Recalling the Kanchi Sankaracharya Case


Recalling the Kanchi Sankaracharya Case

By S Gurumurthy

Published: 28th November 2013 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 28th November 2013 02:44 AM

When the Principal Sessions Court in Pondicherry on Wednesday (November 27) acquitted the Kanchi Sankaracharyas, Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi, and all the others charged with the murder of Sankararaman, my mind recalled the arrest of the Sankaracharya in November 2004 and the unprecedented vicious atmosphere created by the Dravidian ideologues and parties, secular media and even liberal intellectuals against the Acharya. They sat upon the Kanchi Mutt, held the Acharya guilty and more and spread all kinds of unmentionable canards about him and the Mutt and hurt beyond words the millions of peaceful spiritual followers of the Mutt, who cried in silence with no one to console them.

No debate on the Sankaracharya judgment will be complete without recalling the vicious and hurtful discourse against the Acharya and the Mutt and how the ancient institution and its faithful underwent the all round assault and pain silently. When the entire spectrum of secular, human rights and liberal megaphones had turned against the Mutt and the Acharya and desecrated them, it was only The New Indian Expresswhich stood for what it believed was right– namely that the Mutt and the Acharya were being hounded without basis and the case itself was groundless. The judicial verdict exonerating the Acharyas and all the others charged with the crime implies that the entire case was misdirected.


Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi leaves a court in Puducherry after being acquitted in the sensational Sankararaman murder case. (PTI)

But, based on counter investigation, The New Indian Express said so within days of the arrest of the Acharya. “The Case Is Dead. Who Will Do The Funeral And When?” This was the title of third of the five articles on the Sankaracharya case that appeared in The New Indian Express. This article appeared on November 24, 2004, exactly 12 days after the seer’s arrest on the auspicious Deepavali day. The article opened thus: “On counter investigation, we found the case against the Sankaracharya not just slippery, but actually groundless from day one. Not just that. It involves a bit of fabrication too. Yes the fabrication to fix the Acharya. The police are running for cover. They may not give up yet and may fabricate more to put the case which is dead on life support system. But the case is irretrievably lost.” The dramatic turn came on Wednesday in the Kancheepuram Magistrate court. The two criminals on whom the police had exclusively relied to name the Sankaracharya as an accused in the case have actually turned to accuse the police as the fabricators of the case itself. The court judgment now pretty much says the same thing. The New Indian Express carried four more articles in my name on the Sankaracharya case. The first article titled “As the Sankaracharya stands like Abhimanyu” [NIE 23.11.2004] captured the Dravidian political and secular media theatre in the state which were hounding the hapless Acharya stung and stunned by the heinous charge against him.

The Acharya was damaged more by the false news items planted by the police which the willing secular media and Dravidian megaphones lapped up to defame and discredit the Acharya. Another article titled “Unless the Case is Reinvestigated, Justice will not be Done” [26.11.2004] detailed how on the procured testimonies of hardened criminals the state was telling the judiciary that the Sankaracharya was “the worst criminal”. The fourth article dated 3.12.2004 was on how the case had ceased to be an investigation into a crime and had become a vicious campaign to demolish the Acharya himself. The article ended thus: “Even if, at the end, I am entirely proved wrong, I cannot shirk my duty to alert the public and sensitise the authorities about the destruction of too many values involved in this investigation which is gradually turning into a battle between the silent and silenced Kanchi Mutt on the one hand and police and its associate, the media megaphones on the other. It is no more an investigation into crime….it is now a larger design to defame and discredit the Mutt itself.” The final article titled “Will the Secular Media Heed Justice Reddy’s Warning?” appeared on January 14, 2005. This article was on the judgment of Justice Narasimha Reddy of the Andhra Pradesh High Court before whom a frivolous writ had been filed by some labour union on the basis of media reports linking some deaths [which had taken place six years ago on the premises of a mill, from where the Acharya had been arrested] to the Acharya.

Disposing of the writ, the judge said the petitioner swayed by the media did not want to lag behind in the unprecedented process of denigration of the Kanchi Mutt, an ancient, prestigious and glorious institution with almost a 2,500-year history. He added that it was sad that an institution of such glory was targeted and persecuted in an organised manner in an independent country, by “not only individuals, but also a section of the institutions, such as the State and the Press”. He also noted that the proponents of human rights, fair play and dignity to individuals and institutions have maintained stoic silence, adding “a powerful section is celebrating or watching it with indifference” the “perfidy against the Mutt” that had shocked the nation and beyond”. He noted that the “amount of disrepute and sacrilege inflicted on Sri Jayendra Saraswathi has no comparables adding that harshest possible words were used directly or in innuendo against him” and “today he is subjected to similar treatment as was Draupati in the Court of Kauravas”. That was the state of the Acharya and the Mutt when The New Indian Express stood for truth against tsunami of vicious campaign against the Acharya.

