Bhubaneswar, Jan 26:
Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati of Gobardhan Peeth, Puri on Saturday called upon the two major national parties – the Congress and BJP – to reform themselves from within to give politics in India the new direction that it badly needs.
Expressing serious concern over the direction that politics in the country has taken, the Shankaracharya said the absence of patience and the tendency to cheat people among political parties in general had eaten into the vitals of the nation.
Asked for his views on Sri Sri Ravishankar’s recent comment on the need for a code of ethics for religious leaders, the Puri seer said such a code, with 12 edicts, has been in existence for ages for the traditional spiritual leaders. “But the problem is you cannot apply this code to the new age spiritual gurus who have proliferated,” he said.
Launching a scathing attack on the model of development followed in the country, the Shankaracharya said a model that believes in construction of mega cities complete with all worldly comforts at the cost of the annihilation of the five elements is simply not sustainable.
“Just as a pressure cooker blows a whistle to indicate that the contents inside have reached boiling point, nature has been blowing repeated whistles to warn mankind that the destruction of the environment has reached alarming proportions,” he said citing the recent Uttarakhand disaster as a case in point.
“Today, respect for India is so low that even a former President and a former Union minister are frisked humiliatingly outside India,” he said. He also drew attention to the treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade to buttress his point about the falling respect for the country.
The ancient Sanatan Sankriti of the country is under serious threat today from foreign religions like Islam and Christianity, aided and abetted by a political class that has lost its moorings, the Shankaracharya said.
No wonder the Shankaracharyas, the traditional spiritual leaders of Hindus, do not enjoy the same standing that the Pope does in Christianity or the Dalai Lama does in Buddhism, he rued.
“Kashmir has become part of Pakistan and the day is not very off when it will fully integrate with what is known as Pakistan today,” he warned calling for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley.
Asked for his preference among the three principal contenders for the Prime Minister’s post – Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal – the spiritual leader skirted around a direct answer and asked for the three leaders to be put through a litmus test instead.
“Ask yourself if they are free of the absence of patience and tendency to cheat people and committed to true, scripture ordained development of the masses and you will get your answer,” he said.