FT.com has a hilarious story about the travails of temple goers in the US to find a bank that would lend them enough gold bars so that they could weigh their guru in a symbolic ceremony.
After knocking on the doors of more than a dozen banks in New York without success, it was Canada’s TD Bank that in the end agreed to lease the required metal.
But since gold bullion turned out to be a nightmare to source and now trades for more than $1,600 an ounce the group opted for cheaper platinum – $1,405 an ounce on Friday – instead.
Twenty-four bars from Impala's South African mines and 400 one-ounce coins arrived in New York from a London vault this week after after temple members deposited $4.7 million as collateral:
Congregants are expected to throng the Shree Swaminarayan temple in New Jersey this Sunday to ceremonially weigh their guru, Swami Purushottampriyadasji, in honour of his 70th birthday. But because of recent US financial reforms and the “war on terror”, members of the Hindu temple had to jump through an inordinate number of hoops to borrow 175lb of platinum, worth $3.9m, to place on an ornate scale as a counterbalance.
It will be the temple’s first such rite in 11 years and the sect’s first to use platinum to weigh a living guru since 1967. The ceremony aims to celebrate the guru’s works by placing him on a scale with holy items including coconuts, flowers and enough platinum to make about 40,000 catalytic converters for cars.
Image is a posed picture, not Swami Purushottampriyadasji.