But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves do not break through nor steal. Matthew 6:20
An important part of LDS theology is the importance of temples. We believe that attending the temple can provide great treasures of knowledge and inspiration. But I'm not talking about that right now. I'm talking about this guy:
Yep, you got it. It's Sundararajan - the retired police officer. Personally, most policemen I know don't look like Mr. Sundararajan. Perhaps he was undercover. What does Sundararajan have to do with temples? Be patient, and I'll tell you.
Sundararajan lived near his local Hindu temple, called "Sree Padmanabhaswamy" in Trivandrum, India. (I promise I am not making any of this up.)
Here is the temple: (I think the building next door is the customer service center that I call when I have questions on my credit card bill.)
The local legend was that there was a treasure in the temple that had been accumulated over many years. Sundararajan was concerned that the temple and the alleged treasure wasn't guarded. So, he had a wild hair, (get it, wild hair? Man, that's funny! OK. If you don't get it, look at his picture, then you'll get it.) Anyway, Mr. Sundarajan asked the government to come down and inventory what they could find, and see if it needed better security.
So, a couple weeks ago, the government went to the temple and opened up the underground vaults to get an idea of what this mythical treasure was all about. They did find some treasure. The found some gold, some silver, some emeralds, some diamonds. All told, they estimated the worth of the treasure to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $22 million dollars.
Wait! Did I say $22 Million? I meant $22 BILLION worth of hidden treasure.
Ropes made of gold, sacks of diamonds, crowns, golden statues, 2000lbs of gold coins - you know Indiana Jones/National Treasure type stuff. There is even one more vault that they are afraid to open because there are markings on the door saying that if you open it, you will incur the "Divine Wrath". Again, I'm not making any of this up, even though this all reminds me of the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland.
Rather than incur the "Divine Wrath", they formed a committee to talk about who should open it, or if anyone should open it. Kind of a Hindu "hot potato". They also formed committees to decide what to do about the treasure they found. Some say it belongs to the deity and should stay put, others say there could possibly be some people in India that could use a few bucks. (For example, the education budget for the entire nation is $11 billion) I'm sure they'll be fighting about it for years to come.
Whatever they choose to do with it, you gotta be surprised that it even exists, let alone the size. Turns out the the Maharajas over the past few hundred years had been acquiring a lot of wealth, and kept it locked up in the temple vaults. A lot of the treasure is from donations from the local worshippers. Sad, but you gotta admire their devotion.
I have been to many of the LDS temples, and my guess is that on a good day, the cafeteria and the clothing counter might amass in the neighborhood of $500. Personally, I am glad to that our temples are not repositories of vast treasures - at least to my knowledge...
A final note: Mr. Sundararajan achieved his goal to have the vaults opened on earlier this month. Sadly, he died two weeks later on July 17th. He was 70 years-old.