Good News: Reactionary Shankaracharya stays away from Rath Yatra

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Shankaracharya of Puri knows that he has no place in Jagannatha system. Yet, he had almost succeeded to enter into the system through the backdoor under cover of a High Court verdict and in nexus with the present Gajapati Divyasingh Dev.

The good news is that, after we strongly exposed his position and the Daitapati leadership also pointed out how he has no right to ride over the Rath, he has stayed away from the most progressive event centering a deity of the masses in the world.

Daitapati leadership clearly stated that it is only they that were magnanimously inviting the Shankarachary to climb on the Chariot to pay his respects to the Lord. That cannot be construed as a right. And, rightly so.
Sri Jagannatha is Buddha, propitiated as such in Indrabhuti’s Gnanasiddhi where has been described as Sarva Buddhamaya (Buddha in entirety), (Two Vajrayana Works, p.31).

In ancient Oriya literature too, he is described as Buddha.

Orissa’s Vyasa Muni – the great Sarala Das – in Sabha Parva of his unique epic Mahabharata, which has incorporated relevant events of Orissa in his epic contextualizing them with Vyasa’s writing, has made it clear that Sri Jagannatha himself is the merciful Buddha. One of many of his verses in this regard says, “Samsara Jananku tariva nimante, Buddha rupare bije accha Jagannathe” .

In the language of Sunya Samhita, he is described as Buddha worshiped on the shore of Mahodadhi (Buddha rupe Mahodadhi Kule), The Mahodadhi of Sunya Samhita is wrongfully named by the British as Bay of Bengal.

In Deula Tola, Sri Jagannatha has revealed that he is none but Buddha. (Thakure boile Raja hoilu ki bai, Kali yuge basibun Buddha rupa hoi).

In explaining why Jagannatha has neither the hands nor feet, Daru Brahma Gita says, “Sastha divasa antarena, Pada je Pani hela kshina; Bauddha rupa heba jani, Pada Pani chhadile Gosani”.

Sunya samhita further says, “Boile Achyuta tembhe shuna ambha vani, Kaliyuge Buddha rupe prakashibu puni”.

Sasi Sena makes the declaration more specific: “Sri Nilagiri kandare Hari, Buddha rupare chhanti bije kari”.

So, Sri Jagannatha is Buddha; and, hence, is the greatest religious obstacle to conservative Hindutwa that divides the society on caste line, condemning the working class as Mlechha (untouchable) with scriptural provisions for their exploitation.

Sri Jagannatha is Oriya’s epitome of matriarchy and resultant Universal outlook that propounds peaceful co-existence sans any geographical, caste or creed prejudice.

Therefore, for centuries, the Shankaracharian design propelled by caste-supremacists has tried to destroy this uniqueness of Jagannatha.

We have shown in earlier discussions that Shankaracharya is a sectarian Hindu chauvinist belonging to Adwaita Vedanta school of thought which is de facto a sub-thought of the orthodox philosophy called Vedanta, thriving on caste-supremacist mentality of upper caste Hindus. He has formed a private militia styled Aditya Bahini, when Orissa is the place, where, to wipe out her Buddhist identity, Keshari kings were rewarding Pashupat Saiva brand of Brahmin hooligans with gold coins for annihilation of Buddhist monks. When Jayati Kesari had imported 10,000 militant Brahmins from Kanauj to destroy Buddhist monasteries in Orissa, particularly in present day Jajpur district, according to Iswara Das in Chaitanya Bhagavata, at Ch.148, a king of Keshari dynasty had beheaded 668 Buddhist monks on the banks of river Prachi, forcing Bauddhacharyas of Chaurashi monastery to go underground. Some of the Chaurashi Siddhacharyas had fled to Nepal where a bunch of their philosophical poems known as Charyagitis were stumbled upon by a Bengali scholar who, sans qualm, had tried to misappropriate the same for his mother tongue. Philological analysis has shown them as proto-Oriya.

Rev. J. Long, had tried to reach the root of Buddhism. As, Nepal was projected as birthplace of Buddha, he had made extensive research there to find out if that was the fountainhead of Buddhism. He got no proof. China being a land where Buddhism was massively followed, he had tried to find out the root of Buddhism there also. He could not. Ceylon being the other place famously known for Buddhist practices, he made his research there too. No evidence was available to him to arrive at the root of Buddhism. . But, on “antiquarian analysis”, he was convinced that if any place could be linked to origin of Buddhism, that is Orissa. In his ‘Notes and Queries suggested by a visit to Orissa in January 1859’ he has put it on records that, “though Orissa be now the garden of the Hinduism and Jagannatha its jerujalem”, “antiquarian enquiries in Nepal, Ceylon and China show that the Buddhism so noted in its regards for enlightening the masses and opposing caste, was for ages predominant all through Orissa both among the rulers and the people”.

