It is time to Save the Soul of Tamil Culture – Sadhguru

“The Tamil Culture is facing a slow death through suffocation of Temples. It’s time to save the soul of Tamil Culture”, wrote Sadhguru to his 3.6 million followers on Twitter on Wednesday with the hash-tag #FreeTNTemples.

The hashtag started trending on Wednesday morning on Twitter and Facebook, and several followers of Sadhguru started sharing videos and pictures of various temples across Tamil Nadu that are in a very poor state.

Very soon, plenty of contents about Temples in a state of destruction started getting shared on Social Media, and it was really upsetting to see those holy places’ current status with the hash-tag #FreeTNTemples.

Read on to know what is this #FreeTNTemples, and why is it very important that everyone should give their eyes and ears to this call to Free and Restore Tamil Nadu’s Temples.

A Shocking Report from the Past :

In August 2017, the print and digital media focused on a report made by UNESCO. Experts from the Organization, under the directions from Madras High Court, studied the conditions of the ancient temples in Tamil Nadu and the conservation works made by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) of the Tamil Nadu Government. The HR& CE Department are among the primary bodies responsible for the maintenance of the temples in the State.

Sri Brahmagnanapureeswarar Temple was built over a thousand years ago during the reign of Kulothunga Chola III in Kumbakonam.

The report mentioned that many ancient temples in Tamil Nadu under the care of HR& CE Dept are in ruins.  The Report further pointed out that those in the administration of these temples (belonging to HR-CE) had taken meagre attempts to preserve the places of worship, resulting in their poorer and pathetic state.

UNESCO mentioned that at one place, its team was shocked to find a VIP Guest House had been built with a restroom facility within the compound of the Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple in Tiruvanamalai, which is against the rules of the scriptures. The same was reported in TOI.

This is just one instance. There are many cases of abuse and violations taking place in temples that are abandoned. A time has come to put an end to that, restore these temples and give them new life. 

Chinna Audaiyar Temple is located in Kollukkadu, Thanjavur district.


Abathsagayeshwarar Temple in Kumbkonam.

A Determined Yogi in the Present :

More than 3 years have gone by since that report got the public’s eyes and ears, still little has progressed. But, at the 2021 Maha Shivaratri celebration at Isha Yoga Center – Coimbatore, hundreds of attendees and volunteers lifted up a brown poster bearing the words ‘Save the Soul of Tamil Culture #FreeTNTemples’, signalling that a public-movement is in process.

Sadhguru and Isha Foundation are on a mission to stop the negligence of maintaining these Temples. The ‘Free Tamil Nadu Temples’ Movement has been taking form in the State recently, and the support for it is coming from various parts of Tamil Nadu. The Yogi is calling to free and handover the responsibility of maintaining these temples to the devotees.

“Many Temples are in ruins. These would have been powerful and aesthetic spaces in the hands of devotees. The solution to reinstate temples is to hand them over to those whose hearts beat for deities”, Sadhguru wrote on Twitter.

“This is a loss not just for Tamil Community but a colossal loss for humanity. Leave the temple to Devotees. They will give their lives to ensure sanctity, beauty & aesthetics of temples are never compromised”.

Sadhguru kept tagging the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and Opposition Party leader M.K.Stalin in most of his tweets.

A Cry to Preserve our Heritage for the Future :

“This entire movement about Free Tamil Nadu Temples is not an effort to protest, agitate or even corner somebody. This is out of very deep anguish, for what is happening to our ancient temples.”

“There is enough information out there – UNESCO goes out to say that the Temples in Tamil Nadu are being massacred. They are in a state of decay” Sadhguru said in a video.

“As hundreds of videos and pictures, now running into thousands, coming towards us from our volunteers, devotees across the state… it is heart-rending to see these great works of art, the very soul of Tamil culture, the very heart of the Tamil people, the very source of the devotion which has nurtured this land, this language, arts and crafts, everything… everything that is Tamil is rooted in devotion, and the fulcrum of the devotion is temple, and today, seeing it in such a pathetic state where thousands of them are in ruins, unattended to, and others are all moving to that direction. It is time that these temples are freed…”

He wrote on Twitter “Temples & what they signify are the heart of our ancient culture & civilization of Tamil Nadu. Not just a means to a limited end, but a limitless possibility for human societies and their evolution that must be preserved.”

“These temples have stood the test of time because many generations gave their lives to build and nurture them. Let us ensure this inheritance remains glorious for posterity”

Hoping for the best:

It should be kept in mind that UNESCO clearly mentioned in its report that the restoration work is strictly to be carried out under experts in the field and not by contractors without experience in conservation.

If the Government and concerned authorities pay heed to this cry and Free the Temples, it would be a tremendous opportunity for all the pious, volunteering and able people to take the needed measures to maintain the divinity of the temples by themselves in the aptest manner.

But it is not all about the bricks and pillars. Sadhguru precisely said “mere renovation will not restore these temples. We need to revive the culture of devotion.”


-David Karunakaran.S