Sabarimala Tantri’s plea on taking his son’s aid in performing tantric rites

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) while turning down a plea by senior Sabarimala Tantri (chief priest) Kandararu Maheswararu apparently sidelined a report submitted by the Devaswom Commissioner on the request it had received from the chief priest on June 6 seeking permission to take the assistance of his son in performing various tantric rites at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.

In a letter to the TDB, the 82-year-old Tantri said he badly required the assistance of his son, Kandararu Mohanararu, for performing the tantric rites at Sabarimala owing to his deteriorating health.

The TDB duly sought a report from Devaswom Commissioner P. Venugopal on the Tantri’s plea. In a detailed report to the board in October, the Commissioner says, “The TDB had turned down similar requests of the Tantri in 2007 and 2011 without affirming any specific infirmity on the part of the proxy (Mohanararu), but on general lines, reminding the controversy that spins around him in pursuance of an incident in which the Tantri was trapped and consequent inquiries, media coverage, etc.’’

The commissioner’s report made available through the Right to Information Act said the senior Tantri had again approached the board with the plea to appoint his son as his proxy, with the Kerala High Court convicting all the accused in the case filed by Mohanararu

“By tradition and dictates of the Sastras, the position and role of the Tantri requires special respect and his advice and directions shall inform all the decisions the TDB takes in connection with the Sabarimala temple,” the commissioner says.

“The present Tantri of Sabarimala is aged, his health deteriorating, and the onerous daily routines and duties of a Tantri require better health, both physical, mental, and intellectual. Heredity makes his son the senior-most when the present chief priest dies. This will make everything much complicated, if we fail to take an appropriate decision, immediately,” the commissioner says.

The report concludes with a suggestion that “the Board may call the Tantri, give him an audience and express its reservation or doubts, if any (especially owing to the remarks made by the Justice Paripoornan Commission), to him and request him to take a decision on the issue, as per the Sastra enjoined on such observations and in consultation with the Othickans (Vedic Guru).”

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