Maintain tradition in Badrinath, says Shankaracharya; Mahapanchayat appeals PM to ensure timely arrival of Rawals
The reopening of the Char Dham shrines is slated to begin from April 26 though due to the nation-wide lockdown in view of COVID-19, the Yatra is not going to resume as usual with the opening of the shrines. While about 32 lakh pilgrims had visited the Char Dham shrines last year, when the regular Yatra will be allowed this year remains uncertain. Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has stated that the shrines would be opened on the scheduled dates. However, only the necessary minimum number of priests and supporting staff would be present to conduct ritual worship in the shrines. The State government is also attempting to facilitate the return of the Rawal (chief priest) of Badrinath, Ishwari Prasad Namboodri from his native village in Kerala and the Kedarnath Rawal Bhima Shankar Lingam from Nanded in Maharashtra. However, a decision would be taken in a few days in case this is not possible. Regarding this uncertainty, the Shankaracharya of Jyotirpeeth (Joshimath) and Sharadapeeth (Dwarka), Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati has stated that lord Badrinath is a national deity and his ritual worship according to tradition must be ensured. Stating that there should not be any change in tradition like resorting to online Puja, he opined that the chief minister should use his authority to bring the Rawal to Badrinath by air. Acknowledging the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shankaracharya stressed that in these troubling times, it is vital to conduct the ritual worship in Badrinath with more care while observing precautions.
Meanwhile, on Friday the Devbhumi Teerth Purohit Hakhakookdhari Mahapanchayat of Uttarakhand wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appealing him to ensure that the Rawals of Badrinath and Kedarnath reach the shrines on time. A representative body of the priests and traditional right holders of the Char Dham and other related shrines in Uttarakhand, the Mahapanchayat reminded the PM that Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines would be reopened on April 26 while Kedarnath would reopen on April 29 and Badrinath on April 30. While the chief priests of Gangotri and Yamunotri are from the local community, the Rawals of Badrinath and Kedarnath are traditionally from south India. To maintain the ancient traditions, it is essential for these two Rawals to reach the shrines before the temples are reopened. It is the Rawals who oversee all the rituals in the shrines. Citing the uncertainty on the timely arrival of the Rawals due to the nation-wide lockdown, the Mahapanchayat has requested the PM to initiate action from his level to ensure that the chief priests arrive on time in order to maintain the ancient traditions established by Adi Shankaracharya. The Mahapanchayat has also requested the PM to issue directions to the State government on this subject.
Saturday, 18 April 2020 | PNS | Dehradun
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