Devotees will now roll over ‘prasadam’ from the temple sanctum sanctorum

In a move to end the controversy surrounding the centuries-old practice of ‘made snana’ at the Kukke Subrahmanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district, the State government has decided to modify the annual ritual.

Devotees will no longer be allowed to roll over plantain leaves with leftovers of food had by Brahmins. Instead the food offered to the deity will be directly brought from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple to the outer yard in the form of ‘prasadam’ and it will be placed on the plantain leaves.

Any devotee can roll over it as part of their ‘harake’ (offering to god). It has also been decided against serving food to Brahmins or anybody else in the outer yard on the day the ritual is held.

It has also been decided to ensure that the temple does not encourage, sponsor or permit ‘pankthi bedha’ (caste discrimination while serving food).

A submission in this regard was made before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna of the Karnataka High Court on Thursday during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Veerabhadra Channamalla Swami of Nidumamidi Math and others challenging the practice.

Additional Advocate-General K.M. Nataraj made it clear to the court that the practice of ‘made snana’ was part of religious faith and followed since time immemorial and it could not be stopped. The Rajya Dharmik Parishat, the statutory authority to examine religious issues, had held a series of deliberations on the ritual, he said.

“Since it is an issue of the sentiments of thousands of devotees who perform this ritual voluntarily in the belief that they can be cleansed of their sins, and skin diseases, the parishat consulted many religious leaders and took a decision to continue the ritual in a modified form,” Mr. Nataraj stated, while submitting an affidavit in this regard.

As counsel for the petitioners too agreed with the decision taken by the government, the Bench disposed of the PIL petition, stating the matter no longer required the attention of the court.