Wednesday, December 29, 2004


(See update on Sri Ramakrishna Math's relief efforts for tsunami (which also includes an online facility) and an online facility for donations thru Seva Bharati).

There are several ways you can donate to tsunami victims. You can donate to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund and the Chief Ministers' Relief Fund, but the problem is that like all Government schemes, they leak like a sieve, and what reaches the victim is what is left.

There are other organisations where your money takes a shorter route to the victims. Some are Seva Bharathi, Mata Amritanandamayi Mutt and Land For Tillers Freedom. The addresses are below.

Newspapers like The Hindu, The New Indian Express and The Times of India collect donations, but they also end up with the two funds. But, as the Bhagawad Gita says, do your duty. Don't think about the result.

One advantage with The Hindu and The New Indian Express is that you can donate online.

I have come to know now that Sevabharathi too has an online payment facility.

One more site which accepts donations online is the relief Web site of the International Society for Krishna Conciousness (ISKCON), the link for which has been given below.


Seva Bharati

Cheques, demand drafts and money orders may be sent to:
'Sevabharthi Tamilnadu-Earthquake Relief A/c'
and may be mailed to:

C/o. Sakthi,
No.1, M.V. Street,
Chennai - 600 031


C/o. Sadhana, Cholarajapuram Salai,
Opp: Housing Unit Y Block,
Tiruchi - 620 003.

Cheques and DDs can also be drawn in favour of:

Jana Samkshem Samiti, Vijayawada
SB A/C no. 13455
Indian Overseas bank,
Governorpeta branch,

Postal Address:

Jana Samkshem Samiti,
Madhava sadan, Kaleshwara rao road,
Vijayawada- 520002
Ph: 0866 2435199
Mob: 9849048859

Donors may also contact Shri. Bakthavatsalam at 044 - 28361049 and 9444160649 (Chennai).

Seva Bharati's online payment facility is at:

All contributions are exempted under Section 80G.


Sri Ramakrishna Mission

Donations may be sent to

Ramakrishna Mission,
P.O. Belur Math,
Dt. Howrah,
West Bengal - 711 202

Those wishing to donate online can do so at:


ISKCON (Bhaktivedanta International Charities)(In US)

Donations may by sent by check made payable to "Bhaktivedanta International Charities" with the words 'Tamil Nadu Relief' in the memo field:

Bhaktivedanta International Charities
P.O.Box 34153Los Angeles, CA 90034
United States of America

You can also donate online through their Relief Website:

(In India)

If you live within India, you can deposit donations at any branch of HDFC Bank throughout India. Use the bank's deposit slip or envelope, and make the cheque/demand draft out to "Bhaktivedanta Ashram Trust". Include the account number on the deposit slip: Account No. 2361450000022. (Demand drafts can be made payable at your local city where you deposit the donation.) You may leave the donation (attached to the deposit slip) in the deposit drop box; there is no need for you to wait in the queue.

If there is no branch of HDFC Bank in your city, you can send the donation to the trust by post. Please send it by Registered Post to the following address (if sending a DD, please make it payable at Cuttack, Orissa):

Bhaktivedanta Ashram,
At - Kuansh,
P.O. - Bhadrak,
District - Bhadrak
Pin - 756 100


The Hindu

A relief fund has specially been set up to receive contributions, which may be sent as cheques or drafts payable to
"The Hindu Relief Fund"

Kasturi Buildings
859 Anna Salai
Chennai 600 002

You can also donate online at:


The New Indian Express

Send cash or cheque to any office of the New Indian Express or Dinamani or Kannada Prabha in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh or Orissa. Cheques should be drawn in favour of 'Coastal Calamity Fund'.

Contributions can also be made online at:


The Times of India

Cheques may be sent to 'Times Foundation' at either Delhi
(Times House, 7, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi - 110002)
or Mumbai
(Times of India, Dr D N Road, Mumbai - 400001).


SOS Children's Villages of India

You can send demand drafts, cheques in favour of
and money orders to

SOS Children's Villages of India, A-7, Nizamuddin West, New Delhi - 1100013. Phone: 011 24359450.

