Monday, November 22, 2004

Saffron sins

The recent arrest of Kanchi swami has come as a shock to this country. There are some statements flying allover saying that it’s an insult to Hindus and Hinduism. I believe in God am a Hindu and perform pooja daily in my house. In short, I am a religious Hindu. But to me this is no insult to my religion. Never was Hinduism (for that matter any religion) depending on 1 individual. So nothing is lost because of this arrest. I don’t think it’s correct if somebody visits a temple to see a swami and not the main God in the temple.

If that’s the case then why this huge hue and cry over the arrest! It is unfortunate that such a incident happened. Unfortunate not because the swami was arrested, but because he seems to be in someway involved in a blood bath. If the swami is innocent, then who will take the blame fro pushing a swami to prison? If the swami is proved to be involved in the murder in someway, then the severest of the punishment needs to be served. I say this because, in Hinduism, we still give a very high status for swamis. Especially for those who perform poojas in these ancient temples like the ones at Kanchi, Sringeri and Udupi. They and their juniors are the only ones who have the right to perform the pooja in their respective temples. Swamis are considered as semi-gods in some places. When such is the case, the swami is supposed to behave in a way that respects the status he has been given. If a software under performs many companies throw him out. The same should apply to swamis, though I accept that it’s not business.

Swamis are also humans, so mistakes do happen. Agreed. When that happens they should just walk out. A swami of the great Udupi Krishna mutt fell in love with a girl and wanted to marry. He just quit the post of swami. Another swami from the Udupi went to some foreign land. This seems to be a mistake according to Vedas. The swami was removed from his post. Right or wrong is not for us to decide but the truth is that Udupi mutt did not loose any of its devotees, nor anybody treated it as an insult to Hinduism. Just because it was not.

Recently, I went to a public function where a very famous swami was to wish a big businessman on the tycoon's birthday. This swami has lot of political clout. This swami made a speech in which he said this. "In udupi there is a Krishna, here is an avatar of Krishna in the form of the tycoon." What a statement and by whom!! Comparing the God to a businessman by a swami who is supposed to have all the Vedic knowledge!! Nowadays it’s become a fashion to compare humans with Gods.

Lot of people says that this Kanchi swami has been made a scapegoat by politicians. What is the duty of a swami - Dharma related work. What is the duty of politicians - Rajya related work. Can these two go hand in hand? I have no answer to this query. May be he is made a scapegoat. Politicians need Dharma for their survival but the viceversa is not true. But when the viceversa happens the result could be something like what happened to Kanchi swami.

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