Wednesday, March 29, 2006

the kanchi sankaracharya's continuing public humiliation

mar 29th

ask yourself why you have not rioted in the streets over the humiliation of this saintly man.

if we are all waiting for someone to tell us what to do, we are doomed. all of us who did nothing deserve condemnation. a lot of it has to do with our being brainwashed by all the media images of the pious, do-gooding padre, whereas the sanyasi is always shown as a dubious character. is this fair?

in that vein, there is news in the malayalam media (kaumudi online in malayalam) that a police SP in the sister abhaya case has been penalized. one michael, SP, has been fined rs. 25,000 and given six months' imprisonment for saying that abhaya and her family were insane. sister abhaya was a catholic nun found floating in a well in a nunnery.

fair enough. but it further says, to my complete astonishment, the following (my translation):

"local police and the crime branch investigated sister abhaya's death and ruled it a suicide. however, subsequent CBI investigation showed that it was a murder. But the report submitted before the court said, unusually, that IT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE TO ARREST THE CULPRITS".

note the part in capitals. the suspects must have included the local padre, the bishop and the archbishop. but even the CBI says these people cannot be touched!

conclusion: a hindu saint can be humiliated and destroyed without a shred of evidence. but even a puny little archibishop or someone other church functionary cannot be investigated or caught. and it is not as though christist priests havent been caught with their hand in the till. hundreds have been convicted for sexual crimes. one old pope godman was accused of being a nazi collaborator. yet, in india, it is clear that no christist will ever go to jail.

this is apartheid, pure and simple.

BBC withdraws Offending Article on Shankaracharya
http://indiacause.com/columns/OL_060318.htm

By: Dr Farokh Merat

March 18, 2006

On 11th November 2004 His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the
Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram was arrested by the Tamil Nadu police allegedly
for having
conspired to murder Sankararaman, an employee at a temple unconnected to the

Kanchi Mutt.

The very day after the Shankaracharya's arrest a vast character assassination
campaign was launched throughout India, portraying the Pontiff not only as a
murderer but also as an embezzler and a womanizer. Among the English journals

the most virulent attacks against Sri Jayendra Saraswathi came from Outlook
magazine. The titles of some of the articles by Mr. S. Anand, Outlook's
correspondent in Chennai, are eloquently self-explanatory: "How the Gods Fall,"

"Swami
and Fiends" (sic), "A Sting in the Tail," "The Baton Awaits," "Prison Diaries
of a Pontiff." These articles are compilations almost exclusively of
slanderous back alley innuendos, invariably attributed to vague police contacts

and
other faceless sources.

But Outlook did not stop there. The demonization of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi
was to be internationalized on 28th January 2005 by no other than the editor of
the magazine himself, Mr. Vinod Mehta. In a talk titled "A View from India,"

the Outlook editor went on BBC Radio Four to inform English and European
audiences about the "Jayendra affair." The talk was rebroadcast two days later,
on
Sunday 30th January, immediately after a program of Christian church services.

To Hindus who happened to be listening to BBC Radio Four on that Sunday
morning, the contrast between the dignified church services and the vicious
slander
heaped on one of their foremost religious leaders must have been

excruciatingly painful.

Two days later the talk was published as an article on the BBC website with
the title of "Murder, Mystery and Politics in India." Straight away Mr. Mehta
set the tone. "The charges are a tabloid journalist"s dream - murder, sleaze,

debauchery, greed and sex," he said. The story he went on to recount was meant
to illustrate each of these "charges." But it was overwhelmingly fictitious
and certain crucial details stood in contradiction with the findings of the

Supreme Court of India, made public some three weeks before Mr. Mehta delivered
his talk on BBC Radio Four. His tabloid dream was of his own making.

