Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Arrest of religious leader

One of the religious leaders of Hinduism, who has a huge following, has been arrested on suspicions of aiding the murder of another temple functionary. Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati's arrest (on November 11 night) has shocked the legion of devotees in India and abroad.

A friend of mine in Australia emailed this to me: "It is so shocking and very sad... It is high time Indian politics is above all these... and... well no excuse for Swami anyhow.... If he is behind it (the murder) then law should take the course for the sake of the country."

My friend has written "Indian politics..." Excuse me, are we talking of politics or religion? I thought it was religion. But, a lot of people see the seer's arrest as a political game.

Two ways of looking at it:

1. The seer is innocent, but chief minister Jayalalithaa has put her behind bars because of political vendetta.

2. The seer is guilty, but Jayalalithaa has put her behind bars because of political vendetta.
Either way, it's unfortunate. I mean, the reason for the action.

A few things stand out:

1. This particular pontiff (unlike his predecessor) has been controversial.

2. Even pontiffs are human beings living in this very same world. Let's not mistake them to be Gods.

3. The most highly placed seers should live up to the godly image devotees have of them. It's tough, but don't we all like it that way? The less temporal they get, the greater the respect they earn. That makes them different from ordinary mortals.

4. The more we cut politics and religion from each other, the better for both. Let religious figures not court politicians for publicity, and let politicians not use religious leaders for gaining votes. India can do without these. Did you notice unlike other politicians Jayalalithaa hasn't said a word.


-- Jayalalithaa got Veerappan killed.
-- She has now got the Kanchi seer arrested.
-- Next ....

1 comment:

  1. This seer happens to be the head of the math that our family is attached to - so he is our Guru, so to speak.
    I used to like his "feet on the ground" approach and being "real" rather than his predecessors who lived in an "unreal" world of poojas and rituals and complete disassociation with what is happening in society. I always believed that being in a position to guide people, these gurus should get in touch with the times and steer people toward the right paths - like anti-caste, anti-dowry etc. So I used to admire shri jayendra saraswati. But I am shocked at what has happened - I cannot believe that jayalalitha is so naive as to risk the bad publicity and the fallout unless she had strong evidence against the Seer. Brahmins have always favored her against DMK and that is one bank she cannot afford to antogonise. Let us see what unfolds in the days to come!