Vivekananda &c.

Palaniappa Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sat May 2 21:33:58 UTC 1998

(9 Mar 1998 02:10) - Re: Vivekananda &c.
On 9 Mar 1998, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM> said

<<1. The shankaracarya's have _not_ wanted to ban conversion (not sure
about the present Kanchi head).>>

I had lost the news clippings from early 1980s showing that a zankarAcArya
wanted to ban conversion. Better late than never. Here is the latest opinion
from the current head (or is he the former head?) of Kanchi mutt.  This is
from Times of India dated April 29, 1998. This can be seen at the following
web site. While this is from a recent news item, I think it has information
relating to some of the discussions we had in the list earlier. I apologize if
it is not appropriate for this list.

S. Palaniappan

Keep off temple issue, Kanchi seer
tells politicians

By Rajaram Satapathy

The Times of India News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Shankaracharya of Kanchi Jayendra
Saraswati feels that politicians are responsible for the Ram
Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid controversy and has urged them not
to dabble in it anymore for the greater interest of the country.

``Politicians are creating all troubles, raking up a dead issue time
and again and trying to solve it which they can never do,'' the
Shankaracharya, now on a national peace and unity mission,
remarked in an interview here.

He said for all practical purposes, the subject had been closed
after the demolition of the mosque at Ayodhya. Nevertheless,
whether or not there should be a temple in its place could be
decided only by followers of both religions. ``Mutual discussions
and reconciliation will surely remove all irritants,'' he pointed out.

There were various pressing problems facing the country like
poverty, price rise, unemployment and tension from across the
border. Politicians should engage themselves in solving them for
the benefit of masses, he suggested.

The Shankaracharya did not agree that fundamentalist forces
were posing a threat to the country's integrity.

He, however, regretted reports about the conversion of Hindus in
different states. ``Conversion is not permitted in any religion. It is
instead considered an irreligious act. But some people coming
under the influence of `roti, petti and beti' (indicating food, money
and girls) are changing their dharma. By this, they cannot please
God, but end up losing the love and affection of all besides their
self-respect and dignity,'' he observed.

He apprehended that the present trend, if not checked, could
lead to a majority-minority problem in the country in the future
and favoured the bringing of an anti-conversion legislation by the
government. He said such laws backed by a strong people's
movement could halt the changing scenario.

The 63-year-old Jayendra Saraswati, who was initiated into the
life of ``sanyasa'' at the age of 19, is credited with diverting the
role of theShankaracharya for the first time into taking up
developmental projects. As a result, a deemed university,an
international library,a chain of schools and hospitals, 32 Veda
pathasalas, four free old age homes, two schools for thephysically
handicapped, a 100-bed hospital at Guwahati and a school for
thementally handicapped at Hardwar have come up in different
parts of the country.

The Shankaracharya, during his visit to Orissa, also laid the stone
of a medical college and an eye hospital at Berhampur, which is
scheduled to be completed in three years. A heart institute at
Bhubaneswar and a school especially for tribal students at
Gunpur are also proposed, which, he says, will be ready within a
year. The state government has agreed to provide land for all
these projects.

To a question what advice he gave to former Prime Minister P.V.
Narasimha Rao and former Union communications minister Buta
Singh, who met him here, the Shankaracharya said: ``Without
politicians, things cannot move. They come seeking peace from
me. I utilise their services for the country's development.''
He also denied that he had any difference of opinion with four
other Shankaracharyas in the country. ``They are like different
editions of one newspaper,'' he remarked.

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