I have been seeing some very odd things in a section of the Iyer community these days. And what I am saying here would surely stir a hornet’s nest, if not understood properly.
The Kanchi mutt has a significant following… and some families are ‘fanatic’ followers… and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The late pontiff, HH Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, the 68th head of the mutt, is revered as a Jagadguru even among non brahmins as Paramacharyal or Periyavaa. There are so many blogs, articles, books etc. on the life of Paramacharya and the list of ‘miracles’ attributed to him keeep growing.
The odd thing I mentioned is this: nowadays, there seems to be a growing (or becoming more vocal) group of people who claim to be devotees of Paramacharya, and worship him as a god. They hold namasankeertanams in his name, compose various slokas and songs on him… all that can be explained away, but now some even have begun claiming him as an incarnation and propagating the idea that he is God himself. I won’t be surprised if in a few years time, someone comes up with some pramanas from the vedic scriptures purporting their claim to be right!
Worship of Guru is pretty standard in Sanatana Dharma. There are numerous instances where importance of Guru has been indicated in our scriptures. But all those are done only with Guru in the status of the Lord’s representative.
Paramcharyal can be revered as a Guru (by those who accept him as such), as a Saint (by the masses, no need for any papal seal on this one!!)… and even as a powerful yogi endowed with mystical potency (by all the anecdotes). But to claim him to be God is completely ridiculous. In doing this, this group of ‘devotees’ are setting the stage to legitimizing the claims of people like Nithyananda, Kalki, the various babas etc.
When Sanatana dharma and it’s traditions are facing the onslaught from other forces, this type of new fangled practices will only weaken it.
Isha Foundation has been in the news for wrong reasons lately. Parents are filing complaints with the police claiming that their ‘children’ (all aged 18+) are being brainwashed and are being held against their will.
If an adult, major citizen, wants to be part of an organization and get deep in to it, I think his/her parents have no fricking business saying otherwise. They need to stop being ‘protective’… and also stop thinking about this as ‘lost money’ or ‘economic support’. I might sound harsh… but seriously, if those guys and gals want to be that way, mind your business and let them be.
Of course, all the above can be ignored IF and ONLY IF there is HARD proof that they are being physically abused, raped, or getting drugged or forced in to illegal stuff.
But, as a general advice, Dear parents, stop interfering with your childrens’ lives! You had a chance to bring them to a path that you considered ideal… now that chance is gone. So stop fretting about them. Look forward to spending rest of your life well and fruitfully.
That being said, dear children of parents, in your quest for knowledge and bliss, don’t forget that you have an blood obligation to those who have sacrificed their lives for your good. In your quest to find the truth (be it Isha, Krishna, Allah or Christ), don’t ignore your parents when you have the chance to serve them well. Once they are gone from this world, no amount of self realization will help bury the guilt.
I just happened to come across the news that Prof. Periyardasan, a well known ‘Periyarist’ atheist and TV personality, had embraced Islam. I was late in catching this news since I was very busy in moving back to my hometown and starting at a new job.
I personally have no sympathy towards the ideals of Periyar and his followers in the D.K (Dravidar Kazhagam). While doing my bahcelor’s degree, I had unfortunately been forced to be in the audio vicinity of these fools spewing their anti-brahmin and anti-hindu vitriol in the guise of atheism (Seriously, your ears will bleed at the words these people used. Curiously enough, nothing was said (mocked?) about Islam or Christianity! Probably because the speakers feared losing their lives?)
Now, it is amusing how a person such as Periyardasan would have had the change of heart now, steeped in so called rationalism all these years, to embrace Islam. The more amusing news is that this latest conversion comes AFTER he became and stayed a Buddhist for sometime. That’s a confused mind there, I say. A LOT of confusion.
I wonder how he will face all those people with whom he would have debated for his belief over all these years.
This Vennari guy beats Pat Robertson! May God take pity on both of them.
I am left speechless.
Edit 1: I have several friends who are christian (some of them are ‘hardcore’).
Edit 2: Having faced several attempts to be preached at by christian missionaries during my 3+ years of stay in USA, I guess I can say that I know quite a bit on how they work in to your minds. Nothing wrong in preaching your faith… but the method’s that some of these ‘fundamentalist missionaries’ use are utterly disgusting. On the other hand, I have also had some pretty amusing experiences with them. Here’s one!
“Because they have failed, they are trying miserably hard,” Mathai said, adding, if conversions gave someone respect and dignity, they were not wrong.
Source is here.
For the very fact that he hints that simply converting from one religion to another gives a person respect and dignity, I will have to give Dr. Abraham Mathai a huge thumbs down.
I don’t have any love for the Bajrang Dal or whatever… but to suggest something on the above lines but then carry out conversion based on faith makes the latter a pretense and makes it look like these guys are more interested in scoring political points and number crunching rather than providing any spiritual benefit to the misled (in their opinion, obviously) masses.