Sri Gurubhyo namaH
Cover Letter for Sri Pejawar Swamiji’s Sandesham
February 7, 2011
Hindu American Foundation
Namaste to all,
About two weeks ago, we had received a sandesham from Sri Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji of Sri Puthige maTha about the HAF Caste Report. Now we are pleased to say Sri Sri Vishwesha Theertha swAmiji of Sri Pejawar mATha from Udupi, India has given his sandesham. His letter to HAF follows below. Swamiji wrote it in Kannada the authorized translation follows.
Sri Pejawar swamiji is the senior most swamiji among the eight pITAdhipathis who are entrusted with the care of the Sri krishNa temple at Udupi, which Sri madhAvachArya consecrated about 700 years ago.
The 700+ year old Udupi matha lineage was started by Sri Madhvacharya (1238-1317 CE). He also founded the Tattvavada or Dvaita school of Vedanta. Tattvavada or Dvaita is one of the three living Vedantic schools of Advaita, Vishistadvaita and Dvaita. Many Vaishnava schools including ISKCON (Hare Krishnas) trace their lineage to Sri Sri Madhvacharya. In fact, Sri Sri A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada, the famed founder of ISKCON calls his movement, Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya.
Sri Sri Madhvacharya installed an icon of Sri Krishna in Udupi and left the responsibility of management of the Sri Krishna temple and propagation of his school of thought jointly to his eight senior disciples. These eight monks and their lineal successors have shared the responsibility of managing the Sri Krishna temple taking turns as Heads of the Udupi Matha once every two years. This unique system is called “Paryaya”.
Sri Sri Vishvesha Theertha swamiji, the renowned swamiji of Sri Pejawar matha of Udupi, has been in the forefront of the reform movement of Hinduism in South India for decades. He has worked long and hard to integrate depressed jatis (aka Harijans) into the mainstream of Hindu society. He understands what is needed to reform the existing system while retaining its current strengths. He has personally done extensive field work in this area, visiting Harijan establishments, giving Vaishnava deeksha broadcast to those interested. He has thus given his imprimatur as Udupi Mathadipati to these Harijan communities that they are an integral part of mainstream Hindu society. His experience will be invaluable in any work involving reinterpretation / reformation of the varNashrama and Jati system. A prime example of his work can be seen at the URL: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/92006/pejawar–swami–visits–dalit–colony.html
One can see that the messages of Sri Dayananda saraswati swamiji, Sri Puthige swamiji and Sri Pejawar swamijis to HAF have something in common. Their language is ornate, lyrical and formal, and their messages are subtle and profound. Any disapproval of the HAF actions in their messages is very subtle, indirect and understated. This is the culture of swAmijis from South India. This is generally how communication from religious heads works in Eastern / Asiatic cultures. The messages from the swAmijis are very subtle because swAmijis are held in very high esteem. People instinctively understand that everything that swAmijis say comes from deep introspection and from their spiritual sAdhana. Hence, people attach great meaning to every word they say and take it very seriously.
So, I urge the HAF board members to pay great attention to the subtle and nuanced sandeshams from swamijis. Every word coming from them has the energy of their tapas behind them. Please do introspect and deeply reflect on the words of the sandeshams. I pray for sri KrishNa’s anugraham / blessings on all – HAF board members, the critics of the HAF Report, the Hindu samaja, and the universe at large.
Motive of the swamijis:
Some HAF messages have implied that these swamijis have been persuaded or influenced by critics of the HAF into giving out these messages. The implication is that swamijis do not understand what is in the report and have written these messages under some pressure from HAF report critics.
I can assure you that nothing can be farther from the truth. These messages have come from the swamijis themselves. They wrote their messages themselves. Eradication of untouchability is among the most important work that Sri Pejwar swamiji has been doing for a very long time. This is one of the main missions of his life. The message he has given comes from his work in this area, his spiritual sAdhana (tapas) and the penetrating power of analysis and introspection of a brilliant mind. He is eighty years old now. Yet he is still incredibly active and constantly involved in so many activities and functions every day. Even at his age, He is constantly on the move from place to place. Many people decades younger on meeting him are amazed at his energy and the speed of his activity day and night. This is only possible because of his spiritual sAdhana and his focus on serving sri krishNa and helping his disciples and the society at large.
So, I strongly urge HAF board members to take heed of the subtle, yet important message of Sri Pejawar Swamiji. Please drop all criticisms of Hindu dharma shastras. If there must be a report at all, please rewrite it with proper and detailed input from various AchAryas; work for the unity of Hindu society instead of in a divisive manner.
Motives of the Critics:
HAF has also impugned the motives of its critics in its messages. Its statements have implied that HAF critics have ulterior motives such as prestige, book sales and so forth. Again I state here that this is totally incorrect. The critics are purely motivated by a desire to protect Hindu society from the negative effects of the current HAF caste report. They have no major issues with the HAF as an institution except for this report.
Need for Introspection:
In closing, I urge the HAF board members to introspect why there so many critics from amongst Hindu Community activists and intellectuals – why are so many so upset about this report. One of the characteristics of good leadership is to look at a negative message coming from others, resist an angry tone and calmly look at the reasons for people being upset. If a leader reflects in this manner, he/she discovers the valid underlying reason for the troubled / angry messages. A good leader ignores the angry message and addresses the underlying valid reason. Once this is done, the troubled / angry messages stop coming.
This strategy on your part will be beneficial for Hindu society and it will be beneficial for HAF. There are so many ways in which HAF, its critics, and the AchAryas and swAmijis can work together in the area of untouchability, and jati discrimination for the betterment of the Hindu society, once we get over this particular issue.
OM shatiH ShantiH ShantiH
LokAH samastAH sukhino bhavantu ||
More posts by this author:
- Summary of Major Issues with the HAF Report on Caste
- Kalavai denounces Hindu American Foundation Report
- Letters: Sri Nagendra1
- The HAF Report on Caste: A Critique,January 25, 2011
- Letters: Sri Nagendra to HAF