CHENNAI: “Remember the exposition of Narsinh Metha’s wonderful rendition ‘Vaishnava Janato’, where the true meaning of the word ‘Vaishnav’ was listed,” said Justice V Ramasubramanian, to the two groups of Vaishnavas, while deciding on a petition seeking to close the main gate of Arulmigu Devanatha Swamy Temple in Cuddalore, during the procession of deity of Manavala Mamunigal.
The matter relates to a dispute between the Vadakalai and Thenkalai sects of Vaishnavaits of Arulmigu Devanatha Swamy Temple in Thiruvanthipuram of Cuddalore district. It is a custom for the Thenkalai sect to take out a procession of their deity Manavala Mamunigal chanting Divya Prabandham, after lighting camphor in front of the temple during the temple festival, which falls on Sunday this year. But the Vadakalai sect wanted to close the doors of the main entrance of the temple during the procession as per their belief. But the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) Department refused permission to close the door through an order dated September 29, 2014.
Aggrieved by the order of the commissioner, of the HR&CE Department, the petitioners, T S Kannan, R Mukundan and Prasad Saranathan, belonging to the Vadakalai sect, moved the Madras High Court seeking to quash the order and provide police protection, and maintain law and order during the procession of Manavala Mamunigal idol.
Observing that, even as per the sastras, the doors to the entrance of a temple, constructed as per the Agamas, cannot be closed except during fixed hours and during certain inauspicious times. Justice V Ramasubramanian ruled that the doors of the main entrance cannot be closed during the procession of deity of Manavala Mamunigal and directed police to give necessary police protection.
The Justice further said, “The processionists shall not light camphor when the deity passes through the temple. But, it is neither fair, nor possible to prohibit the processionists from chanting Divya Prabandhams and stopping for a few minutes in front of the temple, since it happens to be a public road.”