Interview mit Shankaracharya Svarupananda
Teil 5
From TM-EX Newsletter, Volume 4, Number 2, Winter, 1993 INDIA

INDIA -- A Visit to the Shankaracharya, Part IV

[Editor's Note: The following transcript is taken directly from the taped conversations between Robert Kropinski, a former TM teacher and follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Shree Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati, a pre-eminent disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (Guru Dev), who is considered Mahesh Yogi's Spiritual Master.]

Q: We have heard that Mahesh Yogi instructs mantras himself, and some people believe in him as their teacher. He is a kaaystha (lower caste, not a Brahmin) by birth. Do you think it is appropriate for him to instruct like this?

Shankaracharya: My first information was that he used to place a picture of Guru Dev behind him, that during initiation he would have people worship it and then he would give out mantras.

I have met many persons, who, in reality, had their mantras from Mahesh, but they consider themselves to be disciple of Brahmaleen Jagadguru Shankaracharya Brahmanand Saraswati (Guru Dev). But, no matter whom they consider their teacher, the fact of the matter is that a person who gives a mantra is to be considered the real Guru (dispeller of darkness, Spiritual Master).
If Mahesh thinks that he is backed by Shankaracharya, then what is proper on his part is to tell people to take initiation from Shankaracharya.

Q: Lord, Mahesh Yogi considers Vishnu Devanand Saraswati as Shankaracharya of the Jyotish peeth. As far as I know he was not consecrated according to Vedic ritual. Also, Mahesh is reported to pay his monthly expenses?

Shankaracharya: I do not have any evidence of his giving money. This, however, is certain, that he, Vishnu Devanand does not have offerings which are enough for his living. Therefore, it seems that he gets income from outside. Moreover, he calls Mahesh Yogi as puujya (revered), as Maharishi (great seer) and stands up on his arrival, these are all things which indicate that he is dependent on him for money. So far as the question of Shankaracharya is concerned, only he is made Shankaracharya who has all the qualities of Mahaanushasan (great discipline). According to Mahaanushasan, Shankaracharya is he who has conquered his senses, knows all the other scriptures. Only such a person, who has all these qualities should sit on the seat of Shankaracharya. In case a wrong person is found to be occupying that seat, he should
be dethroned. As far as I know, the scholars from Baneras had held him unable for this seat. Even after that statement, he has not acquired any competency.
Again, the so-called will of the deceased Guru Dev prescribes the name of Dvarikeshanand Saraswati as the second person, not him. It is written in that will (of Guru Dev) that this is clearly my order, that so far as Dvarikeshanand Shastri is alive, there is no one who has the right to make anyone else succeed to that seat unless Dvarkishanand becomes mentally incompetent or else relinquishes the seat himself. Depriving him of his seat is disobedience of the teacher's order. Therefore, neither according to the Mahaanushasan, nor according to the will of Shankaracharya (Guru Dev), is he (Vishnu Devanand) the rightful successor.
When a Sammelan (conference) of all the four seats was called, he (Vishnu Devanand) was not invited there as one presiding over the Jyotish Peeth. Moreover, no other Shankaracharya of any seat allows him to sit next to him. He knows that in the days ahead he will be exposed. Before that moment arrives, he wants to make sure that he will not have financial difficulty in life. He created on Shankaracharya here. There is Shantinand sitting there (pointing to Shantinand sitting on the stage). They, Shantinand and Vishnu Devanand have no influence on the public. They are raised by Mahesh's money. They just sing his glory.

Q: Mahesh Yogi claims that he preaches yoga according to the instruction of his Guru. The truth of the matter, however, is that Guru Dev never asked anyone who is not a Brahmin by birth to go and spread his teachings. What is your opinion?

Shankaracharya: This is true. In reality, preaching, initiating, guiding people engaged in spiritual pursuits, is the duty of those who are born in a Brahmin family. If he is a follower of Sanatan Dharma (the Hindu religion), he should not do what he is doing. This is against the orders of his Guru. Moreover, making others write puujya (revered), calling himself Maharishi (a great seer) is totally inappropriate. No assembly of saints has either conferred upon him a title of Maharishi nor has announced him puujya. In the ashram he was doing the work of typing and writing and translation. Then he became a sadhu. However, he has never practiced yoga.
It is said that Guru Dev was given poison. Who gave that poison we don't know but we know that there was poison in his body. When Guru Dev's body became unwell, then we wanted him to go to Kashi to rest. But he (Mahesh) removed him from that trip forcibly and took him to speak in Calcutta. There he died.
After that, this man spread his net. He went abroad. First to Singapore. The expatriate Indians there, thinking that he is the disciple of Shankaracharya, received him well and got him a ticket for the United States. After going to America, he brought the Beatles back here. It was rumored that he did inappropriate things with them and that's why they left him and went away.
He later opened many camps and pretended that he could teach people to read minds and levitate. No one, however, succeeded in learning the things he promised. He himself does not know or practice yoga. He does not know anything about those things.

Robert Kropinski