Odisha: What Gajapati opined about non-Hindus’ entry into Sri Mandir

Puri: Amidst ongoing debate triggered following the suggestions by the Supreme Court of India on entry of non-Hindus to bring reforms in the centuries old Jagannath Temple in Puri, Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb made a clear statement about age old traditions and rituals of Lord Jagannath.

While Shankaracharya, who is the head of Mukti Mandap inside Sri Mandir, disapproved the apex court’s suggestions, Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb argued with valid reasons mentioning the significance of Ratha Jatra and Snana Purnima when lakhs of deities have darshan of the lords outside the temple.

“The entry into Sri Mandir violating age old traditions of Sanatan religion is not acceptable to us,” said Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati in a press release here today.

Expressing his sentiments and views over the suggestions on entry of non-Hindus into Sri Mandir following the debate aired on various TV news channels and carried out by newspapers, Gajapati, the first servitor of Lord Jagannath said, “Entry of only Hindus into the Jagannath temple in Puri is an 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.”

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, a press release released by Gajapati office said.

As Sri Mandir was attacked and looted several times by Mughal and Afghanistan 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, Gajapati said in the release.

Will it be appropriate to allow the non-Hindus into the temple when Centre officially declared it as the ‘high risk’ category temple in India, he asked.

He 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.

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. The non-Hindus can also have darshan of Patitapaban Jagannath placed at Gumuta Gruha standing at the Singhadwar (main entrance) of the temple, he wrote.

However, the government is yet to receive any copy of Supreme Court order and review all the aspects, said Law Minister Pratap Jena amidst row over SC suggestions on Sri Mandir reforms.

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