Tantri’s plea seeking assistance of his son to perform rites

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) on Wednesday informed the Kerala High Court that the Devaswom Commissioner’s recommendation that Sabarimala senior Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu badly needed the assistance of his son, Kandararu Mohanararu, for performing tantric rites at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple was misplaced.

In an additional affidavit filed before the Bench comprising Justice T.R. Ramachandran Nair and Justice B. Kemal Pasha, the Board said it was not bound to accept the recommendation of Devaswom Commissioner P. Venugopal in its totality.

The affidavit further said the argument that the Justice Paripoornan Commission had not expressed any opinion regarding the knowledge in tantric rights and performance of daily pujas by the petitioner’s son was misplaced. The contention of the petitioner that his son was acting as Tantri in more than 50 temples administered by the board and therefore he should be permitted to assist him at Sabarimala did not have any basis.

The performance of tantric rites in these 50 temples could not be equated with performing duties at Sabarimala.

Knowledge of Sanskrit

The Paripoornan commission had categorically stated that for the proper practice of puja or Puja Vidhis, a minimum knowledge and understanding of Sanskrit was necessary. No material was produced to show that the petitioner’s son had acquired the necessary qualification prescribed by the commission.

The petitioner’s contention that there was no controversy involving his son as on date could not be accepted as appeals against the order convicting the accused in a case filed by the latter were still pending.

The case was registered on his complaint that he had been held hostage at a flat in Kochi and blackmailed by a six-member gang.

The TDB had not received any request from devotees or any Hindu organisations for allowing his son to assist him. The board was of the view that it would not be in the best interest of the temple, considering the religious sentiments of a large number of devotees who come for darsan, and also seek blessings of the Melsanthi (head priest). Grant of permission to the senior Tantri to take the assistance of his son would lead to a situation where Kandararu Mohanararu would officiate as Tantri of Sabarimala temple circumventing the procedure for appointment of Tantri.

The presence of Tantri was required only for conduct of certain special pujas such as Padi Puja which was not being performed during the festival season.

If the petitioner was allowed to perform the Pujas, there was no need for selecting and appointing a Melsanthi at the temple, the TDB said.

  • TDB says it is not bound to accept the recommendation

  • Dismisses contention of Tantri