BHUBANESWAR: Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on Saturday came down heavily on the State Government for interfering in the affairs of Jagannath temple.
He said the State Government has no right to stop ‘Nabajaubana Darshan’ of the Trinity this year on the plea that there would be a massive turn out of devotees, which cannot be handled. “If there is a terror threat in Puri during Rath Yatra, can the State Government stop the festival? Instead of preventing the crowd from having a darshan, the Government should take adequate measures for their safety,” the seer said while addressing a media conference here.
Criticising the Government for poor management of Jagannath temple, he said the shrine is being managed like any other Government office with little respect for its sanctity. “As per scriptures, there is absolutely no role of Government or any chief administrator in the management of the temple. In fact, all these years, Government has been playing a divide and rule game in the temple to gain an upper hand in the management,” the seer said, adding that the Government’s job is to act as a facilitator in the temple, not as an administrator. He asked the State Government to determine its limits in the management of Puri temple as per the Orissa High Court order and the Record of Rights (RoR).
The seer also accused a top official of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) of disrespecting him in matters related to Nabakalebara. “The Gobardhan Peetha and Shankaracharya are respected by everyone across the country but in Puri, things have gone down to such an extent that an IAS officer does not think twice before disrespecting my opinion on Nabakalebara or temple affairs, the seer said.”
“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Law Minister Arun Sahu are to be blamed for this because without their support, a bureaucrat cannot dare to speak against Shankaracharya,” he said, adding that it is high time the ruling party ‘washes its sins’ and concentrates on good work.
Both the SJTA and State Government should work within their limits as no one can deny the rights being bestowed on the Shankaracharya as far as the Jagannath temple is concerned.
Last week, Puri Gajapati Dibyasingh Dev and officials of SJTA had called on Shankaracharya and extended invitation to him to visit the chariots in the annual Car Festival and during the ‘Snana Purnima’ (bathing festival of the deities).