Thoughts on Puri Jagannatha Temple’s Discrimination Against Foreign Devotees


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Recently in the news the topic of Puri Jagannatha temple prohibiting western devotees from entering came up due to some unfortunate confrontation between a German devotee and a temple priest outside the temple.

Many devotees tend to say that just because the Lord doesn’t intervene to stop a bad thing that it indicates it is sanctioned by the Lord and is the Lord’s will. Thus they conclude that the temple policy to discriminate against devotees based on their skin color must be the Lord’s desire and his own policy.

There are many things the Lord doesn’t change, which doesn’t necessarily mean he approves of it. Cow slaughter goes on even in holy tirthas in India. The Lord doesn’t change it. We can’t say it goes on because the Lord wishes it either. This material world is the playground for the conditioned souls to rebel against the will of the Lord, and He gives them that freedom to misuse their free will and exploit the resources of this realm.

To pass off all wrong things as just being the will and policy of God appears to be an escapist attitude. I don’t agree that all wrongs are the will of Krishna and as humble devotees we should let all abuse be done to us without objection.

Usually some people will say we should follow the example of Haridas Thakur, a 15th century muslim devotee of Lord Chaitanya and mahabhagavata, who would only look at the temple chakra and never tried to enter the temple.

But imitation is not following. If we really believe it, that we are so fallen and have no right to stand before the Lord’s deity, then we will not enter ANY temple. That would mean that we actually believe we are fallen and not pretending and making a show of it. But if we don’t actually believe it, and just avoid one temple because we are refused by one temple administrator, then it is just an imitative show. We are definitely not following the example of Haridas Thakur, but it is just a sour grapes situation. So either believe it and avoid all temples, or pretend and make a show by just avoiding Puri temple because today there is a rule where they forbid us entry.

Another argument they give that goes along with this theme is that we should see in all events (such as this discrimination) the hand of the Lord being involved. What they fail to understand is that these two positions are not compatible. If you follow Haridas Thakur’s example as a mahabhagavata and actually consider yourself too fallen and low to be in front of the Lord, then you will see all wrongs not as the Lord’s personal involvement to help you, but as the reactions to your bad karma for being sinful in past lives. The moment you see these things as the Lord’s personal involvement and special mercy to you, you are seeing on the platform of the madhyama – where realistic intellectual viveka exists.

So their suggestion is that we should imitate the actions of the mahabhagavata while having the conception of the madhyama bhakta. This is an incompatible situation. Your actions must match your conception. When your conception differs from your action, but you still try to act similar to those on a higher platform you are pretending.

To put it into practical terms, if one copies the actions of Haridas Thakur, then he should also have the same conception of Haridas Thakur, that we are the most fallen and unfit to enter the temple of the Lord – all temples of the Lord.

If your conception is that of the madhyama bhakta, and you see everything, including difficulties and trials, as the divine hand of the Lord showing favor to His devotee, then you also understand your own position as a devotee fit and qualified to worship the Lord in the temple, and should make effort to worship the Lord in His archa murti. You should not then pretend that you shouldn’t enter the temple because you are the most fallen and unfit – something you don’t actually believe because you have proper viveka – you see things as reality, as they factually are.

The mahabhagavata sees things falsely – he sees himself as fallen and unqualified. Though he believes it, it is not factually true. Thus it matches for the mahabhagavata to avoid entering the temple, because his conception matches that action. But it is wrong for a madhyama bhakta to do the same because his conception does not match that action, and therefore he is pretending or making a show.

Srila Prabhupada mentions in regards to Haridas Thakur’s behavior that one should not imitate him:

“No ordinary person can chant so many names, nor should one artificially imitate Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s behavior.” – Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi-lila 10.43

The mahabhagavata sees himself as the most fallen, and all others as very advanced, and considers all wrongs done to him to be due to his past sins (even though from an objective perspective the mahabhagavata is completely free from all sins and reactions). That is a conception that can’t be followed artificially. There is no way to follow Haridas Thakur in his display of being a mahabhagavata without being a mahabhagavata.

