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India British East India Company in India

Published on November 6th, 2016 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image

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It Once Happened…

The British were in India and held great sway through the East India Company. One of their rewarding financial `arrangements’ was to arrange for monies being paid to temples for their maintenance to instead be paid as a tax to them.

The Indian system is that endowments are often left by rich devotee patrons so that the Deity of the temple can be worshipped in perpetuity. And often the endowment was the entire village wherein the temple stood, along with all its fields, many of its rented houses and tithes. In the world-view of the Europeans this did not make sense. Why should taxes be paid to a sacred `image’ in a temple and not to the ruling monarch or the empowered officers?

Sir Thomas Munroe, one of the East India Company officers in south India in the early part of the 19th century, was asked to `resume’ one such endowment village: the small community of Mantralaya. On the appointed day he met with the elders of the temple who told him that he could pay his respects at the Samadhi (tomb) of the great Madhva saint who had established the temple – Sri Raghavendra Tirtha Swami.

Sir Thomas slipped off his shoes and entered the tomb. The onlookers then heard him talking with someone within. However, they could only hear Sir Thomas’s voice and not the person he was talking to.

Several minutes later he emerged from the tomb with some yellow-coloured dry rice in his hand. He told the onlookers that he had just spoken to `the swami’ who had convinced him of the irrevocability of the endowment and given him some Prasad, and was astonished when the elders told him who had given it to him!

Sir Thomas ordered the rice – Mantrakshate Prasad – to be cooked along with his evening meal and gave up any thought of `resuming’ the taxes of the village to the British.

(This episode is found in a British newspaper of the time, The Madras Gazettier, which can still be viewed at the Collectorate in Anantapura)

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One Response to It Once Happened…

  1. Dr.S. P. Thakur says:

    I had have been one of the devotees of SRI PRABHUPADJI since 1963, when I read his one of the books.since then i have read his several books, and came to the conclusion that for this kalyuga he has asserted to ”immerse in KRISHA BHABANA AMRIT”CHANTING THE NAME OF LORD KRISHANA”, IN CONSONANCE OF THE INSTRUCTION OF LORD IN GITA SAYING TO ARJUNA-” TAMEB SANAG GACHH SARVA VAVEN BHARTA…”Sri PRABHUPADJI has served LORD krishna immensely teaching and spreading the servan of gita all over the world as per wishes of lord krishna. hIS ORGANZATION AND THEIR PEOPLE DEVOTEES INCLUDING YOU HDD HAVE BEEN PURSUING HIS WORKS VERY SINCERELY WITH DEVOTION FROM WHICH i have taken inspiration. t pay my deep reverence to madhuvisa das ji and his organization. hare krishnai with divine love yours shital prasad thakur


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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna."I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can.That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental!That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!


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