Sastry welcomes one and all to take part in the second version of his ‘Facebook Sangamam’ on July 10.

Kanchipurams secular and tech-savvy Sastry Hindu priest to hold Facebook Sangamam
news Head Priest Thursday, June 09, 2016 - 17:00

He might be the head priest of Kanchipuram’s prestigious Kamakshi Ambal temple. But for 63-year-old C R Nataraja Sastry, the world is one family or as he happily declares, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – and he is living up to this epithet online, by taking the Kutumbam to the social network.

Encouraging people from all religions to follow this secular line of belief, Sastry welcomes one and all to take part in the second version of his ‘Facebook Sangamam’ on July 10.

Sastry, who joined the social networking site back in 2011 to bring together devotees under one cohesive roof, now has over 5,000 friends and 1,800 followers on Facebook. “While I started out by listening to people’s grievances and pondering over social subjects, even offering prayers for some, I wanted to do something more. I wanted to make use of the platform,” says Sastry. And he did.

In 2015, he organised an informal gathering, branding it ‘Facebook Sangamam’, which saw over 300 people from the neighbourhood take part. The Sangamam which lasted from 9am to 2pm, included a variety activities ranging from sessions on spiritual discourses to remedial gatherings to providing opportunities for employment. While doing all this and more, Sastry was particular about the convention being absolutely secular.

“A religious shrine is the one place where vibes of positivity are emitted. Be it a church, a mosque or an Amman temple, the vibes emitted are one. The main entity is one,” explains Sastry. “The very same way, there is no scope for negativity in this Sangamam too,” he adds.

A discourse not just on the religious mutts in Kanchipuram, the Sangamam will also see an interactive exchange of ideas involving all religions. “We have had Muslim enthusiasts of Kamakshi Amman and also Hindu devotees who wouldn’t bat an eye to bow down with respect in a Dargah,” Sastry exclaims. “No matter what the means of belief in their spiritual journey, their destination is the same,” he adds.

Interestingly enough, when asked about his inspiration, he chooses to narrate an incident. “There is this homeless lady outside the temple, whom I have seen begging for money, almost every day. But what startled me the most about this woman was when I found out that she gives most of her saved pennies to a poor friend, helping her kid go to school,” he remembers. “Every person in this world is born with humanity.”

The Sangamam which is to happen on July 10 this year in a community hall near the temple will see over 400 people participating. Followed by a small prayer and an interesting round of questions to test people’s general knowledge, coupled with music performances, the session will end with a feast or Sadhya.    

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