Gods, Godmen and Money

There is an obvious link, isn’t it ?

The discovery of over USD 16B (INR 75,000 Crores and counting) of cash and gold at one of the famous South Indian temples has shocked many people. Combined with estimates of over USD 10B of cash and gold found with a famous godman who died recently, this establishes the fact that money is invariably linked with spiritualism.

You can contest this assertion, of course, but facts are facts, aren’t they ? Most believers are aghast, but they won’t open their mouths as for them, the discovery of money and gold would not change their beliefs in any way. For skeptics, this discovery only fortifies their conviction that the money which could have been invested for the poor people and the charities has been stuck for ages without any use and will now get stuck in litigation between the government and the temple trust.

The notion that a temple or a godman can be the trustee of money (mostly illegally stashed away in secret chambers to avoid detection) is wrong, and should be accounted as government money and nationalised as peoples’ wealth. When the focus today is on black money and bringing money stashed away overseas back to India, why not government seize money which has not been accounted for ? If there is no book of accounts, and if kings had hidden their wealth to put it away from seizure by the British as in the temple situation, then the government of India has every right to seize the cash and the goods and hand it over to the Reserve Bank of India, where it would do some good for India.

However, given the blind faith in India, even the government would find it very difficult to fight a case in the court against temples and godmen. This is going to be the case, and it would be fun to watch further waste of time and public taxpayers’ money chasing after these temple trusts and godmen. In fact, all temple trusts, private trusts and godmen with ashram and investments, should be brought under a religious regulator, and this should apply across religions. Let us see whether the government has the boldness to institute reforms in this direction.

In the meanwhile, the money waits for the common man.


Vijay Srinivasan
3rd July 2011


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