Other Organisations:

Indian Red Cross Society:
Chennai: 044- 28554548/ 4425/4117/28586997


Mata Amritanandamayi Math:
Rice, clothes, medicine and money
Chennai: 044-23764063/582, 22425736, 55175186


Indian Council for Child Welfare, Tamil Nadu
Chennai: 044 26260097, 26282833


Land For Tillers Freedom
LAFTI, Vinoba Ashram, Kuthur - 611105, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 04366-275443, 275540


Mahavir International
Contact Mr Raj. Phone: 9444274363
Board nos: 044-26660800, 266615600, 52158880

Monday, December 27, 2004

The tsunami, and a lesson for us

This is a big posting. Please read it. I feel it's worth your time.
As Asia recovers from the tsunami (why are some spellings so complicated? Why not just sunami?), I think, it's time for some contemplation.
I feel, this is just a trailer. The coastal areas of almost all countries are set to experience something thousand times worse in some 20 years.
Of course, it is not tsunami. Several coastal communities, including several countries, will be totally submerged because of the melting ice caps.
Twenty years is not a long time. In fact, if you are living in a coastal city, and if your house is in the vicinity of the coast, better start planning now.
Geoffrey Lean's report in The Independent says a report, by a German government body warns that "measures to fight global warming will have to be at least four times stronger than the Kyoto Protocol if they are to avoid the melting of the polar ice caps, inundating central London and many of the world's biggest cities."
The report says that even if it is fully implemented, the protocol will only have a "marginal attenuating effect" on the climate change.
Lean says the report concludes that the protocol must urgently be brought into force, but only as a first step, insisting that "catastrophic" climate change "can now only be prevented if climate protection targets are set at substantially higher levels than those agreed internationally until now".
Lean continues, "The report, written by eight leading German professors, says that "dangerous climatic changes" will become "highly probable" if the world's average temperature is allowed to increase to more than 2 degrees centigrade above what it was before the start of the Industrial Revolution.
"Beyond that level the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Greenland ice cap would begin gradually to melt away, eventually raising sea levels world wide by up to 30 feet, submerging vast areas of land and key cities worldwide. London, New York, Miami, Bombay, Calcutta, Sydney, Shanghai, Lagos and Tokyo would be among those largely submerged by such a rise."
May be we can add cities such as Chennai and countries such as Sri Lanka to this list.
"Above this mark too, other "devastating" and "irreversible" changes would be likely to take place. These include a cessation of the Indian monsoon and the ending of the Gulf Stream, which would dramatically worsen the climate in Britain and western Europe, even as the world warms. Another risk is the so-called "runaway greenhouse" where rising temperatures lead to the release of huge reservoirs methane stored in permafrost and the oceans, adding to global warming and starting a self-reinforcing cycle that would eventually make the earth uninhabitable."
"To avoid such catastrophe, the report says that industrialized countries will have to cut emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide by at least 20 per cent by 2020, and by up to 60 per cent by 2050. The Kyoto Protocol would at best cut them by 5 per cent by 2012, and probably less, even if it were brought into force and fully implemented.
In the meantime the world looks as if it will greatly exceed the targets. Writing in The Independent on Sunday today, Michael Meacher, the former environment minister, calculates that global emissions of greenhouse gases could increase by 75 per cent by 2020, "putting the world well on the way to doomsday"."
Not only the coastal cities, even the little towns and villages on the banks of villages will be wiped out. The Siachen Glacier has started melting faster. And after it melts fully, there won't be any water left. Add to it the "cessation" of the monsoon, the devastation will be complete.
Its time to dump Kyoto and other useless "protocols" which only helps countries blame each other and totally stop all activities contributing to global warming. There is no other way.
Says a report in "A glacier from which Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay set out to conquer Mount Everest nearly 50 years ago has retreated three miles up the mountain due to global warming. The head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Tashi Jangbu Sherpa, says " that Hillary and Tenzing would now have to walk two hours to find the edge of the glacier which was close to their original base camp."
Can we do something about this? Yes. Here's what says. (This is mainly written for Western audience. A few points may not be applicable to India)

Use compact fluorescent bulbs in our homes, stores and offices. Fluorescent bulbs last 10,000 hours longer than incandescent bulbs, keeping more than half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere over the course of their lifetime.

When replacing home appliances, use energy efficient models. For example, replacing an old refrigerator using 320 watts with a new one using 85 watts could make a big difference. When buying appliances, look for the EPA/Department of Energy’s new Energy Star label.

Use cars and light trucks that get good gas mileage. In fact tell your friends that driving a sports utility vehicle adds to global warming and pollution. SUVs emit 43% more global-warming pollutants (28 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon) and 47% more air pollution than the average car. An SUV is 4 times as likely to rollover in an accident.

If car manufacturers were to increase their fleets' average gas mileage about 3 miles per gallon, this country could save a million barrels of oil every day, while US drivers would save $25 billion in fuel costs annually.

