Ever since the vaults in Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple were opened in 2011, a section of Mainstream Media intellectuals have been calling for using the wealth of temple for public welfare. They have also been defaming the Royals for keeping this wealth protected as a secret. While these intellectuals have been making such calls under the garb of secularism, they become quiet on forcible conversions through wealth by the largest owner of non-agricultural land in Bharat called Church. In one such article written by Lekshmy Rajeev in Times of India, we see her rants about temple rituals and privileges given to the Maharaja of Travancore. Let us have a detailed analysis of this article.
She starts this article by trying to overcome the sense of pride and devotion which one experiences while visiting this colossal temple of Padmanabhaswamy with the sense of fear which she supposedly experienced because of security checks. She writes –
“..when I am immersed in bliss, a gun-wielding police officer, wearing traditional Kerala attire, stares at me. The little notebook in my hand, brought in to jot down notes, becomes a suspicious object. Devotion and pride will give way to fear and embarrassment.”
While Padmanabhaswamy temple has an exhausting security check process because of the threats it has from external forces, the writer exaggerates it so much giving the reader a feel that Hindu temples don’t need this security. Does this mean that this section of Mainstream Media intellectuals don’t feel the need for Hindus and their temples to have security? Is this mentality the reason behind their silence over the murders of Hindus across the country?
She then continues her rants about the privileges which the Maharaja of Travancore enjoys despite of being a normal citizen in this democratic country. She writes –
“On special days, when I am enjoying the illumination and the soulful ritualistic music, some temple employees will jump in, rudely brandishing their sticks, to stop me, shouting, “Move! Move! This is the path for the king. His Highness will arrive shortly!“ My self-respect as the citizen of a democratic country , where there is no monarchy, will prompt me to go ahead despite the warning. However, if I do that, I will be in the headlines of some tabloids and channels crowing about the violation of traditions. So, I’ll reluctantly step back, hoping a day will come when such outdated customs will end.”
These intellectuals who claim themselves to be citizens of country with self-respect, don’t seem to know that religious practices are sanctioned full freedom by the constitution. What problems will a devotee of Padmanabha have if the primary devotee of Padmanabha who proudly identifies himself as “Padmanabhadasa” enjoys a special place in the temple and its rituals? How does this relate to the secular democracy which is neither affiliated to nor interferes in any of the religious activities and places? Does this mean that this secular democracy will only please these intellectuals if it interferes and annihilates Hindus and their places of worship?
Further she exhibits her broad-minded attitude and worry for the poor people of the state by writing –
“What soothes all this hurt is the fact that I am just a few yards away from the largest storehouse of wealth in the world, and the dreams about the same transforming my state into `the’ truly God’s Own Country. It is unfortunate that the erstwhile royal family that has currently no legal rights to own the temple, delays the deployment of the treasure for social welfare.”
The primary reason behind the ‘venom-spitting’ is clear now. This woman is part of the committee of vultures who are waiting to denude the temple of its riches. A Hindu temple is seen as their chance to loot and nothing else. They openly deny a temple and the deity to own their own property. If the writer is so eager for ‘social justice’, then she may definitely try to persuade her own colleagues, friends, family and relatives to give up all the income they earn over the basic BPL level as well as their properties. She can start with her own self as example. It has become a fashion for these vultures to be liberal with others’ property (especially owned by Hindu institutions – because their ‘secularism’ would not allow similar demand on Churches and mosques).
A secular government has not rights over the wealth of a religious institution and has no business suggesting ways for its use either. Liberals must remember this simple truth. A Hindu kingdom may have utilized temple wealth for the kingdom as the religion was supported by the state and it as the official religion. A secular state can never have such right.
Also on writing about Royals having their say over temple treasure, she seems to ignore that it was the Royals who donated most of this wealth to the temple. So why should the Royals not have their say over the usage of wealth they offered to Padmanabha? How is this connected to Royals not being a part of administration as per the directions of the court? And the current status is temporary. Their rights have not been abrogated. They are the traditional trustees of the temple and must remain so. After all, they have protected this huge cache of wealth throughout these years. On the other hand, liberals like Lekshmy are calling for open loot of the temple.
