Sabarimala issue: Shastras do not bar women from entering temples, says Pejawar Mutt seer
The entry of two women into the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday has sparked off a debate in Karnataka as well.
Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Mutt said on Wednesday that his stand on the issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala temple was neutral and the ‘shastras’ per se do not ban it.
Speaking to The Hindu over telephone, the Pejawar seer said, “In Sabarimala, there is no entry for women in the temple. But women are given entry in other temples [in the country]. However, there is nothing in the ‘shastras’ that bars or restricts the entry of women into temples. So I do not know what I should say about this Sabarimala issue. Hence, I am neutral over this issue.” He said that women had been entering temples for so many centuries, and “earlier Dalits were not being allowed into temples in the name of tradition. But, this tradition has long been broken with the entry of Dalits into temples”.
Another seer, Vidyadheesha Tirtha Swami of Paryaya Palimar Mutt, said that religion has its own “protocols”, which should be respected with regard to the entry of women to the Lord Ayyapa temple at Sabarimala.
Meanwhile, Dr. Channasiddharama Panditaradhya swami of Shreeshaila mutt said at Belagavi on Wednesday that men and women were both equal and there should not be any discrimination.
“Women have the right to worship, just like men. Gender differences should not come in the way of his or her right to worship,” he said.
“Some temples have some old traditions of banning women from their premises, under some conditions. However, all this needs to change in keeping with the changing times. Temples should also change their rules as per changing times and the desires of the people,” he said. “I believe that allowing women entry into temples is a good development.”