The Travancore Devaswom Board has denied permission to Kandararu Maheswararu, senior chief priest (Tantri) at Sabarimala, to take his son Kandararu Mohanaru as his assistant in performing tantric rites at the Lord Ayyappa temple.
Mr. Maheswararu, accompanied by Mr. Mohanaru, reached the sannidhanam on Sunday to take over as the Tantri for the next one year, beginning from the first day of the Malayalam calendar on Monday, as per an arrangement made within the Thazhamon Tantri family.
However, the devaswom guards stopped Mr. Mohanaru at the northern gate of the temple following a direction from the TDB Executive Officer V.S.Jayakumar on the basis of a decision taken by the Board authorities in this regard.
The Tantri had protested against the TDB decision denying permission to take his son as an assistant to Sabarimala. Though Mr. Maheswararu initially refused to enter the temple precincts with out his son and stayed a while at the nearby Sabari guest house, he changed his mind and reached the reached the temple precincts later.
Additional Chief Secretary K.Jayakumar, who is also the TDB Chief Commissioner, told The Hindu that the Board could not permit Mr. Mohanaru to perform any ritual or assist his father at Sabarimala as the controversies surrounding him over the “blackmailing” and the Jayamala issues were yet to die down.
Mr. Jayakumar said the decision was based on the devotees’ sentiments in regard to these issues. They would be hurt if he were to be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum.
However, Mr. Mohanaru could visit Sabarimala as a devotee. Devaswom Commissioner P.V. Nalinakshan Nair said the TDB had never recognised Mr. Mohanaru as a Sabarimala Tantri and hence there was nothing unusual in denying him permission to assist the Chief Tantri without getting permission from the Board.