By Our Correspondent
BHUBANESWAR/PURI: Puri Seer Jagadguru Swami Nischalananda Saraswati has got the full control of Gobardhan Mutt in pilgrimage city of Puri.
Making all roads clear for Puri Seer, Odisha State Assembly on Saturday passed the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowments (Amendment) Bill. Accordingly, the Gobardhan Mutt in Puri will no longer be governed by the provisions of the OHRE Act.
The Odisha Hindu Religious Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2019 sought to amend Section 3 (xiii) of the original Act which provides the definition of ‘religious institution’.
The Gobardhan Mutt at Puri headed by Jagatguru Adi Sankaracharya was sought to be excluded from the definition of religious institution. As a consequence, the Gobardhan Mutt, Puri will no longer be governed by the provisions of the OHRE Act, 1951.
There are more than 18,000 Hindu public religious institutions in our State all of whom are governed by the provisions of the OHRE Act. Gobardhan Mutt, Puri is one of them. However, it is well known that the Gobardhan Math cannot be equated with other Maths of the State because of the unique position it occupies in the Hindu religion. It is one of the 4 Maths believed to have been established by Adi Sankaracharya with the objective of propagating traditional Sanatana Dharma.
Each of these Mutts is headed by Sankaracharya who is considered the top-most religious and spiritual leader in his own right among the Hindu public. The position of Sankaracharya of Gobardhan Mutt at Puri is even more important having regard to his involvement with the affairs of Shree Jagannath Temple.
The Sankaracharya heads the Mukti Mandap Pandit Sabha which renders valuable advices on complicated questions on religious affairs. Further, the Sankaracharya is granted a special right of worship during the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. The general Hindu public look upon the institution of Sankaracharya with the utmost respect as the highest platform of Hindu religion in the State.
The other three Maths i.e. Sarada Mutt at Shringeri in the State of Karnataka, Dwaraka Mutt at Dwaraka in the State of Gujurat and Jyotir Mutt at Joshi Math in the State of Uttarakhand have been allowed to function as independent religious institutions and are kept beyond the purview of their respective State Endowment Acts. In other words, the governance and administration of these Maths have been kept out of the purview of the respective State Endowment Acts.
The long-pending request made on behalf of Gobardhan Mutt establishment as also different quarters, it was decided to confer similar status on Gobardhan Math as is accorded to the other three Maths established by Adi Sankaracharya.
Law Minister Pratap Jena said the amendment to the Hindu Religious Endowment Act, 1951 was made keeping in mind the “religious pre-eminence and importance” of the Gobardhan Mutt and will exclude it from the “religious institutions” defined under the act.