“The whole temple (of Jagannatha) was built on the principles of Kamavajrayani Buddhists” wrote P. Bandopadhya in Rachanavali. Analyzing the statues of copulation spangled all over the temple, he had seen how effectively Tantra was its driving force. “It was in this SriMandira”, he noted, “the harmony was achieved between cosmic creation and the creation of human body. In all these obscene sculptures, every male is a Buddhist Monk of the Kamavajrayana school and every female is a Devadasi or a female votary” (Quoted from translation by D.P.Chatopadyaya).

Rev. Jung in his paper cited supra has shown how Brahmins were using brutal force to destroy Jagannatha’s real identity and how to save Buddha’s tooth from them, a daughter of a king of Orissa had fled to Ceylon concealing the holy relics in her hair. Mentioning that the celebrated tooth of Buddha, which Jagannatha contained till 4th century AD, he has said, after a short periodic shift to Patna, “the ancient Palibothra then the capital of North India”, the tooth was soon after brought back to Puri. “But, on an invasion of the country, it was conveyed in AD 311 by a king’s daughter concealed in her hair to Ceylon, which was then becoming a place of refuge to the Buddhists from the Brahmins’ rage”.

This is how since so many centuries the Vedic chauvinists, to which gang the Puri Shankaracharya belongs, have been acting against Sri Jagannatha, the Buddha.

People of Orissa, had, therefore, thrown the statues of Adi Shankara and his disciple Padmapada – the first Sankaracharya of Puri – to the dustbin, by dragging them out from the podium of Jagannatha, where the Brahmins had managed Gajapati Purusottam Dev to put those images for worship. Since then, Shankaracharya has no place in SriMandira system.

But, as the people are increasingly growing ignorant of their glorious cultural heritage under fascist flood of Hindu fanaticism, mistaking the same as new definition of nationalism; and as law courts are having judges that are not reluctant to act as launching pads of social acceptability of sectarian religious bigots like the Shankaracharya, the greatest epitome of Oriya culture, Sri Jagannatha is threatened with extinguishment of his uniqueness.

Thanks to the Daitapati leadership, his self-help tricks to impose himself on Sri Jagannatha under the cover of a high court ruling have been foiled this time.

Is there any justice for the murdered journalist? Orissa should be ashamed of its pusillanimity

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A month has elapsed. As ORISSA MATTERS had put it, the killers had found the Police Station area in Khalikote in the home district of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik quite a safe place to commit the crime. Journalist Tarun Acharya was killed coldblooded by the terminators of human rights in the evening of May 27. But, Police that was sleeping then, is in slumber as yet.

It was a brutal assault on Press. Neither the Chief Minister in whose district this crime was perpetrated, nor the Opposition in the Assembly whom every moment to find fault with administration is a golden opportunity, have woke up to the occasion to shade even their meretricious tears on the loss of the precious life. Neither any politician worth his salt has condemned the murder nor has the Eastern Media Limited that was using his input to gain more audience stood even posthumously with the man, lest thereby his employment with the flagships of the organization may raise complicated labor issues.

In such a circumstances, eminent journalist and leader of Media Unity for Freedom of Press, Prasanta Patnaik has issued a statement appealing the conscience of everybody who loves democracy to react to this dastardly attack on the fourth pillar of democracy. We quote below his statement –

A month has passed since the brutal murder of our journalist friend TARUN ACHARYA of Khallikote in Ganjam district. Despite the demands of media persons through various journalist bodies and MEDIA UNIT FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS (MUFP) for arrest of all involved in this crime and to take exemplary steps by trying all the accused persons in the First Track Courts and giving adequate compensation to the next of kin of Tarun, s far the State Government has not taken any action.

Very strangely our popular Chief Minister Mr Naveen Patnaik and none from the Government have condemned the brutal murder nor have expressed sympathy to the bereaved family including his young widow, old parents and other family members.

It is a clear attack on the freedom of press in Orissa none of our political leaders including the leader of opposition have so far raised voice in the Assembly which is presently on session. None of the Civil Society bodies, intellectuals, women and youth organizations has also raised voice against such heinous attack on the Fourth Pillar of Democracy.

While only two persons allegedly involved in the crime have been arrested others have not been arrested and the police have not been able to reach at the root of the conspiracy and find out the persons really responsible for the crime.

Tarun, though was working for the SAMBAD and KANAK TV and his reports on the cashew mafia in these media is said to be the real cause behind his murder so far the management of this media house have not come forward to claim that Tarun was their reporter nor have taken any step strikingly condemning the brutal killing of a brave Journalist like Tarun Acharya.

