This story relates numerous incidents that happened to the staff, management and kin of a landowner who were involved in negotiations with the intended shifting of a Hindu temple to a new site within a housing project. The ongoing negotiations started since the land was purchased ten years ago. The incidents that had occurred to date may sound like a Ripley’s believe it or not tale.
The landowner purchased a piece of land for a proposed small housing project in 1995. During negotiations, he found out that a Hindu temple was situated on the land illegally and the purchase price was then reduced by a substantial amount. After signing the purchase agreement, he engaged an Indian lawyer to facilitate the negotiations with the Hindu temple committee. The negotiations went on for sometime with both sides failing to reach an agreement. The temple committee kept repeating that the Hindu deity refused to accept the proffered terms. Therefore the landowner sent various Daoist temple mediums along to negotiate with the Hindu deity. At times the negotiations turned into heated arguments. Meanwhile he commenced legal action to evict the temple but the court ruled in favor of the temple and he intended to submit an appeal on the ruling.
In 1997 the Indian lawyer’s legs became swollen and he could hardly walk to see the doctors. There seemed to be no available cures and he suffered much pain. His mother decided to seek spiritual help from a Daoist temple. The Daoist deity’s advice to her was that “if your son values his life, he has to drop the negotiation and the case”.
Both the lawyer and a mutual friend told me the Hindu deity had warned that ‘if the terms of the temple are acceded to, great profits will accrue to the landowner; if not, the deity wants to see blood”. They placed much emphasis on the latter part of the statement. They left with worried looks as one made no promise to talk with the landowner, an old friend of mine.
This quite explained a series of events that had occurred earlier. An in-house lawyer handling the temple negotiations had a head on collision that smashed his new car. After the accident he quickly resigned from his job. The legal departmental staff and another lawyer who took over the temple file went on medical leave frequently.
The landowner’s son went for a simple operation to be performed by one of the best surgeons in town. Yet the surgeon had to operate on him a few times before it was successful. A lot of prayers and offerings were made at a Daoist temple before the final successful operation.
After studying the case, one went to convince the landowner to drop the appeal on the court ruling. Probably some comments may have hit the mark and he reassured me that an appeal will not be filed in court.
A year or two later, one of his managers’ adult son was fatally struck by lightning in an open field. The manager had been directly involved in the temple negotiations.
The landowner recently took the courage to visit the languishing development project. At the site, he suddenly collapsed and was taken back home to rest for a few days.
Comment: The land for the Hindu temple has already been compensated to the landowner. Firstly, the previous landowner agreed to reduce the selling price by a substantial sum to cater for the existence of the temple. Then the local authorities decided to resolve the protracted matter by giving an ‘open space’ title (to be surrendered by the landowner to the authorities) to the temple and rezoning it for such purpose. The eviction notice was thrown out when the judge ruled that the temple has a right to stay within the land. Both the authorities and the judge know the roots and followed local customs.
During the times of Confucius and Mencius, rulers always think of profits (more territory or hegemony) instead of benevolence and righteousness. Greed has no limits. Even if all those around the ruler fall by the wayside or get injured, he will still try to reap a greater profit.
However one has nothing to gain and much to lose by going against the spirits (shen). Spirits after all are different from Man.
With this final episode on spiritual tales for 2005, I wish those readers who celebrate the oncoming festive season, A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!