Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 30:
The Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth in Puri Swami Nischilananda Saraswati today launched a scathing attack on the Odisha government for encouraging bureaucrats to undermine the powers of religious organisations.
Addressing a press conference at the conference hall of the Association for Blind here, the Seer lambasted the state government for resorting to subterfuge, diluting the powers of the servitors and interfering in the affairs of the Jagannath temple.
“I have spent 55 years in this country. I have seen many ups and downs in my lifetime. The Centre has been on a collision path with me many a time. An IAS officer cannot challenge the Shankaracharya unless he has the backing of the Chief Minister, Law minister and secretaries,” he pointed out.
The President, Prime Minister, Chief Minister and Governors pay respect to me. A bureaucrat’s disrespect towards me is not possible without the support of the government,” he alleged.
“An IAS officer’s audacious behaviour is a result of government’s patronage. The Chief Minister and Law minister are backing him. The administrative officer is a representative of the government to regulate the affairs of the temple administration. The administrator has the audacity to say that the Shankaracharya has no role in the temple affairs,” he thundered.
“The government has adopted a divide and rule policy by creating a fissures among the servitors. It has deprived them of their dues and hasn’t made any provision to make them self-reliant,” he alleged.
The government doesn’t have powers to interfere in the affairs of the religious organisations, he said.
The Golden Temple is the religious place of Sikhs and Jains have their own spiritual places where committees run these organisations. Every member has its right to participate in the affairs. The government doesn’t interfere in their affairs, the Seer said.
Referring to other religions, he said, “Like the Pope is the head of Christianity and Dalai Lama is the nominal chief of Buddhism, Shankaracharya is the head of Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism. The government is infringing upon the powers of the Hindu religious head.”
Objecting to the restriction on Naba Jouban darshan of the Lords in Puri, the Shankaracharya said the government should ensure smooth darshan of the deities rather than clamping restrictions on it.