BHUBANESWAR: In a new twist to the unabated controversy over public access to chariots, Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on Saturday threatened to boycott the Rath Yatra on Sunday.
At a media conference, he reacted sharply to a letter issued by the temple administration, permitting him to climb on to the chariots “alone” to perform his rituals. “The letter, which I received on Saturday morning, has denied access to my disciples, who usually accompany me on to the chariots every year. It is an insult to me and an attempt to seize my traditional rights. I will not participate in the car festival if my disciples are not allowed on to the chariots… I want justice,” the Shankaracharya said.
In a veiled attack on Daitapati priests, the Shankaracharya slammed the state government for dancing to the tune of a few influential priests. “The government has imposed this restriction on me under pressure from a section of priests, which I never expected. I am a disciplined person. I am not supposed to follow the order of the temple administration and bow before unscrupulous characters,” the seer said. “I was deeply hurt to learn that some priests made harsh remarks against me and questioned my role on the chariots,” he said.
The Shankaracharya flayed the state government for creating an “anarchy-like situation” by distorting his advice. “From the beginning, the state government diluted my advice and wanted to restrict the ban to three days only, under pressure from influential priests. It seems the government does not want to implement my advice,” he added.
The temple officials said they were forced impose restriction on the seer’s disciples as Daitapati priests, who have been opposing his decision of preventing public access to chariots, demanded he should come alone as common public were not allowed. “Our intention was not to disrespect Shankaracharya. Since Daitapati priests are opposing the seer, we apprehend an embarrassing situation if his disciples come on to the chariots,” said a temple officer. “We are trying to convince the seer and urge him to perform his rituals,” the officer said.
Read more here about the Shankaracharya story that led to this event. –
- Uproar as priest denounces Sai Baba
- Sai Baba devotees host protest in Varanasi
- Rath Yatra threatened
Source: Times of India