow any decorations by any user of the hall then that should have been made known at the time of hall booking and not one day before the event?

“This act of DBKL shows how they look down on cultural practices of Indian Malaysians,” said Ramakrishnan.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/09/02/dbkl-lacking-cultural-sensitivities/

Guidelines for temples by MHS

January 13th, 2012
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Wonder how many of them will follow the “guideline” since its just a guideline. Is MHS going to come out with some compliance sticker or publish a list of compliant temples on its website? Would the community be interested in such compliance?

BTW, someone said got 20,000 thousand over temples, but MHS says got only 3,300.  We have 222 parliament constituencies. Can we find an average of 100 temples each parliamentary constituency?

All the Hindu temples in the country will have guidelines by the end of this month, Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president RS Mohan Shan said today.

He said the guidelines would comprise the suitable rules and regulations that a temple should practise in order to preserve the rituality.

“So far, there are no suitable guidelines for a temple to follow, and they are free to do all kinds of programmes at any time they wish.

“We are going to bring out the guidelines on how a temple should be positioned, which temple to conduct which celebration, and how to manage a temple,” he told Bernama.

The guidelines, among others, would encourage all the temples in the country to start providing community service, he said, adding that the management of temples should also think of the community, and not just religion and rituals.

“The guidelines will be prepared by a religious advisory board involving all Hindu association presidents and also religious experts,” he said.

So far, Mohan Shan said, only 2,000 of the 3,300 Hindu temples in the country have registered under the MHS.

“We are asking all our local council members to approach the temples to become members of the MHS as we are the only organisation that deals with temple issues,” he said.

1Hindu 1Ringgit campaign by Hindu Sangam

August 12th, 2011
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This is a new initiative by Hindu Sangam. The details are available at their website:

http://www.hindusangam.org.my/our-projects/195

Basically they aim to collect RM1 per Hindu per month (or total of RM12 per year). Target is 30% of the estimated 1.75 million Hindus in Malaysia. The donations will be used to fund projects and activities under their Hindu Renaissance Action Plan (HRAP).

Of course it goes without saying that transparency on the donations collected must be enforced.

Interested? You can donate to their CIMB account 1402-0176894-059 (Malaysia Hindu Sangam). Their donation form [pdf] is at:

http://www.hindusangam.org.my/images/stories/1h_1r_formv2.pdf

Say No to Alcohol by MHS

February 8th, 2010
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Few other groups are doing what they can to highlight dangers of alcohol. Its a good idea for MHS to work together with many other NGOs, Health Ministry and schools.

The packaging and positioning of alcoholic drinks in colorful, fizzy-like covers mislead people. The bombarding advertisements in newspapers, billboards, and cinema is also a major concern. I think a total ban on advertisement is needed.

The sales of samsu and illegal alcohol is also another problem. Cheaper means more accessible. And once you are hooked, its not easy to let go.

I think the acceptance of alcohol in social events and daily life is also a reason for rampant and indiscrete consumption. In the west, the dietary pattern and climate is not same as here. Thus, we have less reason to follow the alcohol use, especially on the pretext of “health”.  There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and if one is looking for better memory power, or improved blood circulation or living longer, then alcohol is not the only avenue. There are many other food and activities that can provide equal benefits sans the damage.

Alcohol’s damage far outweighs its benefits, especially in the long run, as many research indicates. While we are young, we have to energy to push our bodies and to sustain the impact of alcohol. But later in life? Can we live with damaged kidneys, damaged liver, weakening eyesights, offspring with physical/mental problems,  etc.?

Its critical to fight the menace of alcohol from health and social impact angle, instead of religion.  What entertainment idols, parents and adults do are what children imitate. The couldn’t care less attitude of youths and adults, in the name of freedom, equal rights, anti-establishment, business, stress, and so on, for me, is just excuses to consume alcohol, nothing more, nothing less. Its a pity when idea of a good time for us means a bottle of alcohol among others.

Alcohol also contributes towards accidents and vandalism especially among youths and young adults. This involves loss of life and increased maintenance cost. While totally banning alcohol is not possible, a more forceful education campaign is needed. Alcohol companies must be roped in to contribute some cash for education of alcohol impact and also on responsible consumption. This must cover fertile areas like colleges, housing areas, restaurants etc.

I always ask alcohol consumers if they can live without alcohol for a period of time, like a month or two. If you consume alcohol, and think that you are not addicted to it (in fact, you may even swear to it!), then try to abstain for one or two months. See if you can live without it. If you have to fight the temptation to consume alcohol daily during that abstaining period, then need to reexamine your lifestyle.

Anyway, good luck to MHS on their initiative:

Malaysia Hindu Sangam has declared war on alcoholism among the younger generation with the first move being adopting a dual approach to exorcize this particular devil through legislation and enforcement.

“We want to make under-aged drinking an offence punishable by being locked up for two days, “said its youth leader Arun Doraisamy today.

He said this at MHS’s consultation forum entitled Alcohol Laws in Malaysia 2010: National Review of Alcohol Laws, Policies and Programs.

In addition there are also suggestion to raise the age limit for drinking from 18 to 21.

He also suggested that a tier based taxation be adopted based on alcohol content instead of the standard 10% .

In the long term Arun called for the establishment of a research centre – tentatively named Malaysian Alcohol Prevention, Research and Rehabilitation Centre

These were among the 12 legislative proposals put forward today.

Need holistic approach

In addition to the proposals, participants at the session also called for a holistic approach to resolve the issue.

A Gunapathy of Yayasan Strategik Sosial suggested that MHS should concentrate more on families in high risk areas.

Vice president of Education Welfare Research Foundation (EWRF) T Rajasegaran who has been working with Indian children, aged between 12-14, said that the root of the problem lies with the fathers who do not play their role in bringing up their offspring, hence the urgent need for a change in the mind set.

Maria Chin Abdullah of Empower and Ahmad Safarudin Yusof of Malaysian Muslim Youth Organisation (ABIM) along with a host of 20 Indian NGOs attended the discussion session.

Both were supportive of the program.

Ahmad told the participants that ABIM would be conducting a program on alcohol abuse soon.