Shri Amrita Swaroopananda Puri’s Statement against ongoing Tirade against Hinduism

published on May 31, 2008

Excerpts based on Shri Amrita Swaroopananda Puri ‘s Press Release on ongoing tirade against Hindu Ashrams and Spiritual Leaders, especially against Amritanandamayi Matt from certain vested interests


Kerala is said to be land of
educated people. An education is what gives a person the ability to distinguish
between good and bad, between right and wrong. Only such an education can be
considered valuable. A valuable education should enable an individual to employ
his intellect and knowledge for not just his own benefit, but for common
societal benefit.


In the past few days, several
incidents involving some unscrupulous elements, have come to light. These unscrupulous
elements trap innocent people and exploit them. They cheat such people for
their own selfish purposes. Quite rightly, there has been all round
condemnation of such people. Such black sheep, in whichever section of society
they are seen in, should be severely punished to serve as an example of others
who may be indulging in such practices. Instead, some politicians seek to
publicise the incidents and use them to further their own hideous agendas.
There have been repeated calls by numerous politicians for an in depth
investigation of all Hindu religious institutions. Such politicians must be
exposed because they seek not to serve society, but to twist situations to suit
their own cause. While we should feel happy that black sheep such as Santhosh
Madhavan and Badhranandan have been exposed and will be punished, we should
reject outright any political attempt to cast all of Hinduism in bad light.
Politicians certainly have the duty of serving society. They need to show
courage, willingness and maturity in leading society away from the clutches of
evil. But is that what is happening now? In Kerala, it is common practice among
political leaders of all divisions to make unilateral demands of investigations
into Hindu organisations. They use incidents such as the recent ones to further
their demands. Clearly, their demands have no valid basis and it should be easy
for everyone to see through the selfish agenda of self styled saviours.


Are there not political figures
who have been convicted of corruption of the worst order? Are there not doctors
who have deliberately broken their oath to serve humanity? Are there not
business tycoons who have made their fortune on the blood of several hundred
employees? Why, are there not factories which cause the worst kind of
pollution? Why are the self styled saviours not seen making a clarion call
against such people? Do we make pleas for abolishing the medical profession
because of one doctor who failed in his duty? Or close down all factories
because one causes unchecked pollution? Isn’t that what the politicians are
trying to do? Even worse, the self styled politicians are often seen actively
supporting the oppressors, rather than the poor victims. Is this not a misuse
of the trust people place in political leaders? Those who pose as Hindu
religious leaders and exploit innocent people are wrongdoers and should be punished,
but is it right to characterise every Hindu leader as a wrongdoer? Isn’t that what
the self-appointed political saviours seek to do?


In this context, it is useful to
examine who a ‘sanyasi’ is. Mata Amritanandamayi, recently remarked that
Ravana took the appearance of a sanyasi to trick Sita and kidnapped her. Was
Ravana a sanyasi? Or was it a sanyasi who kidnapped Sita? The Ramayana stresses
repeatedly that it was Ravana who perpetrated this abominable act. The act was
performed by a black sheep posing as a sanyasi. Nowhere is it said, nor have we
at any point in the past, held that it was a sanyasi who kidnapped Sita


A sanyasi is a person who has
crossed all worldly attachments. In fact, a person evolves into a sanyasi only
when he sheds the ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’ consciousness and vows to selflessly
strive for the betterment of society. A sanyasi is initiated into sanyasam or
sainthood at the initiative of the Guru and through strict rituals, practised
since the Vedic times. It is common to see many people wear saffron coloured
garments these days, in the normal course of their lives but also in connection
with special occasions such as the penance preceding a pilgrimage to the shrine
in Sabarimala. We respectfully address them as ‘swamis’, but does that make
them sanyasis? A sanyasi wears saffron coloured clothes as a symbol of
renunciation and penance.  


Amma’s ashram has many such
sanyasis. They have made a conscious decision to give away worldly attachments
and work for the common upliftment of humanity. Amma’s teachings and actions,
strictly followed by devotees transcend issues of nationality, caste, religion
and so on. Amma’s teachings are valid and tenable, whichever religious text one
might choose to examine them against.  A
cursory glance around us is enough to understand the impact of the projects and
initiatives of the Ashram. Yet, politicians seek to criticise the Ashram.
All the activities of the Ashram are transparent and anyone is welcome to
inquire into them. Criticism has also been levelled against the Ashram’s
income. One fails to understand why. The Ashram’s accounts are regularly
submitted to the government for regulatory scrutiny. If there were
irregularities, certainly the government would have raised its concerns. No
such thing has happened.


Yet, allegations are made. Those
who make allegations and level criticism are deliberately closing their eyes on
the contributions Amma and the ashram make to Kerala. Any income received is
returned manifold for common good. This selfless work attracts devotees and
supporters from all sections of society, and across the globe. Many of Amma’s
devotees render selfless voluntary service at the ashram in line with Amma’s
teachings on ‘naishkarmya’ – service without expectation of a reward. For all
of these reasons, Amma and the ashram are treated with respect by everyone.


Let us make no mistake –

it is only because of the past efforts of great Hindu
religious leaders such as Adi Shankara, Narayana Gurudevan and Chattambi
Swamigal that Kerala’s diverse society is able to raise above differences and
divisions, and make a collective effort for collective advancement of society.
Amma’s work is a continuation of such inspiring leadership and contributes to
the success of the effort. In fact, Amma has been uniquely successful in taking
the Malayalam language across all geographical boundaries, even to the UN. But
of course, politicians who keep their eyes shut tight see nothing of these
things. Perhaps, they need reminding that having eyesight is not sufficient.
One should employ this God given gift to view, observe and understand. Else, no
amount of literacy or education can lead them from darkness to light




Tat Sat

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