I therefore appeal to all the media persons irrespective organizations they are working for and professional organizations to which they belong to join their hands and strongly fight against such threat to media persons in Orissa.

I also appeal to all professional bodies and MEDIA UNIT FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS (MUFP), all the editors, management of Media Houses to express their solidarity for this great cause of Orissa media and press their legitimate demands.

Friends who agree with my views may kindly send their suggestions at the earliest so that we can organize a meeting of all media friends working in print, electronic, web and visual media etc. to finalize our future course of action.

Cases in Orissa High Court after we dwelt on Shankaracharya’s design against Jagannathism: Adjudication better be done by non-Brahmin Judges

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The good news is that a Public Interest Litigation has been filed before the Orissa High Court after we dwelt on Shankaracharya’s nasty design to destroy Jagannatha Culture.

The PIL has challenged the Shankaracharya’s self-help fatwa banning devotees of Sri Jagannatha climbing the chariot while declaring himself to do the same. He has neither any duty to perform on the chariot nor any entitlement to do so under the Records of Rights, the PIL has stated.

Shankaracharya is a sectarian Hindu leader belonging to Adwaita sect of Vedanta and his basic work is to, as and when necessary, interpret what the Adi Shankaracharya had said Vedanta, which again is one of the six rival philosophies like Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkshya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta. These six rival schools have their common challengers in philosophies like Jainism and Buddhism which are Dharmas distinctly different from the Hindu Dharma.

So, even if Sri Jagannatha is, for the sake of argument only, considered a Hindu deity, Shankaracharya cannot be the sole authority in the matter of Jagannatha.

Hindu religion is saturated with many modern philosophies, even as Vidyaranya has identified as many as sixteen rival philosophies that affect Hinduism. Adwaita Vedanta is a part thereof. So, Shankaracharya is a mere Mathadhisha only of a quarreling sect of Hindu philosophy, not the leader of the whole gamut of Hindu philosophic schools.

As and when necessary, he may help the followers of his sect with interpretation of Adwaita Vedants; but he has no right to pose as the leader of all the Hindus.

Specifically, Sri Jagannatha being Buddha, the Shankaracharya has no role at all in his matter.

The Orissa High Court was misled by the caste-supremecists to accept Shankarachary as the final adviser of Hindus, and has erred in mandating that any action that goes against the opinion of Shankaracharya “will obviously be inoperative”.

Shankaracharya being a sectarian caste-supremacist leader, it is absolutely wrong to enforce him on all the Hindus in general and in particular, on the Jagannatha devotees, the deity being basically Buddha and extensively anti-casteism.

Jagannath the Shakta deity

On the other hand, Sri Jagannatha is the deity of the Shakta sect. In Puri, which is Niladri, Sri Jagannatha is the discernible form of Dakshina Kalika, the supreme Devi of Tantra (Niladrau Sri Jagannatha Sakshat Dakshina Kalika). Puri is Srikshetra, the best of the soil that represents the female factor, where male identity is lost to female superiority, because the entire Srikshetra is based on the concept of Kali (Sri Kalika Yantrarupam Kshetram Sri Purusottamam / Tatratya Yoginirupah Pumanshcha Parikirttitah). Even the males are considered as female form of Bhairavas, because Srikshetra is Kali’s soil of romance (Strirupah Bhairavah Sarve Purushah Purusottame / Jambudwipe Birajante Kalika Keli Bhumayah).

In this Shakta system on which the cult of Jagannatha has evolved, Shankaracharya has no place. Therefore, when Gajapati Purusottam Dev had consecrated a statue of the Adi Shankaracharya on the podium of Jagannatha, the people of Orissa had revolted against him and had forced him to amend his ways and had uprooted the statue of Adi Shankar from the Ratna Vedi of Jagannatha and had thrown that statue to the dustbin. Since then, Shankaracharya had no say in the matter of Sri Jagannatha. People of Orissa had completely ejected him out of the Jagannatha system.

But the caste-supremacists, who have been using the present Gajapati and top functionaries belonging to the Brahmin caste to revive their hegemony, have, somewhat managed to project Shankaracharya as an authority over the entire Hindu community through the court verdict referred to supra in absence of any informed opposition.

This has given birth to a situation where the purely liberal, secular, caste-less car festival of Sri Jagannatha may be vitiated with a Hindu sectarian fundamentalism.

Sri Jagannatha is epitome of social unity of Oriya people and of their unique world outlook based on universal brotherhood as propounded originally by the greatest son of Orissa soil, Gurudev Buddha, whom the world knows as Lord Buddha. A short sojourn in evolution of Sri Jagannatha may be of immense help.

