Of temples and and their wealthy gods

India and Indians have this pleasant habit of always making news and depending on whether you are an optimist or of the other genre, you can cite scores of examples to elucidate this tendency of ours to make headlines worldwide.

Recently we forced the globe to stand up and take notice of us when scores of scam were unearthed and as economist, sociologist and political pundits were burning their midnight oil to analyse the multi-faceted impact of corruption, we assembled at Jantar mantar and the Ramlila ground to raise our voice against the vicious fangs of corruption which like rain drops spares no one.

An indigenous Jasmine revolution of sort was playing out on the on the streets of Delhi as the whole nation joined the call of ending Corruption once and for all.

But no one in their wildest dream would have thought that it would be God himself who would steal the show by showing his brilliance as he announced his arrival to the scene in an ultra-extravagant way. A most pompous debut of sort was witnessed as wealth amounting to more than 1 lakh crore was unearthed at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala.

Such is the quantity of this huge amount that it takes some time to make a sense as to what wealth we are referring to here.

One can agree with questions relating to  the source of this huge wealth which was collected under the guardianship of the the Travancore royal family who were the early custodians of this temple.And one can do nothing but be amazed for the sacred belief that prompted devotees to donate so generously to this temple. And it becomes hard to disagree when someone says that the money shows the cultural richness of India.

But it becomes hard to comprehend observations and assertions by people who say that the wealth that has been unearthed should be kept as it is as it belongs to the God himself and no living man has any right over it.

The 1 lakh crore rupees that has been discovered has the potential to change the picture of Kerala in no small way if utilized in the same sacred way. I am of no doubt that if the God was himself called to write his opinion he would have gladly said the same. Maybe he would also have cited the utmost sacred principle of demcoracy ‘of people-by people-for people’ to drive home his point.

Those who have lost their belief in the administrative system of India, and rightly so, feel that the amount if used for public purpose will first have to come into the economic system and as soon it becomes a part of the system it will be like a dessert for Indian corruption Inc. But this argument is devoid of practical reasoning as going by this very cynicism the government should stop the huge expenses on numerous government policy that are being implemented all over the country and which have played their part in alleviating poverty.

BJP state president of Kerala warned against any attempt to ‘usurp’  this wealth of god and very politely said that they would launch an agitation if this wealth is used by the governent for public purpose. This is the general undercurrent among the most of the people which owes its birth to the religious values that we believe in. But a hunger stricken, scantily clad man on the street only  believes in something that will help him fill the emptiness of his stomach. And for him anyone that can help him get rid of his hunger is God. And 55 percent of India is still poor. And one of the reason for this is because we feel that its better to donate to god rather than to feed someone.

Gods for us reside in deities and someone who has been condemned to live out a painful, regretful life on the streets and slums is not worthy of compassion which a god commands because for us God has power to relieve of our sorrows and help us in his own ways and not that vagrant who is dying on the street.

The same BJP leader however, would not blink an eyelid and would be more than happy to launch an even bigger agitation if the State would have refused to take control of the wealth in case if this wealth was found in a Mosque. Religion for some is not about the well being of his own god but about the weakening of the other one.And sadly for most of us respect for a god depends on his own religion.

This is time to set precedents which will act as an inspiring one for the other rich religious bodies spread across many religions. The stake holders in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple should work on the lines of setting up a trust which should be accountable to every paisa and work for the social- upliftment of the poor that are more important to us rather than the god himself.
India has no dearth of people who are still accountable and who still live and die for everything except money and who can be appointed to make sure that the Godly wealth reaches their intended place and uplifts the intended people.

Even he would have said the same. If only Vishnu would have taken another incarnation and speak out his wish.

For all of us.

Abhinandan Mishra

Still discovering who he is!