Another point is that fighting for the rights of devotees is not a selfish act or a sign of lack of humility. Individually someone may feel they are fallen and have no rights. But what about the millions of devotees throughout the world, amongst whom many pure devotees exist. Defending the rights of the devotee community and the pure devotees throughout the world is more important than our own show of individual humility.

There is another aspect to the history of this temple policy of discrimination which should be mentioned.

In 1568 all Orissan temples were destroyed by an Oriya Brahmin named Kala Pahada who converted to islam because the pandas wouldn’t let him enter the temples after he married the daughter of a muslim king in Bengal. To avenge the insult he led the army of the muslim king into Orissa, killed the king of Puri at Cuttack, who he previously served as general, and then preceded to destroy all the temples in Orissa he came across. He destroyed Konarak temple, sacked Puri temple, destroyed Kanthila Nilamadhava temple, Cuttack Chandi, Viraja, Kichakeswari temple, basically every single temple in Orissa. This is just a few decades after the departure of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. People often cite that Haridas Thakur and other Siddha Purushas were not allowed in the temple, but what about the consequences? Lord Jagannatha allowed his temples to be destroyed just a few years later.

It was an Oriya brahmin who led the destruction of Orissa’s temples, taking revenge because he was made an outcaste by the Puri pandas, who he had fought for and risked his life to defend, as general of the Puri king. This is the history of how Orissa was conquered by muslim invaders, led by a brahmin convert and how every temple was destroyed and desecrated.

There is another bit of history on the negative effects of this discrimination. Due to this temple’s past restrictions against adivasis (tribals and forest people), in the 1800’s a saint named Mahima Gosai in Dhenkanal started a religion that became known as Satya Mahima Dharma, commonly referred to as Alekha Sampradaya. Because the pandas would not allow the adivasis into any temples, this religion subsequently rejected all temples and deities, and taught only to worship God in the form of nirguna brahma through fire. So they reject worship of Jagannatha and Shiva, and only worship God as Alekha. Their sampradaya mostly follows mystical yoga sadhana, and has a huge following in rural Odisha, with hundreds of thousands of followers. Due to discrimination by priests, these people have turned away from the devotional worship of Jagannatha and reject all deities and temples.

Prior to Gandhiji’s intervention, Puri Jagannatha temple did not allow low caste Hindus, tribals, adivasis, etc., to enter the temple. I think most people, including Indians and the pandas, will agree it was correct for Gandhiji to fight for the rule to be changed, despite it being a very old rule enforced for thousands of years. Simply being an old tradition does not make something correct.

Just as the rule was changed in the time of Gandhiji to allow the low caste Hindus entry to the temple, so in the same way the rule can be changed again in the future to allow the western Hindus to also enter the temple. Not all traditions are eternal. Those that weaken the foundations of sanatana dharma need to be adjusted for the greater good. How many low caste Hindus and adivasis over the last 100 years have converted to Christianity, Islam and Buddhism because they have been denied entry to temples in India and told God does not want to see them? Even today, despite the laws allowing it, there are untouchables who are denied entry to temples in the interior areas of Orissa, and it comes up in the news from time to time. It is time for these outdated customs to be removed so that sanatana dharma can spread far and wide.

The reality today is that there are Hindus throughout the world from all nationalities. In the past a foreigner may have been synonymous with a non-Hindu. But times have changed and now there are Hindus from every country. The temples need to take this new reality into account and properly define what a Hindu is so that Hindus from all countries, nationalities and races can have access to worship the Lord in His temples.

Author’s website: sadhusanga.org

49 comments on "Thoughts on Puri Jagannatha Temple’s Discrimination Against Foreign Devotees"

  1. Krishna Dharma says:

    Good points. This is just racism. I don’t think Lord Jagannath will allow it much longer.

