Puri king defends Shankaracharya, says govt must resolve issue

Bhubaneswar, Jun 30: A day after Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati boycotted Rath Yatra owing to the ongoing row over devotees of Lord Jagannath climbing over the chariots while performing the pujas, Puri king Divyasingha Deb on Monday said the state government must resolve the issue.

"Both the state government and the Jagannath temple administration should make efforts to ensure that the sheer's traditional role is kept intact. I hope that they would facilitate the traditional rituals performed by Shankaracharya on the chariots," Deb said.

The Shankaracharya yesterday boycotted the Rath Yatra after Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) sent him a letter which restricted him to climb the chariot alone without any of his disciples to perform the pujas.

"Even as the Shankaracharya had himself decided to take only two of his disciples to chariots this year, the temple administration insisted him to go alone. As per practice, the seer used to be accompanied by seven persons in the past," Deb pointed out.

"They (SJTA) took the decision of putting restriction on the Shankaracharya without consulting him," he added.

As per the custom, the Shankaracharya is the first person to have darshan of the deities every year during the Rath Yatra before Puri king perform Chhera Pahanra (ceremonial sweeping of chariots).

Meanwhile, the RSS and the VHP have reacted sharply against the 'humiliation' of the sheer and the institution of Shankaracharya and have threatened to launch agitation unless the state government apologises.


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