Evolution of Sri Jagannatha

Founder of the Vajrayan school of Buddhism Indrabhuti had tried to give a shape to Gurudev Buddha, in whose demise, the Buddhists were trying to save their system from the deity-centric Vedic imperialism by promoting Shunyavada on the assumption that, after demise, Buddha had become one with the Shunya, omnipresent.

By then the matriarch tribes of Orissa had been worshiping a torso shaped wooden log as Jaganta in the belief that, the female factor is behind creation. And, as shown in my book ‘SriJaya Devanka Baisi Pahacha’ (Bharata Bharati, Cuttack), in course of time, to make their concept more specific, they had added the picture of a pair of female breasts to this Jaganta and the torso had evolved into Jaganta-tha with the suffix ‘tha’ representing ‘thana’ the breasts. To them, when womb of the mother gives birth, the breasts of the mother gives the growth. So, the breasts depicted in the wooden log representing the torso of the mother were made most prominent. The same breasts on the torso of the creator-female (Madalaa) have come to be projected as the round eyes (Chaka Akhi) of SriJagannatha. (Ibid).

Gurudev Buddha being the supreme leader of Orissa’s matriarch tribes, and because of him the tribal democracies having been saved from Vedic imperialism, which he had done by rushing from Tosala (his birthplace Orissa) to Magadha to obstruct the spread of empire building in the very heartland of Vedic-imperialism, the tribes of Orissa, specifically the Shavara tribe, had been seeing Buddha in the body of that Jananta-tha. Therefore, when Indrabhuti wanted to promote a visible shape for the omnipresent Buddha, to counter the impact of deity-centric Brahminism, his concept being the matriarch component of applied Buddhism, he negotiated with the Shavara tribes that gave eminent Shioddhacharyas to Orissa, to project their ‘Jaganta-tha’ as Jagannatha and thus founded Jagannatha, propitiating the omnipresent (Gaganopama) Gurudev Buddha as Jagannatha for the first time. Gnanasiddhi, the canon he gave to Vajrayan, begun with the verse: “Pranipatya Jagannatham Sarvajina Vararcchitam / Sarva Buddhamayam Siddhavyapinam Gaganopamam / Sarvadam Sarvasattwevyah Sarvagnam Baravajrinam / Bhaktyoham Sarvavabena Bakshe Tatsadhanam Param”.

So, Sri Jagannatha is entirely Buddha as founded by Indrabhuti.

Indrabhuti had been bestowed upon with all cooperation in establishing Sri Buddha Jagannatha by the dedicated followers of Buddha in the Kurma Pataka (literary working class) on the banks of Prachi spanning from his birthplace Kapilavastu (red-soil village) in the Rangamatia region of Chandaka-Dhauligiri range to Puri via Kakatapur and Konarka and the said Kurma Pataka, whom caste-supremacists hate as untouchable, had their writ of Tantra on theology of Jagannatha, in recognition of which the inner campus of Srimandira is named Kurma Bedha where caste factor has no existence. The caste-supremacists, in order to misappropriate Jagannatha for themselves, have transformed Indrabhuti to Indradyumna and the Kurma Pataka to Kurma (turtles) through concocted legends, but the inner campus of Srimandira where caste-less Jagannathism still prevails, is known as yet as the Kurma Bedha.

Despite promulgation of Vedic Mantras and appointment of Puja Pandas by Brahminism’s patronizing kings, the people of Orissa have not only shown their aversion to Shankaracharyan chauvinism in throwing away Adi Shankara’s statue to the dustbin after uprooting the same from Buddha Jagannatha’s Ratna Vedi as mentioned supra, but also have retained the Tantric system in every ritual of Jagannatha, including Snana and Ratha Yatras.

As the Orissa High Court has already injured the Jagannatha culture by putting stamp of approval on Shankaracharya’s nasty design to reduce Jagannatha to a toy of caste-supremacist Hindus, it is now incumbent upon the real devotees of Sri Jagannatha adopt every possible method to save Sri Jagannatha from the antagonists of Jagannathism.

Now two cases are before the Orissa High Court. One, as referred to above, is seeking nullification of Shankaracharya’s self-help declaration to climb over the chariot and do whatever he wants with Sri Jagannath there; and Two, the case of Daitapatis seeking nullification of ban on devotees touching Sri Jagannath on his chariot.

Both the cases should be settled without any prejudice. And, for this, it would be better if judges belonging to Brahmin caste graciously stay away from adjudication; because, as discussed above, the caste-supremacists are active in engulfing Sri Jagannatha, whose Buddha identity is under severe threat.

