'Attack on Amritanandamayi Math is an Attack on all Hindu Religious Institutions'
The barrage of vicious propaganda unleashed by a section of the visual and print media in Kerala against the Amritanandamayi Math is obviously motivated to bring down the high respect and reputation with which millions of people across the world hold that spiritually-oriented service organisation.
There is a method in this madness. Any flimsy excuse is good enough for them to slander the Math and the highly revered Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. The unfortunate Sathnam Singh incident, which took place in a mental hospital where two inmates physically clashed leading to the death of Sathnam Singh was construed so as to blame the Math and then start a hate campaign. It miserably failed, but hostile forces have a systematic design to spread canard against the Math.
Recently they have caught hold of a book published by a long-time back inmate of the Math full of lies, utter lies and absolutely no truth, to once again unleash the campaign of hatred. Freedom of expression cannot be interpreted as freedom to spread lies which hurt religious sentiments of large sections of people.
In fact the motive is not simply against Amritanandamayi Math. The Math is chosen as a target because Amma and the Math have become the most visible symbol of spirituality and service cutting across caste, creed, continents and religions. Of late, all the Hindu spiritual institutions are spreading all over the world exerting tremendous influence over earnest and right thinking people. Fundamentalists and fanatics sense a threat to their narrow vested interests in this development of Hindu universalism.
The recently published ‘The Hinduism - An Alternative History’ by Wendy Doniger, is much debated and wisely withdrawn by the publisher, Penguin, is a case in point. In the name of scholarship, such slanderous writings are sought to be defended by a section of so called intellectuals, but their selective crusades is confined only to Hindu religious and spiritual leaders.
It must be remembered that even a monk like Swami Vivekananda had to suffer ostracism and persecution during his tour in America and Europe. The mindset has not changed even after a century.
This is a challenge that has to be met by the entire spectrum of Hindu religious and cultural organisation, taking cooperation of all liberal minded people irrespective of race or religion.
(The author is the director of Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram)