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Climbing chariots, touching trinity 'great sin': Gajapati Maharaj

Urges Govt to approve ban move 
Bhubaneswar: Stating that climbing the chariots and touching the deities atop the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra during the annual car festival by devotees and servitors other than the prescribed persons as Maha papa ‘great sin’ Odisha’s Gajapati King and Jagannath Temple Managing Committee chairman Divyasingh Dev on Monday urged the Odisha government to accept the Puri Sankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati’s viewpoint and managing committee’s decision banning devotees climbing the chariots.

The Gajapati King was speaking on the sidelines of religious ceremony which was attended by Sankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati among many scholars and intlectuals.
Sankarcharya in his report submitted to the Temple Managing Committee which was later forwarded to the Odisha government for its approval on November 7, 2013, has categorically suggested that devotees should not be allowed to climb the chariots.

“The Sankarcharya cited in the report that there are no mentions in any scriptures prescribing that the devotees should touch or climb the chariots to earn blessings. He has, instead, said it is against the spirit of the scriptures to climb the chariots. Hence, it is not prescribed in any Hindu religious scriptures to climb the chariots,” the Gajapati King said.

He added that Sankaracharya had consulted a number of eminent seers of the country before arriving at his final say on climbing the chariots by the devotees.

The Gajapati King, while advocating for doing away with the special provisions for senior Government officials, Ministers and other VIPs, stated that the car festival was open to people of all faith and religions.

“Our scriptures do not allow anyone except the servitors, Gajapati King and Sankarachayra to climb the chariots and touch the deities during the car festival,” said Sankarachayra.

Devotees literally fight to climb on the chariots during the car festival. Many of them pay hefty sums to a section of priests to get the opportunity. This has led to many unpleasant situations, including stampede and conflicts with the priests, in the past.

Many intellectuals, seers, academicians, retired justices like Swami Sachidananda Saraswati Maharaj of Dibya Jiban Sangha Odisha, Chief of Jhanjhapita Math, Puri Sachidananda Das Maharaj, Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth Vice Chancellor Prof harekrushna Sarpathy, former DGP Gopal Nanda, retired High Court judges like Justice Debapriya Mahapatra and Justice SN Naidu speaking on the occasion too unanimously justified the viewpoint of Sankarcharya and Gajapati King and requested the Government to accept the proposal soon.

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