As posted by Shri S Narayanaswamy Iyer in Yahoo groups
May I respectfully enquire what is the main “deity” worshipped in this Minneapolis temple? According to which agama are rituals there performed? What are the qualifications for priests there?
I have been to several so-called “Hindu” temples during my peripatetic sojourns in the US, UK and Europe. Quite a lot are not to dedicated to any recognized deity found in our scriptures, whether Vedas, Puranas, or songs. They are dedicated instead to some deified humans, often deviationists whose highly emotional followers encourage adoring these “manufactured deities” rather than divinities we are familiar with. The ornate, conscipuous and mushrooming “Swaminarayan” temples are examples. Others are to various “sadhus” or “gurus” or meat-eating, drug-taking, alcohol-consuming, tobacco-smoking “village-guardian” dark spirits that inspire terror rather than piety.
Some of these temples encourage “going into trances” when the mediums (both men and women) move about erratically and screech or scream and utter gibberish, till quietened down, for example by whip-lashing or by having lumps of camphor lit on their tongues or other tender parts of the body. A few hack themselves with knives, or pierce themselves with skewers, while shaking and shivering uncontrollably.
S Narayanaswamy Iyer