Brass statues stolen from Hindu temple

HOUSTON The statues were taken from inside the Hare Krishna Temple at 34th and Golf.

It involved the amount of faith invested in the objects inside the temple, and worshippers pleading for them to be returned.

It is an ancient religion with precise rituals that revolve around the Hindu god Krishna and a host of deities.

Food is offered to their statues several times a day. The figures are dressed in ornate clothing, and throughout the day, people pray before them.

Except now, there is an empty spot at the altar where two statues -- one of Krishna and the other of his female counterpart -- are missing. They were stolen late Tuesday night.

"My feeling is that it's just a senseless type of thing," temple priest Maha Hari Das said. "Somebody thought they could get a few dollars for it or something."

The statues are made of brass and weigh about 40 pounds each. Less precious than copper, they would bring a small amount of money if sold for scrap. But the temple's concern is their spiritual value. Replacements take several months to make in India, followed by weeks of installation ritual.

"And installation means we invite the lord to come and reside within the deity so that's why it's irreplaceable because then we don't consider it a statue but the lord himself," temple priest Chaitonya Das said.

That's why the loss is very personal to those who worship here. For now, they say their prayers to a framed picture of the statutes that were stolen, prayers offered for their safe return.

Their faith includes the belief in karma, a divine payback for deeds -- either good or bad.

"Whatever they've done, such as sinful activities and they'd get punished for it," Chaitonya Das said. "And if they return it, God would also forgive them, so the law of karma would work in their favor if they return it."

The philosophy leads the temple to what's probably an extraordinary offer: the full replacement values of the statues will be given to whoever returns them; that includes the person who stole them in the first place.

HPD also has informed all scrap metal businesses in Houston to be on the lookout for them. So far, they have no responses.
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