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Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji ascends Paryaya Peetha amid controversy

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Creating history: Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji of Puttige Math worshipping Lord Krishna in Udupi on Friday.
Creating history: Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji of Puttige Math worshipping Lord Krishna in Udupi on Friday.

Staff Correspondent

Other swamijis of Ashta Maths abstain from the events

No swamiji of seven maths turned up at Jodu Katte

It is not a boycott, says Pejawar seer

Udupi: Seer of the Puttige Math Sugunendra Tirtha created history here on Friday by becoming the first swamiji of the Ashta (eight) Maths to ascend the Paryaya Peetha despite having travelled abroad. Foreign travel is taboo for the swamijis of Ashta Maths, as it is considered polluting.

There has been strong opposition from the seers of six of the Ashta Maths to the Puttige seer’s ascension of the Paryaya Peetha, although it is his third Paryaya.

Other traditions were also broken. Normally, the seers of the Ashta Maths go to Jodu Katte to participate in the Paryaya procession and are carried in palanquins. No swamiji of the remaining seven maths turned up, and the lone palanquin of Sugunendra Tirtha was carried in the procession.

The outgoing Paryaya seer hands over the “Akshaya Patre,” “sattuga” (vessel and ladle dating back to the times of Sri Madhwacharya) and the keys to the sanctum sanctorum to mark the formal transfer of authority from one math to another. But on Friday, the outgoing Paryaya seer, Vidyasagara Tirtha Swamiji of Krishnapur Math, left all these three items at the “Simhasana Shale” at Sri Krishna Math and went to his (Krishnapur) Math. Raghumanya Tirtha of Bheemanakatte Math (not among the Ashta Maths) handed over these items to Sugunendra Tirtha and accompanied him to the Paryaya Peetha.

Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math said on Friday that he had told some seers of the Ashta Maths to cooperate with Sugunendra Tirtha in the smooth conduct of “pujas” to Lord Krishna.

Speaking to The Hindu, the Pejawar seer said it was physically impossible for a single swamiji to do all the 14 “pujas” daily, hence cooperation was essential. But it was up to the seers to decide the matter for themselves.

The Pejawar seer made it clear that he and the Puttige swamiji had reached an agreement on the issue of ascension of Paryaya Peetha and worshipping Lord Krishna. According to the agreement, the Puttige seer could ascend the Paryaya Peetha and do “pujas” without touching the idol. But some seers of the Ashta Maths considered both the issues (‘puja’ and ‘peetharohana’) to be important. “It is unfortunate that the other seers of the Ashta Maths did not agree. I tried sincerely to solve the problem. I am sad that I could not succeed. But I do not blame anybody,” he said.

Vishwesha Tirtha said the non-participation of the seers of the seven maths in the Paryaya procession and the Paryaya Durbar function was only their way of showing their disagreement on the issue of ascension and worship of Lord Krishna. “It was not a boycott,” he clarified.

Traditional fervour

The ascension ceremony was not without its traditional fervour. The incoming Paryaya swamiji, Sugunendra Tirtha went to Danda Tirtha near Kaup at 1 a.m. for a ritual bath. The acharya also installed the idols of Lord Venugopalakrishna and Lord Mukhyaprana there.

Sugunendra Tirtha came to Udupi around 2 a.m. He was welcomed by a large number of devotees at Joddu Katte. At 3.05 a.m., a grand procession comprising nearly 50 cultural troupes, tableaux and bhajan teams started walking towards Car Street, with devotees carrying the chief deity of Puttige Math, Lord Vittala, in a palanquin.

The procession passed through the Taluk Office Road, Court Road, Diana Circle, Old Post Office Road, Ideal Circle, Tenkapete and culminated at the Car Street.

Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji proceeded to the “Kanaka Gopura” of Krishna Math and had “darshan” of Lord Krishna through it.

He then went to Chandramouleshwara and Ananteshwara Temples and offered prayers. Entering the Sri Krishna Math, he had “darshan” of Lord Krishna through the “Navagraha Kanakana Kindi.” He offered prayers to Lord Mukhyaprana and Lord Garuda. Raghumanya Tirtha Swamiji handed over the “Akshaya Patre,” “sattuga” and the keys to the sanctum sanctorum to Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji.

After rituals at the Sri Krishna Math, both the seers proceeded to the Paryaya Durbar at Rajangana.

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