Zee Media Bureau
Lucknow: The Sai Temple authority in Lucknow has filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court demanding an FIR against Shankaracharya of Dwarkapeeth Swaroopananda Saraswati for hurting religious sentiments.
The spat between Sai devotees and Swaroopanada Saraswati has turned ugly in the last few days after the latter stoked a huge controversy by issuing objectionable remarks against Sai Baba of Shirdi.
The petition alleges that the controversial remarks made by the Swaroopanada Saraswati have hurt the religious sentiments of thousands of followers of Sai Baba, hence legal action should be taken against the Shankaracharya. The court is expected to take up the case on July 04.
The Shankaracharya recently triggered a controversy by saying that worshipping Sai Baba was a conspiracy to divide Hindus. He had also said that Sai Baba should not be worshipped as he was a human being and not a God, and his temples should not be built. His statement was severely condemned by the followers of the saint.
Meanwhile, the Naga Sadhus have extended their support to Swaroopananda Saraswati and warned of protests on streets if the Dwarkapeeth seer is insulted. They have declared the spat as a `religious war`.
The Shankaracharya had also refused to regard Sai Baba as the epitome of Hindu-Muslim unity, saying if it were the case, the spiritual man would have been revered by Muslims with as much devotion as Hindus.
In Sanatan Dharma, there are said to be 24 avataars (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, In Kalyug, there is no mention of other avataars than Kalki and Buddha. Hence, Sai Baba can certainly not be an avataar, Shankaracharya had opined.
He further added that Sai Baba should not be considered as a guru and an ideal because he was a non-vegetarian and advocated the practice of circumcision.
Shankaracharya had also claimed that a number of temples devoted to Sai Baba are built across the country to deviate attention from Ram Temple movement in Ayodhya.
Meanwhile, former chairman of Shri Sai Baba Sanstha, Jayant Sasane said that Sai devotees have been hurt with the comments of Shankaracharya, however he opined that they should not protest or fight with Swaroopananda Saraswati.
Interestingly, the Shankaracharya is reportedly close to the Congress part and many of its top leaders.
In the mid of this controversy, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has said that she has faith in Sai Baba, who never claimed he was god.
Siding with the Sai devotees, Bharti said that the latter never considered himself as God, however, if people consider him as God, out of devotion, there is no harm.
Meanwhile, the BJP has refused to be dragged into the reported exchange of words between Dwarkapeeth Shankaracharya and Uma Bharti over the alleged comments made by the seer on the Sai Baba of Shirdi.