A mere audience of a sannyasi is the fulfiller of all desires, says the Padmapurana (Sadhunam darsanam loke sarvasiddhikaram param?Padma Purana 1.79). The Bhagavata goes much ahead and says that the sannyasis visit the pilgrimages not to purify themselves but the pilgrimages are purified by the visit of the sannyasis (Prayena tirthabhigamapadeshaih swayam hi tirthani punanti santah- Bhagavata 1.21.8). On Indian soil it is regarded as a great fortune to touch the feet of a sannyasi. Smearing the dust of his feet on one'sforehead is a rarest opportunity that even great monarchs aspire to do. What to speak of the mortals even gods aspire for a holy darshan of a sannyasi. Not only an audience or a blessing, even receiving a wrath of the sannyasi is considered as a boon. Lord Vishnu, the God of gods considered it a great fortune to receive a kick from a sannyasi (Bhrigu) on His chest and eternally bore the mark of the assault with great gratitude.
The civilisation of India was designed by great sannyasis like Manu, Yajnavalkya, Vyasa, Valmiki, Parasara and Shankaracharya etc. India has never been denuded of sannyasis through the ages. In every era there have been great souls, great sannyasis on the soil of India to enlighten the society and to show the right path. The great centres of learning in India had been the hermitages of sannyasis. Sannyasis have been the real pathfinders and real torch-bearers of the society. The sublime culture, the high value system and the grand traditions of India have been surviving because of the advent of great sannyasis from time to time. And in return the land has been showing tremendous reverence to the sannyasis which is only a small gesture of gratitude.
In continuation of the great tradition of dedicated sannyasis the twentieth century saw a sannyasi, a great sannyasi having unmatched dedication for the protection of the country'sculture and tradition. The great monk is no other than the legendary figure, the incarnation of dedication Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. He was a person whose property consisted of a pair of saffron linens and a stick but he was in fact a monarch. Yes, he was the monarch of thousands of grateful loving hearts of the country in general and of the people of tribal districts of Orissa in particular.
At the prime of his youth Swami Laxmanananda left behind the boundaries of his home and transformed the whole world to his abode. He parted with his young wife and his toddler son only to embrace the whole humanity as his family. He renounced the worldly bondages at the age of twenty five only to be dedicated to the service of the human race.
He lived a secluded spiritual life for quite a few years in the peaceful milieu of Rishikesh completely dedicated to the exploration of spiritual wisdom of the scriptures. But it was not what he was divinely deputed to do. He was ordained to do something more to the motherland.
He came to know about the dangerous drive of the Christian missionaries to create a ?Christ-stan? on the land of Orissa by coercive and forcible conversion of the gullible tribals. He came to know about their ugly measures to divide the peaceful Vanavasi populace and create tension on the land by breaching the existent fraternity in the communities. He came to know about their nasty move to eliminate Indian culture by money pumped from outside.
He, with an iron will, entered the woodland of Kandhamal to fight all odds single handedly. He fought against the lavishly affluent missionaries penniless and faced murderous threats of life defenceless. He strived tirelessly for the over all uplift of the local tribals. He established educational institutions, promoted women'seducation, provided health care and means of lively hood for the poor and downtrodden.
He was not the type of saint to sit on high pedestals and receive obeisance and gifts from devotees from a respectable distance. He became one with the tribals. He lived a life similar to the downtrodden and ate their humble eatables. As a result he secured a place in the innermost region of their hearts. He remained a cohabitant of the tribals for four decades till the last breath of his life which ended at the age of 81.
Among his miscellaneous drives to save the culture and the people from the clutches of the Christian missionaries his most powerful and fruitful measure was the ?return-home? movement among the tribals. People who were coerced to leave their faith and culture by the missionaries were educated how they are falling prey to the traps of the churches and moving away from their own traditions, how the missionaries are dividing people and creating tension in the community, how they are converting blood brothers into blood-thirsty foes by alluring a chunk from the community to change their faith and making them stand against the rest.
Having understood the reality and the ulterior motives of the missionaries thousands of converts came back to their original faith.
Swamiji'sactivities put a rein on the otherwise unobstructed activities of the churches and their plan to convert the woodland of Orissa to Christ-land. The pastors turned furious. As many as nine murderous attacks were attempted on the life of Swamiji. He escaped all the attacks miraculously. On December 24, 2007 it was the ninth attack. Swamiji was physically assaulted by a group of two to three hundred people but escaped due to some timely action of some of his follower fellow travellers.
Hardly after eight months there was the final assault. A letter of threat was sent to the ashrama which was received by the Swami on August 22, 2008. He immediately lodged an FIR and requested the administration to protect his life. But no. He was not saved.
