Mumbai, (The Hindu): Subrahmanya Mutt seer Vidyaprasanna Tirtha ended his fast on Monday. The seer was on hunger strike from Saturday in protest against the Forest Department’s action to disconnect a pipeline laid by the mutt to draw water from a natural stream in the Subrahmanya Reserve Forest area.
He had also said that the authorities of Kukke Subrahmanya temple, managed by the Muzrai Department of the State government, were interfering in the daily functioning of the mutt, particularly in conducting Sarpasamskara ritual and Ashlesha Bali seva.
Subrahmanya Mutt sources told The Hindu on Monday that the seer performed Mahapuja in the morning and had had prasadam. Devotees met the seer on Monday and enquired about his health. Among those who called on the seer on Sunday included junior seer of Udupi’s Admar Mutt Eeshapriya Tirtha. Though the mutt and the temple have been at loggerheads on various issues since long, the temple authorities displaying boards and banners both inside and outside the temple discrediting Sarpasamskara ritual and Ashlesha Bali seva done in the mutt is said to have triggered the fast by the seer. Another reason was water disconnection.
A board in English at the entrance to the temple reads that sevas done and rituals performed outside the temple, including the mutt, are purely private. The board said: “It is believed that such pujas or offerings may not reach God Sri Kukke Subrahmanya.” It further read: “Any sevas/donations offered other than at the temple office or through the temple website www.kukke.org is not authentic and will not serve the purpose as intended by the devotees.”
A banner in Kannada displayed at the administrative office of the temple reads that “Sarpasamskara, Ashlesha Bali and like sevas, offerings and donations will be credited to the temple only if they are made at the temple office.” It further states that sevas performed at the Subrahmanya Mutt on the temple premises or in the mutt’s branches or in private houses or mandiras will not reach the temple. It has been displayed jointly by the Executive Officer (EO) and president of the managing committee of the temple.
Boards announcing the rates for Sarpasamskara (Rs 3,200), Ashlesha Bali (Rs 400) and Nagaprathista (Rs 400) have also come up in the temple. Public announcements are made at regular intervals in the temple to reiterate them.
“This is nothing but degrading the mutt in the eyes of the devotees,” Vidyaprasanna Tirtha told The Hindu. “I have tolerated many insults and humiliations from the temple administration in the past. Displaying banners and making such announcements are indiscretion on the part of the temple management,” he said.
Nityananda Mundodi, president, managing committee of the temple, said that display of banners, boards and public announcements in the temple are in the light of complaints by devotees that they are being charged in excess of Rs 10,000 for sevas. “It is only to make devotees be aware that sevas and donations will reach the temple only if they are made through the temple’s office. It is not to demean the mutt,” he said and added that devotees are free to get their sevas done either at the temple or in the mutt.
Mr. Mundodi said that the temple will arrange for water supply to the mutt through the Subrahmanya Gram Panchayat till the mutt’s pipeline from the natural stream is restored.
On Sunday, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said that the issues raised by the seer would be addressed through mutual talks. The Pejawar Mutt seer Sri Visvesha Tirtha too had said that he would visit the temple town after Navaratri to address the issues.
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