She also exhibits her qualities of intellectualism in this article by guessing about what must be inside vault B of the temple –
” Some of the fanciful stories include claims that the B Vault is locked with Nagapaasham, it can be opened only by chanting the Garuda Panchakshari mantra, and the ocean will rush in to submerge the city upon the opening of the vault. A section of media popularising such sensational nonsense show how weak we have become as a democratic and educated society…. There are rumours about the gold from the cellars getting converted into gold bars, during 1968/72. Probably, these bars are stored in B Vault…”
It must be noted that the people of Thiruvananthapuram who are the stakeholders of the temple have been with the Royals in keeping the vault closed. They have been voicing this opinion in the space given to them by the Mainstream Media as well. While the writer crushes all these rumors as nonsense, she tries to portray what is inside the vault through another rumor. Seems like even rumors are not spared from the discrimination which these intellectuals exhibit towards Hindus.
She also tries to use the common trick of having knowledge about shastras like any other intellectual in this article –
“It is highly unlikely that the idol of the Lord has any sacred temple tantra connection with the vaults, including the one below the idol. The tantri of the temple, who is from the devout Tharananellur Mana, wants to remain silent on this issue. Their ritualistic practices differ from the commonly accepted Malayali Brahminical code that follows the text Tantrasamuchhayam. Being a student of temple tantra, I am certain that there cannot be a sealed divine chamber below the idol because such a religious dimension to the chamber would have required the regular performance of pujas. No such pujas are done regarding the vaults, which means that the denial of access to the vaults has no reason related to temple traditions. So, it is ridiculous to prevent the opening of the B Vault using unsubstantiated tales of dangers or anger of the deity.”
It is surprising to note the despite of noting the differences of rituals from normal practices of other Kerala temples, the author does not seem to give it due respect this in her article. The Parashurama Paddhati, which guides the rituals of this temple, is kept by the Tharanalloor family for centuries and it has not been transmitted in any form outside the family. It is considered as their family right, their kula dana. So how can the writer, a student of normal temple tantra guess the rituals of this temple when she has no knowledge about the text?
In her attempt to dishonor the Royal Family she tries to even guess the wish of Padmanabhaswamy –
“Those who declare that the vast treasure that remains useless in the dark cellars without audit should be left untouched, are enemies of society. The government spends more than a crore of rupees every month to protect this treasure. It is necessary to discuss and decide how to make proper use of this collection of jewels and other valuables.That is the will of the people and it must be considered as the desire of Padmanabha Swamy. The erstwhile royals should realise that Padmanabha Swamy is also the guardian God of the city and the homeless people including women and children who sleep on the streets.”
Another example of the author knowing zilch about the tantra traditions. The will of the deity is known through devaprashnam. Devaprashnam ritual is unique to Kerala tantra traditions and the ritual concluded that the deity does not want the wealth to be taken out of temple. Protection of property is one of the primary duties of the state. It cannot be used as an excuse to loot the temple.
Padmanabhaswamy was considered as ruler of the entire state of Travancore. He was never called as mere kshetrapaala of the city (which is what Guardian means). But in either case, secular constitution has denied the sacred connection between the state and Padmanabhaswamy. So, the state has no right to the temple riches. Liberal vultures want to have the cake and eat it too. When Padmanabhaswamy has no right over the state and its subjects, the temple cannot be accused of relinquishing its duty towards the state.
Since liberals are so fond of giving advice to all and sundry, we shall show a mirror to them in this case. If they want social welfare from private funds, let them follow these steps:
- Use only government buses and unreserved train tickets for transportation (save money spent on transportation. Sell cars, bikes etc). Unnecessary pleasure trips to be avoided
- Sell your 2/3 BHK apartments, independent bungalows etc. Live for rent in a studio apartment or better yet in hut.
- Do not eat out. Cook food using only the cheapest items available in market.
- Send children to government schools. Save on school fees.
Many such avenues can be found out. If the several crores of liberals who crow about being generous with temple property follow the above rules, billions of dollars can be saved which can be used for social welfare. Let Lekshmy start with herself. Practice what you preach – is something the liberals should know.
Post Script –
Mr. Shashi Tharoor used to support the Royals in this issue. But those close to him now are attacking the Royals and he seems to be entertaining it as well. Example, Lekshmi Rajeev and Manu Pillai are close to Tharoor.
With LekshmyRajeev, author of the beautifully produced "Attukal Amma"&her creative collaborators incl artist Madanan pic.twitter.com/Ghw7LquozG
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 1, 2016
Thought-provoking article by @LekshmyRajeev argues for opening the sealed Vault B of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Tvmhttps://t.co/8Xk8acAQ1f
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 15, 2017
We wonder what is the reason behind this good cop – bad cop play by Tharoor and his coterie.
Note: This article has been jointly written by Trasadasyu (@dasyavevrka) and Paanchajanya (@paanchajanyaa)