Properties of compradors in IDCO need be seized immediately pending responsibility fixation and punishment

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled in Orissa Assembly on June 23 exposes nasty facets of Orissa administration that patronizes private companies at the cost of the people.

Samples are galore. Private Companies have used the State Government to acquire vast volumes of land by misuse of Land Acquisition Act. Public Sector IDCO makes the acquisition under cover of ‘public purpose’ to hoodwink the law and on obtaining the lease of such land as well as government plots, subleases the same to private companies. 


Besides having located the illegalities in these deals, the CAG has come out with chilling information on how illegally the IDCO has helped some of the companies obtain thousands of crores of rupees from Banks by mortgaging the lands subleased to them.

According to CAG, on the basis of ‘no-objection-certificate’ (NOC) issued by IDCO, banks have sanctioned Rs. 52,423.50 crores to 12 industries against mortgage of 8489.828 acres of land that belong basically to the State Government, as IDCO is merely the lease holder. Issuance of NOC to help industries bag bank loans of such massive amount by mortgaging the land subleased to them by the IDCO is not permissible under the law, the CAG has said.

As far back as August 2010, a low-paid night watchman of IDCO was captured by the State vigilance for disproportionate property worth around Rs.2.6 crores. The vigilance is yet to tell the public as to what has happened to the said watchman Rajanikant Jena. A top functionary of the team that had raided Jena’s house then had confided in me that the watchman was witness to underhand transactions in land allocation and had amassed the wealth including cash amounting to Rs. 33,43, 960 seized during the raid, by blackmailing the compradors in official chairs of IDCO.

The unauthorized NOC that has helped industries cultivate sanction of Rs.52,423.50 crores bank loans against lands allocated to them in Orissa, are all compradors working for them from their chairs in IDCO.

This is a crime against the people of Orissa. it is incumbent upon the the State Government to act against these compradors. The night watchman episode made it clear that compradors are active in IDCO from top to lowest layer. Every position in IDCO that has attracted attention of CAG, should be subjected to prosecution for violation of rules and norms in eagerness to serve the interest of private industries in matter of allocation of land, grant of NOC to mortgage the same land for cultivating bank loans to the tune of around Rs.53 thousand crore,

To begin with, their properties should be sealed/seized till determination of innocence, if any.

And, vigilance should tell the people if Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has no role in this offense.

CAG Report on Land Acquisition: Naveen Patnaik’s anti-people administration stripped layer by layer

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Emergency provision was arbitrarily applied, contrary to the provisions of Land Acquisition Act and the land owners were deprived of the rights to contest the land acquisition and protect their property due to inappropriate application of emergency provision,” points out the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its performance report on ‘Acquisition and allotment of land for industrial purpose by IDCO for the period of 2001-12’, released on June 23.

CAG has stripped Naveen Patnaik’s anti-people administration layer by layer.

The LA Act has given people certain safeguards to people to protect their landed properties by objecting to acquisition. The same is rendered inconsequential by use of ‘emergency’ clause. The mandarins managing administration are so mismanaged by Naveen Patnaik that officers having no jurisdiction to approve land allocation to private industries have done it in blatant contravention of legal stipulations. As for example, it is stipulated that in cases of emergency, IDCO recommendation for allocation of land to private companies may be approved by officers of Deputy Secretary and above rank. But CAG has found allocation of as much as 2845.38 acres of land recommended for only 10 companies approved by lower rank officials, having no jurisdiction at all, like the Under Secretary.

Ever since Naveen Patnaik has started functioning as Chief Minister, many cultivators have been denuded of their land under the design of ‘public purpose’. It seems, the public sector IDCO is acting a comprador for private industries.

The Naveen Patnaik government is forcing people to part with their landed property for ‘public purpose’, but in reality the lands are acquired for private purpose of private companies by using their money for acquisition.

The CAG has noted, “Land for these industries should have been acquired under Part VII of LA Act, but was acquired under ‘public purpose’ to by-pass the legal provisions and procedures prescribed under Part VII of the LA Act sand LA (Companies) Rule 1963”.

Lands are allotted to private companies according to their preference at locations they decide, without care for how it would affect agriculture, irrigation and environment. Even the Revenue and Disaster Management Department (RDMD) has been used as an instrument in service of the private companies. It has approved acquisition of 14,296.56 acres of land for 33 non-government industries during the period from 2002 to 2012 under ‘public purpose’ clause. But, according to the CAG, “the circumstances did not permit the land to be acquired under ‘public purpose’ design”.

The RDMD had tried to justify its action under the cover of Section 31 (1) of OIIDC Act 1980. The CAG has rejected this mischief. “The reply is not acceptable since IDCO was acquiring land for private promoters and the entire cost of acquisition was borne by the promoters concerned” the CAG has observed while pointing out how the ‘public purpose’ clause has been misused to by-pass the law that provides for safeguarding the interest of land owners from the pernicious grip of private industries.