The Outlook editor did not merely indulge in fibs. His entire article was a

colossal lie - by omission. On granting bail to the Shankaracharya on 10th
January 2005, the Supreme Court had stated that the Tamil Nadu authorities and
police had failed to submit the least prima facie evidence connecting the

Pontiff
to the Sankararaman killing; they had also been unable to submit any grounds
of motive for the Shankaracharya to commit such an act. But Mr. Mehta passed
over the Supreme Court findings as if they had never existed. The reason is

obvious: the pronouncements of the Apex Court would have demolished his
viciously
fictitious story.

Immediately devotees of the Shankaracharya throughout the world began writing
letters of complaint to the BBC. After some seven months of repeated

complaints the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit authorities admitted that Mr.
Mehta's
text contained "serious error and inaccuracies." They tacitly acknowledged that
apart from the alleged conspiracy to murder, none of the "charges" mentioned by

Mr. Mehta were to be found in the charge sheet. On being questioned about the
matter, Mr. Mehta had apparently told them that the charges of personal
misconduct were listed not in the charge sheet but in the FIR (First Information

Report), filed by the police shortly after the Pontiff's arrest - another lie.

The BBC remained adamant about keeping the offensive article on their
website, purged of the "errors and inaccuracies." Thanks to
www.kanchiforum.org,
the
devotees of the Shankaracharya organized themselves and engaged lawyers in
London. Finally, the threat of legal action compelled the BBC to remove the

article, apologize and reimburse the greater part of the legal costs incurred by
the Acharya's devotees.

Two questions come to mind. Why did the BBC believe Mehta's version of the
events and refuse for a full year to remove the article from their website? And

the second and far more fundamental question is: why did the mainstream media
defame and demonize the revered Shankaracharya instead of investigating the
facts and exposing the real culprits?

The first question can be readily answered. The BBC believed Vinod Mehta's

groundless accusations because large sectors of the media in India were mouthing
the same unfounded charges against the Pontiff. The media are by and large
conformist copycats. Why, after all, should the BBC send a journalist of world

rank to Tamil Nadu to investigate the case - as we repeatedly urged them to do
- when most of the national press in India was babbling the same lies? We
battled against the BBC - a minuscule David against a gigantic Goliath - for a

full year. Nevertheless, I must say a word in defence of the BBC: they were not
the real culprits. They got hoodwinked not just by Vinod Mehta but by the
Indian media as a whole. Having accorded them the benefit of a doubt, one can't

help wondering why the British, after having plundered, divided and departed,
still feel a pathological need to humiliate the Hindus. Would the BBC have dared
to allow similar calumnies against a Muslim religious leader of even the

lowest ranks? No, they wouldn't, for obvious reasons. But the gentlemen and
ladies
at the BBC have retained from their readings at school that devout Hindus are
a peaceful and peace-loving people. They knew that calumniations against the

revered Shankaracharya of Kanchi would not bring them bombs and sundry forms of
violence. Hence the platform given so nonchalantly to the pseudo-secularist
Vinod Mehta.

As to the second question, several explanations have been given: clever

orchestration of lies and manipulation by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and
police;
collusion of the Centre for fear that Hindu-oriented parties may regain power
in the next elections; money generously and secretly disbursed by the

Evangelists to eliminate a Hindu religious leader actively opposing conversions.

But all this does not explain why the media engaged in such wholesale slander
and why the public did not object. The media and the public are partners. It

is said of a nation that it has the rulers it deserves. In the same vein it
can be said that the public has the media it deserves. There is a constant give
and take between the two. To be successful and survive in a competitive

context, each player in the media and the press has to cater to and please its
own
audience. At the same time the media and the press form and educate the public
- for the better or for the worse. In the end, the two are one. So the

question becomes: why was a considerable portion of the population of India, and
of
the Hindu population itself, receptive to lies and unfounded accusations
against one of the foremost religious leaders of the land, a Saint who had spent

more than fifty years of his life helping the downtrodden, building and running
schools, hospitals, homes for the disabled and the aged, charity organizations,
and doing everything he could to maintain communal peace and harmony, notably

in the grave Ayodhya issue? His profile was reversed by the media overnight,
between 11/11 and 11/12 2004. Why, one wonders, did not the public demand
serious journalistic investigation, evidence instead of innuendos?


