[Advaita-l] 1966

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 11 11:05:53 CDT 2011

> According to wikipedia, in 1966 one of the Shankaracharyas fasted to bring
> in ban on cow slaughter. Is that so? I am keen to know if Shankaracharyas
> have, if at all, voiced concern about cow protection. I know that Shankara
> Mutts have goshalas. But I am no sure if there is an serious official
> position by the mutts on this topic.

The Shankaracharya of Puri, Swami Niranjana Devatirtha, agitated in 1966 to ban
cow slaughter in all of India, and was arrested. Swami Karpatri was also involved
in the agitation.

There is a book by an author called Christophe Jaffrelot, "The Hindu Nationalist
Movement in India" (Columbia University Press, 1998, ISBN 0231103352), which
has details. For historical reasons, banning of cow slaughter is a political issue in
India, so chances are that you won't agree with the conclusions made by the
above author, but please note that he gets the factual details right.

The problem with all these questions is one of expectations. When any institution
(not only the Sankara maThas, for gohatyA is an issue that concerns others too)
gives out an official position, what would you take it as and how do you estimate
its seriousness? A religious position in a religious landscape or a religious position
in a political landscape or a political position in a religious landscape or a political
position in a political landscape? What our religious institutions really are, what
their administration's self-image is, what you think they should be, what someone
else thinks they should be, these are all very different things.

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