Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Dwarkapeeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopnand Saraswati, 99, who breathed his last at his ashram at Narsinghpur on Sunday never got along with Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on the issue of Ram Janm Bhoomi movement.
Rather, he continued to oppose VHP on the issue. Considered close to the Congress by the right wing organisations, Swami Swaroopnand Saraswati continued to raise his voice till his last breath against worship of Sai Baba of Shirdi and temples constructed in his name across the country.
Born in Seoni in Madhya Pradesh and named Pothiram Upadhyay in his childhood, the Shankracharya often stoked controversies too with his act or statements. However, he had taken part in the freedom struggle too and was jailed twice.
In February 2021, he was in Prayagraj where he said that not Ram Temple but Vishwa Hindu Parishad office would be constructed in Ayodhya.
He said, “The Temple is constructed by those who worship Lord Ram as the God, not those who consider Lord Ram as a big personality (Mahapurush)”.
While the legal battle was going on Ram Temple in Supreme Court Shankaracharya made an attempt to bring those sadhus and saints who were opposed to VHP and RSS on a common platform on the issue.
He had differences with VHP on the design of Ram Temple as well.
He often attacked the NDA government on de-pollution of the Ganges saying only creation of a department didn’t mean that Ganges had been cleaned.
Ahead of Lok Sabha polls in 2014, he had slapped a regional TV channel reporter at a temple in Jabalpur, when the latter asked him about the prospects of BJP leader Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister of the country.
In fact, he had warned the reporter not to ask any political questions. But when the reporter asked the question he invited the wrath of Shankaracharya. The reporter, however, refrained from lodging any complaint with the police.
CM pays last respect to Swami Swaroopanand
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited Paramhansi Ganga Ashram Jhoteshwar in Narsinghpur district and paid his last respects to Shankaracharya of Dwarka Shardapeeth Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati who passed away on Sunday.
Chouhan said, “Swami ji was the flag bearer of Sanatan dharma and the nurturer of our culture and values, besides being a warrior and ascetic. He also fought for the freedom of the country.”
He added, “Shankaracharya inspired the people to walk on the right path and initiated many projects for the poor, tribals and dalits. He was an outstanding scholar and a remarkable saint.”
CM said, “Swami ji was the Sun of Sanatan Dharma. With his departure a vaccum has been created in the state.”
He instructed officers of the district administration to perform the last rites of Shankaracharya with full state honours.
“We will all make humble efforts to follow the path shown by Swamiji”, said Chouhan. Many public representatives, officials, citizens and devotees were present on the arrival of the chief minister.