group criticises Kanchi
Friday October 15 2004 18:31 IST
NEW YORK: A US-based organisation has criticised
India's leading Hindu seer, Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra
Saraswati, for having been part of a ceremony where a Rs.20 million
($425,000) diamond-studded crown was placed on a deity, saying the
money could have been spent on social service instead.
Navya Shastra, a Hindu organisation, said the seer was part of the
Oct 2 "kumbhabhishekam" ceremony in Andhra Pradesh state's Tirupati
temple where the deity, Lord Venkateswara, was adorned with the
The crown, encrusted with two marble sized emeralds
and rare Burmese rubies besides diamonds, has been donated by the
Goenka business family of Kolkata, India.
research director Gautham Rao, said money for the crown had come
through donations and it could have been put to better use. "Clearly
at this time in Indian history, when the majority of Indian citizens
continue to live at or near poverty levels, we felt the money should
have been spent on social service," he said.
"We had hoped
the Acharya would use his considerable influence to direct the funds
for programmes for the betterment of struggling Hindus and members
of the lower castes, many of whom continue to live on the
peripheries of Hindu society," he added.
Navya Shastra also
questioned the participation of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S
Rajasekhara Reddy in the "opulent"