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Makara jyoti not manmade: Sabarimala temple's chief priest

Last updated on: January 24, 2011 10:01 IST
Amid heated debate on whether Makara jyoti of Lord Ayyappa shrine is celestial or manmade, the chief priest of Sabarimala temple on Sunday said the controversy was generated only to divert attention from the tragedy that killed 102 devotees.

"Makara jyoti is the celestial star Siries and Makara villakku a symbolic deeparadhana (aarti) lit at Ponnamabelamedu," Kantaru Maheswararu told mediapersons.   

The recent controversy over the Makara jyoti and Makara vilakku was only to divert attention from the tragedy that claimed the lives of 102 devotees, he said. The controversy was also an attempt to torpedo the two month long pilgrim season of the sacred shrine, he said, adding, efforts should be made to provide better facilities and security for the pilgrims.

The thantri, who is responsible for lighting Makara Vilakku, said the practice was earlier done by tribals. "We do not see who is doing it," he said.

Rahul Easwar, his grandson and spokesperson of the family said the question over who was lighting the Makara vilakku is irrelevant, but what was being done was more important.

On reported remarks of former Travancore Devaswom Board commissioner Nalinakshan Nair that the TDB lights the fire atop Ponambelemedu, he said Nair should not use this opportunity to "tarnish" Sabarimala. The TDB is the body that administers the shrine. "There is a deliberate attempt to create a controversy by stating that Makara vilakku is being lit by some people in the forest," he said.

 Asked if the thantri family would file an affidavit in the backdrop of the Kerala high court's query to the government on whether 'Makarajyothi' was man made, Rahul Easwar said they would clarify it if asked. "We expect the court to ask us. Court should ask us and not the TDB," he said.

"This is a delicate and sensitive issue. We have to deal with clinical precision as legal, ethical, devotional aspects are involved," he said, adding, the faith of lakhs of devotees was unnecessarily being questioned and a controversy created.
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