  2. Sowmya Manikandan says:

    Great article with interesting info….Caste system or varnas was based for specific reasons of one’s duty towards humanity…A Brahmin cannot conduct his duty as a Kshatriya and so on. It does not mean God loves one varna more than other. Man-made rules need to be abolished & every Hindu must be shown the way to temples irrespective of caste. It is bad enough that hindus are becoming a minority in India as recently published by Indian Express it is claimed that Muslims will be major population by 2050…Where is the world going? It is better later than never that Hindus (irrespective of caste) join hands and work towards such blasphemy.

  3. Ranjan Ramakrishnan says:

    All souls are part and parcel of God. It is him who spreads into so many beings and enacts this play on earth. The bodies of any color are just vehicles and the soul changes and moves into another due the old or existing body is no more fit. Just like changing cars – driver is the same. Why discriminate like this? All humans should be allowed white black brown or blue. It is a shame this religious place has adopted. Please allow us we people children of Jagannatha Swami to have darshan of Jagannatha swami any number of times. Do not discriminate, not right at all.

    Hare Krishna

    ranjan

  4. Vipul Prakash says:

    A very well written, informative and sensitive article showing the path ahead. It needs to be followed up in practice.

    The lord God is seen to be neautral between Life (Good) and its opposite Ev(f)il. Devil is opposite of Lived. Both Good and Evil are creations of the mind, which is a God given tool for knowledge of the Self. The mind creates the illusion of space (शेष) and time (काल, reprsented by नाग). The world maybe real but our view of it is an illusion created by our mind. How each one of us sees the world is different, so in a way we live in different worlds. Just like the mind, the heart is also given to us. These are the two wings with the help of which we are supposed to fly, i.e. learn our lessons of life on earth journey. Our senses are the instruments of these two.

    Bhakti emphasises the heart to the exclusion of the mind (मन, intelligence, intellect, reason, logic). This it does to the extreme, in my opinion. Different paths emphasise different things. There is no doubt that all paths culminte in bhakti भक्ति like attitude. That भक्ति may be undirected, it will be like a loving attitude towards one and all. But bhakti is like PhD. It is totally unwise to start education with the PhD. One must gradually progress along the way (tao, धर्म, रीति) enjoying the travel. What’s the hurry. There is all the time in the world. To travel one needs friction, which is provided by Evil. We overcome friction (Evil) to become Good. God is not likely to interveen, and can interveen on the side of Evil also. When we are willing to fight and overcome and die fighting Evil along with God on the side of Evil, then we have truly overcome. We then are fit for the kingdom of God. Our journey on अर्थ earth to take the required lessons is over. We then have to progress to the next class. 😊 I have not graduated yet from this class. So I don’t know where we go afterwards. 😊

  5. Ranjan Ramakrishnan says:

    Orissa remains primitive till today. It is sad. In other parts of INDIA no one stops any one from visiting a Temple irrespective of relegion.

    PLEASE don’t take away the opportunity the people gained due visiting India for pilgrimage. Love them allow them to worship to their hearts content. God do not discriminate. God is love and intelligence.

  6. Galo Dabholkar says:

    This is not the only Temple in India who banned Foreigners from entry ( during different reasons). You can read that in Gorkana in big capital letters, and at Kashi Vishvanath all Foreigners get register with Name, Visa- and Passportnumber, but this is more for security reason, at least Darshan and worship for Foreigners is allowed. The Situation in Puri Jagannatha Temple remembers me on a scene from the Bible: “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. (Because he was sleeping)
    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

    Om Namah Shivaya

  7. brahmayya says:

    Really good message. The separation created by man only. Not God.
    God is always present everywhere. Not in one man or one community. Due to above said bad practices, many peoples are inviting and converting the castes and other country principles.
    People has to change their mentality. other wise, our system will collapse. Please allow to all the people to pray the God and enter the temples. Due to partial knowledge of sastras, purnas and vedas. They are creating unnecessary rules and instructions. Why ?
    First they should read all the sastras, purnas and vedas. Then talk about only Hindus are allowed.

