Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, June 30:
Expressing anguish and shock over the non-participation of the Shankaracharya of Gobardhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati in the Rath Yatra on Sunday, the Gajapati king of Puri Dibyasingha Deb said the state government should make sincere efforts to enable the seer to perform his traditional rituals on the chariots from next year.
“Both the state government and the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) should make efforts to ensure the traditional role of the seer is kept in tact. I hope that they would facilitate the traditional rituals performed by the Shankaracharya on the chariots from next year”.
It may be recalled here that for the first time in the Rath Yatra’s history, the Shankaracharya stayed away from the festival because the temple administration asked him to visit the deities atop the chariots all alone, taking the plea of the judgement of the Odisha High Court, which had directed that all parties must adhere to the Record of Rights.
Protesting the decision of the SJTA, the aggrieved seer in a press briefing on Saturday had made it clear that he would not climb the chariots. Sources at the Gobardhan Peeth had said the seer like the Gajapati is always accompanied by assistants so that they can perform their ritual assignments properly.
The state government and the SJTA, they said, had deliberately insulted the top Hindu seer only to please a certain section of servitors.
The RSS and the VHP have reacted sharply against the ‘humiliation’ of the seer and the institution of Shankaracharya, and have threatened to take to agitational means unless the state government apologises to the seer.