State is set to International Film festival; Orissa fest in outside Metros mooted

International Film Festival is going to be organized in Orissa during the current year. This has been decided in a high level preparatory meeting held today under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Jugal Kishore Mohapatra wherein Principal Secretary Information & Public Relations Sri Pradeep Kumar Jena outlined the issues for discussion.

Considering various facets of the Festival, Chief Secretary Sri Mohapatra has advised to organize it during the month of November-December of the current year. It has been decided that the Festival will be organized simultaneously in twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. The proposal for organizing the festival in auditoriums of RRL, KITT and Xavier were suggested in the meeting.

The Chief Secretary has directed to plan out the details of the festival with timelines. It is learnt that Orissa Film Development Corporation (OSFDC) , Departments of I & PR and Culture will jointly organize the festival.

The Chief Secretary has also directed OFDC to prepare an archive of Oriya films selecting good and qualitative ones from both the traditional and modern realms.

In another development for promotion of tourism and popularization of Orissa art and culture outside the State boarders, Chief Secretary has directed to plan for organization of Orissa Festival in metro cities like Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad. It has been decided that Orissa Festivals in these places will be organized in collaboration with respective Oriya People Associations. A Steering Committee to this effect has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary Sri P.K. Jena with Secretary Culture Dr Arabinda Padhee, Secretary Textiles and Handloom Sri Surendra Kumar and CMD of IDCO Sri Vishal Dev. The steering committee has been advised to prepare the work plan and budget for the Festival. It has been proposed to organize the festival during festive seasons of these places. It has also been decided that the Orissa Festival will showcase good Odia films, Odishi dance, music, tourist treasures, handicrafts and textiles. Chief Secretary Sri Mohapatra has also advised to keep the Ekamra Hat at Bhubaneswar lively in bustle of activities throughout the year. It has been decided that the Cultural Societies of all districts will be given chances to showcase their districts through art and culture performances. The cultural treasures of each district, its folk songs and folk arts will be displayed by the artists of the respective districts. Principal Secretary I & PR Sri Jena and Secretary Culture Dr Padhee and CMD of IDCO Sri Dev , present in the meeting have been advised to plan out the detail and tag the districts in such a manner that the activities go on in each month of the year. It has been proposed to allot at least three days to each district to showcase their art, culture and performances.

The Director I & PR Sri Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, Dy. Director Sri Pramod Mallik along with senior officers from OFDC and Culture participated in the discussions. (I & PR Pressnote)

Seeking Shankaracharya’s advice was a great conspiracy against Jagannath Culture; Unfortunately the High Court has approved it

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

SriJagannatha is the creation of Oriya’s social evolution, not of any Hindu dictum. So, seeking and obtaining advice of Shankaracharya, an epitome of Hindu fundamentalism, in matters relating to Rath Yatra, was fundamentally wrong.

Unfortunately, as “correctness” of the “opinion of HH Shankaracharya” was not the issue “before” it, the High Court of Orissa has issued an order on June 20, that has scope to be misused by the caste-supremacists to the total detriment of Jagannath Culture.

History of Sri Jagannath is the history of battle between Shankaracharyan chauvinism and the people of Orissa. History has witnessed how the people of Orissa, in an unprecedented revolution, had forced Gajapati Purusottam Dev to withdraw his nefarious design to transform SriJagannath from Buddha to Vishnu and had thrown into the dust the statues of Adi Shankarachary and his disciple the first Mahanta of Gobarddhan Pitha by pulling them out from the Ratna Singhasana of SriJagannatha, where Purusottam Dev had consecrated those statues, promulgating their worship along with Lord Jagannath. People of Orissa, in their wisdom, had ejected Shankaracharya out of SriMandira; and rightly so, as he represents caste-supremacism and Vedic chauvinism when Jagannath, created by Buddhist Vajrayan, epitomizes casteless solidarity of the people and tenets of Tantra. Till now, since the days of Prataprudra Dev, the people of Orissa have disallowed the Shankaracharya to have any say on management of the system of SriJagannath. Now, he has succeeded to enter into the system through the backdoor by the High Court judgement where why he was not yet having any authority over the Jagannath system was not deliberated upon.

We publish here below the judgement ( Order Dated 20.06.2014 in W.P. ( C ). No. 10457 of 2014) for immediate public perusal.

This petition by way of PIL seeks direction to implement the decision of the Jagannath Temple Managing Committee constituted under the provisions of Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1955 (‘the Act’) on the issue of climbing the chariots during Car Festival, 2014.

