Allahabad: SP government in Uttar Pradesh has initiated a move to ensure participation of Shankaracharyas of all the four Peeths established by Adi Sankara, whose presence is considered vital for Maha Kumbh congregations.
The Shankaracharyas have so far been conspicuous by their absence at the ongoing Kumbh Mela.
"A decision has been taken to send SP MLA Ajay Kumar to Madhya Pradesh and meet Swami Swaroopananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth who also holds the additional charge of the Jyotirpeeth," senior SP leader and local MP Kunwar Reoti Raman Singh told reporters here.
"We are confident that we will convince Shankaracharyaji that the government holds him in high esteem and that he will bless us by gracing the Maha Kumbh with his presence," the Lok Sabha member said.
Swami Swaroopananda had, on December 30 last, taken the unprecedented step of leaving the city before start of the congregation on January 14 and vowed not to take part in it.
The pontiff was upset over the administration’s rejection of his demand for allotment of land for a "Sankaracharya Chatuspath" wherein heads of all the four Peeths could set up their camps in the vicinity of each other and around an idol of Adi Sankaracharya.
The Shankaracharya had claimed that his demand was aimed at "helping the people to distinguish between the genuine Shankaracharyas and the self-styled ones", but the administration expressed its inability to allot land for the purpose, saying "it would lead to starting a new tradition".
During his visit to the venue for reviewing preparations for the Maha Kumbh earlier this month, ahead of its commencement, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had hinted that efforts were being made to pacify the sulking Shankaracharya, to whose proposed move the pontiffs of the two remaining Peeths Shringeri and Puri have extended their support.
Meanwhile, Shringeri Shankaracharya Swami Bharti Teerthji Maharaj`s camp has already come up at the congregation ground even as the Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Nischalanand is likely to arrive shortly after conducting the "Samudra Maha Arati" on January 27 at the coastal pilgrim town.
With the state government`s decision to send an emissary to bring Swami Swaroopananda back, the upcoming bathing festivals like Mauni Amavasya (February 10) and Basant Panchmi (February 15), which are likely to attract heavy crowds, may take place in the presence of the Shankaracharyas, as per centuries-old tradition.