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Hindu groups demonstrated on a biting winter day and said the Kanchi seer's detention was part of a larger plan to destroy Hinduism. PRAKASH M SWAMY reports

What does it mean to be a Hindu in India?
Unease grows in the hearts of common Indians as they watch a revered saint being arrested and humiliated, writes SOUMYA SITARAMAN

When they heard news of the Kanchi seer's arrest, many outraged Indians in the US frantically called home. NRIs have also been organising prayers meetings to support an acharya they hold in high esteem. A round-up by PRAKASH M SWAMY


A What is India transcript of a press advertisement issued by the Manager, Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, on 7 December 2004

“Nobody is above the law of our country. Let truth prevail,
and the guilty be punished”

- His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam

This has been the advice of the Acharya to His devotees, admirers and followers from that fateful day in Mehboobnagar.  His Holiness and Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam fully subscribe to this view.  They have been co-operating with the authorities, to the fullest, in whatever manner they can.  They are keen that the investigation and trial are fair and justice is rendered fast.

There are several questions that have arisen in people’s minds because of the extra-ordinary media attention on the current situation.  We realize that a dignified silence is not adequate in this hour of crisis, when the reputation of the individual and the dignity of the institution are under malicious attack.  Therefore, we have decided to break this vow of silence to answer those very same questions that are haunting people and causing sleepless nights for millions of devotees.

1. What is the truth about the real wealth of the Kanchi Mutt?  Is it 15,000 crores, 10,000 crores or 5,000 crores?

Various TV Channels, and Newspapers have reported that Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is worth Rs.14,000 crores, Rs.10,000 crores, Rs.1,000 crores and so on.  We too wish they were true, but the reality is different.  The Mutt essentially comprises of itself, its branches and a few Trusts which are directly controlled by it.  Most of the other Trusts are independently run and funds, activity and investments are managed by them.  The Mutt has no say in these Trusts and their accounts are not consolidated with the Mutt.  The Mutt does not have any access to their funds and cannot draw anything from their resources.

The landed estates of the Mutt have been gifted to it over several generations by Royalty and Devotees and the several endowments created by them for specific purposes continue to remain.  If the loan taken by Kanchi Kamakoti Sankara Hospital (Rs.64.98 crores) is taken into account, the residual cash, bank balances and investments of the Mutt are too meager even to warrant a mention.  The Mutt runs with Kanikkai (contributions) from the devotees and the accounts are professionally audited and the returns filed with Income Tax Department and estate accounts filed regularly with HRCE Department of the Tamil Nadu Government.

2.Why are people making allegations about misconduct by His Holiness?

A writer, Ms. Anuradha Ramanan has claimed that she was victimized by the Seer.  Frankly, we are shocked and disgusted by such slander.  Why would some one, that too a prolific writer with the power of the pen, who claims to have been victimized in 1992, come out with the allegation now?  Why was she silent for 12 long years?  Who is behind her disclosure now?  Why did she preside over the function at the Kanchi Kamakoti CHILDS Trust Hospital on 01.08.2003, if she had such ill feeling towards the Acharya and the Mutt?  We ourselves would like answers to these questions.

In another instance, the police claimed that a ‘deserted woman’ Usha staying at Srirangam used to converse with His Holiness regularly and that she was provided with free quarters to stay.  Substantial sums of money had been transferred to her through bank.  Smt. Usha a cancer patient who has undergone 130 chemotherapy sessions, appeared before the police on 30.11.2004 on her own volition and submitted all bank accounts and medical records.  Dinamalar dated 02.12.2004 reports that she was interrogated and after receiving her explanations she was released.  Smt. Usha is not the only cancer patient who has received such help.  The Sri Matha Trust run under the auspices of the Mutt provides free accommodation, and food not only to the patients seeking admission to Cancer Institute Adyar, but also to their close relatives/attendants.

3. Media has been publishing and telecasting news that the Swamiji has confessed.  What is the truth?

“His Holiness says this is totally untrue” On 29.11.2004 the prosecution claimed that His Holiness has confessed and they have it on videotape.  The claim of confession of His Holiness, as stated in the High Court, is only the statement of the senior counsel, on instruction during the proceedings and is, significantly not found in the counter affidavit filed by the government in the High Court.  Smt. Sushma Swaraj, MP, the three Supreme Court advocates and the manager of the Mutt, who met the Swamiji in Vellore prison on different dates have confirmed that the Swamiji denied having made any confession.

Remember that two people who were part of the ‘clinching evidence’ of the prosecution retracted their statements in the open court.  They clearly declared that it was under extreme physical torture and abuse that they had implicated His Holiness in the case.  The attempt now seems to be, to convict him in the media.

