Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram’s stand on Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple wealth
The Supreme Court constituted a seven member team to prepare an inventory of the articles kept in the secret vaults of Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple. According to the reports emanating in the media it is believed the team has discovered a huge wealth worth billions of rupees of gold, silver, gems, jewelleries, idols and many antique materials. Legally Sri Padmanabhan as a juridical entity is the owner of all these properties. The Maharaja, as a dedicated servant of the deity, is traditionally the custodian of all the wealth. In 1750, Marthandavarma, the then Maharaja of Travancore dedicated his kingdom (Tripadidanam) to Lord Padmanabha and declared that he and his descendants would rule the country as servants to the Lord. He has been handling, preserving and protecting this wealth belonging to the temple. They preserved the wealth with utmost devotion and restraint. Temples are meant for the Hindu society and so the entire wealth of Padmanabhaswamy Temple also belongs exclusively to the Hindus. Through the Temple Entry proclamation, the king had unambiguously confirmed the right of all sections of the Hindu society on the Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
The Discussion on how to utilise the wealth now discovered need to be based on afore said stand point. These items can be classified into three categories.
1. Material accessories used for the pooja and other rituals regularly and periodically conducted in the temple.
2. Treasure trove of antiques and materials of historical importance, whose value is beyond any assessment by normal standards.
3. The third category is varieties of items of gold, silver, diamonds, jewels and other precious materials worth billions of rupees.
All the three types are to be utilised in accordance with the purpose and objectives for which they have been designed keeping in view the all-round welfare of Hindu society.
The first category should be kept separately and made accessible for the temple rituals and poojas as has been the custom. These items may be entrusted to the temple authorities including the Thanthri. The second category of items should be kept under strict security. They can be open to devotees` for ‘darsan’ on special occasions. The third list containing the immense wealth of the temple must be utilised for the all round welfare of the Hindu society with utmost care and strict accountability.
A fool proof legal system and administrative mechanism must be set up for this purpose. Till then the status quo must be maintained with effective security arrangements fully maintaining the sanctity of the temple.
Such a pragmatic system may be constituted with the wise counsel of the Supreme Court, keeping in view the customs and traditions of the temple. With all its unquestionable freedom and power the Travancore royal family had enjoyed, as the dedicated servants of Sree Padmanabha, preserved this huge treasure, with scrupulous care and devotion. Undisputedly the Maharaja should have an honourable place and role in this decision making body. In addition to him this committee should consist of spiritual leaders like the seer of Pejavur Mutt, legal luminaries with proven integrity and representatives of genuine Hindu organisations. Non-believers, so-called secularists, atheists and non- Hindus will have no place in this.
The Hindu society, currently undergoing serious and complex socio economic problems, is even facing serious challenges to its very existence as a dignified social entity. Therefore a multifaceted action plan has to be drawn up to overcome this grave situation. Priority must be given to the upliftment of those belonging to economically educationally, and socially marginalised sections of the Hindu society and those who have remained in their faith defying temptations of religious conversion.
The status of Hindu as the majority community is gradually declining. The Hindus strongly feel that they are discriminated at the governance level. The government took over their temples and annexed possession of other wealth to the exchequer. The huge sum of money offered by the devotees to their deities is spent lavishly for the various governmental purposes including that are detrimental to Hindu interests. At the same time they do not dare to touch the wealth of the Churches and Mosques. There is a growing resentment among the people that the government, whether A or B, has failed to safeguard the interest of the Hindu community. The Hindu society is in a mood to resist any attempt, whatever be the consequence, to take possession of Sree Padmanabhas wealth by the Government.
At present there is a large Diaspora of Hindus living all over the world. The benefit of this wealth should go to them also. An International University with its headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram and centres in different countries, to conduct in-depth studies and research on the unique cultural heritage of Bharath, must be established under the name “International Sree Padmanabha Hindu University”.
In the present context of mindless rush for materialistic achievement and competitive globalisation the University should take special care to preserve and propagate the universal principles, culture and values of Sanathana Dharma amongst the general public using all available tools and means including electronic media.
These are only a few of the large numbers of activities to be identified and executed. Fortunately God Padmanabha has benevolently gifted his immense wealth for a total and integrated development and rejuvenation of the Hindu society. Comprehensive, critical, realistic and constructive discussions in the appropriate forum by learned people of the Hindu society should bring out suggestions for the effective utilisation of the God given gifts in a phased manner.
Most of the news items and write ups in the print media and panel discussion in channels are against the interest of the Hindu society; which only create confusion in the minds of the common people. The immediate necessity is to constitute a body and to clear the cobwebs and put in an action plan as highlighted in the above paragraphs.
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