Hanuman Controversy Surrounding Depiction of Lord Hanuman as a Servant of Sahajanand Swami in Gujarat

Hanuman Controversy Surrounding Depiction of Lord Hanuman as a Servant of Sahajanand Swami in Gujarat – Hanuman Chalisa

A dispute has emerged in Gujarat regarding the murals installed beneath the statue of Lord Hanuman in Salangpur. These murals portray the Hindu deity as a devoted follower of Sahajanand Swami, sparking significant controversy on social media and drawing protests from several prominent figures in the Sanatan dharma community.

Hanuman Controversy

Background of the Salangpur Hanuman Temple Murals (Hanuman Controversy)

Many renowned Hindu saints and mahants, including Morari Bapu, the revered saint Harshad Bharti Bapu, and Mahant Manidhar Bapu of Kabrau Mughal Dham in Kutch, have publicly voiced their disapproval.

Saints and Mahants Express Their Opposition

(Hanuman Controversy)

The Hanuman temple in Salangpur, overseen by the Vadtal Gadi faction of the Swaminarayan sect, boasts a striking 54-foot-tall statue of Hanumanji Maharaj. Along the statue’s base, a series of murals were created, featuring Hanumanji in a posture of deep reverence, standing before Sahajananda Swami with folded hands or seated in a respectful asana. The controversy erupted when images of these murals began to circulate widely.

Legal Complaint Filed by Sanatan Dharma Seva Samiti

(Hanuman Controversy)

Activists from the Sanatan Dharma Seva Samiti have filed a formal complaint with the Shihor police station in Bhavnagar. In their complaint, they argue that portraying Lord Hanuman as a servant of Swami Sahajanand is inappropriate, as it lacks support in scriptures, Puranas, or Upanishads. Such a depiction of Hanumanji has deeply offended those who hold Sanatan cultural beliefs, prompting the organization to demand legal action against those responsible. As a result, access for the media has been restricted within the Salangpur temple where these murals are displayed.

Shernath Bapu from the Junagadh Gorakhnath Ashram expressed his dismay, emphasizing that Hanumanji, Ram, and Shiva have been revered deities in the Sanatan tradition for centuries, and attempts to diminish his stature are regrettable.

Various other religious leaders, including Mahant Dilipdasji Maharaj of Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad and 1008 Mahamandaleshwar Mahendranandgiri Maharaj of Muchkund Cave, have also voiced their concerns, urging restraint and respect for each other’s beliefs.

Efforts to Mediate the Dispute and Maintain Unity (Hanuman Controversy)

Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad have joined the discourse, with VHP’s general secretary Ashok Rawal acknowledging the difficulty in maintaining unity among learned individuals. He is working to mediate the dispute by engaging with numerous saints and highlighting the historical and temporal differences between Lord Ram, Hanumanji, and Sahajanand Swami.

Religious leader Jyotirnath Maharaj has initiated a protest movement, starting in Vadodara, with plans to submit applications to various authorities. He warns that if appropriate action isn’t taken, saints and devotees will march to Salangpur and pursue legal avenues, including a petition to the High Court.

Plans for a Protest Movement and Legal Action

(Hanuman Controversy)

Mahant of Rokadia Hanuman Mandir in Botad expressed strong opposition, emphasizing that Hanumanji is a devotee of Sita and Ram, not Swaminarayan, and called for the removal of the murals. He even hinted at more drastic measures if the issue isn’t resolved peacefully.

Promoting Unity Within the Sanatan Dharma Community (Hanuman Controversy)

Shankaracharya Shri Sadanand Saraswati of Dwarka stressed the importance of unity within the Sanatan Dharma community, emphasizing that followers may have different methods of worship but should not insult or condemn each other’s deities. He urged all to refrain from criticizing other sects, citing centuries of harmony within the Sanatan Dharma tradition and questioning why such disputes are emerging now.

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