It is fashionable, after the American model, to laud in flowery terms the
four pillars of democracy: the executive, the legislative, the judiciary and for
the last fifty-or-so years, the media/press. This is to forget the most

essential component of all: the civil society. Wherever the civil society is
awake,
healthy and coherent, the fourfold power system works smoothly. Otherwise it
does not. It is for the civil society to constantly watch the four "powers" and

take them to task whenever there is injustice, abuse of power, corruption,
falsehood.

Let us take an example. On New Year's Day 2006 the Calcutta Telegraph
published a cartoon of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi with a dagger sticking out from

under
his attire dripping with blood. Just a few days before, the Prime Minister and
President of India had expressed their great indignation at the offending
cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published in Europe. But about the cartoon

published in their own country ridiculing one of the foremost religious leaders
of
the Hindus, they expressed no opinion at all. Was it because of the unfounded
murder allegations against the Shankaracharya? But surely the leaders of the

country must have taken note of the verdict of the Supreme Court of India I
have already referred to, as well as a second verdict, dated 26th October 2005,
in which the Apex Court ordered the transfer of the murder trial out of Tamil

Nadu and chastised the State Government machinery for attempting to deprive the
Shankaracharya and co-accused of proper legal defense, launching persecution
against journalists, lawyers and members of the civil society "merely because

they expressed some dissent against the arrest of the Seer, and creating "a
fear psychosis in the minds of the people," thus discouraging witnesses from
testifying objectively. About all this, too, the President, the Prime Minister

and the Super-Prime Minister remained deafeningly silent.

But they alone are not to blame. It is for the civil society to inundate them
with letters asking: "Why such double standards?" And it is again for the

civil society to flood the Telegraph and other unfair media with letters of
vigorous protest demanding immediate apologies.

The sad truth is that peaceful and civilised protests are not given serious
consideration by the Government, while there is immediate response to agitation

and aggressive protests. This tendency on the part of the rulers, of whatever
hue, leads to violence and erodes civilised values. Had the Shankaracharya's
followers taken to the streets, it would no doubt have risen both the

Government and society at large from their slumber. But it is to the
incalculable
credit of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi that he did not veer a millimeter from the
path
of the holy lineage of Adi Shankara. He urged his followers to hold their

peace and promised that Dharma would prevail, thus avoiding violence and
bloodshed.

When a Saint of the stature of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi is slandered, it is
the sacred tradition of Advaita Vedanta, the highest light of humanity, that is

slandered. When the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham is attacked, Sanatana Dharma, the
root religion of all that deserves to be called religion, is attacked.
In South Africa they have a beautiful saying: People are people because of

other people. Transposed to the context we are concerned with, the proverb is
laden with hope. It means that if a few start taking the responsibility to act
rightly, even in little ways, their action is bound to ripple and influence

others, making the entire world a little more just, humane and peaceful - a
return to the primeval and pristine religion: Sanatana Dharma.

Dr Farokh Merat

13 comments:

chandramahal said...

It is indeed sad.
While granting bail to the pontiff the Supreme court said in so many words that a prima facie case was not there and spoke about how the State Government was bent upon harassing the seer. Yet it allowed the case to continue!
Now charges have been framed.
Rather than coming out in the streets Hindus are only fated to pray!

daisies said...

Riot meaning throw stones and
damage cars, hurt some people, and
so on....?

I have never thought on those lines
for myself. Though I was deeply
shocked and stunned by the arrest
and the unfairness of it all.

I did watch a lot of interviews,
debates on TV.

I remember one elderly lady in
Madras, a Tamil Brahmin, an ardent
devotee of the Sankaracharya,
saying on TV, that she and her
family dared not protest in the
streets for fear of being beaten
up by the police. And that she had
to stay put in her grief.

And Jayalalitha kept saying she was
in great pain and sorrow but had to
do what she did (such lies..). So
the ordinary person could not hope
to get much out of protesting in
the streets.