  8. Venkatesh says:

    This is racism among human beings. Will the priest use the same yard stick to discriminate cash offerings by Hindus and Non Hindus ?

  9. RAJENDRA P SHEKOKAR says:

    THIS IS NOT GOOD ANY BODY CAN ALLOW. WITHOUT JIHADI, TERRORIST, KATTER PANTHI AND ENEMYS OF HINDU.

  10. Prof.C.Jagdishan says:

    “The reality today is that there are Hindus throughout the world from all nationalities. In the past a foreigner may have been synonymous with a non-Hindu. But times have changed and now there are Hindus from every country. The temples need to take this new reality into account and properly define what a Hindu is so that Hindus from all countries, nationalities and races can have access to worship the Lord in His temples.”
    This is the essence of Sanatana Dharma and I beleive in it! we should foster Universal brotherhood! and allow all to visit the temples without any restriction! God does not discriminate!!
    Prof.C.Jagdishan,Mumbai,India
    9th March 17

  11. UDAI KUMAR SINGH says:

    All Hindus should be allowed for prayers. It is a place of worship. Foreigners or Indians does not make a difference until he is a Hindu and he has come to worship.
    It is not an exhibition / museum.

  12. Narayan guptha says:

    Like Thirumala temple, you can allow everybody – other than Hindus also after declaring the purpose of entry is to worship only and not for any thing else. – in a prescribed register available at the temple administrative office.

  13. Sunita says:

    I think respect the rights of temple heads and do not force yourself like a terrorists. People
    Who have weak faith change religion. Any external force if changes you then you are a weak minded person. I tell you when my ancestors were beaten to change their religion they did not loose faith and when poverty was an issue they were had satisfaction in life. Just because one is not allowed in temple your faith is weakens what a shame. Muslim ladies are not allowed in mosque does their faith weakens. Today’s India what future does it hold even after All this recent revolution. Please write something that increase our dharma knowledge not that creates doubts.

  14. Raghunath Pati says:

    Martya Bikunthara Nayak Akila Brahmandaranatha Jagannath has no caste feeing. He is Patitapaban. He gives Darsan to Achandal Bipra in Bada danda on Rath Yatra Day. Anybody can have his Darsan. He or She may be Parsi, Christian, Budhist, Jain, Muslim or Foreigner. No difference. He gives Darsan in Ratha Yatra also called Patitapawan Yatra.

    At this outset, we may conclude Sarba Rahasya Purusottamasya Devo Na Janati Kutah Manusya( Skandha Puran). Kalou Shri Purusottam. Jay Jagannath

  15. Dr.Arpita Priyadarshini says:

    vasudeva kutumvakam is the sole philosophy behind humanity. I am yet to understand the discrimination.

  16. R Nanjappa says:

    Why waste so many words on a simple thing?
    If the temple is built according to Agama rules, then the conditions laid down about who can be allowed should be followed.If these conditions are not followed, sanctity will leave the place.
    The main objection to foreigners visiting the temple is the standard of personal cleanliness observed by them: they do not use water to clean themselves, nor do they bathe daily. But in this respect, most Hindus who visit temples nowadays are themselves unclean and do not wear freshly washed clothes or even proper clothes,etc. There are many foreigners who are sincere devotees of our deities and are clean. Such devotees should be allowed, provided they come properly dressed as devotees and not as tourists or casual visitors.
    Such restrictions will not apply to temples which do not follow Agamic injunctions.

  17. PuvanaChandra says:

    The universal consciousness which some call the “God” by different names is projected into every living being and non living object.So the German devotee and the priest who stopped him from entering the temple share a common origin- This is Sanathana Dharma
    Above all who is a Hindu cannot be defined as there is no initiation,baptism of confirmation.
    Hope these notices saying only Hindus are allowed must be removed.Sooner the better as they bring insult to a noble way of life

  18. Sitalatma das says:

    Sanatana Goswami considered himself as contaminated by Muslim association and also didn’t enter the Puri temple, afaik, but had no problems opening Madan Mohan in Vrindavana himself, so it’s not “can’t see one deity, can’t see them all”.

