MATHURA: The deity at the famous Bankey Behari temple here had to do with a curtailed menu for lunch on Thursday following a dispute between two groups of priests over who is eligible to cook the food.
The situation arose after Billu Goswami who on behalf of different priests was cooking 'Kacchi Rasoi' (lunch) for the deity for several years quit citing personal reasons.
"A notice for volunteering to cook lunch for Thakur Ji was put up on the notice board. However, to my surprise no one came forward. Ultimately, two Saraswat Brahmins, who became disciple of two Goswamis, were given the responsibility of Kacchi Rasoi (lunch)."
"... after consultation with senior Goswamis, the responsibility was given to the two Saraswat Brahmins. The ritual of giving them 'Kanthi Mala' (as mark of becoming disciple of the priest of the temple)," Bankey Behari temple committee president Nand Kishor Upmanyu said.
However, the system was unacceptable to a group of priests who claimed that it was against the tradition of the temple and for the time being, it has been kept at abeyance, he said.
"While priest of morning shift (Rajbhog) is supposed to prepare Kacchi Rasoi (lunch), consisting of roti, kadhi, daal, two type of vegetables, three types of rice, sweet etc, himself with the help of his family members, the priest of evening shift (Shayan Bhog) is expected to prepare dinner for the deity consisting of puri, kachauri, vegetables, samosas, pakauri, sweet dishes, etc," priest of the temple Shashank Goswami said.
"How can we allow the holy tradition of the temple to be overlooked by getting the lunch prepared by an outsider?," former president of Bankey Behari temple committee Gaurav Goswami said.
"While only milk rice was served in lunch to the deity day before yesterday, with the cooperation from other priests proper lunch as per prescribed menu was served to deity during the last two days.
"Let the election to temple committee, slated for April 24, be over, then we would decide the future course of action," he said.