4. What is the Mutt’s answer regarding the allegation on Cellphones usage?

Police claimed that they have a pattern series of telephone calls between the Swamiji and the henchmen and his associates on the day prior to the murder and after the murder.  It was later modified and represented by the police in the court that the cell phone did not belong to the Swamiji but it was the manager of the Mutt who owned the cell phone.

The Mutt further confirmed that the cell phone referred to did not belong to the manager.  The police then claimed that this is not the stage that further details can be disclosed in the matter.

5. What about huge cash withdrawals from the bank accounts of the Mutt? Where did the money go?

The prosecution charged that huge cash withdrawals were made from the Mutt’s bank accounts to pay the ransom to the alleged killers of Sankara Raman.  From ICICI Bank to Indian Bank to ICICI Bank Account of an Individual, prosecution has been shifting stance.  THE TRUTH IS, THERE WAS NO WITHDRAWAL AS ALLEGED.

Here is the summary of the bank accounts of the Mutt for the period April 2004 to September 2004.


Sr. No.


Cheque No.













Jankalyan Trust

Redeposited Next Day















Expenses & Vidwat

Sambhavana for 70th Jayanthi





Expenses & Vidwat Sambhavana for 70th Jayanthi










Advaitha Sabha Suspense A/c Returned (Cash against cheque)






NOTE : Out of the total amount of Rs.6,00,000/- withdrawn on 20.07.2004 & 29.07.2004, a sum of Rs.5,99,107/- was paid as SAMBHAVANA TO VEDIC PUNDITS GODHANAM & OTHER EXPENSES ON THE OCCASION OF BHIMARATHA SHANTI (70TH BIRTHDAY).  The balance of Rs.893/- was redeposited into the account.

In addition to the above account, five trust accounts are operated by the Srikaryam & the Manager of the Mutt as Authorised Signatories.  There are no cash withdrawals from the five trust accounts from 1st April 2004 till 30th September 2004.

6. There is a charge that Gold collected for the Kamakshi Amman temple was misappropriated.  The entire quantity collected was not used.  Where has the balance gold gone?

The charge by Sankara Raman that 100 kgs of gold were imported to make a gold chariot for Kanchi Kamakshi deity and only 35 kgs were used while the remaining went missing, was re-iterated by the police in the High Court for probe.

Here are the facts.

Sri Adi Sankarar Swarna Vimana Trust with registered office at VHS Campus, Chennai 600 113 was entrusted with the Gold cladding work of Sri Adi Sankarar Vimanam, Sri Kamakshi Ambal Vimanam and Simha Vahanam.  The board of trustees of this trust comprised of eminent persons.  The gold cladding work was done on copper sections by the conventional methods of beating gold strips into foils and pasting the gold foils over mercury base, heating and polishing.  The entire gold plating work was completed and handed over to the authorities of Sri Kamakshi Ambal Devasthanam, Kanchipuram as per the details given below.

The trust imported 85.31 kgs of Gold (and not 100 kgs as alleged) comprising of Gold bars 71.31 kgs, Biscuits 14.00 kgs.

This was used as follows:

1.    Sri Adi Sankarar Vimanam                                         21.875 kgs

2.    Sri Kamakshi Ambal Vimanam – upper portion                 5.996 kgs

3.    Sri Kamakshi Ambal Vimanam – lower portion                41.411 kgs

4.    Sri Kamakshi Ambal Kavacham                                     7.495 kgs

5.    Rajagopuram Kalasam                                                3.932 kgs

6.    Simha Vahanam                                                       4.430 kgs

       Total                                                                   85.139 kgs

The balance gold of 171 gms has been duly accounted.

The full description of the various kanikkais together with the receipt numbers are recorded in the register maintained by the temple trust.  These accounts have been verified by the HR&CE department of the government from time to time.

7. Had the Swamiji planned to escape to Nepal?

The police claimed that a helicopter was hired from Pune and was kept ready at the Hyderabad airport and it was intended to go to Mehboobnagar.  The helicopter, the police further claimed, was procured by the friend of the mill owner at whose premises Chandramouleeswara pooja was performed by the Swamiji.

