He defies tradition, talks like a social reformer and challenges the edifice of ‘popular beliefs’ in the name of religion. He avoids issues related to politics but talks of nation, religion, caste, existing misconceptions ailing Hindu religion and emphasises upon the fact that Sreemad Bhagwat Geeta (Geeta) provides answer to every problem. His commentary on Geeta, known as ‘Yatharth Geeta’, is considered to be a path-breaking explanation on the most famous book of the Sanatan dharma, and it puts him, Paramhans Swami Adgadanand, in the league of ancient sages. Swami ji dedicates his work to humanity across the world and says if the teachings of Geeta are propagated honestly it will make our nation once again Dharmaguru of the world.
Swamiji, who mostly lives in his ashram in Shaktishgad in district Mirzapur, UP, was recently in his Faridabad ashram, talked exclusively to www.goindianews.com.
Several saints and philosophers in the past, since 5200 years of Mahabharata – the date he considered in the past when Lord Krishna gave this knowledge of Geeta to Arjun, have commented but several facts remained unexplained. Thus, there has been a need of an eternal analysis. Why? Because over ten-thousand commentaries have been written and lakhs of speakers have preached but they failed to answer a few questions for the guidance of society and common people when religion, karma, varna, varnashankar, yagya etc dogged their mind.
He says this eternal knowledge was actually given to Vaivaswat Manu by Surya (sun god) but it faded, and Lord Krishna once again expressed it in the form of Geeta to the world.
Swami Adgadanand Ji Maharaj, who is said to have attained the supreme knowledge of dharma with the grace of his Guru Paramanand Ji, says the preachers could not explain the real meaning of Geeta because they needed to attain the same state of mind and status of that period when Lord Krishna explained it to Arjuna, to speak the ‘supreme truth’. He says with the aashirvad of his guru, he realised that status and the ‘Yathartha Geeta’ came out in its present form.
He emphasises upon the fact that if India as nation has to become strong and united it has to understand true meaning of dharma and follow the path of dharma to become leader (dharmaguru) of the world and it would come through Geeta only.
Ram Mandir at Ayodhya & national unity
When asked about his views of the popular perception that the Ram Mandir movement has contributed in the greater unity of the Hindus and its construction will further strengthen society. Swamiji refuses to agree with the perception and termed it to be a political question.
He, however, explained that when Ram went with Vishwamitra, he never stayed in any temple nor were there any temple in different ashramsas he visited so how could it be believed that construction of Ram Mandir will strengthen Hindu religion or the country? He feels that unless people are made to understand the truth beyond Mandir the country will not be united or become strong.
Rather, he says, the temples have divided the Hindu religion. Because, majority of population have been deprived to visit temples in the Brahmanical system where positions on top were monopolised by Brahmins, who became contractors of religion and the most of the religious places were deliberately kept away from majority of masses.
Swamiji nonchalantly emphasises upon the fact that why only the construction of Ram temple, if it has to be done then let us not forget the fact over 300 temples were erased in the past, therefore, all should be constructed. He, however, avoiding any political statement says only the understanding of religion and karma through Geeta can contribute in the nation building.
Elaborating further, Swamiji, as a social reformer, says the very vitals of Hindu religion have been weakened by the temples and the Brahmanical system. He explained that most sacred position of sitting in the sanctum sanctorum was occupied by Brahmins and people of other castes though became Maladhari, Kanthidhari sadhus (other segments of saints) but Janyudhari remained the supreme, thus the rigidity in the name of religion has hurt the Hinduism the most.
Citing story of a village in Ghazipur district, Uttar Pradesh, he says the people belonging to the same family became Muslims and the rest remained Hindus because in the past from a common well, a troupe of Muslims took water while passing through the village, and then villagers, as usual practice, withdrew water. When Brahmins came to know that Muslims took water from the well, they decreed that the people who afterwards withdrew water would also become Muslims. He explains that unless we do away with such rigidity from our society, the nation cannot be strengthened.
When his attention is drawn to restriction on women’s entry into temples, Swamiji once again hits back at the prevalent system. He mockingly says that we need ‘reservations’ in the temples where 80% quota should be given to dalits and other castes if we want to solve such problems. He says this step would certainly make the ‘Brahmins’ understand the real truth the religion preaches.
He sums up that greater awareness among masses can be done through youth and the new generation, which has to understand the eternal truth of religion and karma and that would come only through the knowledge of Geeta. And herein the Yathartha Geeta can play a crucial role.
(In conversation with Arun Chaubey &Satya Prakash Pandey)