The reward for these articles was an arrest warrant against me and almost a search on The New Indian Express and even the Thuglak magazine, which had carried the Tamil version of the articles. As usual the judiciary came to the rescue and passed orders restraining the state. I was questioned by the Superintendent of Police who led the investigation. When I asked him why he was suspecting the Acharya to be the offender, he said that the victim had been sending highly offensive letters to the Acharya and therefore he had a motive to eliminate him. I asked him whether he thought of the possibility of someone inimical to the Acharya eliminating the victim to put the blame on the Acharya. He was blank. I told him that the criminal investigation has to exhaust all the possibilities before opting for one particular view. That is precisely what the police in the Sankaracharya case failed and neglected to do. The result was a huge and costly lapse — and great hurt to a noble institution and to its silent and peaceful faithfuls. The Sankaracharya case verdict is a lesson for all– the police, state, media and the liberals –every one of them sided with the police and against the Acharya. Will they now introspect?

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27 replies

  1. These Tamil pigs got punished in tsunami 2004 and in 2009. Let’s move on

  2. The aspect that really disappoints me in this whole episode of discovered malice against the Shankaracharya is the willful reticence of the mainstream media to highlight the malafide intentions of the police and the state. It is so evident that the Dravidian party is a selective non conformist when it comes to spiritual matters pertaining to the Hindu majority but conveniently overlooks the misdemeanor of members from the minority community. This is reprehensible and has to be questioned and fixed. We can witness a perfect case of media trial in this country. The role of the media is to report facts and not act as an arbiter or a judicial body. It is heart wrenching to notice the silence or the indifference of people to such issues. I sincerely hope that the judiciary discipline authorities for fabricating evidence.

  3. Unless you know what is god, how can you say that it is not there.
    So all atheists know what is god. Believers and non-believers are one and the same.

  4. A little digression.Lot of articles and books have been published about Periaval Shri Shri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal who has a large following in the North also( more than the South)Time we start publishing them as a serial as you are doing now for Paramacharyal. .Shri Mehta,Pammal Shri.viswanathan late Shri.Kannadasan and hundreds of others swear by the Peetatipathi and His blessings that brought relief to them from sickness penury and other calamities in life.He stood first in studies of Vedas etc and that was the reason for His selection as the Junior Swamigal.He has a Midas touch and the work done by Him all over India is seen to be believed. paramachryal should bless the idea if it has to start and succeed.Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara.

  5. If you think that my mail could create complications you may ignore and efface my mail thanks

  6. Thanks for this news…I was so angry when the incident happened way back in 2004…Jai Swami Sri Jayendra Saraswathi…

  7. There is no point in talking about policians and parties. The Mahan has said in so many words and phrases how you should be diplomatic and react in this situation. Truth and God prevails.


  8. Dear Mahesh, You have done a wonderful job by posting the Hindu Advertisement, the response of Mahapriyava to the meaning of Absconding as an answer to The Dhinamalar Box News and the Article of Gurumoorthy Published in IndianExpress and thereby not only covered the reactions after acquittal but also helped people who are residing away from India to know more about the case.Infact it was useful for me to forward your postings to people in U.S.A. Congrates. T.S.S.

  9. Gurumurthy has been the voice of sanity always. I do remember his articles vividly in the New Indian Express and elsewhere and I have always admired him for his courage of conviction and his courage to speak out boldly, inspite of threats from the then Government in Tamil Nadu. Hats off to him and it is only because of the vigilance maintained by people like him that the Police could not manufacture enough “evidence” to convict our Acharyas. My humble pranams to Gurumurthy. In this case, I would say Cho was more circumspect and I was disappointed with his not being forthright in saying that our Acharyas are incapable of such negative thoughts.

  10. naasthikatvam will always be there where there is aasthikathvam and actually aasthikatvam grows on naastikatvam – proof the statue of e v r before the mutt. As periava once remarked ‘ if you say God is there once he says God is not there five times – see he calls the God five times and you once only and laughs’. n.ramaswami

  11. Very Glad Mahesh — You have posted it here — so much relief

  12. As usual Mr Gurumurthy has written logically a fine article.Ultimately truth prevaailed. Hats off to The New Indian Express, Thuglak, Gurumurth, Cho , others and , not to forget, the lawyers who fought for justice.

  13. Brilliant recap and hearltfelt thanks to Sri Gurumurthy and New indian express

  14. As always, an excellent article by Sri Gurumurhty. Thanks very much to Sri Gurumurhty for articulating so well what the devotees have been going through for almost a decade and of course thanks to Mahesh Krishnamurhty for posting it here.

    “All of you journalists have a huge responsibility, is it not?” How prophetic!

