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January 27, 2000
Puri shankaracharya goes on the offensive
Bibhuti Mishra in Bhubaneswar
Swami Adhokshyananda Maharaj, who left Puri following judicial orders last week, has succeeded in rattling the Shankaracharya of Puri, Swami Nischalananda Saraswati.
"He should be arrested or at least packed off to a loony bin," thundered the Shankaracharya referring to Swami Adhokshyananda who since 1995 has been challenging his right to be the Shankaracharya.
The swami had come twice to Puri -- once in 1997 and the second time last week -- to claim the seat of Shankaracharya, dubbing Swami Nischalananda as just a manager. Both times he returned only after the police intervened.
The Shankaracharya has now felt the need to reauthenticate his claim by showing video cassettes of his coronation on February 9, 1992 by his predecessor, Swami Niranjan Debteertah.
He does not buy Swami Adhokshyananda's argument that the Shankaracharya has no right to select his successor, that it is only the all-India 'Vidwan mandali' that is empowered to do so.
The Shankaracharya called Swami Adhokshyananda an "impostor" who is a product of the Sonia Gandhi-Chandra Swamy nexus. He came down heavily on the Congress for "hatching a conspiracy against apex Hindu religious institution."
"[Former finance minister and Congress leader] Manmohan Singh had also introduced a fake Shankaracharya. I am targeted because the Gobardhan peetha of Puri is the most important of the four peethas and the Puri Shankaracharya is so preeminent that he is also the Shankaracharya of the entire Nepal,' said Swami Neeschalandaji.
He said it was a pity that while Hindu institutions in India and abroad have recognised him, politicians who roll red carpet to popes machinate against him with the help of "impostors like Adhoksyananda."
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