Thursday, November 11, 2004

Who is bigger "The Institution" or "The Man" ?

This is regarding the stunning arrest of Kanchi Seer, Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal. But I'll bring my argument from a completely different perspective. I will beat around the bush but at the same time set up the perimeter for my argument.

The set-up of assumptions:

The main difference between US and India is the fear for authority. In the US citizens are more afraid of the diciplinary and police authority. They pause for a few moments near the "Stop" sign at 2:00 AM in the night, because they are afraid that some cop maybe lurking around and give them a ticket. Beyond just money, there is the points system, consequent increase in inurance premiu, loss of credit history leading to non-issuance of housing loan/car loans. This is why people ( including Indians) in the US follow the rules meticulously. Because it adds up to a very big picture consequences. Rather than take the risk and committ a small offense , most just follow the rules because the risk-to-rewards ratio is not worth it.

In India, we are bought up to violate rules. If there is nobody on the road, i know people who say "its common sense to drive on the red because people behind you are waiting". Leave out popuation explosion and non-applicability of rules to the indian system. Its the feeling that "if we break the rules no one cares a damn!". "Nobody can hurt me! I can get away with anything" . There is fact that nobody is there to watch you, then there is bribe and even if you have to pay fine, its just money.

Arguing from Angle 1: Kanchi Mutt is one of the 3 or 4 mutts that been around for more than a thousand years. The historical references and traditions are so steeped that it transcends even time. Kanchi Mutt is by far the most popular and has most followers. Any other mutt is a distant ( and really distant ) second. In many ways its a symbol of the way we live. I can tell this without much analysis that any Mutt that commands so much history must be loaded with "rules and regulations". It will have time on when the Head of the Mutt can wake-up, when he should go to sleep. Rules almost granular to every second of the day on what he should be doing, whom he should see, where he can travel and how he should travel. The greatness of the mutt comes because N generations of Seers have followed it to the letter. They were conformists because conformism was the main criteria for such a responsible position.

The Fear Factor: Its not credit history of loan payments they were afraid of . This is the ppurest form of devotion. They were afraid that someday in their after lives something bad will happen to them because they did not follow the rules.

Arguing from Angle 2:
No I wont go into the question of "what happens when we get a non-conformist"? . I will again continue beating around the bush but it sets up the perimeter for my argument. Remember the age old saying " idle mind is a devil's workshop" . It is a cliche because it is so truue. When you are extremely busy and can't spare a moment, there is no time for idle politics. You wont do things you normally wudn't do... in get into trouble less. To follow the rules laid down by the Kanchi Mutt, a seer cannot waste a second. He has to keep performing Pujas or other rituals, that cannot offer him a second to spare on worldly things.

Arguing from Angle 3:

Traditionally follwers of Kanchi Mutt was restricted to Brahmins. Strict rule-following Brahmins met the seer and apart from observing, how he performs his daily rituals, possibly learn from it. This generation of rationalism has brought about a refreshing change in that; all castes began to be considered as equal. Furthermore in the last decade people of many castes began expressing interest to involve themselves in religious activities.

How did the Kanchi Mutt react to this. It followed "market principles" of globalization and commercialization. This completely vitiates what the "outsiders" in the form of non-brahmins were looking for in the Mutt. What attracted them to the Mutt in the first place ? They did not come to just to piss of the Brahmins. No! Brahmins are not that important that a person will change their whole lifestyle just to irritate them. So what is the reason? A good organization, a clear cut understanding that God and his rules come first, people come second. This impressive purity of purpose attarcts any bystander. Everybody from all castes wanted to worship God and they want to know the right way to do it. Since Brahmins knew how it was done, the followers of the Mutt increased.

Why do "outsiders" such as the Indians in the US like the US ( as opposed to the US bashers who stand in front of the consulate to only and funnily protest against concrete walls and a Guard posted in front of the wall). It is because of the discipline. A committment to follow the rules. Because everybody wants to live a luxurious high-standard life and they want to experience it.

How stupid would it look... if US relaxed its traffic rules and asked traffic policemen to accept bribes just to accomodate the Indians. Think about Mutt's globalization from this perspective!

The build-up to the arrest:

For the past 1 week, Sun TV has been going on and on about "suspicious activities in the Kanchi Mutt". It did its usual " For the Retarded Idiots" news item which shows Karunanidhi saying something completely stupid and then typing out whatever he says in printed letters. They want to make doubly sure whatever this idiot says will have to be emphasized to those who are educated enough to read but illitrate enough not to "hear" him.

Sun TV is Karunanidhi's mouth piece. It is 100% biased towards DMK and thats the only purpose and agenda behind its creation. That it provides good entertainment is not an "end". Its a means towards a bigger end. It will continue damaging the ADMK goverment by complaining ad nauseum. Its a ruthless "complaint excercise" which they will do no matter what. They know people may get tired of it.... but they will complain until its in our blood stream.

5 days before where I heard Sun TV quote karunanidhi saying some smart comment " yaam ariyom paraaparame" I was thinking " Wow! so he is approaching the enemy head quarters. I just hope its clean enough to survive the attack". But I was stupid. The battle was already lost.

Why Shri Jayandra Saraswatigal Should be removed immediately and diassociated from Kanchi Mutt ?

