Puri king defends Shankaracharya, says govt must resolve issue
Bhubaneswar: Pained over Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati not performing puja on chariots due to a dispute with the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration, king of Puri Divyasingha Deb today said the Odisha government must take steps to resolve the issue.
"Both the state government and the SJTA should make efforts to ensure the traditional role of the seer is kept intact. I hope that they facilitate the traditional rituals performed by the Shankaracharya on the chariots," Deb said.
The Shankaracharya yesterday boycotted the rath jatra while protesting the SJTA`s letter which restricted him to climbing the chariot without any of his disciples.
"Even as the Sankaracharya had himself decided to take only two of his disciples to chariots this year, the administration insisted that he go alone. As per practice, the seer used to be accompanied by seven persons in the past," Deb said.
"The SJTA took the decision of putting restrictions on the Shankaracharya without consulting him."
As per the tradition, Sankaracharya was the first to have darshan of the deities on the chariots every year on the Rath Jatra Day before the king of Puri performed the `Chhera Pahanra` or the ceremonial sweeping of chariots.
Meanwhile, the RSS and the VHP reacted sharply against the `humiliation` of the seer and the institution of Shankaracharya, and threatened to launch an agitation unless the state government apologised to the seer.
Even the Daitapati Nijog, which was opposed to Shankaracharya`s view of banning devotees climbing the chariots, also disapproved the break in tradition.
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