On November 11, 2014, one of the most powerful seers in India Jayendra Saraswati Shankaracharya was arrested by the Jayalalithaa government on charges of murdering whistleblower Sankararaman, who allegedly published anonymous letters regarding corruption in the Kanchi Mutt.
The trial went on till 2013 when he was acquitted by the court. Interestingly, there was no appeal against the acquittal after that. However, 13 years after the death of Sankararaman and exactly 4 years after Saraswati's acquittal, a Republic TV expose will force you to think twice on the pending judgement.
The tapes date back to 2004 when he was being questioned by police officials in custody. This is what he is heard saying:
The tape starts with the seer saying, "It is better to die rather than living such a bad name (of murdering someone)." He was perhaps referring to himself. However, what followed after this will certainly send down chill down the spine. He is heard referring to various mythological characters like Sisupala and Krishna and the former's curse of being killed in the hands of Krishna once he commits 100 mistakes. He cited this story when cops grilled him for the attack on Radhakrishnan, the auditor who was attacked in 2002, but survived. Saraswati is heard saying that his disciples insisted that he took action against him for abusing him so much.
Incidentally, Saraswathi is not admitting his role in the killing of Sankararaman or his alleged attack on another whistleblower Radhakrishnan, but he seems to justify violence by citing the Hindu mythology. In clip 1, he also refers to Gods as 'murderers' for a cause. "Durga, Ganesha, Shiva, all are criminals, but people still pray to them because they killed for a cause," he is heard saying. "They are all worshipping them for their faith," he said.
In the next sequence, he is seen identifying Krishnaswamy from a picture that cops provided him, the gang leader who led the group of murderers who hacked Sankararaman to death. "Ravi Subramanium brought Krishnaswamy to me," says Saraswati. "He always used to come in groups of 10, but I never spoke to him much," he further says. Thus, strengthening his connections with the gang of murderers.
He is then seen going gaga over his political connections when he is handed over the letter written by Sankararaman. He mocks at the letter saying, "All these police officers had come to seek my blessings. They even took photographs with me." He also refers to Jayalalithaa and Sasikala coming to the Mutt in a helicopter and how Sasikala was showered with water for "Abhishekam". "Do you think they will write about the CM? They will be killed under their ruling," he laughs off.
Ravi Subramanium was a civil contractor and the alleged mastermind of the murder of Sankararaman. He later turned an approver and a prosecution witness. When the cops asked Shankaracharya whether Sankararaman or anyone else was blackmailing him, he answered in the negative.
All said and done, it is yet to be concluded why Shankaracharya spoke of the mythological killings when asked about the murder attempt. Remember, he was also heard saying during the narration of the Sisupala story, "there is a limit to tolerance. Even Krishna was patient till the 99th mistake. Once the 100th mistake was committed, Sisupala had to be killed."
Secondly, how did he identify the gang leader when shown his picture, if he was innocent in the case? Why was there a sign of resignation when he said, "So Krishnaswamy (the gang leader of the murder) only led you to meet these people". For what reason did he show his political and police connections when he was shown the letter and the photos?
Although the authenticity of the tapes cannot be ascertained, they, however, provide strong evidence against Shankaracharya and his views on violence.