    Mahabhagavata vision of the world is not false, ours is. They are not under illusion, we are, and there’s no benefit in speculating how they see themselves if we want to use their example to advance our own agenda.

    There are good arguments for change in Puri admission policies and there are not so good arguments, too.

    I’d guess one of the main reasons pandas resist these proposals is the prophecy that the Deity will be stolen by Russians. I don’t know how prominent this fear is in their community, though.

  19. Anthony Leslie Stewart says:

    I’m a New Zealander, and I was denied entry to the Jagannath temple in December 1986. At the time I was quite philosophical about it, and thought that some areas of Hindu gathering were off limits to foreigners for specific reasons unknown to me, and left it at that. Since that time i.e. 1986-2017, I have realised there is only ONE consciousness/awareness moving all mankind no matter what ethnicity or religion. There are no separate “islands” of consciousness, there is just Consciousness. Our fall from “Grace” to use a biblical term, is that we have “clothed” ourselves with the garments of earth only i.e. a conception of self based on the mind/body complex, which is incredibly limited in scope. It is limited in the sense that the mind/body complex is temporal, yet that Greater Power which moves us is infinite/eternal, and we are That. This egocentric narcissism must be overcome so that whomsoever wishes to worship can do so, whatever their ethnicity.

  20. Venkatesh Subramanian says:

    Great article with very valid points. Appreciate the author and support him.

  21. Akshay Prabhu says:

    Awesome Observation of the past

  22. Selvaduri Sivagnanasundaram says:

    Discriminating foreigners is disgraceful. When I went along with an Australian friend to Chithamparam temple they refused to allow him, and demanded 100 US $ and a few punch from me settled everything and he was allowed in.
    Same thing happened in Sri Rangam
    These fellows must be thrashed

  23. vsnmprasad mellacheruvu says:

    why not these authors write about hindus being barred from entering macca and madina and other muslim holy places? this article is one sided, whatever be the hinduism’s broad thinking is.

  24. Nikky says:

    I am from Odisha and after visiting the Puri temple abd being insulted abd harrassed by the Puri Pandas (priests) for not giving them money, I have stopped visiting the temple. It doesnt feel like a temple. I heard a Panda tell a father with a little child that his child will die. Why? Because the father said he dint have money to give him. This is deplorable. If Jagannath is really there, I would like to see what Karma does to those Pandas. Until that temple is run by those stupid people, I am not going there.

  25. BhartiyaHindu says:

    We Are Hindus and we are special hence we don’t discriminate very well explained here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93nqnG_n9Ag
    if shudras are untouchables then Prithvi is untouchable too 🙂 everyone who comes to temple with faith and respect should be allowed in, god made everyone – this is the truth

  26. Umasankar says:

    Guys,

    Try entering the qaaba at Saudi! Anyone who is not a muslim cannot go any where close to a few kilometers even, even entering certain mosques is not possible. I guess religious discussions cannot be held as being racist or not. Every religion has some amount of tolerance. Please do not say as you please on any topic just because you have the freedom of speech.

  27. Daisy Chatterjee Saroagi says:

    Any body of any faith should be allowed to pray & enter a HINDU TEMPLE
    regardless as long as that person or persons does it with respect.
    Maybe there was some misunderstanding, we should ignore & tell EVERYONE to go and pray as they wish to.
    I think I am 100% correct…come on agree with me dear humans !!

  28. Ariana says:

    I am Caucasian and traveled India for 6 months. Some temples saw my devotion and allowed me to enter, others not. Yet not one of them was rude to me.
    It is a divine play, and yes, change is the only constant.
    I am grateful to be able to go to India at all!
    Just stepping on the sweet Motherland, I felt the immense blessing!!

