Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 20:
An overwhelming 91% people, who responded to a phone survey by Odisha’s leading daily “Sambad’, have said no to the idea of devotees climbing chariots or touching the deities during the Rath Yatra festival.
The ‘Sambad’ ‘phone-in-please’ was launched on Thursday to gauge public opinion on the ongoing debate over the desirability of devotees climbing the chariots and touching the deities and whether the Shankaracharya’s verdict in the matter should be considered the final word.
Most of the 91% respondents have said the views of the Shankaracharya, who has opined that devotees should not be allowed to climb the chariots, must be honoured by the state government as well as the people at large. Many of them have accused the servitors of making big money out of people’s devotion to the Lords during the Rath Yatra, while others have expressed apprehensions of stampede and law and order situation, once this business of climbing chariots becomes a regular practice.
Some respondents, a small minority though, have taken exception to the term “Mahapaap” ( great sin) used by the Shankaracharya to denounce the idea of people touching the idols. They have said the devotees do have a right to touch the deities they worship and love and no rules should prohibit them from doing so.