November 11, 2004, Kanchi Shankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, the 69th Peetadhipati of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, was arrested for his alleged involvement in a murder case. He was subsequently released on bail on January 10, 2005. Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal, the 70th Peetadhipati of the Peetam too was arrested in the same case on the same day and released on bail on February 10, 2005. Trail in the case was going for 9 long years. Finally, on November 27, both the seers were acquitted by the Sessions Court in Puducherry. During nine years, there had been a concerted effort to tarnish the reputation of both the seers and also that of the Mutt. Here is an interview with Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal after the court verdict. Excerpts:
How do you feel now after the court verdict?
Dharma has prevailed. Truth has won. That is what matters.
What has the last nine years been like for you?
More or less the same, except that the Mutt officials had to spend more time on the case related issues.
Was it tough?
I have been trained by my Guru to bear everything. There is no question of the situation being tough. Times were challenging because we were facing completely new set of situations.
Apparently several devotees have stopped visiting the two of you. Attendance at major functions at the Mutt too has decreased. Comment.
Was it not to be expected? What would a lay person do when there is a concerted campaign by all the influential segments of society? Many people played safe and reduced their frequency of visits to the Mutt. As soon as I was released on bail, do you know, there was constant surveillance and every devotee who came to visit me was scanned? There were plain clothes men all over. I myself told visitors to take it easy, in the early days. Now people have started coming as before. In recent times the devotees thronging the Mutt have increased manifold and in fact more than during normal periods.
Has normalcy been restored in the Mutt?
The daily Chandramoulee-swara Puja was not disrupted even for a day. Every religious functions have been celebrated as they should be. Nothing has stopped. All the normal Mutt practices have been carried out, as always.
How have you kept yourself busy?
Praying, studying, meditating. I have been busy travelling, visiting devotees in various places, attending important functions etc. There is plenty of work that has been done during the last 9 years as well.
Did you not feel disappointed that you had to give up your pet hospital project?
First I do not have pet projects. Second I do not give up the things that will serve the needy and the deserving. If the project did not work out, another will. If you want to do something important, you will always be tested with obstacles along the way. We will carry out the good work as intended.
During the initial stages several people indulged in character assassination and published sensational articles about both of you. Will you take them to court?
I have lost nine precious years and there is so much to do. I have to use the remaining years in fulfilling the directives and wishes of my Guru.
What is your agenda for the future?
We will focus on just four areas. One, fulfilling the wishes of my Guru and ensuring proper support to the study and propagation of the Vedas. Two, carry forward Adi Shankara’s teachings. Three, renovation and maintenance of temples, and four reaching out to the poor and needy with education, medical care and vocational support.
Will the Mutt ever gain back its lost glory?
The Mutt has gained glory because of its spiritual work and service to people. My guru and I have walked across the length and breadth of Bharat, travelling to the smallest of villages and performing poojas there. We have been instrumental in reviving thousands of old temples, consecrating new ones, building schools, and medical centres. Our duty is to follow dharma and spread it. Help people life more meaningful and peaceful lives. That is what the mutt has always done and we will always do. We will continue to do what must be done. Glory can come and go. What must be sustained is how we serve people.
Won’t this incident always be a blemish on the Mutt?
There are several invaders who vandalised our temples. Today when you see the disfigured temples you remember the invaders and their acts of vandalism. What was perpetrated on the Mutt has been termed as an act of vandalism by several people.
It is being said that the Mutt’s funds position has suffered?
Not really. Our devotees saw to it that our funds for daily operations were not affected. We did not suffer even when our bank accounts were frozen. Such is the ardent devotion of our people. You must remember that there are families who have been devotees of the mutt for several generations. Their relationship with the faith in the Mutt are unshakeable. Yes, we would need fresh infusion of funds to carry out many of our new projects.
If you have to describe the entire experience in one word or a phrase, what would it be?
Testing time for Truth.
What is your message for your devotees across the world?
Work with renewed vigour. Carry out the wishes of the Mahaswami. We do not have to re-invent any new agenda. Focus on doing good things. Follow Dharma. Do not worry about anything else. The Peetam has weathered difficult times before. It has been affected by the vagaries of the world including wars. It has survived all these years only because of the Acharyas who followed in the footsteps of Sankara, the devotees and devotion to truth and dharma. Do not dwell in the past; it is a waste of time. You cannot change anything that has happened. Do not worry about what the future holds for us.
Shankaracharya was framed under Christian conspiracy: Ashok Singhal
VHP patron Shri Ashok Singhal alleged that the framing of Kanchi Shankaracharya in murder case was a Christian conspiracy. In a statement issued from Allahabad on November 27, Shri Singhal said after the court verdict it is now clear that the then Christian Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh the late Rajasekhar Reddy had, under a big conspiracy, arrested Sankaracharyaji in the dark night of Diwali. The arrest was made under an agenda to humiliate the topmost Mahatma of Hindus.
“Ever since Soniaji has got planted in Bharat she has been engaged in crushing our holistic, altruistic and syncretic Dharmic and Cultural beliefs, convictions and affiance. The Acharyas of the famous and leading 2500 year old Adi Sankara School of Thought, who have been looked up to and adored by our society as virtually God in human form, were not only insulted but the respect and veneration of the society for them was laughed at by the media. It was all under a deliberate, well-planned and open Christian agenda to destroy the veneration and adoration of society for the Saints, Acharyas, Mahants and Mahatmas of the indigenous traditions of Bharat. The conspirators know that in order to be able to get hold of the power, assets and resources of the great country Bharat they have to completely uproot the Sant Fraternity and the pro-Hindutva organisations here. The proselytizing, land and economy-grabbing Christian forces have, therefore, been hatching conspiracies to show our Sant Fraternity on the wrong side of law so that the society would look down upon them. With the clear and unblemished acquittal of Swami Jayendra Saraswati, this conspiracy has now been exposed. Conspiracies are being hatched to declare Pragya Bharati, Aseemanandji, and now I can also say, Asaram Bapu who has crores of followers in Bharat, as criminals,” the statement said.
The Hindu society can never forgive this disgusting conspiracy of Soniaji. She has to account for it sometime. The time has come our society gets fully exercised about the Vote Bank Secularists like Soniaji and the atheist organisations including Mulayam Singh and other Burqa secularists that have been proactive in crushing the indigenous culture and moorings of Bharat and totally uproot them in the Mahabharat of the 2014 Parliamentary elections. It is only then that our Hindu society and our Sants can remain safe and secure, he said.
Book the conspirators immediately: P Parameswaran
Reacting on the acquittal of Kanchi Shankaracharya, noted ideologue and president of Bharatiya Vicahara Kendram Shri P Parameshwaran demanded stern punishment to the conspirators. In a statement issued recently he said the acquittal of the Kanchi Shankaracharya and all those charged with conspiracy and murder cases is a huge relief, not only for the Mutt and its devotees, but for the entire Hindu society. “But it is only one part. The whole case that lingered about for more than nine years was a period of intense agony for millions of people who were devoted to the Mutt and its unblemished traditions set up by some of the most eminent spiritual personalities history has ever seen. Who are really responsible for hatching a plot against a highly venerated Hindu sage and centuries old Sankara Mutt in Kanchi and what were their motives? This matter has to be probed into. Whoever be the persons behind and however powerful and highly placed they are they need to be prosecuted and awarded exemplarary punishment so that nobody in future will dare to bring such allegations and defame Hindu spiritual institutions and revered Acharyas. Otherwise a cruel injustice in history will go unremedied,” the statement added.