Pune: Dhirendra Shastri Retracts Controversial Statement, Apologizes at Sant Tukaram Maharaj Temple in Dehu

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Varad Bhatkhande

Dehu, 22nd November 2023: Several organizations expressed strong opposition in Maharashtra to the controversial statement made by Dhirendra Krishna Shastri of Bageshwar Dham against Saint Tukaram Maharaj. In response to the challenges against his claims, Dhirendra Shastri visited the Sant Tukaram Maharaj temple in Dehu today and addressed journalists, acknowledging the ‘error’ in his controversial statement.

Dhirendra Krishna Shastri explained, “I had read an article then, and based on that article, I spoke in that language. Even before that, I had come to Maharashtra, so I know about Sant Tukaram, Sant Dnyaneshwar. I read as much as I could about them. I have never said that about any saint.”

He acknowledged the influence of vernacular language while speaking and expressed regret for unintentionally hurting the sentiments of the Varkari community and devotees of Sant Tukaram Maharaj.

As a practitioner of the Acharya tradition, Dhirendra Shastri emphasized that he would not oppose any saint, and such opposition would be inconsistent with being a follower of saints. He clarified his stance on working towards the resolution for India to become a Hindu nation and explained that protesting instead of praising the saints could jeopardize this plan. Dhirendra Shastri humbly expressed regret in front of the entire Warkari community, acknowledging any fault in his speech.

During his visit to the Sant Tukaram Maharaj temple, Dhirendra Shastri paid homage to the Sheela of Sant Tukaram Maharaj, recounting the story of the abhangs that did not sink in the river Indrayani due to the penance of the saint. He highlighted the rich tradition of saints in India and expressed hope that the blessings of these saints would contribute to the fulfilment of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s dream of establishing a Hindu Swaraj throughout India. Dhirendra Shastri concluded by praying for the realization of India as a Hindu nation.