Torn between law and belief the Supreme Court-appointed panel and state government are in a big dilemma over the opening of ‘B’ chamber, believed to have last been opened 136 years ago, at Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple.
To be or not to be is the question plaguing both. The elaborate ‘deva prasnam’ (an astrological ritual to gauge the mood of presiding deity) which concluded on Thursday warned serious consequences for those opening it. Since the ‘B’ vault is situated just below the presiding deity any harm or displacement to it is equivalent to damaging the deity, it was found in ‘deva prasnam.’
The Travancore royal family, which presently manages the temple, is equally worried. If rectification measures are not taken the family would be left without a heir, Madhur Narayana Rangabhattu, the chief astrologer, gave the details of the ritual to the royal head.
It was also revealed that the riches of the temple should not be moved, put on public display or photographed. The Supreme Court had constituted two special committees last month to inventory six subterranean vaults of the temple (coded A to F, five have been already opened unearthing valuables worth Rs one lakh crore), document all articles and suggest measures to protect recovered items. The findings came at a time when the SC-appointed committee is about to begin its work.
Seers and astrologers also warned that snakes would hound those who open the cellar. Two black serpents were found carved on the doors of the ‘B’ cellar. The deity was not in favor of the cellars being opened and display contents since it was linked with the spiritual power of the temple, they argued.
Chief minister Oommen Chandy made a surprise visit to the temple the other day assuring devotees that their sentiments would be given top priority while taking any decision. “The government would inform the court about the prevailing sentiments of devotees,” he said.
Earlier the royal family had deposed before the Supreme Court that opening of the secret cellars may trigger unpleasant incidents and sought a ‘deva prasnam’. However petitioner T P Sunderarajan, who died last month, opposed it saying it was a ploy to delay the inventorying. The royal family finally agreed to a ‘prasnam’ after the main petitioner died and a fire broke out on the temple premises recently. Since the findings contain an ominous warning all are in a piquant situation now.