Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 26:
The possibility of a confrontation between the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati and the Odisha government appears to have been averted – at least for the time being – after the former agreed today to be part of the rituals on Debasnana Purnima on June 2 and climb the chariots along with six of his disciples during the Rtah Yatra.
The Puri Shankaracharya accepted the invitation by Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, who called on him this morning.
The Gajapati King reached Govardhan Peeth in the company of the Administrator (Niti) of the Srimandir and members of the temple management committee and tendered a formal invitation to the Shankaracharya to be part of the rituals associated with Snana Purnima and Rath Yatra in this Nabakalebara year.
“As per the traditions of the temple, the Shankaracharya enjoys the status of a guru. The Record of Rights (RoR) of the temple also says the same thing. That is why it is only appropriate that befitting arrangements are made to welcome him as per established convention. We have received a letter from the Govardhan Peeth informing us that the Shankaracharya will attend the Snana Purnima ritual and climb on the chariots during the Rath Yatra with six of his disciples,” the Gajapati King told media persons after the meeting.
On his part, the Shankaracharya said he always wanted to be part of the Rath Yatra rituals.
“I will take part in the Snana Purnima rituals. As for the Rath Yatra, I wanted to be part of it earlier too and want ot be part now,” the Shanakaracharya said.
A confrontation had appeared to be building up between the Shankaracharya and the Odisha government with both sides hardening their stances over the last few days.
While the Shankaracharya had openly accused the state government of unwarranted interference in the affairs of the temple, the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administrator (SJTA) Suresh Mohapatra had sought to underplay the importance of the seer.
“If there is a situation like last year, his opinion would definitely be taken. But the rituals of Nabakalebara are being run strictly according to the Record of Rights and there has been no deviation,” Mohapatra had said.
The Shankaracharya, it may be noted, had declined to mount the chariots last year in protest against the imposition of restrictions on the number of disciples who can accompany him on to the chariots.