Vikram Masson

Global Organization Dissapointed At Chennai Conference Outcome

Issue of spritual equality for all Hindus not satisfactorily addressed.

Statement from the Co-Chairmen

Navya Shastra lauds the religious leaders who participated in the Acharya Sabha, and we would particularly like to thank Swami Dayananda for allowing our voice to be heard.

While a few leaders, like Perur Swami Adigal, spoke of the need to spread such works as the Periyapuranam and Tevaram to the lower castes, and other Swamis identified poverty as the root cause of conversions, the principle goal of spiritual equality for all Hindus was not addressed to our satisfaction.

We strongly feel that the lower castes should enjoy the same rights and privileges to the Hindu scriptures and samskaras as the upper castes, and that Brahmopadesam, or spiritual initiation, should be granted to all with the desire and dedication, regardless of birth or even gender.

To suggest that the lower castes and women are entitled to some scriptures but not all, or that we educate them in the basics, while keeping off limits, for example, the Vedic mantras, is repeating the discriminatory pattern that has been in place for the last three thousand years. Again we commend the acharyas who are working with the lower castes, but is clearly not enough at this point in our history.

While it is true that conversions may take place because of economic allurements, Navya Shastra feels that the increasing educational levels of the erstwhile lower castes and Dalits will lead to a monumental number of conversions, as they realize that Hindu leaders still mandate that certain traditions and scriptures belong to upper castes only.

Jaishree Gopal
Vikram Masson