I understand from reading a Tamil newspaper advertorial that MIC is gearing up to hold a grand Deepavali open house at the Batu Caves Temple grounds. I’m all for any activity which promotes and fosters the spirit of 1 Malaysia and national unity. However the organisers of the Deepavali open house should take into consideration that the Batu Caves Temple grounds is a place of worship.
I wish to point out that one of the most auspicious festival dedicated to Lord Muruga which is referred to as Skanda Sashti (Viratham) Festival happens to fall during this time. This festival falls on the sixth day of the full moon and the sixth day of the new moon in the Hindu calendar – Nov 14-20.
During this festival hundreds of Hindu devotees will converge at Lord Murugan temples to pay their penance and seek the blessings of the residing deity. Many of the devotees will be adhering to a strict fasting regime and will only consume vegetarian food, such as milk and fruits during this time. Some will stay in the temples to recite the Skanda Shastri mantras/hymns to seek divine help and protection from Lord Muruga..
Since the Skanda Shasti festival is coinciding with the proposed Deepavali open house celebration, I appeal to the temple committee and the organisers to take the necessary measures to ensure that the sanctity of the temple grounds are not breached.
Non vegetarian food should not be served in the temple grounds during the open house festival. As guardians, the Batu Caves temple committee should uphold all the religious tenets, failing to do so amounts to blasphemy.
If the organisers of the open house celebration are not able to adhere to vegetarian food rule, they should be advised to look for another alternate venue to hold the Deepavali open house celebrations.
There are so many other neutral grounds to hold the open house celebration. I’m of the opinion that the Batu Caves temple grounds is not appropriate to hold the open house celebration more so when it clashes with another major Hindu religious festival.