Choose a company that offers for homes electricity generated by renewable energy sources.

If possible, ask employer if your work could be done at home. Even if some of the work could be completed at your residence, this would help relieve traffic congestion, which adds to ordinary car emissions.

Help promote community carpooling.

Promote the construction of bike lanes, especially bike lanes that have an outside curb separating auto traffic and bikes. Establish numerous bike routes into center of city, limiting auto speed on these routes to 10 miles per hour, during commuting hours only. Companies could provide showering facilities, together with bike stands to encourage biking employees.

Place an insulating cover around water heater.

Insulate walls and ceilings, and lower heating bills.

When replacing windows, choose those that are the best energy saving models, such as double pane windows.

A car needs only about 2 minutes to warm up. Taking more time only wastes fuel and contributes to global warming.

Keep the door shut to any room that is not being used, saving the energy to heat that room.

Take public transit whenever possible.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Swami Chidbhavananda

(I had put this in a separate blog. I am bringing this in this blog as I find it difficult to maintain separate blogs)
I studied for two years (higher secondary) in a school near Madurai run by Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam of Swami Chidbhavananda. I was forced to join the school after my mother's death. My father wanted to dump me in some 'residential' school (school with hostel facility) as there was no one to cook food at our home after my mother's death. The first few days were torrid. We had to get up at 5 am. And till we were allowed to sleep at 10 pm, we had no rest (except for 30 minutes in the evening after the classes). But gradually I got used to it. One day, we were informed that Swami Chidhbavandanda was coming to the school. (His headquarters is at Tirupparaithurai). I was not enthusiastic about his visit. I had seen a lot of swamijis who thought they were agents appointed by God to 'bless' moneyed people. Their speeches too went over my head (I had just finished 10th std). But Swami Chidbhavananda totally floored me. He moved freely among students. At an interaction, he called students, asked about their problems was least bothered about whether they were clean or not. He called a dirty looking boy, patted him on his back, and said, "I know you didnt take bath today. Why?" I was dumbstruck. He was the first Swami I had seen who didnt think twice before touching 'commoners'. The only persons scared about him were the management and the teachers. I saw it first hand during his next visit. At 6.30 am, we saw the Swami coming to the students' toilets and bathrooms. He entered each toilet and checked whether they were clean. He opened the pipes to check the water supply. After he came out of the third toilet, the management flunkeys said he could now check the bathrooms. He refused, walked ahead and checked more toilets. He now knew why the management guys wanted him to stop. Only the first few toilets had been cleaned. I dont know what happened. But I was surprised to see a religious head least bothered about entering students' toilets. We could also go and meet him whenever we were free. He had great vision about education. He didnt spend money on massive temples and ashrams. He spent them on education. I regard the two years I spent there as best in my life. Though I dont think I have lived according to his advice and teachings, I think I am fortunate to have seen and talked to a Swami like him.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The MMS clip and Baazee.

It's time to put behind bars CEOs of all TV channels, Editors of all newspapers and magazines and heads of all news portals. That is, if we go by the Government's logic in arresting Avnish Bajaj, CEO of

What was his crime? Did he shoot the porn MMS? No. Did he have sex with the girl? No. Did he send MMS? No. Did he watch it? No. Then why was he arrested?

Because, the MMS clip was sold through Baazee.

The cops don't seem to have a clue how auction sites like baazee function. The deals are directly between the buyer and the seller. And Baazee is only a platform.

Now, how is Avnish responsible? The cops may say baazee should have filtered the content which are sold.

But how do you filter over 50,000 entries? The only way is to automate it. But unfortunately, our cops are so IT-savvy that it half the items on baazee (or any other site) would be chucked out if automatic filter is employed. If you have doubts, just search for 'saree' in google. You will get thousands of porn sites. Now what do you do? Arrest the CEO of google? Then our cops will have to arrest the CEOs of all search engine sites including Bill Gates.

Our cops dont seem to have a clue on how things are sold in baazee. First they said the MMS was sold through CDs. (There is an 'unbeatable' logic here. It its porn, it has to be CDs.) Then they found out it wasn't. Now they say the MMS was sold as email attachments, which seems to be true.