The prosecution did a somersault and stated that at no point of time it has alleged that the Swamiji would flee along with his commandos and stated that it was for the Swamiji to escape that a helicopter was stationed at Hyderabad with flight schedule for Mehboobnagar.  To quote TVR Shenoy from The Indian Express, Mumbai dated December 2, 2004.  “HAL’s Advanced Light Helicopter, Dhruv has a range of only 660 km.  I am told the Pentagon has some choppers in its arsenal with can do about  700 km and further still with the addition of a fifth fuel tank.”  With this speed it would require about 12 hours to reach Nepal and a minimum of 5 refueling stops.  Would it ever be possible to escape like this?  The Swamiji’s Travel programmes are always posted in the official website of the Mutt and every one has access to it.

The Swamiji is a ‘Z’ category security person surrounded all times by Commandos/Policemen on duty.

8. Who is Sankara Raman?  What is his connection with the Mutt?  What was his conflict with the Swamiji?  What had he written in his letters?  Why was he killed?

First, Sankara Raman was never an employee of the Mutt as it is made out to be.  He was an employee of a temple in Kanchipuram at the time of his death.  Sankara Raman wrote several letters to His Holiness over the last several years accusing the Swamiji and several others to various acts of omission and commission, to put it mildly.

He marked copies of several of his letters to the CM, the leader of the opposition, HR&CE Department and several other prominent citizens and devotees.  Everyone just ignored the letters as those of a disgruntled black mailer who was threatening to ‘expose’ the two Swamijis & The Mutt.  These letters were being freely circulated by Sankara Raman.  In one of his letters he claims that he was a man of average means and that ‘some kind hearted man’ was paying for the mass copying and postage of the letters.

We cannot speculate as to why he was killed or who was involved.  The only thing we believe unequivocally, is that His Holiness is being falsely implicated in this.

9.  Who is Radhakrishnan? What is his relationship with the Mutt?  Why was he attacked?  Who attacked him?  Why is the Swamiji implicated in this?

Radhakrishnan is a former associate of the Mutt, and has his own business.  In 1994 when it was discovered that he was involved in a malicious defamation campaign against the Mutt, he was relieved to his services.  He was one of the trustees of the Sri Adi Sankara Trust, for the golden chariot for Kamakshi Amman.  The case about an attack on Radhakrishnan is 2 years and 3 months old.  In the FIR filed in this case neither the Mutt nor Swamiji were mentioned.

10. If the Mutt is not so rich, how can you afford to pay for such a huge advertisement?  Who is paying for this advertisement?

This advertisement is appearing in media through the kind courtesy of several of our devotees all over the world who are keen to see that a 2500-year-old heritage is not destroyed by scandalous media.  In this hour of all out assault on the Mutt, It requires large infusion of funds to defend itself and provide the truth and right perspective to all concerned.  The Mutt has appealed to its devotees and to all Indians to contribute their might to support it to tide over this crisis.

11. So much is claimed about the Mutt’s various religious, cultural & social welfare activities?  What exactly are they?  How are they Managed?

A quick glimpse at the activities and achievements of the Mutt in the last 51 years is a testimony to some one who has been called “The 21st Century Jagadguru” Be it in the field of Education, Vedic Research, Healthcare, Social Welfare or Religion.  The Acharya has created enduring institutions that will serve people for several generations.


Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Vishwa Maha Vidyalaya at Enathur near Kanchipuram is a Deemed University.  This institution seeks to revive Kanchi’s reputation as a ‘seat of learning’.  An Ayurvedic College devoted to Indian medicine forms part of the Vishwa Mahavidyalaya.

Vedic Education and support

Vedal Patashala located on the Bangalore Highway is perhaps the largest patashala in the world and teaches all the four Vedas.  Similarly, Agama Patashalas and Silpa Patashalas give a fillip to temple design and architecture.


The Mutt’s foray into Healthcare truly reflects the Acharya’s Compassion, Care and Commitment to serving the ailing, poor and needy.  The Kanchi Kamakoti Sankara Hospital, Kanchi Kamakoti CHILDS Trust Hospital, Sankara Dev Netralaya, Guwahati, Sri Mata Trust are just a few of the shining examples.  1,75,928 patients were treated free of cost at the Kanchi Kamakoti Sankara Hospital, since commissioning in May 2003.

At the instance of the Acharya, the Mutt stepped in at the right time to help the CHILDS Trust Hospital to recover from its financial troubles.  Because of professional management provided, the CHILDS Trust Hospital has not only turned around but is also one of the finest paediatric hospitals in the country serving young children who need specialist medical help.  About one lakh children receive treatment at this hospital every year.  Sri Mata Trust is a unique organization that supports poor cancer patients and their relatives/attendants with shelter and food during the treatment period.  Sankara Dev Netralaya started at Guwahati is a exemplary eye care institution and the only one of its kind in the North Eastern part of the Country.

