Senior VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore sees a conspiracy behind the arrest of the two Shankaracharyas of Kanchi Mutt. He says that Hindus are relieved at the release of Swami Jayendra Saraswati, but are equally concerned at the arrest of Vijayendra Saraswati and at sudden interruption of rituals in this ancient Mutt for the first time. In an exclusive interview to Organiser correspondent, Deepak Kumar Rath, the Acharya declared that a deep conspiracy was afoot to destroy the image of Hindu dharmacharyas as they have been successfully curbing conversions of Hindus.
What is your reaction on Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati’s release after the Supreme Court granted him bail?
On January 10, 2005, when the Supreme Court granted bail to Swami Jayendra Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt, the Hindus heaved a sigh of relief. Actually speaking, according to law, justice delayed is justice denied. After long 60 days he has been granted bail. In normal cases no court should take such a long period. It was the state police that opposed his bail every time. The Supreme Court has admitted that this was a strong case for grant of bail. The prosecution could not produce enough evidence. But, I am surprised at two orders of the Supreme Court as imposed by the police—first, he will not be allowed to stay in the Mutt so that he cannot meet the witness and second, he will surrender his passport to the court. These are not good conditions to be imposed on a dignitary of the stature of Swami Jayendra Saraswati. I feel the Court could have passed a stricture against the state government of Tamil Nadu for keeping the Shankaracharya confined in jail over an irrelevant issue.
Now what would happen to the ancient Mutt as none of the two Shankaracharyas is there to conduct the prayers?
That is a problem. For 2,500 years the Chandramauleswar puja has been consistently conducted in the Mutt. Now, for the first time, there has been an interruption. Actually this will be a loss of the age-old tradition and custom. It would also be tampering with the Hindu Dharma rituals. The government is definitely guilty on this record, and it should have allowed the junior Shankaracharya, Swami Vijayendra Saraswati, to conduct the prayers in the Mutt. I know that the arrest of the junior seer, Vijayendra Saraswati, is a vindictive act of Jayalalithaa borne out of her anger at the bail granted by the Supreme Court. And therefore, Shankaracharya Swami Vijayendra Saraswati has been kept in prison for 15 days without any valid reason.
How is the VHP planning to take up the issue?
We will organise agitations throughout the country to voice our protest against this injustice to the Hindu Dharma and its respected leaders. From January 14, 2005, the Bajrang Dal activists will recite the Hanuman Chalisa for one week.
What is your demand from the Central Government?
We demand that the puja in the Mutt should continue uninterruptedly. Secondly, Swami Vijayendra Saraswati should not be imprisoned and senior Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati should be allowed to conduct the prayers in the Mutt. In my opinion, according to the judgement of the bail, the Jayalalithaa government should release Shankaracharya unconditionally and tender an apology for her misdeeds.
Do you feel that the Centre had a role in this episode?
I feel the Central Government has been acting indifferently. The ‘super’ Prime Minister has not reacted at all. Had it been a case of some Christian or other, she would have reacted promptly.
Do you see any conspiracy behind the arrest of Shankara-charya?
It is said that this is a conspiracy hatched by the Christians, as the conversion of Hindus has been halted much against the hopes of the Pope who had declared, “The 21st century would be the Christian century for Asia.” On enquiring into the matter, we have learnt that the dharma-charyas are taking up several social works, due to which conversions are not taking place any longer. Among the dharma-charyas, the Kanchi Kamakoti Shankaracharya is their main target. They have prepared a list of 40 saints who are their target. I see this as a clear case of conspiracy. They want to show to the world that Hindu dharmacharyas are not proper saints.
Who are the other leaders in their list?
They are Satya Sai Baba, Mata Amritanandamayee, Shri Shri Ravi Shanker Maharaj and all the Hindu leaders.
This is a state matter pertaining to Tamil Nadu. How can you say that the ‘super’ Prime Minister has a role in it?
Frankly speaking, a senior leader, who is a Union Minister, was sent to Chennai and he told Jayalalithaa, ‘Madam knows about your misdeeds. Are you prepared to go to jail or will you arrange to send the Shankara-charya to the jail?’
Who is this Cabinet Minister?
I cannot reveal his name.