Baazee now belongs to ebay. So, they have arrested an ebay official. What a great advertisement for 'attracting' FDI!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Response to comment

This post comprises a 'comment' received by me and my response (You can find it after the comment)
The concept of selecting the acharya at a young age is something that's been followed for eons. And not just in Kanchi mutt, its done even in Buddhist communities.
Though I am not too familiar with the reason behind selecting them young, I would definitely not rule this out as a useless practice. If that be the case, what has been happening for all these years? Is it that all these acharyas are posing with their carnal instincts bottled up inside? I am totally ignorant of the rituals and regime of a young sanyasi. But as in the case of Adi Shankara, even he was allowed to get a taste of this basic instict by getting into the body of a king before he had a debate with Vidyamatha (I think I got the name right). There may be some other way of 'relieving' themselves. But, why is this on the rise over the last decade?
This is a response to the above comment.

As far as i know, the entire concept of Buddhism is based on renunciation. Buddhism lays emphasis on "The Four Noble Truths"
1. Life is suffering;
2. Suffering is due to attachment;
3. Attachment can be overcome;
4. There is a path for accomplishing this.
The path is the eight-fold path. And Buddhism lays emphasis on meditation and renunciation. The Buddha taught that living a good moral life was a prerequisite to spiritual development. On its own, however, living a good moral life will not lead to enlightenment. Something more is required. The tool for this is meditation. Everyone is supposed to lead a life almost akin to renunciaton.
So, there is nothing surprising in kids being made monks. They are supposed to be that way.
And what makes you think they are celibate? I have heard of several scandal among the monks.
The difference between Sanathana Dharma (Hinduism) and other religions including Buddhism is that the Vedas dont say "Do this" like the 10 commandments or the eight-fold path. They just say "if you do this, you will improve. If you don't, its your headache."
Thats the reason there are more sex scams among Hindu monks.
You say "The concept of selecting the acharya at a young age is something that's been followed for eons." So what? If nothing has come out, does it mean nothing has happened?
"If that be the case, what has been happening for all these years? Is it that all these acharyas are posing with their carnal instincts bottled up inside?"
You say "..all these years". Two "revolutions" (if i may call it so) have happened in the last 10-15 years. One is media and the other is sexual. And both have complemented each other very well.
First media. Some 10 years ago, there was only the stupid DD. No MTV, no V or Zoom. No Baywatch. Only Hum Log.
Print media: I dont think you have seen porn mags. I have. Any "exitement" you have will vanish once you read(!) the magazines.
Then came Debonair, Fantasy etc. Now you can find "better" stuff even in Stardust.
Films: Before Zeenat in SSS and Madhuri in Tezaab, vamps like Helen and Jothilakshmi ruled the roost. Now, their counterparts like mumtaz have no takers. Shakeela is down and out.15-20 years ago, it was a scandal if women wore even churidar-kurtas in Chennai.My cousin had come to Bombay from Madras in 1986. I had to take him around the city. We passed by Ruia College. He stood shell-shocked and refused to move from the place. He asked me to go home and said he would come later. We had left home at 8.30 am. He returned at 7 pm. He said he could never imagine this in Chennai. What was it? He had seen girls in tight t-shirts and jeans and other "exiting" dresses for the first time. He wanted to have his eyes full before returning to 'dry' madras.
Now, all swamijis read magazines with pictures. And Vijayendra Saraswati took over just when the "revolutions" began. And we can certainly expect him to have "carnal instincts bottled up inside". If you think their sexcapades are the creation of the media, let me tell you, I heard these and many more almost four years ago. There were whispers about Raghu's 'activities' even then. A real swami does not give preference for rich guys. They also do not meet women alone.
This wont happen if the desire for sannyas comes from within. Sannyas cannot be thrust from outside or by anyone. If that happens, it's only a matter of time before things explode. As has happened now.
The information revolution:
20 years back, if something happened in Kanchipuram, by the time thenews crossed 50 km and reached chennai, half the news would be lost.Now there are live telecasts from Kanchipuram.
And there were hardly any newsmagazines except for India Today andSunday. Then came Week. In Tamil, there were no news magazines worththe name. Andana Vikatan and Kumudam were not news magazines. Thencame Junior Vikatan, which completely changed the scene.
Till then nobody bothered about scoops. And nothing came out of anymutts. If at all anything came out, it died by the time the newsreached the next district.Now there are hundreds of magazines competing for readership. Theremay be exaggerations, but the fact is that they are ready to pounceand ferret out information from even a small leak. Reporters in IndiaToday and Outlook have to keep constantly running around. In such a situation, even a spark is enough to open closets to reveal skeletons.
And mutts and ashrams didnt bother to raise resources beyond theirneeds. Jayendrar is supposed to have 'changed' the way the SankaraMutt collected donations. He was supposed to be 'donation savvy'. Heknew how to tap donations.The Sankara Mutt also expanded after the death of Paramacharya. Itstarted buying huge properties, hospitals etc. This needed more funds.It also started looking at 'investments' in a 'commercial' angle.Now, when religion becomes commercial, that's the end of theinstitution. All Sankara Mutt hospitals, including Childs Trust,charge commercial rates. Free/subsidised treatments are few. Theirschools charge rates which are certainly more than other schools. Anddo you know the pay the teachers get there? Four years back, it was Rs1200 pm. Even a mason gets more. Now things have 'improved' andteachers get around Rs 2000.Now, compare this with other schools like Chettinaad Vidyashram. Or even Zion School in Tambaram, which pays salaries comparable to StateGovt teachers.There is no point in bragging about running hospitals or schools ifthe situation is like this.
And Jayendrar is not known to be Saathvic. He gets irritated even with small things like wobbling chairs (I have seen this myself).
And you may read my first blog "Gurus as Gods". I feel if we dont treat gurus as gurus, but almost as Gods, such things will keep happening.

