Monday, July 11, 2011

Thiruvananthapuram temple riches

Discussion between Vamsi, Natarajan Amirapu, and Sridhar.

Ram asks:

What would you suggest about the ownership of Thiruvananthapuram temple riches? I can see that India is getting a lot of money. In the form of Hidden treasures, more share in sea water and more... Are we capable enough to handle this money?

Natarajan Amirapu answers:

India was the richest country in the world for a long, long time. Under the British rule, we reached a stage where we were almost bankrupt and had to pledge gold to stay afloat during the early 1990s. From that stage we have now reached a stage where we are in the top ten richest nations of the world.

If you read the history of the world, it revolves around the rest of the world trying to do business with India. Don’t you remember the history of Christopher Columbus and all those sea-farers? What were they after? It was India! How do you think all this wealth is reaching India? India does not produce any gold but it produces spices and condiments and workmanship which attract people from all over the world. It is the same now. Even if you remove all the gold from our country, in another millennium we will be able to earn all that back.

India is bound to get all that money and all the more. Didn’t swami Vivekananda say that he sees “the great mother, sitting on the throne, in all her glory!” So, it is all coming true.

Here, we should understand a fundamental point. Man makes money and money does not make man! Swami Vivekananda was very clear about that. The Indian ethos teaches the four-fold ideal for the humanity - dharma, artha, kAma and mOkSHa. The second and third ideals artha and kAma are money and desire. They are not in anyway trivialized but are also enshrined as ideals. They are not bad in themselves but we are warned that they should be kept subservient to dharma which will lead to the final ideal of mokSHa.

So much of money and desire are turning the man into a Frankenstein. It is our responsibility to spread more of this dharma by practice and preaching, which will bring harmony into the society.

As far as the custody of the money is concerned, I am not much bothered about it. If we are a nation - a nation in the true spirit - it would be beneficial to the nation if the money is with the government. But, even before finishing that sentence, I hear so many voices of dissent!! The government is corrupt etc., etc.. That is the same problem! We should have more of dharma!

Never think money or gold is a problem. We don’t need any of that. What we want is character. Without that any amount of money is not going to save us. Don’t you remember the famous saying of Swami Vivekananda, “Unless you build the character, not even the wealth of the whole world is going to help a single Indian village!” (I changed the wording)

And, let me point out a few things.

1. Don’t you see how coolly the Indians are reacting to the find?

2. Don’t you realize the amount of detachment the royal custodians of the temple have? What all matters to them is their self-esteem and nothing else? Such people still exist in modern India!

3. If it had been a western country, whose fore-fathers are confirmed pirates, they would have ransacked the whole place! That is what they just did when they plundered the Greek pyramids in Africa and the Spaniards and Portugese did the same to the Mayan pyramids in Americas.

4. Read the quotation “the mild Hindu” by Swami Vivekananda.

5. What all of the corruption you see is only the raise of ‘rajas’. Swami Vivekananda says, “India shall be raised, but through what tumults, what tumults!” We haven’t seen anything yet.

6. If there is one race that can proudly lay claim to be completely “UNWORLDLY”, it is India and none else. Here, we are borne with renunciation. It is in our genes. May be it is somewhat misdirected and needs proper direction, but we have it and by God we have it!!

We are the children of vyAsa, vAlmiki, Janaka videha, bhagavAn shuka, BISHma and sIta, sAvitri and damayanti!


I find the discussion engaging and enlightening. If the finds prove anything from the economic point of view, I think the following are relevant:

1. India practiced investing in Gold well before the nations of the world shifted to Gold standard.m Shifting from Silver standard to Gold standard was a matter of debate which both Keynes and Mahalanobis discussed. It was also a matter of discussion among the leaders of our Freedom struggle.

2. The finds also substantiate that significant donations were made to the deity as offering. Swamiji said that man would offer the best to the God that he believed in.

3. It is to the credit of the royal family that the trust was held for more than 150 years. No swindling away or siphoning off as is being witnessed in Puttaparthi

4. It is also noteworthy that the treasure is in sealed vaults of the temple and not in the residences of the priests or royal family ( In contrast to theYajur bhawan findings). This speaks volumes about the integrity of the people involved.

I am sure such treasure troves exist in other parts of the country as well. Tirupati, certainly would head the list.

Now on the question of handling:
The standard reaction of different vested interest group would be.......

Govt - Hand it over to Endowments dept.
Leftists- Liquify the gold and develop the poor
Royal family- Leave it with the trust
Hindu groups- Spread Hinduism
Common Man- Wouldn't care any less! How does it benefit me?!!!!!!!
Politicians of all hues would want to invest in National development?!

In my view, the property should be declared as National treasure and deposited with the RBI with express condition that it shall never be sold away and shall act as a National Gold reserve which shall improve the International rating and economic strength of India.

The discussion was stimulating.

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