2. The case set out in the petition is that as per the traditions of Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri, Rath Yatra (Car Festival) is held every year when the presiding deities leave the ‘Shrimandir’ premises and journey to the ‘Sri Gundicha’ temple on the ‘Bada Danda’ in chariots or ‘rathas’ specially constructed for the purpose which are pulled by devotees using ropes. The ritual culminates with the return of the deities to Shrimandir known as ‘Bahuda Yatra’.

A question arose as to whether it was permissible for the devotees to climb atop the Rathas (chariots) when the deities are installed thereon for having a darshan of the deities or to touch the deities after the chariots reach Shri Gundicha Temple and before the deities are taken therein.

The said issue was referred by the Managing Committee for opinion of HH Shankaracharya, Puri on the understanding that HH Shankaracharya, Puri was the final advisor on the issue of rituals of the deities as per the statutorily recognized record of rights. HH Shankaracharya, Puri, vide his opinion dated 6.11.2013 opined that “none other than the Sevaks (who perform rituals or seva-puja over the Chariots during Ratha Yatra), the Shankarcharya and the Gajapati Maharaja are authorized to climb on to the Chariots and the devotees should have darshan from the Badadanda without climbing on to the Chariots”.

The said opinion was accepted by the Managing Committee and a sub-committee was constituted to suggest the modalities for implementation of the opinion which required co-ordination with various stakeholders and law and order arrangements. It also required bringing about consensus with the sevayat community, some of whom had opposed the said opinion.

The Managing Committee also referred the matter to the State Government to guide the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) for implementation of the above decision of Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya. The petitioner represented to the State Government seeking implementation of the decision but since no response was received, this petition has been filed.

3. Having regard to the sensitive nature of the issue and taking into consideration the urgency of the situation, as the Car Festival is to commence from 29.06.2014, notice was issued for taking up the matter today itself and learned counsel for the Temple Administration was required to produce the documents about the Record-of-Rights.

4. We have heard Mr. Jayant Das, learned Sr. Advocate appearing for the petitioner, Mr. Ashok Mohanty, learned Advocate General for the State Government and Mr. B.N. Rath, learned counsel for the Temple Administration.
5. Mr. Rath has handed over a compilation of documents in Court today which include letter dated 11th November, 2013 from the chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri to the Principal Secretary, Law Department, Govt. of Odisha on the subject ‘High Level Meeting to discuss on the implementation of the recommendation of Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya on the issue of climbing on to the holy Chariots during Rath Yatra’ .

6. Learned Advocate General has produced the stand of the Government in the form of the letter dated 19.6.2014 of the Principal Secretary to the Government, in the Law Department, addressed to the learned Government Advocate.

7. The stand of the Government indicated in the said letter is that in the meeting held on 11.06.2014 presided over by Hon’ble Minister of Law, Govt. of Odisha, which was also attended by the Principal Secretary to Government in the Home Department; Principal Secretary to Government in the Law Department; Chief Administrator, Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri; Special D.G. of Police, Odisha; Collector, Puri; and Superintendent of Police, Puri; and representatives of Daitapati Nijogs, it was decided that no one except the Sevaks and others connected only with the Seva Puja will be allowed to climb the holy chariots on three days i.e. on the day of Ratha Yatra, Bahuda and Suna Besha.

However, on the other days the existing practice may continue.
The decision was taken keeping in view the security, safety and convenience of the pilgrims /devotees and the administration of police arrangements.


8. The question for consideration is whether the State Government is justified in practically reversing the decision of the Managing Committee of the Temple to go by the opinion of HH Shankarcharya while considering the issue of its implementation.

9. Learned counsel for the petitioner referring to the averments in the petition and provisions of the Act submitted that issue of religious rituals is the statutory duty of the Managing Committee as per Section 15 of the Act and the State Government cannot substitute its views on the subject of religious rituals.

Power of the State extends only to secular functions and not to religious rituals. It was submitted that the rituals are recorded in the record of rights which have been notified in the Official Gazette dated 14.10.1955 and 3.9.1956 vide Law Department’s Notifications No. 5660-JTA-3/55-JTA dated 12.10.1955 and No. 5039-JTA-3/55-JTA dated 23.08.1956 respectively.

Prior to the said Act, the management of the Temple was vested in Gajapati Kings. Thereafter, the management of the temple affairs vested in the Managing Committee of which Raja of Puri was designated as Chairman and an Administrator was appointed by the State Government to function as the Secretary of the Managing Committee.
The constitutional validity of the Act was dealt in a judgment of this Court in Ram Chandra Deb Vs. The State of Orissa, AIR 1959 ORI 5, which was upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Raja Bira Kishore Deb, hereditary Superintendent Jagannath Temple, P. O. and District Puri Vs. The State of Orissa, reported in AIR 1964 SC -5- 1501.