And this is the response I got from the 'commentator'

If you prune down your entire discussion to Jayendra, may be you've got some facts right. However, to confirmly say that the entire system is fault because the heads are being chosen at a young age (I guess that's where we started) is definitely not agreeable. Even in the case of Jayendra, who says that mutts (which are mainly set upto preach the religion) do get a little social and involve themselves insocial activities, shouldn't this too be appreciated as something in tune with the time.
Why only Hinduism and hindus are always at fault when itcomes to a little offtrack thinking. Aren't the Christian institutions thriving on such donations, and what about the Muslim community? Personally, I have no great regard for Jayendra as an acharya, however, he has proved that he is in his own media-savvy and donation-savvy way, a good administrator. Else, where from would such a 2000-year old mutt, get about Rs 2000 cr assets (though the mutt strongly refutes it saying that its allwith the trust et al).
About the 'inflosion' (information explosion), jus for the sake of his ownpersonal gains in his organisation, most journalists (especially the vernacular ones) of even reputed mags, are stooping to nothing short ofyellow journalism. Am not blaming the journalists who slog to get their newsright which are fastly becoming a minority.Jus for a 2-second byte in their news channels, most of these electronicmediamen are going crazy and are in a hurry to telecast things even beforeconfirming them. They simply want to get things first; whether its right orwrong is secondary. With each one of them proclamining their politicalaffliations in bolder colours, can there be any objective reporting in anyof these?Again treating gurus as Gods, none of our scriptures say so. They are jus amessenger. But again the fault lies with our ownselves, who raise them tosuch high pedestal and suddenly when we find that they are behaving human,we take objection to it.. who is to be blamed?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Everything wrong

Some more thoughts on whats wrong with the selection Sankaracharyas and the way they are treated (Gurus as Gods: The bane of Hinduism.)

There have been allegations that the Sankaracharyas of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam have not been above board when it comes to matters relating to sex.

These are allegations. They could or could not be true.

But the question is: Is the selection system correct?

According to Sanathana Dharma (The real name for what we call 'Hinduism'), a person has to cross four stages in his life: Brahmacharya - student; Grihastashrama - householder; Vanaprastashrama - retiring to the 'forests' renouncing the Grihasta life after completing your duties; and finally, Sannyas -
renouncing everything in contemplation of God. The reason for having the stages is that when you take sannyas, your mind must be calm and must not be distracted by anything. The person who is seeking God would have enjoyed all the pleasures of life by the time he reaches the Sannyas stage and he would be able to concentrate on his quest.

The selection system at the Kanchi Peetam (and may be at the other Sankara peetams) do not follow this.

A kid or youth is handpicked and anointed as the Sankaracharya. There can be nothing worse. The person is just into Brahmacharya and has no experience of Grihastashrama. And he has no outlet to release his desires, including money and sex.

The kid is taught to supress his desires, which is dangerous. If you supress anything beyond a point, it is bound to explode. For example, sex is regarded one of the 'basic instincts', be it man or animal.

Says Shri Eknath Easwaran in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita about the three gunas - tamas, rajas and saathvic. "Sex is the strongest desire we have, the highest physical satisfaction life offers. That is precisely why it contains such a tremendous amount of power. Strong sexual desires means a lot of gas in your tank. You don't want to throw the tank away; the choice we all face is simply, Shall I be a victim of this desire or master? When sex is mastered, it leads to tremendous power and a magnetic personality. The power in that desire becomes kundalini, the energy we draw on to elevate our consciousness and go forward on the path of evolution. So much power is caught up in sexual desire that once it comes under control, it can lead even an ordinary person like you or me to great heights of spiritual wisdom or selfless action."