I know Rajeev wrote a lot of
columns at that time. That was a
very great thing.

I confess I have done nothing.

But I dont think rioting is an
option I would consider for myself.

I do not have any other ideas at
the moment.

-

vh said...

Personally, rt around the time of arrest, with the portrayal of entire media, i started believing that acharya could have done something wrong and if he had done wrong things, he deserves to be punished. But now i think - may be entire thing is falsified. But to a common man like me - its too difficult to find out the truth and we rely on media to tell us the truth.

averageindian said...

Friends,

The best way to tell between a lie and truth, is to question the rationale of a propaganda ("news").

Please participate in social service, does'nt matter whom you view as a Dharma guru, please join now, with family and friends in setting aside some time and money for the upliftment and bringing together the Hindu samaj. Sanatana Dharma, which is the main inclsuive ideology in this world needs to be saved, to maintain sanity! Having played a small role (and visited many supported institutions) in the social activities of the Sri Matham in Kanchi, I can tell you that the Acharyas do not discriminate and are the simplest of Gurus. None of the activities are publicized as Sanatana Dharma prohibits self-promotion -- all work is done for 'Perinbam", not "Chitrinbam" (Perinbam is common and larger good, ie. atmic tripti, the other is personal and selfish good). The Sri Matham supports nearly 400 institutions across India, now how many people know this? Today, after the adverse propaganda, many are in a state of dysfunction or impending closure. In one master stroke the collaborators in this crime against the Acharyas, have brought the institution to its knees! I am not saying this emotionally but trying to highlight the gravity of the problem on hand. Add to this the ongoing sale of temple lands across the country, the destruction of temple structures in certain areas (flanks) and the blind embrace of all western actions and thoughts (education and now globalization) -- Hindus are fast becoming IBCD (Inbred confused desis!).

The problem is that this confusion, chaos and divisions within Hindu society are being effectively leveraged by bigots of all hues and color, especially the ones from the red, white and green brigades -- they are the collaborators in most of the crime against India. They are like cancer which destroys from within. The irony is that Hindus are willing participants in this. Francois's article on the need to come together is very valid! We do not have to take the attitude of "them" versus "us" -- we simply have to care for what is rightfully ours, without being at loggerheads, all the time!

The solutions. Sama, Dhana, Beda, Dhanda are the four important aspects of engagement. The important thing to regognize is that let us not bad mouth a VHP or a RSS just because our media paints them in bad light. If you cannot play that role, don't, there are many other ways to contribute. Service as I mentioned above is a great way to make the difference -- Sri Krishna says that it is important to do service, let us work on uplifting the masses with support for self-help groups and education. If you are good with the pen and in media relations, use the pen to write as Rajeev does, that is playing your role, to galvanize support and opinion. The point is please play your role -- we can visit blogs and make a lot of noise but we need to put our money where our mouth is, to make the difference and contribute positively. If you want more information regarding how you can help the Kanchi institutions, please let me know and I shall send you more info. Support Ammachi, support Sri Sri Ravishankar, support Guru Ramdev, support Ramakrishna mission, support Chinmaya mission, support Sri Dhayanand Saraswati -- the options are limitless. More important, start learning our own values and use them effectively in our own lives and never quickly jump to the conclusion that Sanatana Dharma is wrong -- our parents, our ancestors, our great kings, our great seers, and our teachings are less likely to be wrong; in other words do not fall prey to propaganda.

While the foregoing dump might seem patronizing, the intent was far from it (so much so that I have not even cared to check for spelling or grammatical errors). It is simply an ad-hoc dump of my feelings. Visiting rural India and seeing the work of numerour nameless and poor individuals perform selfless service I have been humbled and often moved to tears. If only we can aggregate all these positive energies and synergize our efforts into a mass movement, will these enemies of humanity and Sanatana Dharma stand a change?!?!

