Bid on to destroy Hindu beliefs: Sabarimala priest

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on January 23, 2011

The controversy over whether the holy flame of Kerala’s Sabarimala pilgrimage centre is a celestial occurrence or man-made is the result of a conspiracy of atheists against Hindu religious beliefs, says Kantararu Maheswararu, senior member of the Tantri (traditional chief priest) family in charge of Sabarimala’s Lord Ayyappa shrine.

Certain sections were using the January 14 stampede at Pullumedu near Sabarimala during the pilgrimage in which 102 devotees were killed to destroy Hindu religious faith and to sabotage the pilgrimage, he alleged while talking to mediapersons in Kochi on Sunday.

“Instead of trying to provide security and facilities for the devotees who trek to the Lord Ayyappa temple, these people are trying to ridicule Hindu religious beliefs by triggering unnecessary controversies,” the Tantri said. The controversy over Makara Vilakku (the holy flame of Sabarimala) was part of this bid, he said.

Rationalists and materialists of Kerala have launched an alleged smear campaign against
Sabarimala claiming that the holy flame appearing at Ponnambalamedu, a summit away from the Sabarimala shrine, on a particular day was no divine occurrence but is created by employees of the Electricity Board and Forest Department with the help of the police.

Tantri Maheswararu said that the fame of Makara Samkramam (the evening of the last day of Dhanu month of Malayalam calendar) revolved around the Makara Jyoti and Makara Vilakku. While the Jyoti was a star, the Vilakku was the light of Deeparadhana, worship with lights, performed at Ponnambalamedu.

“This Deeparadhana is a symbolic ritual, which used to be performed by Adivasis earlier. I don’t know who is performing it now. All I can say is that the Thazhamon family (of the Tantris) has no connection with it,” he said.

Rationalists have approached the Supreme Court and the Kerala High Court seeking issuance of orders to the concerned to end the practice of creating the Makara Vilkakku, which they allege is being used by the temple board and the Government as a means to promote the shrine among devotees from other States.

What was going on in Kerala presently in the name of the Makara Vilakku was a conflict between belief and atheism, Tantri Maheswararu said. He alleged that the atheists and the media had joined hands to tarnish the divine image of the Sabarimala shrine.

The Sangh Pariwar and various Hindu organizations in Kerala have already aired sharp criticisms against the alleged bid of the atheists to sabotage Sabarimala pilgrimage through the controversy over Makara Vilakku and the Kerala High Court’s query whether Vilakku was a divine occurrence or artificial creation.

The Kerala BJP criticised the High Court’s intervention in harsh words. According to State party president V Muraleedharan, the court was crossing its limits with such observations and inquiries. The court’s job was to interpret laws and not to decide whether a faith-based event was divine or artificial, he said.

Kummanam Rajasekharan, general secretary of the Hindu Aikya Vedi, says that Vilakku is deeply rooted in religious belief and therefore it is objectionable to make it a controversy. The Kerala Viswa Karma Sabha alleged that the Pullumedu tragedy and the controversy over the Vilakku were indications of a conspiratorial move to sabotage the Sabarimala pilgrimage.

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