For the first time in history of Lord Jagannath,Tradition and religious ethics of 1000 years were violated, damaging the image of all Odias and state as a whole in the entire world.
As the entire world especially the devotees of Mahaprabhu Sri Jagannath are passionately watching the developments over Nabakalabara festivals, the flip flop over the transforming soul(Brahma) from old idol to new one has hurt sentiment of crores of Hindus. Param Pujya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati Shankaracharya of Govardhan Math Puri and the Gajapati King of Puri Sri Dibyasingh Dev have expressed their wounded feelings over the developments. What has added to the wounds of the devotees of the presiding deity of Odisha is the stoics silence of Naveen Patnaik the Chief Minister of Odisha over the whole controversy.
Nabakalabara that comes in a gap of 12-19 years when as per Hindu Almanac ‘Joda Asadha’ (Double Asadha) comes as per Temple tradition of Sri Mandir Puri, the wooden neem idols of Chaturdha Murty, Lord Jaganath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Sri Sudarsan are replaced with new ones. The process for the same starts with months long preparations that start with Banajaga Yatra. The special servitors called Daitapatis move in search of suitable neem trees. They are expected to follow strict, specified and well led principles to identify trees that mandatorily carries dibys chinhas(divine symbols) like shanka, chakra, gada, padma, with snakes vigorously guarding the divine trees, grave yard nearby and existence of a flowing river. The tree must not be having birds nest so on and so forth.
Such trees after lots of rituals performed, are being cut and carried to Sri Mandir with lakhs of devotees on the thorough fare worship the brahma daru with devotion. Four idols of Lord Jaganath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Sri Sudarsan are carved out by traditional families of carpenters on specified day and time. Four senior daitas named as Badagrahis as per temple tradition transform the sacred Brahma (soul) from old idol to new ones symbolising age old Hindu faith that body is perishable and the atma has no death. It only transforms from one body to another. What happens to living beings that same happens with Lord of the Universe!
Story doesn’t stop here. The most anxious moment of Nabakalabara rituals—the Brahma Paribartan has been marred with controversy. On the centre of the storm are the Daitapati Nijog as well as Naveen Patnaik and government appointed Sri Jaganath Temple Administration (SJTA). While its established tradition is that the Brahma was supposed to be transformed in the mid of the night, it was inordinately delayed and was done as late as mid day of the next day. The daitas transferred the Bramha in locked temple premises and no one was allowed inside the temple. After emerging out of the temple, the conflicting statements of several daitapatis has added to controversy that has hurt the sentiment of crores of devotees across the globe.
After the delay the blame game has taken centre stage in Odisha. Sankaracharya has taken the State Government head on saying maximum interference of the Odisha Government in religious management of the rituals of temple has led to such a sad state of condition. He demanded immediate withdrawal of government control. The Gajapati King said his sentiments are equally hurt as other crores of devotees across the globe. “Perhaps Lord himself wanted to convey the state of condition he himself is in” the king said hinting at need of tough pressure from devotees on government and administration to cleanse the process. The SJTA has initiated probe into the bramha paribartan controversy and temple administrator Suresh Mohapatra has discussed the matter with senior daitas in a close door meeting and has said tough action will be initiated against whom the evidences will be gathered. However BJP and Congres have strongly come out against it, saying SJTA itself is guilty of the whole controversy. Tradition and religious ethics of 1000 years were violated, damaging the image of all Odias and state as a whole in the entire world. For the first time in history of Lord Jagannath, this has happened. The present government’s mishandling of Brahma Paribartan of Lord Jagannath can be compared well with that Black days of Kalapahad era in history.
—Samanwaya Nanda from Bhubaneshwar