So pledge today to make a difference and see how the transformation happens. To beig with please stop subscribing to media outlets and entertainment that are detriments to society in general and Hindus in particular. Also pray hard, do not underestimate the powers of prayer -- I recently read an article in Scientific American which talked about a new theory in particle physics called the "thread theory", where is was mentioned that all elements and matter are tied together by minue strings, and that vibrations in place is carried accross the cosmos -- something that vedic seers probably knew, hence Vedic renditions, with key vocal inotations that will call the right vibrations in our cosmos, to benefit all!!

let us begin by doing our part today!

Humbly Yours,
Average Indian

nizhal yoddha said...

string theory, i think you mean, average indian.

but i do appreciate your thoughts. it is necessary for hindus to stick with each other and not get carried away in creating little closed groups. this is the problem that kalyani exhibits here: she is sure that her chosen gurus are wonderful and that other gurus are not. wrong! maybe people like daisies are being misled in their extreme adulation of gurus. whatever, but they are hindus and as such infinitely preferable to mohammedans, christists and marxists. and similarly other indic religionists such as buddhists, jains and sikhs are far preferable to the west asian imperialists.

hindus first. it's become a matter of survival, life and death. it's time to close ranks and circle the wagons. for instance, ezhavas and nairs in kerala have a long history of suspicion and mutual antagonism. but now that they are both being threatened by christists, they are getting together, or else they will not survive the evangelical onslaught.

averageindian said...

Nizhal Yoddha,

Yes, string theory, I was typing in between tasks, thanks for the correction.

I also noticed your reference to Tamizh as a classical language -- the Peria Puranam is a treatise that all should read, if not already. There is only reference to Kulam no reference to Jatti. All Kulams are equal in the eyes of God is the central message -- all the nayanmars are from different walks of life. They all become "iyers" by thier virtue, as shown in the case of Nandanar --Shiva instructs the "andhanars" of Thillai to call Nandanar as "iyer" and bring him to the Kanaka Sabai. Boy! what a far cry to present day events and polarizations!

daisies said...

Re:
"maybe people like daisies are being misled in their extreme adulation of gurus."

--- I am sorry Nizhal Yoddha, you
have no basis for interpreting
my respect and valuation of
gurus as "adulation".

You could even say "reverence"
and "devotion". These are
sentiments I have definitely
felt and sometimes expressed
them here. I really depends
on how much inner/mental
transformation one
has gone through, thanks to
one's association with a
satguru.

But "adulation" is gross
misinterpretation.

Frankly, a lot of gurus are
worth more than your mba from
your alma mater stanford
which you readily show
off on your blog so much.

Maybe you know nothing about
gurus, that is why you keep
making such awful remarks
about me all the time.

Even an expression of one's
thoughts is termed as "homily".

I think everyone should think
of you as their guru perhaps.
That might bring you peace of
mind.


-

daisies said...

And for your information, N.Y.-

I have NEVER EVER asked ANY guru
for ANY advice on what to do with
myself in ANY MATTER, nor ever
encouraged anyone to do that.

But if I see someone here bring
up the subject of expecting gurus
to give advice on voting matters,
then I just gently say that gurus
might not want to do that for us.

I dont give specific advice
like "Dont ask guru to tell you".
Whom am I to say that to anyone ?


-

Ram said...

In the Nov 29, 2004 issue of Outlook, S. Anand broke the reasons for the Acharya's arrest:

* Calls traced from the Shankara Math's manager's cellphone to contract killers
* Two prime suspects confess to interacting with Jayendra Saraswati on Sankararaman's murder
* Police have evidence linking Appu, who is said to be the man who organised the murder, with Jayendra Saraswati
* Prosecution claims it has proof of the money having been paid to the killers from a sub-trust of the math
* Jayendra Saraswati's interview, saying: "My bhaktas could have killed Sankararaman"

Although S.Anand may have been the first to do publish these in an English language publication but these news items had been circulating in Tamil magazines for sometime before. And I don't believe these magazines were all politically aligned against the Acharya. The defense has had two years to clear up any 'misuderstandings' or to prove their falsehoods. Instead they have focussed on judicial jockeying.

