Sankar Rejects Non Hindu Entry

Chief of Goverdhan Peeth in the Holy City Shankaracharya Nischalanand Saraswati, who is also the Head of the Mukti Mandap inside Shree Jagannath Temple, announced that the proposal of Apex Court to consider entry of Non Hindus to the 12th Century Shrine is unacceptable.

This was echoed by Gajapati King Dibyasingh Deb—chief servitor of the Trinity—said the decision of Shankarachaya shall be binding on all parties in this regard.

However, Minister Law, Pratap Jena today said the Department of Law is yet to receive the observation of the Supreme Court.
“After the order is received, it will be examined. This is the interim order of the Supreme Court. The state government will take a decision after the apex court gives the final verdict,” Minister informed Media.
Mr.Jena said the State Government is keen on the reforms in Shree Jagannath temple, and if necessary, the Government will amend Shree Jagannath Temple Act, 1954.
On the entry of the Non-Hindus into Shree Jagannath temple, Mr.Jena said this is a proposal given by the Apex Court. The State Government will take a decision after a unanimous decision is taken on this issue.
However, the Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb spoke about the age old traditions and rituals of Lord Jagannath citing example of non-Hindus having ‘Darshan’ of the Trinity from outside the temple premises on occasions such as Rath Jatra and Snana Purnima.
“The entry into Sri Jagannath Mandir violating age old traditions of the Sanatan dharm is not acceptable to us,” said the Shankaracharya.
The Mutt Spokesperson at a Media Meet quoted the Jagadguru as saying that the State Government, Centre and other bodies must consult the Shanakaracharya before any decision.
“The rituals in the Temple is being conducted as per the Vedic scriputres and will continue in future also,” Spokesperson Manoj Rath said quoting Sankarachrya.
The Gajapati who is the first servitor of Lord Jagannath said, “Entry of only Hindus into the Jagannath temple in Puri said the rituals in the Temple are age old established tradition, which is mentioned in Sri Mandir Record of Rights.
“Whenever the question arises regarding the implemented rituals, systems and traditions in the temple, Shankaracharya of Puri Govardhan Peeth and other scholars of Mukti Mandap are consulted for their valuable suggestions,” he said.
In a statement he said, the servitors’ community should also be asked for their opinion to work on the SC suggestions.
“The changes should be made keeping the sentiments of billions of devotees of Lord Jagannath in mind,” the release said.
The Gajapati said the decision of Shankaracharya on Jagannath Temple is final and shall be binding on all parties.
Even the Apex Court will agree to his suggestions, he said.   
“As Sri Mandir was attacked and looted several times by Mughal and Afghan militants during early 14th century till 17th century, it was the prime cause behind restriction of non-Hindus from entering into the temple. Although, the situation is different at present, it is necessary to take precautionary measures for security of the shrine in view of the spread of terrorism across India and world, the release quoted the Gajapati as saying.
He further questioned whether it will be appropriate to allow non-Hindus into the temple when Centre has officially declared it as the ‘high risk’ category temple in India.
Gajapati further argued that Sri Mandir should not be compared with any other Hindu shrines where non-Hindus are allowed for darshan of the deities.
“As per the scriptures in Sanatan religion, the presiding deities never leave the sanctum sanctorum, rather the representative idols make visit during various festivals and occasion,” he said.
However, Lord Jagannath culture is deviated from the Hindu scriptures. In view of sentiments non-Hindus, lord Jagannath along with his siblings come out of the Sri Mandir for giving darshan to billions of devotees outside the temple during Snana Purnima and Ratha Jatra, he said adding, “ The non-Hindus can also have darshan of Patitapaban Jagannath placed at Gumuta Gruha standing at the Singhadwar (main entrance) of the temple.”
Saffron Veteran, Bijay Mohapatra said, Jagannath temple is the only temple in the country where the servitors perform 120 rituals of the Lords.
“Hence comparing this temple with other temples in the country is wrong,” he asserted.
Mr.Mohapatra urged the Gajapati Maharaja to urgently intervene in the matter since he is the first servitor of Lord Jagannath and the leader of the servitor community.
“I am sure that some people outside Odisha are behind this conspiracy to deprive the servitors of their rights. Considering this, the Shankaracharya of the Gobardhan Peeth, the Gajapati Maharaja, the Chief Secretary, Law Secretary and the Advocate General should jointly discuss the matter and take a final decision,” he added.
However, PCC President Niranjan Patnaik favours entry of non-Hindus into the temple saying all are the children of the Lord.
“All men are children of the Lord and hence they all are equal. I personally feel the non-Hindus should be allowed inside the Temple complex for the darshan of the Trinity,” he said.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today said it would file a review petition in the Supreme Court to reconsider a proposal on the entry of the non-Hindus into the Jagannath Temple in Puri.
“The State Government will be requested to reconsider its proposal to this effect failing which we will file a review petition in the Supreme Court,” VHP State Working president Badrinath Patnaik told Media Persons here.
Division Bench of the Apex Court on 5 July had urged the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to consider allowing non-Hindus into the temple since Hinduism does not eliminate any other faith and religion.

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