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'Kerala temple wealth belongs to God'

Jul 12, 2011 07:26 AM IST India India

Marthanda Varma, the eldest member of the Travancore royal family spoke to CNN-IBN in an exclusive interview on all the treasure that was unearthed at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. He feels it should not become such a huge topic of discussion. Dakshina Muraleedharan: Our country has a long history about invasions and then later how we were plundered by these invaders. Do you believe that the rulers in South India like the Travancore Kings were a step ahead in protecting its people and its wealth? Marthanada Varma Thampuran: In the South we have been more fortunate. Stronger invasions were in the North. We had mainly trade. We used to trade and supply materials even to Cleopatra. We also had wars. But we were a step ahead. Near the temple there is a bazaar now. A university was situated there then. In the BC era we had education and arms training there. All the other kings - Pandyas, Cholas wanted to know how to defeat us. They said it was because of the university. They came and broke it. Then they wondered how we have this extra capacity. They were told because of the temple. They came to break it but surrendered before the Lord. My ancestor in 1750 after conquering Venad, it became Travancore, dedicated.the state to Lord Padmnabha. It was called Thiruppadi Dhanam - offering at the sacred step of the Lord. And he ruled the state as his servant. Now as a tourist gimmick we call the state God's own country, everything is his creation only. Dakshina Muraleedharan:Your counsel told the Supreme Court last week that the royal family does not have any claim on the wealth. Everything is the Lord's property. Help us understand this statement. Marthanada Varma Thampuran:: I am wearing a dhoti... this comes from cotton.. cotton comes from the earth.. where did the earth come from... from God. Everything belongs to him. We are only people who have the privilege of using what he has been gracious enough to give. That we are forgetting…Many inhibitions that other people have we did not have. It was just service. Dakshina Muraleedharan: There is a lot of public debate on the development in the temple. Are you saddened or surprised by this variety of opinions pouring in? Marthanada Varma Thampuran: No Comment because that is for everybody to assess... I am as human as everybody else is. And If that which you hold in veneration is now become a subject of chit chat I can't understand it. Dakshina Muraleedharan: So you are saying that the matter is subjudice. You will wait for the Supreme Court verdict on this and then express your opinion? Marthanada Varma Thampuran: Yes then I will say. Whatever the decision is then I am free to say. Now whatever I say would be coloured in some way by everybody. That I don't want. Dakshina Muraleedharan: The world is awestruck by the revelations in the temple. But the royal family does not seem to be surprised at all. Why is that? Marthanada Varma Thampuran: It has been our fortune that we were able to serve. So there is no surprise. Only that we are surprised that other people are surprised. Dakshina Muraleedharan: Any message that you want to give to the devotees of Sree Padmnabha around the world? Marthanada Varma Thampuran: If you are a devotee increase your devotion. Don't waste time on unnecessary debate. Dakshina Muraleedharan: The royal family including yourself are known for your generosity. There is an opinion that atleast a percentage of the wealth should be taken outside the temple and spent on social cause. How would you react to that? Marthanada Varma Thampuran: That comes to thin ice. I won't comment. Its still in the court. I won't say anything now. Dakshina Muraleedharan: Does this revelation throw light on the history of South India or the history of the Travancore royal family? Marthanada Varma Thampuran: Let the Supreme Court decide on that in their own way. The easier way, the comfortable way or the hard way. Dakshina Muraleedharan: People are also surprised at the fact that this was preserved so well by our erstwhile kings. But its not the same world anymore. Are you like many others concerned about security? Marthanada Varma Thampuran: Ofcourse security is a necessity. Even at home you need security. When you make people understand... People who are not thinking about anything else other than their body... Know of these things... There is a grave responsibility... And that I believe are being seen to by the right people... In the right way.