Renovating old temples and consecrating new ones

The Acharya has performed countless number of Kumbabhishekams to revive old temples and consecrate new ones.  (The number could be well over 6,000 in the last 50 years)

Social and Humanitarian Services

At His guidance, several homes for the aged, the destitute and the needy are run under the auspices of the Mutt.  There are Old Age Homes in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, UP & MP.  His Holiness is known for His support of the goshalas and there are many which are run in Tamil Nadu and in the North.

Encouraging culture, arts, science, and public service

The Kanchi Mutt has had a long tradition of supporting the arts and encouraging artists from all the fields.  In keeping with this tradition, the Acharya has instituted several awards.

Saint of the masses

The Ahcarya has traveled more than a million kilometers on foot reaching more than 3000 villages and small towns.  He has been one of the first ones to reach areas hit by natural calamities like floods and earthquakes with help for the affected.  He has always lead a very simple life with minimal needs.  This simple, selfless Saint of the masses is facing an outrageous charge.  Such a charge is directed against the very Acharya whose compassion has reached millions with His helping hand.  It is indeed the darkest hour for His devotees and those interested in following the tenets of Hindu Dharma.

A special message to anxious devotees all around the world

“We will not let a 2500 year old institution be destroyed by media vandalism”.  “What will it be like if your house collapsed right in front of your eyes?”.  “What  else can we do beyond prayers and protests?”.  “How can we help?”  Our devotion, dedication and unwavering faith will ensure that Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam rises like a phoenix and regains its respect and glory in the minds of all the devotees around the world.  After all, this 2500 year old institution has grown not only because of the illustrious lineage of Acharyas but also because of the unremitting patronage and devotion of millions of devotees like all of us.  When our revered Paramacharya faced the daunting task of re-establishing the credibility of the Mutt in the last century.  He, in his wisdom and compassion, reached out to every devotee.  He devised simple schemes like the ‘pidi arisi thittam’ (a handful of rice every day), a one-rupee tax from your income to pay for Vedic Education etc.  These were specifically designed to enlist wide spread participation from every section of society.  It is through His vision and the tireless efforts of His Prathama Sishya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the Mutt could reach such a pre-eminent position.

“How can I help?”

Today when devotees from all over the world ask us, as to how they can help the Mutt in this hour of crisis and need, we once again look to Sri. Mahaperiyavaal for inspiration and guidance.

Frankly, what matters most of your devotion and willingness to come out and do something.  Devotees, (Especially those in far off lands) feel helpless because they think, all they can do is to protest, pray and send money.  There is no need for any one to despair in this manner.

On the other hand, this is an extra ordinary opportunity to demonstrate our solidarity behind the Kanchi Mutt and all that it stands for.  Send whatever you can.  Nothing will be too little.  It is voluntary and YOU decide what you wish to send.  It could be a few rupees, a day’s wage or a month’s salary.  The amount is immaterial.  What is important is that we get millions of letters of undying support with every little contribution.  To show the world that Kanchi Mutt exists in all our hearts and not just on a piece of land.  Some people may malign us, demolish the structure but they can never destroy our spirit and faith.

Send your letters addressed to the Mutt along with your contribution, and flood the mail boxes.  Our Periyavaal has always cherished sharing the story of the Squirrel in the Ramayana.  Therefore, none of us needs to feel shy or hesitant.  Do what you can but feel proud that you too contributed to the Mutt in its hour of need.  ‘We have been showered with their Holinesses’ Blessings all our lives.  It is now our turn to do something wrote a devotee.

All donations may be sent by cheques to The Manager, Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, 1, Salai Street, Kanchipuram.  Kindly draw the cheque in favour of “Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam”.  Clearly mark the envelope boldly “Campaign for Dharma”.

The Mutt and its devotees have full confidence in the Indian Judiciary.  Truth will prevail.

Sathyameva Jayate

Please visit to get details of the various aspects of this issue.

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 Issued in Public Interest by the Manager,

Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam,
With the support of the devotees from all over the world.

Related stories on What is India

Hindu groups demonstrated on a biting winter day and said the Kanchi seer's detention was part of a larger plan to destroy Hinduism. PRAKASH M SWAMY reports

What does it mean to be a Hindu in India?
Unease grows in the hearts of common Indians as they watch a revered saint being arrested and humiliated, writes SOUMYA SITARAMAN

When they heard news of the Kanchi seer's arrest, many outraged Indians in the US frantically called home. NRIs have also been organising prayers meetings to support an acharya they hold in high esteem. A round-up by PRAKASH M SWAMY


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