Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalanand Saraswati, who has been sharing an uneasy relationship with Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and Sevayat bodies, has triggered a fresh row by alleging apathy during the Nabakalebara preparations.
At the annual function of a school in Jajpur district, the Shankaracharya expressed his disappointment that nobody from the SJTA or Odisha Government consulted him regarding the preparations of Nabakalebara 2015. “Although Gajapati Maharaja and members of the Mukti Mandap Pandit Sabha have been making courtesy calls on me, I am yet to hear anything from the SJTA Chief Administrator or the Government. They did not to try to take my suggestions or guidance over this”, he said.
The Daitapatis hit back, saying the Shankaracharya, being a venerable person, should not make such controversial statements. Ramakrushna Das Mohapatra, President of the Daitapati Nijog, clarified that there is no such precedent or rule to consult Shankaracharya during Nabakalebara preparations. “If at all he needs to be consulted, Gajapati Maharaja and SJTA will take a call”, he added.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) headed by Suresh Mohapatra, also played down Shankaracharya’s outburst, there is no need to consult him during the rituals, which are part of temple tradition. The bitter spat between Shankaracharya and Odisha Government during last year’s Rath Yatra, damaged the reputation of Puri Jagannath Temple and its rich culture and tradition. The government and sevayats had drawn flak for ignoring and belittling the Puri Seer.