The police did not feel the saint'slife worthy enough to be protected. Not a single extra police personnel was deployed to save the great soul. Even the personal security who used to accompany the saint remained mysteriously absent on the fateful day. Within twenty six hours of his request for security the saint confronted the unthinkably barbaric death. The holy land of Bharat, where washing the feet of a sannyasi is considered to be a great fortune, was actually washed by the blood of a sannyasi. In the evening of Janmastami a group of twenty five killers armed with modern weapons like AK-47 pumped bullets to the revered saint'sfrail body which killed him along with four other sannyasi and sanyyasinis of the ashram.
The whole Orissa was traumatised at the brutal slaughter of the beloved Swamiji. Thousands of people with tears streaming from their eyes stormed to see the Mahatma for the last time. As many as thirty thousand people assembled at the cremation of the sannyasi.
The next day the state observed a voluntary bandh, a unique bandh which no body had seen earlier. The whole state came to a standstill. Then the anger erupted. And there was the widespread agitation.
In the whole episode two roles were really unique. One is the role of the police and the second is the role of a section of the media.
With the very news of Swamiji'sgruesome murder every body could understand who committed it ?except the police? which suffered from the syndrome of ?deliberate ignorance?. Even before reaching the spot and before starting any investigation the police attributed the murder to the Naxals. But the public was not as ignorant as the police thought it to be. This misleading statement was accepted not even by a child of the State and it received fuming criticism from the public and the regional media unanimously. The police lost its credibility.
And then the protecting role of the police was also unique. The police which did not feel it necessary to provide a single extra staff to save the life of the great saint deployed hundreds of police personnel to protect every small and big church in the area after the death of the Swami. The killer was protected by the police not the victim.
And then the role of a section of the media. When the print and electronic media of Orissa were overcrowded by the death and after-death news of the Swami, all the national electronic media were conspicuous by their dead silence. Those very channels who had untiringly telecast the death incident of Graham Stains round the clock did not utter a single word when the whole Orissa was crying at the slaughter of Swami Laxmanananda. The media even did not report the unbelievable self-imposed bandh which Orissa observed for one full day. The media which dedicates hours in telecasting even a suicide case of unknown citizens in the country was ghastly silent at the unbelievably brutal murder of the great saint and the social reformer.
The silence of the media spoke volumes for them. The blatant anti-Hindu and unpatriotic character of the electronic media got a shameless exposure again. Graham Stains who was a foreigner and was dividing the people inside their community and ruining the culture of the country had received unthinkable propagation through the media and had become a super hero posthumously. But Swami Laxmanananda, the supreme devotee of the motherland who dedicated every breath of his life in protecting the culture of the country failed to find a few seconds of telecast in the national media of the country. And the brutal killing of the saint was very indirectly, lightly and indignantly reported as the murder of ?an office bearer of the VHP?.
But the story did not end here. The silence of the electronic media was not a silence but a preparation for a pounce. It was like the tiger'spreparation to jump on the prey. The channels were eagerly waiting for the aggrieved Hindus to retaliate so that they would wake up to catch their throats. After all Hindus are their most favourite kills.
And their waiting came to an end with the first news of so called arson in a Christian orphanage. The eager media did not waste a moment in preparing a special report of half an hour on it. All the slumbering channels suddenly woke up not to telecast the inhuman slaughter of the Swamiji but the ?plight of the Christians in the hands of the Hindus?.
Not only the media, but the ?great leaders? of the country jumped to action because the minority vote bank had ripened now and had to be harvested without delay. Then started the series of statements, visits and other related favorite activities of the politicians.
For the anti-Hindu and anti Indian units there was not a better chance than this. The pseudo human rightists came out of their hibernation to protect the ?human rights of the Christians?. And the Pope conveyed his concern. It was a not a concern when the Christians killed the Mahatma, but it was a concern when the Christians were attacked.
There was no urge among the people to talk about the great selfless philanthropist and the great humanist Swami Laxmanananda who sacrificed his life in protecting the culture and civilisation of the motherland. His killers and conspirators were left tension-free. And the police chased the aggrieved Hindus. What a paragon of justice! Had this unique system of justice been prevalent in the Tretaya, Shri Ram and Hanuman would have been hanged and Ravana would have been felicitated.
What has happened to this great sacred land? On the holy soil of India monsters played Holi with the blood of a Mahatma and were prized with concern and sympathy!
Murder of Swami Laxmanananda proved not to be a murder of a sannyasi only. It exposed that the value system of the land has been murdered. It revealed that the culture of the soil has been murdered. It said that the civilisation, the greatest civilisation of the world has already been murdered.
(The writer can be contacted at Qr. No. 5R9, Forest Park, Unit-1, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, 751 009 [email protected])