The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam &
Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fundamental Position Regarding Treasure In Temples

30 April 2014
To mix up matters coming within the human domain unnecessarily with that of Divine and on that ground insist on conducting Devaprashnam for matters solely resting upon human thought and discretion, is imprudent, unscriptural and uncalled for. Temple as an institution, including the shaping of the Idol, its installation and consecration, etc. are a product and outcome of human ingenuity alone. Offerings as well right handling of them is also exactly alike. It is wrong to intercept the matter with anything like Devaprashnam, in order to know the wishes of the Deity. Only in non-evident matters, such a step need be thought of at all.
Kalavaras in the Padmanabhaswamy Temple were made by, articles kept there and locked by humans. Suddenly to say for any one that the opening of the Kalavara should be subjected to devaprashnam, is to say the minimum, immature and puerile. Let us understand that the whole concept of God, of Temple, worship, the disciplines and formalities to be followed in this area are all human alone. Here too it is appropriate to think about the matter rationally, faithfully and impartially and proceed with confidence and clarity.  
The Supreme Court, on 24th April, ordered a special audit of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its treasure trove by former CAG Vinod Rai following the report by the amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam. The Apex Court also ordered the creation of a five-member administrative set-up under the district judge.
While all the issues raised, debated and judged were regarding Management and Administration of treasures in Temples, there is a very fundamental position everyone should understand. This relates to the four pillars –the Deity, the Devotees, Devotion and Religious Practices relating to worship, without which any effort to deal with the outcome of these will not have the required authenticity and Scriptural sanction.
1.    The Temple is first and last a public place of worship, for devotees to express their devotion and submit their various prayers seeking blessings to fulfil them. As part of this, perishable and non-perishable items, including gold, also are offered by devotees, all seeking specific blessings from the Deity in return.
2.    The large quantity of treasure present in the Temple vaults in no way enhances the divinity of the Deity. It is the taantric ceremonies performed by the Priests that always instal, imbue and enhance Divine blessings and Benedictory Power to the Deity. It is this Divine stock that Deity uses, spends, for granting the prayers of devotees, with the result that every day by the Devotees’ prayers, the Deity’s divinity is getting gradually depleted. The daily pooja will not be sufficient in the matter of retaining and preserving Divinity to the Idol.
3.    That is why periodically re-consecration (naveekarana) ceremonies become imperative in the Temple Installation practice. Divine infusion is always from the Taantric Rituals done by the priests qualified for the purpose. Such being the case, where is the question of the offerings-treasure ever becoming an integral part of the Deity’s Divinity at all, in any Temple?
4.     By hoarding ‘unmanageable’ amount of wealth in the temple, which the Scriptures strictly prohibit, the temple is only attracting thieves who constantly eye the treasure. It also warrants the complex, expensive task of managing the treasure, leading to incredible recurring e expenditure. In Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the annual security cost is Rs.23 crores.
5.   Other forms of corruption are also bound to creep in, disrupting the sublimity and sanctity of the Temple, as the attention would always be on safeguarding wealth, which in no way is part of the consecrational divinity of the Deity.
6.   By the accumulation of wealth and treasure, sophisticated arrangements to secure and manage it, like surveillance gadgets, frisking, CC TV and other measures, which are strictly not called for in the context of the Deity and its Divinity.
7.    In the past, temple assets have been used for societal welfare. His Excellency Rama Varma, the Maharaja of Cochin (1895–1914) was instrumental in establishing the Shoranur Junction–Cochin Harbour Terminus railway line. The treasury records of Kingdom of Cochin substantiate the fact that the Maharajah sold 14 gold elephant caparisons that belonged to the Sree Poornathrayeesha temple and other personal ornaments, which belonged to the Cochin Royal Family to fund the project.
8.   Another simple question to be considered to which no answer has come up in any of the debates – “what do we finally do with all the riches that are accumulating in the temple vaults – sooner or later?”
Considering these points, anyone sincerely concerned about the welfare of the Temple and temple institution in our Land, should implement the following to retain the sanctity of the Temple, and uphold the sublime and traditional devotional practices:
a)    Temples should not be allowed to become treasure houses, by hoarding and storing treasures in the temple, thereby, the divine abode, instead of being a place of worship tends to turn into an abode for various malpractices.
b)   Riches in Temple vaults should be deployed for societal welfare, particularly in the area of education and healthcare, in the light of the fact that there is a dearth of good schools and hospital facilities for people from the economically weaker sections of the society.
c)  The unutilized wealth from Temples should be utilized for the establishment and management of a string of Universities, which will provide specialized education in the Cultural and Scientific Heritage of our land, in fulfillment of the Fundamental Duty enshrined in the Constitution, namely ‘to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture’;
d)   Such money can also be used for creating better facilities (medical care, rest houses and the like), for pilgrims in the different holy pilgrim centres of our Land, in recognition of the fact that from times immemorial, pilgrimage has been an integral cultural part of our life, whereby the unity and integrity of the Nation are upheld and reinforced;
e)   Such items in Temple vaults which have an antique value and represent and preserve the culture of our Land, should be preserved and made available in a museum for the world to see and get to know our cultural history.
Ref: Shoranur Junction–Cochin Harbour Terminus railway line.
For details, contact: Br. Prasanna Swaroopa, Narayanashrama Tapovanam, Trichur, Kerala.
Email:; Phone: 0487-2277963, 2278302, 8281519763;

No comments:

Post a Comment