Reply to the rejoinder published about the current issues concerning Srirangam Andavan Ashram

Some serious questions being asked of the new committee that took over Srirangam Andavan Ashram

Some serious questions being asked of the new committee that took over Srirangam Andavan Ashram
Some serious questions being asked of the new committee that took over Srirangam Andavan Ashram

Dear PGurus,

धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः – Dharma protects those who uphold or protect Dharma

On behalf of the shishyas of Srirangam Andavan Ashram, please accept our sincere appreciation for having published an article that concerns our issues. We are greatly indebted and express our gratitude to Dr. Subramanian Swamy, BJP leader and Member of Parliament for his patient hearing to our concerns[1].

It would not be out-of-context to mention an incident that happened in early 1980s. While blessing Dr Swamy, Tirukudanthai Andavan (1907-1989, 9th pontiff) predicted that Dr Swamy will emerge a great national leader & champion the cause of Dharma. We, the shishyas, believe strongly that it is this very blessing of Tirukkudanthai Andavan, that has come back in the form of Dr Swamy’s support, at this very crucial juncture.

We have noticed the rejoinder to the article published in the PGurus[2]. In this context we wish to reply to each point mentioned the rejoinder. We are listing out the reply in below paragraphs:

Andavan – is the only authority who governs the Ashram – religious or secular. To further the cause of propagating the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya and Sri Vishishtadvaita Siddhanta (as established by Sri Ramanuja) and to assist him in performing everyday rituals, Andavan, appoints a team of vedic scholars, under the leadership of the Sri Karyam (No 2 in the hierarchy).  To carry out the secular functions (maintenance of properties, management of the accounts etc.), a committee has been constituted. This committee, not having any vedic scholar as a member, has no authority to carry out any religious function.

The appointment of next Andavan is purely a religious activity.  Few days after the passing away of Andavan, an alleged will authored by Andavan surfaced. To everyone’s shock, Sri Karyam had no idea of its existence. This by itself negates the authenticity of the will. Why would Andavan not want his Sri Karyam involved in the most important religious activity of the Ashram – appointment of his successor!  Is it not correct to call them the “self – appointed committee” for execution of “the will”? Is it believable that the appointment of the next Acharya has been outsourced by Srimushnam Andavan, to a motley mix of businessmen, chartered accountants and retired bureaucrats?

The “will” is not yet available in public domain or has been shared with the vidwans. One of the well-wishers of the Ashram, provided a copy of the will written by Thirukudanthai Andavan. On perusal, following points emerge – the will – running into 5 pages – is hand written in Tamizh, has been registered (1434) on 13th July 1988, signed in all pages by Tirukkudanthai Andavan (in Devanagiri script) & Mysore Andavan and Sri U. Ve Rangachari – both religious scholars – signed as witnesses. The most interesting part – Andavan nominates a will – execution committee and Sri Karyam is the first member. Compare this to the 2018 “will”. According to a source, requesting anonymity – it is written in English, the witnesses are not religious scholars, does not have the Sri Karyam involved and no vidwan is even aware of it. Is it incorrect to call such a will bogus? Would Andavan ever have authored such a will?

A vedic scholar of the Ashram, on condition of anonymity, confided, “Ashram has properties in places including Srirangam, Tirupati, Kanchipuram, Kumbakonam, Tanjore, Oppiliappankovil, Tiruvahindrapuram, Neyveli, Nagapattinam, Madurai, Tiruppulani, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mysore, Bangalore, Mumbai, Rishikesh, Vrindavan, Badrinath, Trivandrum, New Delhi and New Jersey. It is only during the period of Tirukkudanthai Andavan that the properties of the mutt expanded and stands valued at more than Rs 800 crore today. Andavan has not delegated any power to the committee to buy / sell / lease or indulge in any right to deal with any property without the prior approval of his successor. In his reply to PGurus, the Chairman, NEC has wedded himself to the art of silence on this aspect. Does he leave it to the interpretation of the readers?”

It is a fact that the Srirangam Srimad Andavan Shishyas Sabha (SSASS) does not have any wealthy businessmen, lawyers, retired bureaucrats as members. We are decorated by many scholars of Vedas, Vedanta, Shastras, Puranas etc., We have been accused of being a small group challenging the high and mighty. After all, the Pandavas were just 5 in number and Sri Krishna made all the difference. Similarly, it is only with the blessings of Sri Ranganatha that we have been able to make this progress. The committee does not represent all the followers. Every follower comes to the mutt only to seek the blessings of the Andavan.

I state with all authority at my disposal, that two persons – Sri Narayanachariar and Sri Lakhsmanchariar – apparently mentioned in the will have refused to be initiated into Sanyasa and take over as the head of the Ashram. The third person has passed away. Will the committee now arrogate to itself the process of selecting the Andavan – just because it has the backing of some eminent persons? Or will the religious activities of the Ashram be given back to the team headed by the Sri Karyam?

In an absolutely unexpected but astutely shocking development, vide a letter dated 4th August 2018, the Chairman of the NEC, communicated to Sri U Ve Veeraragavachariar, that upon the passing away of the Andavan, he ceases to function as the Sri Karyam of the Ashram. This poses some relevant questions. Can a bunch of businessmen and retired bureaucrats sack the Sri Karyam in the absence of Andavan and “take over the mutt”? Who is in-charge of the religious activities of the Ashram in the absence of the Sri Karyam?

We would like to reiterate that we are not opposed to the committee members. Our simple prayer has always been that the Ashram must be headed by a religious scholar who belongs here. We have decided to gather ourselves – out of sheer devotion and affection – under the banner of SSAASS. We are very confident that with the blessings of Sri Ranganatha and support of Dr Subramanian Swamy (a champion of Dharmic causes), dharma will prevail and the glory of the Ashram will be restored shortly. It is time to “take back” the mutt from the vested interests that govern it now.

Let us never forget – “throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered the most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph”.

Dasan,

Sri U Ve Sowrirajan Iyengar**

Srirangam Srimad Andavan Ashram Shishyas Sabha (SSAASS)

** I was trained in Krishna Yajur Veda in Madhurantaka Vedic Patashala. Further, I hold the degrees of shiromani in Vyakaran, M.A in Sanskrit literature, Phd., in comparative study of Veda Bhashya. Under the auspices of Tirukkudanthai Andavan, have completed the Sri Bhashyam, Gita Bhashyam, Rahasyatrayasaram and Bhagavad Vishayam – Kalakshepam.

References:

[1] Srirangam Andavan Ashram – Are business interests taking over the religious institution? Jul 26, 2018, PGurus.com

[2] Srirangam Andavan Ashram replies to PGurus post, rejects allegationsJul 28, 2018, PGurus.com

Team PGurus

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