Still waiting for the defense to refute these charges...

daisies said...

My problem with the arrest was not
the "humiliation of a saintly man"
per se. A true saint, who is above
ego, does not feel humuliated by
any actions done unto him. So we
dont have to worry about the
saint's feelings.

My problem with it all was:

1. It was humiliation of an
entire community by arresting
a prominent religious head on
Diwali.
I call it Jayalalitha's Diwali
gift to Hinduism.

2. There was not enough prima facie
evidence as Chandramahal asserts

3. The manner in which it was all
done and his treatment in jail,
all showed the Jayalalitha
camp's personal hatred and
animosity, and political
motivations. It was all devilish
and beastly behaviour.

4. I firmly believe that until
proven guilty, an accused
should be treated as innocent.
And I think this is all one of
the principles of law in the
land. It wasnt upheld.


-

daisies said...

Re:
"I recently read an article in Scientific American which talked about a new theory in particle physics called the "thread theory", where is was mentioned that all elements and matter are tied together by minue strings, and that vibrations in place is carried accross the cosmos -- something that vedic seers probably knew, hence Vedic renditions, with key vocal inotations that will call the right vibrations in our cosmos, to benefit all!!"

--- Very much so, AverageIndian!
Though it's not something that
Vedic seers "probably knew".
It is something they "defintely
knew".

Hence, homas, Vedic chants etc.
For example the chant:

"Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu"

and

"Om Shanti Shantih"

Om, the primodial sound of the
universe, is itself a very
very powerful vibratory chant.

And the more one is tuned to
all such "higher" or "good"
vibrations, the more easily
one can transmit thoughts and
intentions through the strings,
threads or unified field or
whatever we may call it, to
anywhere one wishes.

Btw, I liked that movie (low
budget one): "What the Bleep do
you think....". I dont know if
it ever came to India.

Deepak Chopra does a lot of
scientific presentation/enquiry
into Vedic thinking and you
may be aware of that. The movie
draws on similar thought and
research.

I thought it was an excellent
"scientific-spiritual" movie.
I love that approach equally -
as much as the Bhakti and
Devotional approach.

The movie has nothing to do
with Hindu religion though.
So Rajeev might not find it
worthwhile....:-) He might
say it is "daises' extreme
adulation of science gurus"
.....:-)


-

averageindian said...

For those who subscibe to media propaganda, I suggest reading the
Supreme Court verdict in the transfer petition. Maybe that will help balance views vis-a-vis media write-ups.

Anyway, as the Acharyas said:
“I want every one to hold their peace and be patient. Have faith that truth and dharma will prevail, no matter how trying the situation might seem.”

The TN Govt. has taken nearly a year and a half to file charges, despite claiming overwhelming evidence. So, as the Archarya says wait patiently a little bit longer and Dharma will prevail!!

My only questions that will remain to be answered: What if the Shankaracharyas are exonerated, will the media of all hues and color openly apologize to the Institution, the Acharyas and the Hndu community that they have so brazenly slandered without a shred of evidence? The latest slap has been on BBC/Vinod Mehta as posted on this blog. Will "Ram", NDTV, ZEE news, IE, TOI et all compensate the aggrieved for all the loss? Will the Hindus take these propagandists to court?

Ram said...

Reply to AverageIndian - on will "Ram" make up for the loss ?

As one of the police officers involved in the case stated in the Outlook
article stated, "I respect the office of the Sankaracharya but its
occupant is not above the law."

From the beginning, the defense has subjected to name-calling its critics,
questioning their motives, and never once addressing the charges head on.
When the kanchi-satya website was setup, it stated its goal clearly as
"presenting the truth from the point of view of the Sankaracharya."
Can you believe that?

Even today, the site contains a discalimer:

www.kanchi-sathya.org makes no representations, warranties, conditions, or commissions,
express or implied about the information published on www.kanchi-sathya.org.

Why can't they say in plain language that the Sankarcharya was not involved
in the murder? Perhaps this weaselly language is to ensure they are held
liable.