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Home > News > Report

Udupi temple: Row over seer crossing the seas

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | December 04, 2007 10:03 IST
Last Updated: December 04, 2007 10:20 IST

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A major controversy seems to be brewing at the historic Lord Krishna temple in Udupi, a coastal town in Karnataka.

Crossing the seas to go abroad may deprive a seer the right to worship Lord Krishna at the famous Krishna temple in the coastal town of Udupi in Karnataka.

The temple which was established by Madwacharya, the founder of the Dwaitha philosophy, is being administered by the ashta maths (8 maths) namely the Krishnamath, Admar, Kaniyur, Sodhe, Puthige, Shiroor, Palimar and Pejawar maths.

The heads of each of these maths manage the affairs of this temple on a rotation basis known as the paryaya.

The heads of each of these maths run the show for a period of two years before handing over the paryaya peeta (seat) to the head of another math.

However in January 2008 the ceremony marking the ascendancy to the seat is not expected to be a smooth affair.

Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji, the head of the Puthige math, who is to ascend the seat in January 2008 will not have a smooth run up as he has been facing stiff opposition from the heads of the other maths.

The heads of the other maths say he has created sagarollanghana (crossing the seas). The other maths allege that the head of the Puthige math had travelled to the United States and this in the tradition of the temple is considered sacrilege.

The heads of the other maths say that that the Puttige math will have to desist from worshipping at the temple. It is said that as per the tradition of the temple, none of the heads of the maths are allowed to cross the seas. In case they do, they will not be permitted to ascend the seat.

The rest of the seven maths say that Sugunendra Thirtha Swamiji can only confine himself to running the administration of the temple, but he will not be allowed to worship at the temple.

The head of the Puthige math is however clear, stating that he cannot be denied the right to worship and should be allowed to ascend the seat.

He said that he had not gone to the US on a pleasure trip. Instead he had been to the US only to spread the Dwaitha philosophy and to establish Krishna temples. He also said that the head of the Pejawar math too had congratulated him in the past on his endeavour to spread the Dwaitha philosophy.

The Pejawar math head is well known for his efforts in trying to establish the Ram temple in Ayodhya and also his recent efforts in trying to bring Uma Bharati back into the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The head of the Puthige math said that he had informed the other maths about his decision to go abroad, but had not got any clear response regarding the same.

He said that he had listened to his conscience and gone ahead. He questioned whether it was wrong on his part to have visited the US.

"I had participated in the conventions of the Krishna devotees and also held talks to set up three Krishna temples in the US. Clearly not a pleasure trip," he argued.

Now the Puthige math head is demanding the framing of a constitution for the Krishna temple in Udupi. He feels that the framing of a constitution will avoid such controversies in the future.

The ashta maths would like to settle this issue before January when the paryaya peetha is expected to take place. This function is unique in nature and lakhs of devotees assemble at the temple in Udupi when it takes place.

The heads of the ashta maths will meet in a couple of days to decide on the next course of action to be taken and the main focus will be to sort out the problem.