Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, June 5:
Odisha Surakhya Sena (OSS), a city based cultural outfit, today demanded that the Odisha Government should accept the suggestion by the Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati and the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri to put an end to the practice of devotees climbing the chariots and touching the deities during the annual Rath Yatra.
At a recent assembly of experts on the subject here, both of them had maintained that the practice is a great sin.
A public awareness campaign at Ram Mandir temple premises, followed by a rally from Ram Mandir square to Master Canteen square, was organised by OSS to make the people aware about the facts.
Arguing that touching the deities is not religious as per the holy scriptures of Hinduism, Abhishek Joshi, president of OSS, said devotees should not be allowed to touch the deities by servitors who perform rituals on the chariot during Rath Yatra.
“Some self-centered Daitapati sevayats (servitors) of the Sri Jagannath temple have made a business out of helping devotees climb the chariots and touch the deities. This is not sanctioned by the scriptures and must be stopped,” he said.
The government must accept the opinion of Jagadguru Shankaracharya as early as possible and take steps to put an end to the practice, he added.