  15. While it is very painful to reproduce the events as reported at that time again, now that the Acharyas are released from the accusations, it is still necessary for the devotees to remember the perpetrators of the calumny, the Dravidian parties and media people who ate out of their hands and the vileful articles they carried at that time. Sri. Gurumurthy and Sri. Cho Ramaswamy deserve all praise for their unflinching courage in presenting the true perspective. As they said famously at the time of emergency, the Police trembled and crawled when they were just asked to bend by the “Power”.Is there going to be any salvation ever for them for the agony they caused to Sanyaasis? I have heard that HH Sringeri Sankaracharya Maha SwamigaL refused to step into Tamil Nadu for long years when the Govt. was hell bent on harming Sanyaasis. Bhagavan Satya Sai Baba and Mysore Datta Peetham SwamigaL HH Sri Ganapathi Satchidhaananda SwamigaL had rebuffed the “Power” by refusing their offerings. One prayed deeply to Maha Periyava, Goddess Kamakshi and Sri Thiripurasundari samedha Sri ChandramouLeeswara for solace and now we got it through the judgement of Justice Sri. Murugan! All followers of Sanatana Dharma should never forget what happened and act decisively when the time comes for voting. People come cloaked in various Veshas. We should see through them all. Jaya Jaya Shankara, Hara Hara Shankara!

  16. Good Mr Gurumurthy has re-collected the earlier written articles on Acharya. As rightly said in it The Sankaracharya case verdict is a lesson for all– the police, state, media and the liberals –every one of them sided with the police and against the Acharya. Will they now introspect?

    • the answer is NO .. even now it is painful to read comments which attributes money power of Kanchi Mutt to buy justice .. they have only one point agenda .. to speak ill of Mutt and our Acharyas .. best thing to do is to just ignore them .. carryon with our devotion to Guru’s .. Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara ..

  17. Divine retribution is swift these days. The Almighty tolerates atheists, but definitely not those showing disrespect to his bhaktas. It is now a feeling of immense relief indescribable in words. Namaskaram to the Guru peetam presided over by Sri Devi Kamakshi and Sri Periyavaas.

  18. The hoary and august institution once headed by Adi Sankara Bagavathpada, described as Avthara Mahan by our Sivan Sir had and continues to have as its titular heads humans who have ascended the human ladder of excellence to stages from which there is no regression unlike ordinary mortals like us. It is a tragedy that our education has not given us any grounding to understand what this quest for human excellence is all about. It is our duty to follow our prachina sampradayas of which guru chindanam and vandanam of our mutt is a vital part.

    Having said that intellectuals like Cho and Gurumurthy are playing a vital role in highlighting where our society is heading to including the furious onslaught that MNCs and such vested interests have unleashed on family as an institution.

    Thanks to Gurumurthy and Cho Ramaswamy sir.


  19. The strength and support given by Shri Gurumurthyji at a time of crisis that the Holy Kanchi Mutt and the Acharyas underwent is something beyond admiration and it is laudable especially when all devotees and followers of the Mutt of Acharyas could do nothing but cry within themselves against such defamatory onslaughts. It is also unfortunate that neither in Tamil Nadu nor in other States the required protests were absent while it is otherwise even if a negligible incident happens to even a single member of any other community. Tamil Hindus, particularly Tamil speaking Brahmins are always the worst target and ever humiliated in all walks of life. Hope the entire Hindu community and their supports the world over would now realize the emptiness of the case and how evil forces are up in their sleeves to use their muscle and money power malign the Holy Seers and their followers. All salutes to Shri Gurumurthyji, The New Indian Express and team to stand as rock in support of the Acharyas.

  20. Trikala Gnani in place of granite (wrongly corrected by the lead given by the system


  22. Dear Mahesh,
    I feel it is our duty , as followers of the well reputed Kanchi Mutt and the venerable Acharyas to collectively demand apology from the individuals responsible for this sacrilege thereby hurting our feelings by willful damage done to the ancient institution and the immediate successors so the Trikal granite, HH Sri. Mahaperiava.

  23. All these nine years, and after both the Acharyas came out of jail on bail, none of these men, neither Gurumurthy,nor CHO, nor the so called dignitaries of the BJP, including L.K.Advani, thought fit to call on Them and pay their respects to Them. WHY? What Gurumurthy says now, is mere hypocrisy. S.Chidambaresa Iyer 29 11 2013

    • Sir I do not understand what you are trying to say. Let us not bring BJP here as they have no base in TN and they are perhaps as corrupt as the Congress . There is a strong possibility that it is Congress which is run by foreign mafia that perhaps was behind the scene as our Acharya had taken up the issue of religious conversion head on by his ideas like eye hospitals in the North East and his intense participation in festivals of the backward classes to keep hinduism alive. We Brahmins were like terrified dogs that has its tail between the legs and it was only people like Cho and Gurumurthy who at least showed some signs of defiance. Your declaration of hypocrisy on the part of these two is simply defies logic.


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