Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Jajpur/Kanakpur, Apr 23:
Fears of a repeat of the ugly spat between the Daitapatis and the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth during the upcoming Rath Yatra in what is the Nabakaebara year were revived with both sides sounding the bugle on Thursday.
Shankaracharya of Govardhan peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati was first off the blocks when he expressed his anguish over not being consulted either by the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) or the Odisha government about the Nabakalebara of the Lords. He, however, said the Gajapati Maharaja and members of the Mukti Mandap Pandit Sabha have been making courtesy calls on him.
“No one from the administration has visited me or asked for any suggestion (sujhao) or guidance (margdarshan) from me. Members of the Mukti Mandap and Gajapati Maharaja pay courtesy visits. During his courtesy visit, Gajapati Maharaja delivered a message. But neither the chief administrator nor anyone from the government has till now made any attempts to obtain any suggestion or any guidance from me,” said the seer on being questioned by reporters on the Nabakalebara on the sidelines of a school annual function in Jajpur district where he was a guest.
The Daitapatis hit back within hours. In what was clearly meant as a snub to the Shankaracharya, Ramakrushna Das Mohapatra, president of the Daitapati Nijog said; “Nabakalebara takes place when joda ashadha occurs in a Hindu calendar year. As far as I know, no decision is taken on the advice of the Shankaracharya. If at all he needs to be consulted, Gajapati Maharaja, temple administration or managing committee will take a call on it.”
“Such comments are not expected from a revered personality of the stature of Shankaracharya,” Das Mohapatra said rubbing it in further. He claimed that the ritual connected with the Nabakalebara are going perfectly well.
The Daitapati head did not spare Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Dev either. “Earlier, it was the Gajapati Maharaja who conducted the Nabakalebara programme. Now, it is the government which is doing it,” he said in what sounded like an attempt to put the Gajapati King in his place.
Reciprocating the Daitapati leader’s new found love for the government – with which it was at loggerheads during last year’s Rath Yatra – SJTA chief administrator Suresh Mohapatra lent the government’s weight fully behind the Daitapatis.
“Everything to do with the Nabakalebara process is being done in accordance with the Shree Mandir Record of Rights. It doesn’t mention any role of the Shankaracharya in it. The Shankaracharya was not consulted nor his advice taken in the 1996 Nabakalebara of the Lord either,” Mohapatra told OST.
With the Daitapatis and the government on one side and the Shankaracharya and the Gajapati King on the other, matters threaten to come to a head during the Rath Yatra in this all important Nabakalebara year, just as they did last year.