Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Mar 19:
As expected Wednesday’s decision of the managing committee of Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s holy town of Puri to debar ordinary devotees from having darshan of the newly carved idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra in their new bodies on Nabajoubana day, July 17, has irked many devotees, researchers and sevayats.
Some have even questioned the propriety of the grand arrangements like new railroads, roads and other facilities when devotees will not be allowed to have darshan of the Lords seated at the Ratna Simhashan after attaining new bodies.
Daitapati sevayats have expressed their displeasure over attempts to distance devotees from the Lord. Researchers of Jagannath culture feel that all arrangements are meaningles if devotees are prevented from having darshan of the Lords on Nabajoubana Darshan day.
“The Lords will not be available for darshan to the devotees for 45 days due to the anabasara rituals. Believers will certainly feel anguished because after such a long wait, they will be again deprived of having a glimpse of their Lords and it’s surely going to give them pain. If Shree Mandir management cannot manage such rare events properly, then what’s the need for so much of propaganda?” said a devotee.
“This decision is meant to distance the devotee from Lord Jagannath. This is similar to the decision that prevents devotees from climbing the chariots to have darshan. Nabajoubana darshan is the first darshan for the devotee after the Nabakalebara of the Lords. If a devotee is barred from having darshan, then this Yatra is useless. What is the use of these arrangements for trains etc by spending crores for the visit of the devotees if they are not allowed to have darshan?” asked Ramachandra Dasmohapatra, a senior Daitapati servitor.
“All efforts at the administrative level, all these meetings and discussions have no meaning if darshan is not allowed. If the administration is apprehensive of a large congregation, which can be done in a disciplined manner, darshan can be allowed for a limited period of time. But putting a blanket ban on darshan is not acceptable. This step is no way acceptable under any condition,” said Suryanarayan Rathasharma, research scholar on Jagannath culture.
In view of the mismanagement of the Nabakalebara held in 1977 and situation leading to gate crashing of devotees in the four gates of the Shree Mandir, the JB Patnaik government in 1996 had disallowed commoners from having darshan of the Lords on the Ratna Simhasan on the Nabajoubana Darshan Day.
Taking a cue from the 1996 decision, the temple management this year too has decided to debar devotees from having darshan on Nabajoubana Darshan Day to prevent a stampede.