Fake Sankaracharya

Jagannath Chatterjee jagchat01 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Nov 20 23:46:55 CST 2002

Dear Jagannathan,

--- Jagannathan Mahadevan <jagan at CCWF.CC.UTEXAS.EDU>
> I think Jagannath's mail is ambiguous as he has
> himself put it. I don't
> understand what exactly he means by "present
> problems in leading a vedic
> life".

Vedic life envisages both external rituals and inner
purity. I am totally for the inner purity part. I am
only speaking against some of those rituals which may
have been important at the time when they were
prescribed but have lost their relevance now. Like
getting girls married as and when they attain puberty,
not letting them read the vedas and recite the
Gayatri. Not letting low caste Hindus enter certain
temples and participate in certain functions and so on
and so forth. These practices have proved to be our
Ahcilles heel and led to conversions.

Today thanks to Govt policies and court rulings we are
slowly on the way to eradicating these practices. But
the fanatics within us want to go back to those
"golden days". This is ridiculous.

I don't think we need to fear about Hinduism loosing
it's grip. Hinduism has survived and will survive
because of its ability to assimilate from other
religions and responding to change. We should respect
these traits and not create a straight jacket Hinduism
which every Hindu must conform to. Then we become akin
to those religions which are today in the throes of a
severe crisis.

> Although the Sankara Mata's were primarily
> established for disseminating the
> scriptural (Vedic) knowledge as per Adi Sankara,
> they, in addition to
> spreading the scriptural knowledge also have
> participated in other
> beneficial activities like the Sankara Netralaya in
> Chennai.

It is not enough to create certain social service
organisations but to create the feeling of service.
All Hindus must be immediately treated at par. The
high caste Hindu should not flinch from serving a low
caste rather he should be proud that he has been given
a chance to serve his own brother. He is not doing a
favour, he is merely doing his duty.

> I think most Sankara Matas and the leading Swami's
> are doing their bit. I
> feel it may not correct to judge the entire
> Sankaracharyas based on ones
> personal observations of society which statistically
> speaking is biased. I don't
> know about the alleged misrepresentation of quoted
> (in context of this thread)
> Sankaracharya of Puri.

I regularly go through the e-mail messages from
Kamakoti which come to my address everyday. While I
appreciate the concerns against the concept of dowry
and other newer social evils, I do feel uneasy when
the practices mentioned above in my mail are brought

> I also feel it is correct to say that being a
> stickler to
> rituals alone and no explanation of those rituals to
> younger generation
> may not find acceptance. I don't know if thats what
> Jagannatha Chatterjee
> mean't.

Yes this was definitely a part of my message. Todays
youngsters need to feel the ground they tread upon. We
should not forget that it is we who have advocated a
scientific education and today if they question our
methods we should not blame them. The youngsters are
not so agnostic as they seem. I have seen lads dressed
in hip clothing and driving snazzy cars slow down in
front of temples and touch their foreheads. They have
got the samskaras within them. We should tap these
samskaras by explaining things patiently. If they do
not like the rituals, ok fine, let them pursue the
path of jnana and vichara. When they are satisfied
they too will perform worship and offer flowers and
incense. They are now pursuing the path of bhoga, let
them do it. When they understand the meaninglessness
behind it all they will definitely root for yoga. I am
confident of that.


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