Puri Gajapati Urges ISKCON To Observe Rath Yatra According To Scriptures & Traditions

Bhubaneswar: Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, the King of Puri and Chairman of Sri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee today advised the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) not to hold Rath Yatra on days other than those specified in the religious scriptures.

According to the tradition, the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath is celebrated on the second day of ‘Sukla Pakshya’ in the Hindu month of ‘Ashadha’ every year. The Holy Trinity return to their abode on the 13th/14th day of the month, he mentioned in a press statement.

“Organising Rath Yatra on days other than the auspicious ones is against the scriptures and established tradition. Sri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee had earlier passed a resolution on the matter and objected holding of Rath Yatra by ISKCON at Ludhiana and Delhi in 2007,” he said.

Gajapati pointed out that in February 26, 2008 the authorities of ISKCON temple situated in Mayapur of West Bengal was also informed to refrain from celebrating the Rath Yatra on a different date.

The Gajapati said that he had written to the Chairman of Governing Body Commission, ISKCON, Mayapur (West Bengal) in 2008 urging them to hold Rath Yatra on the specific date as observed in Puri.

According to tradition and custom of Sanatana Vedic Dharma, the presiding deities do not leave the throne in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. It is the ‘chalanti pratima’ representing the presiding deities are taken out of the temple on various festive occasions. However, the presiding deities come out of the temple only on Rath Yatra and Snana Yatra days, he added.

On Monday, an FIR was lodged at the Singhadwara Police Station in Puri against ISKCON authorities for their decision to observe Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Punjab’s Ludhiana later this year.

The FIR alleged that ISKCON authorities and workers have hurt the religious sentiments of Jagannath devotees by deciding to observe Rath Yatra in Ludhiana on 17th of November this year.

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