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Prof. Narendra Nayak interviews Raghavendra Thirtha

Prof. Narendra Nayak interviews Raghavendra Thirtha

Mangalore Today News Network

Mangaluru, October 16, 2017: After of being on the run for several years Raghavendra Thirtha finally came out into the open few months back after gaining bail in the multitudes of court cases that are trailing him. The estranged former disciple of Swami Sudhindra Thirtha, the late Matadhipathi of Kashi Math Samsthan had gone out of bounds after failing to comply with court directives to surrender religious paraphernalia belonging to Kashi Math. Subsequently the courts had tasked the CBI to track him and recover the sacred objects.

Ragavendra thirtha interview

On March 6th this year, police had detained him near Kurnool on the Karnataka-Andhra border after identifying him from a CBI lookout notice. In an earlier instance Raghavendra Thirtha, whose birth name is Shivanand Pai, had been arrested on October 30th, 2011 at Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. Many of the items including the holy idol of Vyasa Raghupathi had been recovered from him at that time.

Ragavendra thirtha interview

Raghavendra Thirtha is supported by a minuscule group of followers who are being subjected to an unofficial social boycott by the larger GSB community.  In the course of this dispute Raghavendra Thirtha has often projected himself as a victim of manipulation by a hidden coterie among the Kashi Math followers.

Kashi Math presently identifies Sudhindra Thirtha’s second disciple Samyamindra Thirtha as his successor and the Math’s 21st Matadhipathi. The senior pontiff had also earlier formally disowned Raghavendra Thirtha.

With the shadow of Vinayak Baliga murder looming over this 20-year old conflict concerning Kashi Math, rationalist leader Prof. Narendra Nayak decided to interview Raghavendra Thirtha during his recent trip to Kochi on Sunday, 15th October 2017. Prof. Nayak, who is a staunch atheist, has been reluctant to engage in dialogue with religious leaders as it calls for unequal posturing before the religious heads. After launching a citizens’ campaign ‘Justice for Vinayak Baliga’, he had been actively pursuing the Kashi Math dispute as part of his investigation to understand the circumstances that led to Vinayak Baliga murder.

For the purpose of conducting this interview, Prof. Narendra Nayak had laid down stiff conditions. “I had made it clear that I would not prostrate or touch his feet or pay tribute of any kind and also will not accept an unequal seating arrangement such as him sitting on a throne and me on an ordinary chair. He agreed to my terms and we proceeded with the interview squatting on the floor, on low wooden stools. After the interview they offered me a shawl which also I refused,” said Prof. Narendra Nayak.

Ragavendra thirtha interview

Explaining his motive to seek the interview Prof. Narendra Nayak said he would not have normally bothered with religious institutions but the Vinayak Baliga murder had forced him to examine the functioning of the activities which might have directly or indirectly instigated the crime. “I was also outraged by the way in which followers of Raghavendra Thirtha had been dehumanized in the process of this conflict with social boycott and isolation. Hence I was curious to get his side of the story and whether he and his followers deserved such a raw deal from the mainstream GSB community.”

The interview which took place in a scene reminiscent of Nakkeeran Gopal’s famous interviews with Veerapan to secure the release of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar gives the viewer a glimpse of the words and conduct of the man known to the world as Raghavendra Thirtha.

We are uploading a video of his interview (which was conducted in Konkani language) for readers to view and decide on the merits of its contents. It is hoped that this will provide clues to people on both sides of the divide to find an early resolution to this conflict which has painfully torn the GSB community apart for over two decades.

Watch video: 


These Questions and some more have been recorded in this video.

1. How did your fallout with Sudhindra Thirtha come about? What was the initial trigger?

2. Is there anything you regret which you did or did not do, which could have averted escalation of the acrimony?

3. Why did you not engage in discussion with Sudhindra Thirtha directly to bring an end to your differences?

4. What do you say to allegations of immoral conduct on your part which would render you unsuitable to continue in your position?

5. Why did you defy court order and not surrender the religious items which were in your custody?

6. Doesn’t your fight contradict your position as a swami who should have no worldly attachments and no expression of ego?

7. Why did you abscond for so many years? Where were you hiding?

8. What sort of solution would you look forward to for a happy ending for all parties?

9. The community has experienced enough traumas on both sides. Would you be agreeable to a negotiated compromise solution? What would be your conditions?

