re – Indian temple where priest is Nigerian
Indian temple where priest is Nigerian
By Jossy Idam
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Located at the end of a lonely street, India-Hindus Ancient Spiritual Temple has an eerie aura. With its external wall recently re-done with pink tiles, Lord Simbad’s Temple, as the place is also called, glitters in the sun like a coin in the desert. Its entrance is festooned with flags of different nations. A gentle breeze unfurled them and set them fluttering and dancing wildly to a spooky Indian music.
Other residents around Godwin Nneke Street, Abule Oshun in Lagos, look at the place with awe and suspicion. A nursery and primary school next to it has a curious name: “God with us” and, perhaps, smacks of a deep-rooted fear and fervent prayer for the protection of both the owners and the innocent neighbourhood tots who go there daily.
Incense and gods
A stone-faced gateman ushers visitors to the reception of the temple, which promises “100 per cent spiritual intensive” on its billboards. Right on the threshold of the temple, incense wafts from its inner sanctum.
A framed ethereal painting of Vishua – a Hindu deity – hanging on the temple’s reception wall beams at the visitor in a permanent gaze. A dark, wiry male receptionist in orange shorts interviews all visitors, demanding their names, how they got to know about the temple, mission, occupation, address and bio-data.
Satisfied, the receptionist gives out a visitor’s form to fill. The form is boldly labeled in red: INDIA-HINDUS ANCIENT SPIRITUAL TEMPLE and ORBEDIAC WHITE LODGE SOCIETY, ASHRAM TEMPLE.
The form is partly coded in ancient writing. It is probably derived from Sanskrit or sacred text of Hinduism. Or, it may be an esoteric writing code only known to members of temple.
Just like the ordinary visitor’s form, a visitor is expected to write the day’s date, name, address, name of his company, person required, “purpose of visit” and the clincher is coded: “How did you know here?” The visitor is further required to supply his/her telephone number before signing his signature.
On the ‘official use only’ column of the form, a visitor may be ushered into yet another reception to “come in, wait, come back on, see Mr/Mrs/Miss, will be contacted when necessary.” On the form, the temple boldly boasts to have “defeated the spiritual temple world.” The place also claims to be an Ashram. Ashram is a place Hindus who wish to live apart from society stay as a group or go for a short prayer before returning to society.
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Is there a regulatory body in Nigeria that monitors religions, religious leaders and professions of faiths to make sure that cultists don’t find the country a safe haven? The next big thing in Nigeria is religion and 90% of such groups are cults.
When a Nigerian becomes a Hindu priest, is there not a problem. Our Nigerian Hindu Priest is a money-maker, and let me assume he went to India for one week and came back a priest, all together confused.
There were these Eckankar group/church/association – ‘I don’t know what to call them’ members who came to my area sometime ago for ‘evangelism’. They soon mounted a canopy by the side of the street, with loudspeakers and a piano and started disturbing everyone.
Guess what I heard?
- That each of us(man) makes a decision to come into the world and learn lessons, and that it wasn’t the first time on earth for anybody. According to this Eckankar pastor, he has been in the world before, but this time, he decided to be born as a Nigerian, and he decided to be a male. When he made this decision, he went to God and then, God gave him parents.
- He noted that there were some lessons God wanted him to learn now that he’s a Nigerian, which he didn’t learn in his former life, and that ‘all of us Nigerians’ are here in Nigeria because there are some lessons which we forgot to learn properly in our former lifes. I knew this pastor was a joker when he mentioned that the benefit of his Eckankar religion is that in his next life, he could decide to be an American, a European or even an Asian. What else is a Nigerian looking for. If Yankee isn’t possible in this life, how about the next?
- According to this pastor, each of us are living for something whether we like it or not, and at the end of time, we will each have to decide when to leave the world. In fact, he also mentioned that we(man) is free to depart the world and go back to Heaven permanently or choose to come back into another part of the world.
As I listened, my mind went: wahala dey for this world o!