Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jul 5:
While trading of charges and counter charges over the Ghata Parivartan fiasco of the presiding deities in the 12th century Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s pilgrim city of Puri continue to hog media headlines, the Mukti Mandap Pandit Sabha (a body of religious scholars of the temple) is apprehensive about the debate causing damage to the Shree Jagannath cult and the spiritual consciousness connected with it in the future.
The Sabha has opined that the debate could lead to a religious crisis.
Daitapati sevayats (servitors) are presenting misleading facts with regards to Shree Mandir record of rights (RoR) over rights pertaining to Ghata Parivartan of the Lords, the Sabha has alleged.
The RoR says: “At the time of Nabakalebara, Daita sevayats work in accordance with respective Badas (idols) assigned to them. Others can remain present and work.” On the other hand, elaborating on the work of Pati Mohapatra servitors during the Nabakalebara, the RoR says: “This Ghata Parivartan seva (change of body service) and Bisarjan seva (a service requesting the deity to depart from the idol) are secret/undisclosed.”
Basing on the above, the Sabha has felt that a thorough and detailed study of Ghata Parivartan work of Badagrahis and Ghata Parivartan seva and Bisarjan seva of Pati Mohapatra is essential.
According to the RoR, there is a difference between work and seva (service). While work means helping/ assisting, seva means doing the main work (Ghata Parivartan). As per the RoR, Ghata Parivartan seva and Bisarjan seva are marked for Pati Mohapatra. Therefore, Pati Mohapatra is the authorized sevak (servitor) for Ghata Parivartan of the idols. Since this has been mentioned as undisclosed, it’s the most secret work.
The Sabha has suggested taking the opinion of the Shankarcharya to clarify on this fact in the RoR. It has demanded amendments to the RoR based on the advice/opinion of the Shankaracharya.
Seeking a study of the minutes of Nabakalebara held in 1912 and 1939 recorded by the Deula Karana in details, the Sabha has demanded that it should be ascertained who is vested with the responsibility of infusing Brahma in the new ghatas (idols).
The Sabha has drawn the attention of the government to an incident during the 1874 Nabakalebara when the Pati Mohapatra family adopted a male child from the Puja Panda family for conducting the Brahma sansthapan neeti (Brahma infusion ritual) during the Ghata Parivatan at the Nabakalebara of the Lords since it there wer no males in the Pati Mohapatra clan. Daitapati Badagrahis had completed the Brahma sansthapan neeti of the deities by getting it touched by the child’s hands. This too indicates that Pati Mohapatra family is the authorized servitor for Brahma sansthapan (infusion of Brahma).
Similarly, according to the practice followed in Shree Mandir during Rath Yatra before Dhupa (offering of prasad) to the Lords, the deities are given a mahasnana (grand bath) because they are touched by the Daitapatis . Against such a backdrop how can the Daitapatis touch the Brahma, the Sabha has questioned.
Moreover, the Sabha has demanded stringent action against those who have disclosed the secret rituals of the Lords while seeking a permanent measure to prevent such occurrences in future by amending the RoR.
The Brahma Parivartan controversy took an ugly turn on Friday with suspended senior Daitapati Kashinath Das Mohapatra demanding a lie detector test of all those present inside at the time of the Ghata Privartan.
Setting the cat among the pigeons, Kashinath demanded conduct of polygraph test on the servitors who had been refuting his claim that he and four of his colleagues were present during the conduct of Brahma Parivartan and had touched the Brahma.
“Some Daitapatis who deposed before the SJTA chief administrator Suresh Mohapatra have been claiming only four Badagrahis performed the ritual. But in reality, nine Daitapatis, including me, were present during the key ritual. I am ready to undergo the polygraph (lie detection) test. They also should come forward to take the test,” Kashinath said.
Kashinath and his son Jayakrushna, it may be noted, have been suspended for an indefinite period by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) holding them responsible for the chaos inside the temple leading to an inordinate delay in the Brahma Parivartan ritual of the deities inside the Shree Jagannath temple.