Submitted by Editor on Sun, 2015-12-20 02:59 Bengaluru: “Intolerance is an ugly offspring of dirty sectarian politics. Indians are tolerant and affectionate by nature. They have imbibed it from our rich culture. Politicians have divided the people into religious fanatics and so called seculars. Both are negative extremes out to insult and obstruct individual faiths and create intolerance by thrusting their prejudices on the gullible mindsets. The real meaning of secularism is giving space to all kinds of beliefs and not insulting the gods that people worship in good faith. Our Vedas always spoke of secularism in its true sense and absolute onus lay on freedom of speech.”This was the profound observation exclusively expressed with BFirst.in by none other than scholar, philosopher and writer Padmashri Sri Bannanje Govindacharya. An Octagenarian, Shree Govindacharya’s sheer energy/aura can give any youngster a complex.Referring to the controversy and loss of lives that surrounded the celebration of Tippu Jayanthi, he came down heavily on the governments’ unnecessary fascination for official celebrations of birthdays of great personalities as examples of quintessential tomfoolery. BFirst.in had an exclusive tete-e-tete with the veteran in the backdrop of his 80th Birth Celebration to be held at Dayanand Sagar College Auditorium in Kumarasawamy Layout in Bengaluru from December 23 to 27, 2015.“Shwashwaha Paapiye Diwasa Prithvi Gatha Yavvana”, this was the wisdom personified’s take on “Global Devolution” that means, “Earth is growing old and we are going towards regress”. He said due to incessant abuse of nature by mankind the earth is losing its fertility. This is more so in India because the cultivation has a 10000 year old history here as compared to modern America which has just a few hundred years background, he added.“The bells are tolling in India and it’s high time we woke up. The regress is not merely happening at a geographical level but also at an intellectual and spiritual level. I see more and more youngsters from all over the globe getting attracted to Indian perspective of spirituality. But they are being misled by businessmen in Godmen’s façade. The seekers of divinity are rendered as mechanised geeks who end up nowhere merely practising the religious rituals blindly”, Shri Govindacharya lamented. He was commenting on the rampant commercialisation of spirituality by some religious aka “spiritual” heads.“A state felt in meditation can never be explained in words. The present day Gurus give them vague names and create a preconceived notion among the gullible disciples about the experiences that may vary from person to person. The seekers end up going after those tutored experiences and that ends their pursuit which may not have even begun properly. It’s something like when you feel blissful you can only smile wholeheartedly but not describe it.” Sanskrit Could Unite India BetterShri Govindacharya also attributed the spiritual and social ignorance to desistance of ancient language Sanskrit by the present generation. “When ancient India was not a nation as a whole but divided into states, the only tool to unite the subjects was Sanskrit. But unfortunately the Vydics (Priestly Oligarchy) restrained it to the dominant caste and deprived a vast majority of people of the knowledge and wisdom inscribed in that language. That is how it was misconstrued to a Brahmin’s exclusive language. The translations in English or any other language for that matter cannot convey the spirit or feel of an idea expressed in Sanskrit”, he added.Varnas MisconstruedThe biggest disaster that the country is suffering since centuries together by the vested groups pushing Sanskrit behind the shelves is the caste system or caste divide, Shri Govindacharya regretted. “In Vedas, the distinction of Varnas-Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vyshya and Shudra-was purely based on human aptitude. It was never a social or caste division. Any human who has an inclination towards learning or teaching is a Brahmin; the one with a taste for warfare or administration is a Kshatriya; those interested in business and trade are the Vyshyas and a person with a passion for manual labour is a Shudra. But the intellectually dominant vested interests tweaked the whole idea into a social or a caste divide thus pushing humanity into an ugly divide”, he explained. The Power of Chanting MantrasReiterating the significance of understanding and saying what was created in Sanskrit, Shri Govindacharya said the power chanting the mantras with perfection indeed yields the desired results. “Mantras are apt sound waves that are oriented scientifically to create specific vibrations. I have personally experienced healing a medically given up case with Dhanavantri Mantra”. Tantric methods are indeed scientific and need to be used judiciously, he warned.Filmy Dreams Come TrueShri Bannanje Govindacharya’s versatility is also expressed in his scripting par excellence for filmmaker Late G V Iyer’s Sankrit movies. “As a child, I always cherished a dream of making movies in Sanskrit. As goes the ‘Law of Attraction, at a much later stage in life, I came across G V Iyer unexpectedly and her immediately offered me the task of scripting for the world’s first Sanskrit movie Adi Shankaracharya. For his movie Shri Madhwacharya, I not only did the scripting but also played a key role in location hunting and casting. Though Iyer was known as a tough task master and a bad pay master, I saw a different face of him during the making of these movies”, he recalled. Shri Govindacharya also served as an expert consultant for Iyer’s movies Shri Ramanujacharya and Bhagavad Gita.Shri Govindacharya also has to his innumerable translations of Sanskrit books to Kannada and Tulu. Hailing from Udupi in South Kanara belt he has also written volumes of commentaries on Madhwa Philosophy and is currently a hot favourite among Americans. His ability to dissect and yet unify the philosophies of Adi Shankaracharya’s Advaitha which talks of all the living beings as embodiment of one magnanimous soul/one God and propagates no difference in any entity at a spiritual level; Madhwacharya’s Dwaitha philosophy which says different bodies have different souls and can never be the same in dharma or karma and Ramanujacharya’s Vishitadvaita which brings down souls to small atomic particles revolving around the supreme soul-neutron-has won him accolades all over the world. He terms these principles as theories of omnipresence-Advaitha; non-differential difference-Vishistadvaitha and differently different-Dwaitha.He is often invited as a guest speaker by various US bodies, including the University of California, Berkeley. Americans see a scientific approach in Madhwa’s philosophies of spirituality, he quipped. By the way, Shri Govindacharya is also known for his exemplary oratory skills.The writer of this interview has to frankly confide in you readers that this article is not sufficient to describe the magnanimous Shri Govindacharya’s voluminous achievements and hence is redirecting you to a link to know much much more about him.Meanwhile, currently, Shri Govindacharya has written an analysis of 18 chapters of Bhagavad Gita as seen by the prime Acharyas-Adi Shankaracharya, Shri Ramanujacharya and Shri Madhwacharya and last but not the least, Shri Bannanje Govindacharya himself and all in Kannada! The fourth book in the series will be released during his 80th birthday celebration from December 23 onwards. Scholars and artistes of high repute will also be gracing the occasion where a reading of Shri Govindacharyas rare works will also be held.