Friday Review » Faith

Updated: November 30, 2012 01:13 IST

‘Tolerance, vital for harmony’

D. J. Walter Scott
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The 45th Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt Srivan Sadakopa Sri Narayana Yateendra Mahadesikan Swamigal (right) and the 46th Jeer of the mutt Srivan Sadakopa Sri Ranganatha Yateendra Mahadesikan Swamigal (left), during a visit to Coimbatore. Photo: Hindu Archives
The 45th Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt Srivan Sadakopa Sri Narayana Yateendra Mahadesikan Swamigal (right) and the 46th Jeer of the mutt Srivan Sadakopa Sri Ranganatha Yateendra Mahadesikan Swamigal (left), during a visit to Coimbatore. Photo: Hindu Archives

Sri Ranganatha Yatheendra Maha Desikan, 46th pontiff of Sri Ahobila Mutt, who had accompanied senior pontiff, the 45th Jeeyar, Sri Narayana Yatheendra Maha Desikan to a visit to Tirupullani recently.

Both the Jeeyars took bath in Sethukarai Sea along with hundreds of devotees before leaving Tirupullani.

The Junior Jeeyar, who was gracious to spend time with The Hindu Correspondent recently, laid stress on everyone doing their duty and strongly felt that a sense of give and take and discipline were necessary for social harmony.

He touched on a range of subjects from caste conflict to the Ayodhya temple. The math was trying to instil Hindu dharma in everyone, he said. “Follow dharma and there won’t be conflicts, he said.

What is his take on untouchability that prevails in some parts of the country that includes the South?

“It is unacceptable,” states the jeer categorically. “Only those who do not perform their duties with sincerity and commitment are untouchables. Caste has no role here,” he adds.

Where is the country heading at the moment, what with scandals and scams hitting the headlines?

This is Kaliyuga. My views may not have takers. Not only the politicians, but most of the people are committing mistakes. But there is hope if there is repentance.

There are disturbances in Ramanathapuram. There is tension among communities. What is the jeer’s opinion?

There should not be religious and caste conflicts at all. Ego is the cause of all these problems. Adherence to dharma and performing one’s duties will bring about the change. In 1970, when I was 20 years old, we visited the Parliament house in New Delhi. Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. The proceedings began with a quote from the Vedas which went like this: ‘We will all be together. Go together. Let our thoughts be one and the same for the good of others.’ This, in a nutshell, is the answer to the situation.

His message for the youth?

Respect our culture and preserve it. While people in the West come here for peace, we are losing our equanimity by blindly aping them. Our country’s growth and prosperity are in the hands of the youth. They must be shaped through moral teachings at least on Sundays, to ensure religious harmony. Discipline is essential for the development of tolerance, a vital ingredient for harmony.

What is the swamiji’s stand on the demand for Ram temple in Ayodhya.

“A ticklish issue, yes. Several centuries ago, hundreds of temples were desecrated and demolished. One such was the Ram temple in Ayodhya. There are records, dating back to the Colonial period, to prove the fact. The British came to that opinion after a detailed scrutiny of history. A Ram temple must be constructed in Ayodhya, but, simultaneously, the mosque must also be constructed by its side. No harm. Both communities must take a decision on this. We’ll pray for that.

What would the jeeyars like to convey to the Ramanathapuram people”

“I visited Ramanathapuram when I was 10. I have come to Ramanathapuram and Paramakudi several times after that. I saw co-operation and fraternity among all Hindus along with Christians and Muslims. But of late, the atmosphere has been contaminated by ego and pre-conceived notions. You can achieve anything with kindness and love. On the other hand, enmity begets enmity. If you need friendship and fraternity, you have to tolerate, adjust and unite. The policy of give-and-take is a must for the peaceful life of the people of Ramanathapuram.”

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The ideas of the Junior Jeeyar of Sri. Ahobila Mutt, Srirangam are characterized by a gracefulness that showcases his faith. The core of Vaishnavism is grace. It is a religion where love and grace are one. The fact that in our country so many different cultures in the form of beliefs and traditions are able to co exist harmoniously is due to the principle of tolerance that has been cultivated since time immemorial instils not only respect and reverence to institutions other than one's own but also serve as an unifying agent.

from:  vyjayanthi
Posted on: Nov 30, 2012 at 19:09 IST

The Hindu is doing great service to humanity thru publishing such interviews from scholars , where people are more interested in sensational news. It's very heartening to see such scholars & Head of Mutts coming to the forefront to bring truth & awareness. Blessed are those who are able to get and practice their teachings which leads to real happiness & peace.

from:  Sundar Rengaswamy
Posted on: Nov 30, 2012 at 06:51 IST

After leaving the country I came to understand how tolerant we are in India towards other
religions. Hinduism stands for tolerance and harmony and as a Christian, I can say with pride
that I have experienced nothing but warmth and friendship from my Hindu friends. It is
however true that there are religious tensions in many places fueled by unthinking politicians
and other vested interests. Glad to note that the jeeyars reflect the spirit of Hinduism in their

from:  Sheila
Posted on: Nov 29, 2012 at 23:46 IST

as for untouchability--- are his views sincere or public posturing??
as for a mosque at Ayodhya, inspite of my respect for all shankracharyas, i think he is talking nonsense. the same nonsense that prevailed over Gandhi and Nehru when they accepted the 2 nation theory but still allowed muslims equal rights in India and the results sre for all to see . i as a displaced kashmiri pandit face this stark reality every waking hour even if "THE HINDU " with its extreme views on so called secularism disagrees.

from:  tribawan
Posted on: Nov 29, 2012 at 22:57 IST

Great statement “Follow dharma and there won’t be conflicts".Ram
temple along with mosque must be constructed so that fraternity could
find its new way to promote mutual love and respect for each other

from:  Shivam Gupta
Posted on: Nov 29, 2012 at 20:49 IST

I love this interview and the thoughts expressed by this holy man.

Ego is the root cause of all evils and unless we eradicate ego we are all doomed.

from:  RK
Posted on: Nov 29, 2012 at 20:28 IST
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