1) I am sticking my nect out here to say an opinion. Sri jayandera Saraswathigal was the riskiest appointment in the history of Kanchi Mutt. If ever there was a seer who was capable of getting the Mutt into trouble, it was him. I dont need to give extenive proof for this apsect since everybody i spoke to(this is all you can speak today in Madras ) from all castes, mutt followers seemed to understand this implicitly. Anyway it is no more a theory.. the 'fact' has already happened. The Mutt stands disgraced like never before. I don't know (nobody knows) or really don't care about his involvement in the murder. Having been a student in "Sri Jayandra Saraswathigal Swami Silver Jubilee" school, I have for two years listened and seen many Mutt representative give talk about this history of the Mutt. Many of the students there and some of the followers are still my good friends. They are all sad. All interested parties in Kanchi Mutt were praying that his term would pass without any major damage to the Mutt. Well! that fear was not unfounded. Apart from rumors of indiscretions, the trip to china what pissed me of was the commercialization.

2) Giving out unwarranted statements on Ram Temple construction

3) With the growing Nationalist "Hindu" movement along with the BJP, the Mutt gained dispropotionate status because it was heading the largest Hindu Contingent in India. It did not know how to react to the larger than life status.

4) Making Kanchi Mutt a "brand". And Shri Jayandera Saraswathigal as a brand ambassador. He travels to all-religion forums. Gives photographs with a bishop and a muslim religious person. ( Does the "rules and regulations" permit such travel ? Doesn't it have a say on where he can, sit, sip, eat drink , touch! ? )

5) Makes unwarranted comments about the "true" origins of Thirupathi temple. When it can be of no consequence. Face it! if Thirupathi temple was proved beyond doubt to be a Murugan temple, is it logistically conceivable for it to be changed to a Murugan temple ? will Andhra Govt allow it ? whats the use of such controversial statements. Whats the need to go to press at all ? When there can be no concequence at all why indulge.

6) Giving advice to Jayalalitha. Acting as tamil Nadu's 'godman' and unofficial religious advisor to the government.

All these six reasons ound good but there a bigger reason than that.

7) Did not follow Mutt rules. Let his idle mind become a devil's workshop. Instead of doing rituals and worshipping god, he was doing a "larger than life" activities. Mutt is sacred and one man cannot and should not be allowed to besmirch it.

The DMK Factor:

Karunanidhi is a jerk! no doubt! but he is a shrewd politician. A small chink in the armor and he will pounce. Sun TV will trumpet his views and his strategies get amplified. Karunanidhi is already pissed off that Jayalalitha takes advise from Sankaracharya.

For the last 5 years or so, Sankaracharya is involved ina needless verbal duel with this jerk. The exchange of comments through the media was embarassing. There were 3 media exchanges which Sun TV capitalized big time

1) Some abstract argument on the definition of "Hindu" by karunanidhi. Even when BJP leaders kept quiet. There was a shocking reply from Kanchi Mutt. Which was pasted on Sun TV's " News for the Retarded" section like anything.

2) Another argument about a stupid ..stupid interpretation of Bhagavad Gita. Deliberately mis-interpreted by karnanidhi and as usual Sankaracharya walked happily into the trap.

3) About a weeklong debate on the orgin of Thirupathi smashed everyday on Sun TV headlines. They got a one-line reply from Thirupathi " we dont indulge in petty politics". But Sankaracharya made Sun TV very happy by giving out statements. one after the other.

Nobody can argue that such an embarassment was not building up. Karunanidhi could never have arrested Sankaracharya in his term as CM. The consequences would have been disastrous. Now Sankaracharya presented him with a golden opportunity to do so in Jayalaltha's term as CM. He has besmerchied the name of the Mutt. As the heading of this blog suggests , he is not important and he must go.

The only person he is to blame for all this is himself. Why? Regardless of whether he committed the murder or not. Regardless of whether he was correct in all his above arguments, views .... anything at all. He was defeated the moment he chose to enter an argument. He chose to let focus on his daily activities drift and bite the bait. The Mutt is one of the authorities of resisting temptation and now it has contradicted itself because of him. His arguments became part of a larger argument by Sun TV. They are arguing and persuading people to vote out Jayalalitha. They have used CBI-Jayalakshmi, Veerappan etc as tools in their argument. Now Sankaracharyar follows the "illustrious" ( read verappan, jayalakshmi) line of people to be used as a tool. How sad is this ? The very though makes my blood boil! For a institution of the stature of Kanchi Mutt and the responsibility of the position under question. He must go. He may never have committed a single crime... but He must go.


Anonymous said...

Yes, its time for him to go - Kanchi Mutt can still exist as Kanchi Mutt - now that the bug is spotted and can be eliminated! But i have a small picky line to add: The "high-quality" life in the US does not hopefully become utopia now :)

Hawkeye said...

"US life" it was just an example i used to dirve home the "golabalization" Vs "Individuality" point. ofcourse it has its own set of imperfections too. but they are usually well hidden.

I cud have used "bangalore" as an example too but it seems to have completely lost its individuality... with so many migrations.

anantha said...

Good one dude... I did not see much on the blogosphere regarding this particular issue and frankly i am surprised.

This might sound judgemental or controversial, but i think a majority of us bloggers are hindu and I think most of us bloggers have been unwilling to let our personal blogs be the focus during this time when the claim of being the "last religion untouched by crime" has lost credence. I cannot explain this in any other way. In the only other place where i saw this topic discussed, the discussion began to turn into a brahmin vs non brahmin issue..

Hawkeye said...

the brhmin Vs non-brahmin is the oldest tool used by DK to make sure "the hindu" never acted together to make a sensible decision.

the decline of the hindu religion will happen as a result of this theory. It will start at brahmin Vs non-brahmin ( if not at the level of iyer vs iyengar) and then move on to pillai vs devar. Devars Vs SC/ST and then you throw in gounders etc etc.. and u have a BIG divided community.

Prabhu S said...

Institution is bigger not the man