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Tahir MahoodINTERVIEW: Swami Shri Aadhog Shajananda 
‘VHP and RSS are biggest hurdle in the Ayodhya deadlock’ 

One of the four seers of the Sanatan Hindu Dhrama, Jagad Guru Shankaracharya of Gowardhan Puri, Swami Shri Aadhog Shajananda Tirthji Maharaj, has been actively involved in negotiations for a peaceful solution of Ayodhya impasse. He is the only seer who has been interacting with Muslim ulama for a long time. He blames VHP and RSS for the deadlock on Ayodhya. Unlike the hardliners, the Swami approach has always been soft and secular. His candid and frank views on various issues have made him popular beyond Hindus too. He spoke to Andalib Akhter on the current Ayodhya crisis and the pogrom in Gujarat. Excerpts:

How do you see the current Ayodhya tangle?
The issue of Ram temple is more religious than political. It can only be solved through negotiations between the genuine religious leaders of Hindus and Muslims. We respect the courts, but if this issue is resolved in the religious court with mutual understanding of the two community it would be far better. But unfortunately today some people are trying to present themselves by force as the leaders of Hindus. They are maligning Hinduism which gives the message of unity, peace and harmony all over the world.

Kanchi Shankracharya has taken the initiative of negotiations between the two communities?
It is not a negotiation but a game of Vajpayee government. Time and again a date is announced for the construction of Ram temple and the BJP government has covertly and overtly supported it and now various methods are being applied to pressurise the Shankaracharyas. Solving the issue or creating communal harmony is not on the agenda of the government. It is working only on one agenda and that is: to facilitate the mission of VHP and RSS at any cost. And for this purpose it is trying to pressurise the Kanchi Shankarcharya so that it could get the approval of shankaracharya for the agenda of RSS, VHP and the like. We are religious people. We are not slaves of politicians. We should go by our religious system and not by their dictates. We should not tolerate any interference in religious matters. 

You too had taken initiative to break the deadlock. considering the present situation.
I had been actively involved in negotiations with sadhus, saints and Muslim ulama for an amicable and peaceful solution to the Ayodhya tangle. To weaken this effort, the VHP, RSS and now the government itself have been employing various means. They are trying to marginalise my efforts. Now the government is even pressurising a few sadhus and ulama to toe its line. I appeal to both the sadhus and ulama not to respond to the pressure of the government. They are bound to uphold their religious duty and maintain the sanctity of their status. Let the government do politics. They should not sway with them. 

How much you have succeeded in your mission?
Our negotiations with Muslim leaders were moving in a positive direction. We were hopeful of a solution. The only condition was that- the organisations which are a blot on Hinduism and have maligned the name of Hindus should be kept away from the issue. They are obstacles in the way of a solution. They have not only defamed the name of Ram but also incited violence and have done vote politics in the name of religion. We also did negotiations with earlier prime ministers and governments and they agreed not to interfere in the matter and hoped that Hindus and Muslims themselves will solve the matter amicably. If the government keeps itself away from 'religious thekedari' we Shankaracharyas and Muslim religious leaders will come out with the solution within eight hours. 

The efforts are on to handover some disputed land to VHP in Ayodhya. How do you see this move? 
By helping these marauders and terrorists the government is trying to fulfill the plan of these thekedars of Hindus. If Vajpayee wants, he can give land to VHP but he must know that Hindu Dharma is not a slave of one person. The people of the whole country are not slaves of the desires of one individual. I am a Hindu and declare that even if the government decides in this direction I and my followers, in the larger interest of humanity and communal harmony, will not allow anything which disturbs the communal harmony. We will not tolerate any such activity in Ayodhya. 

But they have collected huge amounts for the construction of temple.
Yes I know a huge amount has been collected form Hindus across the world in the name of Ram temple. Now they should give the account of the donations and keep themselves away from this project. 

What is your solution to the Mandir- Masjid issue?
We are Jagad Guru. We respect the sentiment of the whole world and we take decision in such a way that a social fabric is not disintegrated. I cannot issue a Farman unilaterally. I will work in such a way that all parties to the issue are satisfied. I also want a temple there - and I told my Muslim friends that there should be a grand temple at Ayodhya. But I also say that the temple would not be constructed by the hands of miscreants and enemies of humanity. And we will not construct the temple at a place from where there will be politics on dead bodies. We will abide by a consensus, that will emerge from the negotiation between Hindus and Muslims.

What about the court decision?
The constitution is above all and everyone has to respect it. Those who do not abide by law are criminals. And they can never be religious. Both parties should be ready to abide be the decision of the court. But if the religious leaders of both the communities reach an amicable solution, I am sure the court will respect their feelings. I always say the militants Hindus are obstacles in the way of a peaceful solution of the Ayodhya issue.

What is your reaction to the Gujarat pogrom?
For few days I have been watching the government using various overt and covert means to satisfy the killers of Gujarat. 'Yeh sarakar insanon ki lashoon par khelne waalon ka saath de rahi hai' Instead of arresting and punishing those who burnt human beings the government is trying to promote them and honour their agenda. VHP, RSS and their leaders are murderers and they are culprits for disturbing the secular system of India. 

What about Vajpayee’s role in the pogrom?
Vajpayee helps the murderers. In Gujarat he is siding with killers. What he has done where police has sided with rioters. Innocents are being killed and burnt alive. What has he done for them? One who helps murderers is not a genuine ruler. In Hindu Dharma the ruler who cannot see the pain of his people has no right to rule.
Ram resides in every heart. There is need to save humanity. Our Sanatan Hindu Dharma says that the whole world is the family of Vasudeva, God. Our religion never teaches killing of innocents. They are terrorising people and this government is trying to legalise their misdeeds by promoting them and offering them legitimacy and making them guardians of the Hindu dharma.

From recent statements of 
Swami Shri Aadhog Shajanandaji:

» Godhara incident is highly condemnable Subsequent mob attacks all over Gujarat are state terrorism.
» Provocative actions of VHP in the pious name of tolerance-oriented Hindu religion is the root cause of the troubles.
» VHP should be banned, like SIMI.
» Vedic philosophy is being maligned by the misdeeds of VHP as VHP office-bearers don't know real Dharama.
» RSS threw the fake solution of Ayodhya tangle so that media attention may get deflected from their misdeeds in Gujarat.
» When VHP leaders openly say they would not obey apex court, would not adhere to the law of the land, as per Constitution, why the PM is inviting them although he has taken oath to uphold the Constitution of India in every situation. Why he is breaking his oath? 
» Acharya Giriraj Kishore's statement, that every district of India would be made Ayodhya if they are prevented from performing Shilapujan on 15th March, is enough to arrest him. 


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