10. According to Guru-Shishya system which rules swami tradition you should have blindly obeyed your guru. Have you not violated this tradition by revolting against your Guru?

11. If majority of the community do not want you, why should you force yourself upon them?

12. You first abdicated your position then recanted it. So what moral authority do you have after this flip flop. Your supporters’ argument is that Guru’s adoption of you as Shishya is irreversible. Doesn’t that principle apply to your decision to abdicate too?

13. Do you think Guru Math system is relevant today? It is associated with vulgar amounts of contribution of cash, gold, building assets and wealth, which in turn leads to corruption by coterie which controls this wealth. Don’t you think return to simplicity is important if the institution has to retain credibility?

14. Do you think the larger community will ever accept you again?

15. Since it’s unlikely that this fight will continue beyond your lifetime, the other side can solve the problem by simply not responding to you for long enough. How will you respond to such a strategy?

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Comments on this Article
Haridas Pai, Bangalore Mon, October-23-2017, 4:08
The last thing that the "endangered" community needed is this dirty mud sling at the pinnacle of guidance. It’s time this community gets out of "God-temple-gold-jevan-theru" mindset and think about practical ways to help the community thrive, holistically! Today, the only "source of collaboration" is "temple" the worthless "medium of communication" called "gossip". Mindless old wretches immoral businessmen - being labeled as Samaj leaders- has historically hurt the community
Narendra Nayak, Mangalore Sun, October-22-2017, 11:40
Umesh, thank you very much for appreciating the needs of the youngsters of the GSB community. But, the candidates you have named are not amchigele! I would like to suggest the name of a really spiritually inclined amchigele Malmam who unfortunately is in England as of now so that we speak the language intelligible to all.. Though I was there in August it did not strike me that I should have done that. I do hope that you will kindly arrange a first class return tickcet to London and 2000GBP for the stay fro you know which math which is keen to spread spiritual enlightenment!
D. Balakrishna Pai, Kochi Sat, October-21-2017, 1:45
Thanks Narendra Nayakmam for the interview. In spite of several provocative questions, Swamiji’s answers were straight forward and to the point. He was seen by and large calm and smiling through the interview. His words were parliamentary and pleasing. In the past there had been instances when his predecessor was seen losing temper and using bitter and vulgar words (than calling dog) and with very bad body language.
Gurudas H. Mallan, Cherthala Fri, October-20-2017, 1:54
I am one among the witnesses to the Bangalore incident narrated by Sree Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji as answer to the third question..... Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji reached Malleswaram Kashi Mutt with Holy Deities @ about 8 pm...., To meet Sudheendra Teertha Swamiji...., But Sudheendra Teertha Swamiji denied permission to Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji to meet him.... Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji waited till 3 AM in the early morning there...., But Sudheedra Teertha Swamiji didn’t permitted Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji to meet him.... Thereafter Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji left to Gokarna Mutt and after Morning Pooja reached Malleswar Kashi Mutt..., But the response on the part of Sudheedra Teertha Swamiji, as reported by their hinchmen, was tooo tooo disappointing...., That " Guru is not at all interested to meet his Shishya...." The only request on the part of Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji was these much..., "We would be given an opportunity to talk to Our Guru without intervention of third persons...." But even that request was not at all considered by Sudheendra Teertha Swamiji...., Rather Raghavendra Teertha Swamiji was not at all given an opportunity even to make pranaams to his Guru at his feet.....
umesh, hubli Fri, October-20-2017, 4:46
Narendra Nayak, Mangalore Thu, October-19-2017, 2:48
Namdev Kamath- Vinayak Baliga’s family has moved the court that further investigations have to be conducted into his murder because they suspect that the math dispute may be the cause of his murder. Anybody,why 90% all 100% of GSBs can bring him back to life? The same has been also mentioned by Raghavendra in his interview. I entered the picture only because I want justice for the murdered activist.
Ravi Pai, Manipal, Udupi Dist Wed, October-18-2017, 10:57
Dear Mohit, Rightly said - rotating and all that. His body language and the way he behaves, pathetic. My friends were asking what is that he was rotating continuously.
Namdev kamath, mangalore Wed, October-18-2017, 11:13
