Temple Economics-Dharma, Science, Culture and Beyond

  • Book review and know the contents of a very interesting book on Temple Economics.

One may find it strange to read a book on temple economics when he has been born in the city of temples Mathura and has played, prayed, and had food in temples only.

Yet I thank my stars that I read this book ‘Temple Economics, Vol – I’ (henceforth I will write Mandir and Bharat). Mandirs which could manage to survive the destruction from Abrahamic invaders, had suffered never ending damages in their own independent country. The truncated freedom brought a secular government which took over Mandir management, swindled funds, and grabbed the land.  Greedy anti-mandir forces including land mafias, smugglers dealing in stolen deities looted it. And some corrupt mahants have aggravated the crisis.

Why Mandirs are important

The well researched book ‘Temple Economics’ investigates the causes behind this downfall. It also provides the reader an insight into the golden era of mandirs and how these contributed to the wellbeing of the nation as well as that of society.

It is amazing to learn that Bhartiya culture developed a model in the form of mandir which distributed wealth in far flung areas having no source of income. Kedarnath, Badrinath, Amarnath, Rameshwaram, Tirupati, Jagannath puri and so many other mandirs have been doing this for thousands of years.

Mandirs are delivering much more than strengthening the economy

The book provides a detailed account of how mandir contributed to art, culture, music, dance, textile agriculture and finance. Mandir played a major role in inculcating bravery, sacrifice, and patriotism along with spiritual traits.

Invaders took no time in understanding the power of the Mandir and tried their level best to destroy them. Book takes the reader on a journey through case study, research papers and historical evidence.

The four parts of the book include Temple economics, destruction of Mandir as well as its economics, loss of the mandir ecosystem post-independence and the need to reestablish the mandir ecosystem. The book shares the pain and agony of the mandirs as well as it documents hope and aspiration.

The cover page, the beginning

As discussed above the author and his team has designed the cover in such a way that it provides a glimpse of the book, the picture of the mandir is chosen which reflects the concept of temple as that of the vastupurush. The back cover depicts lotus with all the benefits written on the circumference.

Right from dedication the book to the three monks who were killed in 2020 at Palghar for just being monks till the poem on last page, it keeps you engaged with the different facets including the plight of mandirs

Dealing with huge amounts of data in a presentable and engrossing way

Most of the research books suffer from complexity, slowing down the speed of the reader when one attempts to understand. As a result the reader stops midway. Here the author has done a great service by presenting it in the form of sections, case studies and articles.

One such narration can be read in the chapter Fight back at Varanasi. The table on page 262 provides full details of destruction by invaders and rebuilding of Kashi mandir by Hindus from 1033 CE to 2022 CE. Hindu never gave up their right to have the mandir. One can only be proud of the resilience of Hindus who sacrificed everything and fought valiantly.

The first part of the book containing 6 chapters deals with mandir economics by classifying these on different counts to why and how of the mandir economics. This part deals with the history of temples. This part takes pain to explain, how mandir based economy kept the state free from taking care of art, religion, and culture. Mandir not only protected these but played a vital role in improving upon them.

The second part deals with destruction of mandir and its economy by invaders in the next 6 chapters.

The third section deals with the damage done by governments and other forces post- independence. It is shocking to know that freedom has not come for mandirs. To the contrary they have been put through faster onslaught by vote bank politics.

The fourth section is full of hope emphasizing the need to re-establish Mandir based arthavyavastha. The author deserves compliments as his research has been proved right. The drastic improvement in pilgrims visit at Kashi Vishwanath, Mahabaleshwar Ujjain and Ram mandir Ayodhya have vindicated the book. It is not too far when Bhartiya pilgrims will take over all form of tourism in number and money globally.

A must read if you have taken pride in being Indian and if you owe loyalty to being Indian.

Shri Rakesh Kumar is author of Desi Manager , who retired as executive director from Life Insurance Corporation of India.  

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