[Advaita-l] Dwarka seer refuses to part with staff (fwd)
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Nov 8 11:06:42 CST 2005
[Note: I was debating whether this should be posted. Although I don't
want to spark more political discussions, I decided that the community
particularly those of us overseas, needs to know what kind of
frighteningly arbitrary violations of civil rights are going on in todays
India. (the government didn't think the danda was a security problem.
Neither did the airline. _One_power-mad_pilot_ only decided to take the
law into his own hands.)
I am coming to India at the end of this month and I was going to fly IA
from Mumbai to Bangalore but I've rebooked my ticket with Jet Airways.
When I canceled, I informed the airline why they have lost my business and
that it will take a formal apology to Swami Avimukteshvaranand and a
comittment to rein in their rogue staff in order to get it back. -- Jaldhar]
Mumbai, Oct. 19: Swami Avimukteshwarananda Saraswati, the successor
to Swami Swarupananda, the Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth, was made
to disembark from an Indian Airlines flight for carrying his holy
dand, a thin bamboo stick which is a symbol of their spiritual
designation, inside the aircraft cabin.
The swami was in Mumbai to attend the Hindu Sabha Acharya Sabha, a
first of its kind organisation which held a two-day conference at
Sanyas Ashram, Vile Parle. Despite repeated attempts to contact
Indian Airlines, no airline official was available for comment.
Speaking to this newspaper, Swami Avimukteshwarananda Saraswati
said, "Our work takes us on flights often. I have travelled on an
aircraft over 225 times till date but never have I had such an
experience." He added that it was the pilot of Indian Airlines
flight IC-147 who objected to him carrying the five-foot, eight-inch
long stick on board the aircraft.
According to the swami, he had been cleared in the security check
stage and it was only after he occupied his seat that Indian
Airlines staff came and requested him to keep the dand in the cargo
compartment. He refused to part with the dand, saying it is always
kept with his person, is a symbol of his mutt, and that keeping it
away from his person would be sacrilegious.
"The behaviour of the pilot of the flight, which had over 50 per
cent foreigners, made me feel like I am indeed a terrorist and I
just wondered what the foreigners would be thinking of Hindu
saints," the swami said. He said he got off the plane because he
feared an incident could be created by Hindus on board the plane.
Swami Avimukteshwarananda Saraswati met senior Indian Airlines
officials who apologised to him verbally, but refused to issue a
written apology or refund the ticket. He had to wait at the airport
for three hours before returning to Sanyas Ashram at Vile Parle,
Mumbai. "They just want me to forget the incident as a one-off
incident and did not assure me of anything. Tomorrow, any saintly
person of the Hindu dharma could face such treatment," he said.
Swami Vishveshwar Anand, the mahamandaleshwar of Sanyas Ashram,
said, "The dand is so small that it cannot injure anyone. On
Tuesday, we had discussed such issues of ill-treatment of Hindus at
bhava Sankara deSika me saraNam
sadASiva samArambham SankaracArya madhymam
asmadAcArya paryantam vande guru paramparam
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