Samyamendra Swamy is now the Peetadipathi and let him continue as he is accepted by a vast section of GSB’s say more than 90% and also Sudhindra Thirtha wanted it let us respect his wish and close the matter
Namdev Kamath, Mangalore Wed, October-18-2017, 10:15
Brilliant interview and the word dog he mentioned is only an analogy and where did he Get angry as said by some one in comparison Sayameendra Thirtha is more angry haven’t u seen Musundu Tirpunu Kopista shi ulaitha that is what many say and also the coterie is now going on saying that the Mutt needs funds to fight cases and collecting money and also Pada Pooja is now costing Rs 5000 rs where is all the money going No one know if somebody asks there is a standard reply Tu kitle dhilla and fear is instilled in common people saying nobody should speak against mutt and God
Narendra Nayak, Mangalore Wed, October-18-2017, 4:41
Mohit Shenoy- I was showing as much respect to him as he was showing me. He is neither my Guru nor I am his Shishya. You may think of a swami as a being descended from heaven but for me he is a human being like any one else.I have spoken to him as I would speak to any other human being who speaks Konkani. I have made it clear to him before the interview itself. I know quite a few swamis of maths far bigger than this and I have been speaking to them the same way.
Mallya M Premkumar, Hubli Tue, October-17-2017, 8:41
In the ultimate analysis, it is a matter of acceptance of Guru (Preceptor). Out of the 4 Mattas, each Matta was formed out of separate ideology. If followers of the present Raghavendra Theertha Swamiji have a reason to follow him, let them effectively remain as a 5th Matta. After all differences are sorted out over a long period of time, the freedom to again unite te mattas will always remain open. If a community can accept 4 Mattas, What is wrong, if there be a 5th Matta? This should put an end to all tug of war.
Abhijith kudva, Moodabidri Tue, October-17-2017, 7:08
The way HHRTS speaking is not correct, smiling and laughing is odd and ugly and anger shouldn’t be there for a swami. He just lost one supporter by this interview. These many years we thought he was very nice,and heard speech by Bhamy Sudhakar Shenoymaam saying HRTS was cheated, now i feel Bhamy maam just lied and Srimad SudhindraThirtha swamiji did good by removing this person from kashi mutt. My father said correct he said HRTS was cheat and fraud, but i doubted my dad now after this video HRTS is not good person
Mohit shenoy, Karkala, Bangalore Tue, October-17-2017, 5:05
Many of my friends had convinced me saying HRTS was Noble and unjustifiable removal had happened against him. I thought the same way and I had believed them. But after seeing this interview video I am doubtful and I am in disbelief how can a swami say dog etc with such anger, some things are not to be done by swami, and the way he was acting rotating, laughing akwardly and speaking was very indecent in corporate world and Narendra Nayak is showing no respect, why Nayakmaam? U are atheist ok but speak with respect with another human being.
Venugopal Kamath, Mangalore Tue, October-17-2017, 4:03
Narendra Nayakmam has interviewed the right person who had atleast allowed to conduct interview. The task will be appreciated to have an interview with the other person also who is a care taker. Nayakmam can be a mediator to resolve the issues. Just doing the interviews and inviting comments at this stage without a resolution will weaken your task. Your interferences could bring out most ridiculous things into light, which a common man could understand. Good work ; be a solicitor.
Karthik Bhat, Mangalore Tue, October-17-2017, 4:02
Narendra Nayak maam done a marvelous job......
Vivek Bhat, Mangalore Tue, October-17-2017, 3:59
You did right thing by meeting HHRTS made clarifications on all the importanat issue, because there is direct link of Kashimutt under Samyameeendra with vinayaka baliga murder case. I appreciate your efforts for thoughtfully designing above 15 questions.
Narendra, Mangalore Tue, October-17-2017, 1:03
Thanks for the compliment Dinkar Kamath. Since I do not waste time waiting for jevan at temples and padpujas of math heads thought will spend some time on this. Anyway, I had been to Ernakulam for a meet- I am Gauri and thought will interview this man during my free time if he is willing to meet my pre conditions. The questions were not supplied to him before hand. I am ready to interview the present care taker too if he is willing to abide my terms and conditions.
Dinker Kamath, Mangaluru Mon, October-16-2017, 9:05
Congratulations! Time Well Wasted!
Athrinanda Bhat, Bantwal Mon, October-16-2017, 1:31
Well clarified by Swamiji. Of course one who wear yellow spects they may be opposing and also don’t agree but No one can deny with single proof. Truth is always to be accepted. Neutral persons must view this. .
G D Bhat, Mangalore Mon, October-16-2017, 8:58
Jai Hoooooo
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