The process of making of a Sankaracharya in the Sankara Math, is based more on studying scriptures and rituals than meditation. This is the problem. It requires tremendous effort to achieve what Shri Easwaran says. We must have the desire to achieve the state and then strive towards it. And we will be able to achieve it only if we cross the Grihastrashrama, when we know what sex is and have experienced it. Again, it is not easy. It requires tremendous effort.

But when a kid is picked as Sankaracharya, the position is thrust on him. No attempt is made to find out whether the kid is ready to renounce life and all its pleasures. When the kid reaches adolescence, all the desires too grow and when he becomes an adult, it is ready to explode.

Osho, one of the greatest teachers India has produced, was derided when he said we should not try to bottle up our desires. When he spoke about it openly, the nation was shocked. Very few bothered to find out the truth behind his words.

And swamis like Sankaracharyas picked up early in their childhood and are forced to become sannyasis.

There are a few other mutts where the head is supposed to finish off the Grihastashrama before taking up Sannyas. And obviously, things are far better there.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

'Dubious' person investigating Kanchi Acharya case

The President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Mr Ashok Singhal, has claimed that when a writ petition was filed in Madras High Court, challenging the appointment of Mr Premkumar (the police officer investigating the Kanchi Acharya case) as DSP, Mr Justice N Srinivasan of the Madras High Court had said that his appointment was only temporary in nature and would become permanent based on the outcome of the cases.
Similarly, Mr Justice Karpaga Vinayagam, while passing orders pertaining to another case, had observed that ‘‘it was shameful to find a person like the petitioner (Mr Premkumar) is allowed to work in police.’’ The judge later slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on the officer and was asked to pay the amount to the Gandhi Mission in Madurai.
In respect of a complaint that Mr Premkumar had disrobed a woman and attempted to remove her ‘‘mangalsutra,’’ the Sessions Judge in Tirunelveli, who inquired into the complaint, found prima facie, he claimed.
Two years ago, Mr Justice Karpaga Vinayagam directed the state Crime Branch CID police to register a case against Mr Premkumar, but no action seemed to have been taken. When the aggrieved person petitioned, the Director General of Police I K Govind had said that action had already been taken against him, Mr Singhal alleged.
‘‘A person with this kind of background and track record is heading the investigation team,’’ Mr Singhal lamented. Dismissing as ’false’ and ’baseless,’ reports that the seer had admitted to his guilt during custodial interrogation, Mr Singhal said ‘‘it is a Himalayan untruth..the seer is innocent and it is nonsense to say that he admitted to his guilt.’’ United News of India

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Gurus as Gods - The bane of Hinduism

Whenever we read about Swamis and Gurus, both real and self-styled, getting caught doing 'inappropriate' things, we wonder why on earth should do they do such stupid things.
Lets leave out the fake or self-styled gurus. They, even without doing anything, are a slur on Hinduism and deserve no discussion.
Without beating around the bush, let us discuss with an example we have now. It is none other than the Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Sri Jayendra Saraswati.
Did he really murder Sankararaman? If so why? Sri Jayendra Saraswati was (is?) a guru revered by millions. The reverence is not to the person, but to the peetam (seat) he occupies. Even then, there were people ready to do his bidding, including the person who put him behind bars, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms J. Jayalalithaa.
What was the need for him to even think of murdering someone?
The reason, I feel, is in the proverb: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
He also started believings he was so powerful that nothing could be done against him.
Did he really have the power?
Yes. Any swamiji in India is regarded almost as God. This is the problem. Swamijis and gurus are our guides to realising God. They are the means, not the end.
All the scams, sex and otherwise, have roots in this concept. How do you say no when 'God' asks you to do something?
People find it difficult to refuse their gurus' demands, which includes even sex.
That's why most of the 'fake guru' scams in India involve sex.
And one such fake swami who has been evading action has been the Satya Sai Baba. If Jayendra Saraswati is a sinner, then Satya Sai Baba (SSB) is a super-sinner. He is more powerful than the Kanchi Acharya. SSB's influence is wider than the Kanchi Acharya's and includes top politicians, judges and police officers. That's why he is 'untouchable'.
More of him later.