Puri priests up in arms against ISKCON Ratha Yatra dates burn an effigy of the Founder/Acarya
The priests at Jagannath Temple here are again up in arms against the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), which, despite facing flak from different quarters last year, is again likely to celebrate Rath Yatra on different dates at various places in the country.
A number of priests and cultural enthusiasts under the banner of Sri Jagannath Sena, a local cultural outfit, staged a demonstration in front of the world famous 12th century shrine on Tuesday protesting against the proposed untimely celebration of annual Rath Yatra by ISKCON authorities at different places, including New Delhi and Ludhiana. The angry priests even burnt the effigy of Srila Prabhupada, the Founder/Acharya of ISKCON. ISKCON is likely to observe Rath Yatra at different places in next couple of months, said some of the agitating priests.
“Time and again the ISKCON society is flouting our tradition and norms. Last year too they did not pay heed to our protests and went ahead with celebrating Rath Yatra on different dates at various places in the country,” said Priyadarshan Pattanaik, the national convener of the Sena.
“Even though Jagannath temples exist in every nook and cranny of the world, the Jagannath Temple at Puri is the real abode of Jagannath. And going by the age-old tradition, the annual Rath Yatra of the Lord is observed on asadha sukla dwitiya that falls in June and July in the Gregorian calendar,” Pattanaik maintained.
Expressing solidarity with the priests, Mayapurchandra dasa, a former ISKCON devotee from Italy said the Krishna followers should abide by the precept of Hindu religion and calendar. ” ISKCON should celebrate Rath Yatra on the same day as observed here. But burning the effigy of Prabhupada is condemnable,” Mayapurchandra said.
Priests reproached the Jagannath Temple administration for doing little to stop such practices by ISKCON. “The shrine authorities last time had promised to take legal action against the ISKCON authorities after the latter underplayed the warnings made by the former. But the Jagannath temple officials turned back from that promise. This bolstered ISKCON to observe Rath Yatra once again on different dates,” said an agitating priest, Somnath Khuntia.
Surprisingly, the temple Chief Administrator, Sailendra Narayan Sarangi, parried the issue saying “I have no idea about it”. He even did not reply whether he will take up the matter again with the ISKCON authorities. Temple PRO Laxmidhar Pujapanda said the Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb requested the ISKCON body to celebrate Rath Yatra on the same date, akin to Puri.
We encourage ISKCON leaders, all disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada to immediately express their outrage via petitions and personal complaints to Puri Temple administrators and officials. Please direct your letters, faxes and phone calls to the following individuals.
Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb Chairman, Sri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee Sri Nahar, Puri 752001 Phone 1: 91-674-2511166 Phone 2: 91-6752-222829 Fax: 91-674-513842
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Mr. Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, IAS Working Chairman Shri Jagannath Temple Office, Puri Phone 1: 91-6752-223002 Phone 2: 91-6752-222002 E-mail: email@example.com
Mr. Bhaskar Jyoti Sarma, IAS Collector & Deputy Chief Administrator Shri Jagannath Temple Office, Puri. Phone (Office): 91-6752-222033 Phone (Residence): 91-6752-222034 Fax: 91-6752-223939 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sailendra Narayan Sarangi Chief Administrator, Jagannatha Puri Temple E-mail: email@example.com
In a related story from ‘The Hindu’:
Protest against proposed car festival by ISKCON
Staff Reporter, THE HINDU
Puri: A number of servitors of Jagannath Temple and cultural enthusiasts of Puri on Tuesday took to the street protesting the proposed car festival to be organised by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New Delhi on November 23.
They were enraged over untimely celebration of the festival. Servitors burnt effigy of Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharya of ISKCON. Shouting slogans against the organisers, these servitors threatened not to allow the ISKCON followers to Puri.
“Ratha Yatra is usually celebrated in the month of June and July. Since Puri is the real abode of Lord Jagannath, the festival timing should be followed by everyone in and outside the State. So celebrating Ratha Yatra on an unscheduled date is anti-Hindu,” said Priyadarshan Patnaik, national convenor of Jagannath Sena, a local outfit.
The State government and the Jagannath Temple Administration (JTA) should take action against ISKCON authorities and prevent organisers at New Delhi from celebrating the Rath Yatra. Reacting to the development JTA’s public relation officer Laxmidhar Pujapanda said Dibyasingh Dev, scion of Puri Royal family, had requested other State government not to allow celebration of Car Festival on any unscheduled date. Despite the protest last year, ISKCON had celebrated the car festival in New Delhi. It had evoked sharp reactions among servitors and other die-hard followers of Jagannath cult.
However, Bhubaneswar unit of ISKCON had disassociated from the whole controversy. Chief of ISKCON, Bhubaneswar Golak Mohapatra said, “we are not part of the decision taken at New Delhi. We will follow the rituals of Jagannath Temple at Puri. We have even passed a resolution to this effect.”