The Hon’ble Court observed that the Act provided only for the management of the Temple’s secular affairs and did not interfere with its religious affairs which had to be performed as per the Record-of-Rights. The Record-of-Rights covers the rituals associated with the Rath Yatra, which is an annual affair.

10. Learned counsel for the Temple Administration submitted that the stand of the Managing Committee is reflected in the letter dated 11.11.2013 which is reproduced below:

“The Managing Committee of Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri was seized of the issue of devotees climbing on to the holy Chariots during the renowned Rath Yatra and this being a religious matter had elicited opinion of Sri Shankaracharya of Puri as to who is authorized and who is not to climb the Chariots and have darshan and touch the Lords in the Chariots. There were some unfortunate incidents of complaints of misbehaviour meted out to few devotees during the celebrations in 2011 and 2012. Morevoer, with ever increasing number of devotees year after year, security risk persists while allowing devotees on to the Chariots.

“Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya of Gobardhan Pitha, Puri has finally communicated his decision in the matter and has opined that “none other than the Sevaks (who perform rituals or seva-puja over the Chariots during Ratha Yatra), the Shankarcharya and the Gajapati Maharaja are only authorized to climb on to the Chariots and the devotees should have darshan from the Badadanda without climbing on to the Chariots”.

“The concluding part of the opinion of the Shankarcharya is enclosed for your ready reference. The Managing Committee in its meeting held on 7th November, 2013 in principle accepted the recommendations of Jagadguru Sri Shankarcharya and constituted a sub-Committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Administrator, SJTA with Collector, Puri, Superintendent of Police, Puri; Endowment Commissioner, Odisha; Additional Secretary, Law Department, Government of Odisha and the Administration (Niti), SJTA as its convener to suggest modalities for implementation of such recommendations by Sri Shankaracharya.

“Implementation of the above suggestion of Sri Sankaracharya, no doubt, needs coordination of various stakeholders and demands various administrative and Law & order arrangements.

“Bringing consensus from the Sevayat community will also be a daunting challenge before the SJTA as few Sevayat groups namely, Daitapati Nijog has openly opposed the move. We in the SJTA are ready to whatever best is possible to ensure a smooth Chariot Festival with maintenance of law & order. With the above backdrop, I request you to kindly place the matter before Government, convene a High Level Meeting to discuss on the issue and guide the SJTA for implementation of the above decision of Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya.”

11. It is submitted that the help of the State Government has been sought only for implementation of the decision based on the opinion of the HH Shankaracharya, Puri and not the issue of religious rituals.

12. Learned Advocate General fairly stated that the State Government did not intend to interfere on the issue of religious rituals but was only concerned with law and order situation and smooth handling of the event without interfering with the decision of the Managing Committee on the issue of rituals in any manner. He pointed out that the Managing Committee had the duty not only to arrange for performance of rituals but also to provide facilities for proper performance of worship by the pilgrims.

13. In view of the above submission by the learned counsel, nothing remains to be decided by this Court, notwithstanding the stand of the State Government which is in conflict with the opinion of the HH Shankaracharya, Puri and the decision of the Managing Committee as reflected in the letter dated 11.11.2013.
The stand of the learned Advocate General is that the concern of the State Government is only to maintain law and order and not to interfere with the religious rituals. Once it is so, the stand of the Managing Committee to go by the opinion of the HH Shankaracharya, Puri has to prevail as far as rituals during the car festival are concerned.

Any contrary opinion of the State Government will obviously be in-operative. The State Government may however perform its duty of maintaining law and order and providing all necessary assistance for smooth conduct of the Car festival in accordance with the decision of the Managing Committee on the issue of rituals which is based on opinion of HH Shankaracharya, Puri and correctness of which is neither subject matter for consideration of State Government nor before this Court.

14. The petition is disposed of accordingly.
A.K.Goel, Chief .Justice, Odisha High Court 
Dr A.K.Rath, Judge, Odisha High Court 

As we support the idea of keeping away the deity from being touched by anybody on the chariot, we strongly oppose to the Shankaracharya riding on the chariot, as thereby Hindu hegemony would completely engulf SriJagannatha, who was created by Indrabhuti with the sole purpose to save the people from Hindu hegemony which divides the people on caste basis and aims at keeping people bound to the belief in fate so that the system of exploitation goes on unhindered, to the advantage of upper-caste Hindus and their patrons.

We have been, and we will discuss why Shankaracharya has no real affinity with what SriJagannath stands for.