With the recent developments and problems happening in Sree Poornathayeesha Temple, Tripunithura, I thought of going through 20 years of works conducted by Cochin Devasom Board (CDB), the current custodian of the temple and Sree Poornathrayeesha Seva Sangom, a trust created in late 1960’s to conduct Valiya Utsavom.
As a Slave (aTima) of Lord Poornathrayeesa and as a member of Cochin Royal Family, who handed over the temple to the Indian Dominion in 1949, I believe I have all rights to perform an analysis of CDB and Seva Sangom initiatives. All opinions detailed below are solely from my thoughts and analysis.
In past 20 years, Seva Sangom and CDB have made lot of modifications to the structure, procedures, processes and rituals of the temple, starting with Deva Prashnam. So, let me detail some of the changes that were done. Some of them has created an environment of concern for real devotees of Lord Sree Poornathrayeesha, and not to the power hungry, selfish, jealous and egoistic people. This is creating a situation similar to what happened in Vadakkumnathan Temple in 18th century and Peruvanam Mahakshetram before that.
Below, I will be just highlighting prime reasons on how I arrived at conclusions and leave a detailed report for some time in near future. Also, we should keep in mind that Devasom Officer (representative of CDB in the temple) is just another puppet (of late) in the hands of Seva Sangom (I have seen an incident in person to prove this), a body which could exist only as long as any construction happen in the temple, as per the judiciary of India.
- Sree Kovil (Sanctum Santorum) ceiling changed to wood – To change the first concreate Sree Kovil in Kerala was an unnecessary waste of crores of rupees for nothing in return. Even though the reason mentioned was that there were some damages to the concreate (which could have been fixed by simple repairs), the primary reason to change from concreate ceiling to wood was the heat inside the Sanctum Santorum. After reconstruction, the concerned people who perform rituals inside the sanctum sanctorum have personally told me that the heat has just doubled. Also, not to mention the miscalculations and wrong construction (Dr. Ashalatha Thampuran’s detailed report on this) that was undertaken. I also wonder if someone has audited the accounts for this reconstruction, I will be surprised if there was an audit. My verdict – Unnecessary waste of money for nothing in return. Keeping this in mind, I would have a full audit of the works undertaken, clearly knowing that the current President of Seva Sangom is a Chartered Accountant. Not to mention the damages to the beliefs and rituals of the temple.
- Namaskara Mandapam ceiling changed to wood – Again, one of the first concrete Mandapam in Kerala. This reconstruction, as per my knowledge, was due to the wrong construction of Sreekovil. Even the reconstruction of Namaskara Mandapam has its flaws. The last I heard was that there are lot of leaks during rain and misappropriations in the design. My Verdict – Unnecessary and unwanted costs incurred upon the devotees for personal (in this case, an organisation) gains.
- New Gold Kolam for the god – An antique and archaeological item was destroyed by Seva Sangom and Devasom Board to build an ugly new one. This was such an unnecessary change. The beautiful old Kolam was so exquisitely created, which person with a good mind will try to destroy it and build an ugly new one. My Verdict – I was told in my childhood that the Golden Kolam had very precious stones. I hope they are still there in the new one. I would like someone perform audit on this.
- Golden Nettipattom – There was no need to do this and I am not saying much about this as the matter is\was in courts. My Verdict – Why do you need to change such a magnificent and glorious nettipattom? What is the logic? Cochin Devasom Board and Seva Sangom has to explain this. There was no damage to this centuries old antique. Is this just to erase all identities of Cochin Royal Family in the temple?
- Crown\Kireedom of Sree Poornathrayeesa – After Cochin Royal Family repaired the Kireedom of Sree Poornathrayeesha in 2005, in 2007 the weight of Kireedom was said to be 60 grams lesser that what was weighed in 2005. There were initial indications to blame the Cochin Royal Family for this, but the whole repair by Goldsmith happened inside the temple in presence of 2 officials from Cochin Devasom Board. What happened after that in those 2 years? Nobody knows. My Verdict – Cochin Devasom Board officials has to answer this and remove all doubts from the mind of devotees.
- Wrestled the possession of nearby land (oottupura parambu) from Government for temple use – This was a very good initiative from Seva Sangom. My Verdict – As long as the land is used for purpose of the temple and not for building a shopping complex, this is good.
- Sree Hari – Nothing to explain. My Verdict – Again, a complete eyewash on the devotees, with Seva Sangom collecting amount saying that Sree Poornathrayeesha needed an elephant for daily rituals. Now, Seva Sangom is collecting money which actually should have been going to the temple. Even though Seva Sangom could line up judgements, for me, this is a day light robbery of devotees.
- The Gold and other valuables missing from the vault\strong room – Cochin Devasom Board has to answer to the public and Cochin Royal Family about the missing valuables which was presented to Lord Sree Poornathrayeesha by devotees and erstwhile Cochin Royal Family.My Verdict – CDB has not done anything to clarify the doubts and concerns. Have the officials of the government body cheated the devotees? I clearly feel so.
The destruction of artefacts, antiques and history by CDB and Seva Sangom could be compared to ISIS destroying historical monuments in Syria. But here, these are friendly people are trying to remove traces of some great people and minds, who before them, had protected and modified a rich cultural heritage for centuries. I wish they don’t blow up the temple to see if there are some treasures buried underneath.
I feel it is time some of us thought about the covenant signed in 1949 by a certain noble heart in front of V.P Menon. The way the temple is being administered right now, I fear for the future.
With the paid media not highlighting such daylight robberies, I wish to say that I have changed my mind about the treasures of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple. The treasure should stay inside the temple and should be under the supervision of Travancore Royal Family.
This reminds me of a prose from purushartha-koothu,
നന്നായ് വിളക്കു, തിരുനേദ്യഘൃതാഭിഷേകം.
കൂത്തോത്തു, പാട്ട്, തിരുവുത്സവമെന്നിതെല്ലാം
നൂരാളരെന്നു ചില രാക്ഷസർ സഞ്ചരന്തി.
Synopsis: The Owners of temples in Kerala usually decide on day to day affairs of the temple they own. Not only they do not perform any rituals for pleasing the gods, they also stop others from doing it. They have stopped the daily offerings (Lamps, Nivedyam, Neyyabhishekam, Koothu, Othu, Paattu, Utsavom etc.). There is no particular reason for this, just for destroying their lineage. They do things which Demons do, that is hurt Gods.
In this prose, the owner (CDB and Seva Sangom) of a temple is being compared to a Demon (രാക്ഷസർ).
Below is a prose which occurred to me.
സേവാസംഘമെന്നും ദേവസ്വമെന്നും നാമം
പക്ഷേ സ്വസ്സേവയും സ്വസ്സ്വവും പരിണാമം
അജയ്യനായ വിചാരിപ്പിനു നാവില്ല, മാങ്കായിൽ മന്നന് നാണമില്ല
സ്വേച്ഛക്കായ് നശിപ്പിക്കുന്നു, പൂർണ്ണവേദപുരാധീശ: പാഹി: പാഹി:
POSTED BY KERALAVARMA