Swami Swaroopanand – Cong’s Last Card Against Ram Mandir Construction
Swami Swaroopananda Saraswati is one among those desperate souls who has been craving for restraining Ram Mandir’s construction at Ayodhya.
His entire life has been mired in controversy and his image is of anti-Hindu.
Here are some of the wrongs of this anti-Hindu Swamiji.
He had opposed the Supreme Court’s verdict to build Ram temple in Ayodhya and also had filed a petition, seeking stay on its decision.
He also made attempts to delay the verdict by filing a petition, seeking control over the entire Ayodhya land.
Not only this, he had also welcomed the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya in an alleged murder case.
Swaroopanand’s misdeeds do not end here. He has been very critical about ISKCON and its alleged financial irregularities. He called ISKCON a money laundering den. He also made lewd emarks on Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev.
He also supported anti-CAA and Shaheen Bagh protests and his rhetoric was in tune with anti-nationals like Sharjeel Imam and Tahir Hussain.
He raised EVM issues whenever Congress lost Lok Sabha elections. He, once in a fit of anger, had slapped a journalist who talked about the possibility of Narendra Modi winning Lok sabha elections.
Last, but not the least, Swaroopanand is alleged to have close contacts with Congress party and is famously known a “Congress Sadhu”.
He not only has close links with Kamal Nath, Digvijay Singh and KC Lenka, but also is close to the Gandhis.
Sonia Gandhi, in early 1980s, had inaugurated Shiva Temple built by him in Jhoteshwar.
In January 2001, Swaroopanand had defended Sonia Gandhi’s right to be the Prime Minister, when a big debate had broken out about her foreign origins. He had famously declared Sonia Gandhi as an Indian after she took a holy dip at Allahabad during Kumbh Mela.
He was also a part of late PM PV Narasimha Rao and Digvijay Singh’s grand design to divide the sadhus over Ram Temple.
Swaroopananda helped Digvijay to rope in highly-respected Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peeth, Swami Jayendra Saraswati and Swami Nishchalananda, at Dighori conclave, which aimed to break VHP’s hegemony over Ram temple movement.
Swaroopanand had advised Sonia Gandhi to take on Hindutva forces on Ram Mandir when she shared a platform with Shankaracharyas at Dighori conclave in February 2002.
Rajiv Gandhi, apparently, had also sought his advice before opening the locks of Babri Masjid in 1985.
Swaroopanand had opposed VHP’s authority to construct the temple and asked the government to hand over the land to a body of apolitical religious men.
Is Swaroopanand Shankaracharya?
Surprisingly though, he had led the anti-Congress movement during his tenure as Ram Rajya Parishad President in 1950s.
But, how did Swaroopanand change his heart and started to be associated with Congress?
It was Congress which had recognised him as Shankaracharya.
Digging into the history of Dwarka and Badrinath Mathas, it is found that Swaroopanand’s anointment as Shankaracharya is mired in controversy.
The Allahabad High Court had ordered Swami Swaroopanand and Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati’s anointment as Shankaracharyas illegal and invalid. Both seers had been claiming to be the Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath Badrikashrama since 1973.
However, Swaroopanand, with his strong links with the Congress, managed to get the support of other three Chiefs of Shankar Mathas, for his appointment as Shankaracharya.
The tussle traces its roots preceding Swaroopanand and Vasudevanand. The tussle was between their gurus Swami Shatanand and Swami Krishna Bodhashram.
Krishna Bodhashram had announced Swaroopanand as his successor.
A civil court, on 15 January 1970, had declared Krishna Bodhashram’s anointment as Shankaracharya null and void, but upheld Shatanand.
Despite this, Krishna Bodhashram continued to consider himself as the rightful Shankaracharya and passed on the baton to Swaroopanand after announcing him as his successor.
Shatanand resigned from his post after Dwarka Shankaracharya Sachchidanand Teerth named Swaroopanand as his successor on 27 May 1982, but appointed Vishnudevanand Saraswati as his successor.
Vasudevanand was anointed as Shankaracharya on November 14, 1989, after Vishnudevanand’s death.
The high court observed that Vasudevanand didn’t deserve the position because he was not a Dandi sanyasi – who is given a wooden holy stick by a committee of the senior-most sadhus, a precondition for becoming Shankaracharya.
It also observed that a Shankaracharya should be a learned Sanskrit scholar, with knowledge of the Vedas, Upanishadas, Puranas and Vedanta.
Moreover, Vasudevanand was not a sanyasi before 1989. He was a teacher in a government-aided school and drew salary till November 13, 1989.
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