Panch Dashnaam Juna Akhada led by Mahamandaleshwar Avdheshanand Giri ji leads the way by conferring Mahamandaleshwar status on scheduled castes, women and transgenders. In this interview with Madhu Kishwar recorded on September 8, 2020 at Harihar Ashram, Haridwar, Mahamandaleshwar of the Panch Dashnaam Juna Akhada, Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji rubbishes the negative stereotyping of Naga Sadhus. He should know since in his tenure he has given Deeksha to 10 lakh Naga sadhus. Juna Akhada is the oldest and largest among 13 akharas in the country.
Swami Avdhesshanand Ji also discusses the radical reforms he has introduced in recent years. These revolutionary reforms include:
- Conferring the highest title of "Mahamandaleshwar on 5 Dalit women during Kumbh Mela of 2019; Enrolling 551 Dalits, including 221 Dalit women, as Sanyasis and Sanyasins during the Kumbh 2019;
- Conferring the title of Mahamandaleshwar on 5 Kinnars ( transgenders) in the Kumbh of 2019, Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji also announced that Juna Akhada will be imparting religious, spiritual and ritual teaching (‘deeksha’) to the seers of Kinnar Akhada as part of their induction into the Juna Akhada. Representatives of Kinnar Akhada vowed to and signed a written agreement that they will follow the tradition, customs, norms and the rituals of Juna Akhada, before being inducted into the venerated Juna Akhada. Swami Avdheshanand Ji explains that Kinnars have been embraced by his Order with open arms because Sanatan Dharma sees the same divine dwelling in every being. Therefore, it is adharmik to keep out transgenders from the mainstream Sanatan Dharma. With this, the Kinnar Akhada will become part of every Kumbh mela and accompany Juna Akhada sadhus for the Shahi Snani during Kumbh.
In this interview, Swami Avdheshanand Ji also throws an open challenge to the Christian establishment, to the Pope himself, to try and match these reforms within the Roman Catholic Church. Can anyone imagine a day when an Indian Scheduled Caste convert to Christianity will be accepted as a Pope? Or a transgender be appointed as a Bishop? Even relatively small protestant orders of Christianity are not ready for such radical reforms, leave alone the mighty Islamic establishment! And yet they are forever defaming and demonizing the ever versatile Sanatan Dharma!
His discourses on Sanatan Dharma are extremely popular on various Dharmic TV channels because of his ability to impart profound truths contained in Vedas, Shastras, Ramayan and Mahabharat etc to lakhs of ordinary viewers in the simple everyday language, often using gripping stories to illustrate his point.