  29. Narayan says:

    In my experience, most of the followers of Hare Krishna Movement, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self realization Society, Maharishi Mahesh Yogis Transcendental Meditation group and a host of other Hindu religious outfits abroad especially in the west, are more devout Hindus in practice than the so called Hindu Brahmins. Therefore it would be extremely unfair to discriminate them just because they happened to be racially different. God does not discriminate any one.
    Unfortunately the attitude and practices of the Pandas and head priests and other administrators have putting off a whole lot of genuine devotees from visiting the temples. That has to change otherwise Hinduism will be on decline!

  30. Jai Sharma says:

    Radhe Radhe, My two cents – I live in America and I love your takes. I have a house in America. American standards, way of life and the laws pertaining to discrimination does not apply here, yes ! it does outside of my house and I obey them. Now I go out to start telling Americans about my Santana Dharma in a forceful way that I have freedom to speak therefore you must learn from me, tell me what will happen…Is that the case here?

  31. Bhavik Shelat says:

    At Shree Maa’s Devi temple in U.S.A. there are more Americans, other foreigners who are convert to Hinduism who show discipline, sincerity in doing pooja’s Aarti, Vedic chants in proper manner every day for hours while working. They know Sanskrit meanings and pronunciation better than thousands of Indians today whether in India or Abroad. They resonate more with Gods and know how to worship properly than we do. They can put us to shame with their discipline. It is shame that out of false sense of pride some are being blinded. I pray to God to remove their obstacle and welcome all children of Lord Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu, Brahma and all forms and beatufil diverse manifestations like different colored flowers.

  32. Pedro Oliveira says:

    After a while, Jagannatha will be forgotten, all devotion will be replaced by mere material profit; Unlearned people, like donkeys, will rule the world. So it is in the Shastras, then, what to expect from the shudras Kali-chelas who call themselves “Hindu” priests?

  33. Mahesh Chander M.D.,F.A.C.P says:

    Every human being has a birth right to enter any place of worship irrespective of his or her color, race , ethencity or religion. Those who prevent them are not worthy to be called human. God bless all.

  34. bhismadeva dasa says:

    Great article! I really liked to read them. Thank you!

  35. Manoj Mohanty says:

    Most of the Hindu’s Priests don’t have any formal education. They only protect themselves by following their ancestors and repeat what they hear from their predecessors. It is sad but this is the reality. The most educated priests are very difficult to find, as they feel uncomfortable to live with the stupid mankind. They practice Hindu philosophy with the intellectual people in a remote place and never interfere with the society and their rules. It is the time now for them to come out and show us the power of almighty and eradicate all these uneducated priest who does not know about Hindu Philosophy. It happen many times with us we get highly disappointment after visiting a temple with the behavior of our priest. We prefer to pray at home instead of visiting a temple. Times are changing we hope sooner or later all these old tradition will be changed.

  36. KP Narasimhan says:

    This cannot be taken as a discrimination and is to be taken as a discipline. Can any one claim similar stand against Guruvayoor Temple. Why cant they ask Muslim authority to allow anybody in Mosque. No politicians or Govt. authority shall be allowed to intervene into the administration of temple activities or religious except

  37. Dr. B. Jagannatha Rao says:

    Lord Jagannatha does not differentiate devotees based on religion, caste and creed, only Pandha do. It is a high time that our Hindu priests should send messages to temple administrators not to descriminate and involve in controversies, only they should insist in proper dress code that they do in Tirupati and other temples in Andhra and Kerala. When people from other countries are crossing rivers coming to India to spread their religion by conversion, it is time for us to teach real values of Hinduism and its generosity along with respecting individual devotees.

  38. mrs prema surendren says:

    Dear Hindus IF WE DO NOT WANT A DECLINE IN HINDUISM THEN EMBRACE WHOSOEVER WANTS TO VISIT OUR TEMPLES PL PL DO NOT BAR THEM JAI JAI HINDUISM .AS IT IS WITH OUR CASTE SYSTEM WE HAVE ALREADY ALLOWED MANY OF OUR HINDU BROTHERS TO CONVERT LET US NOT HARM OUR SANATANA DHARMA ANY FURTHER. THANK GOD—- THE MODERN GURUS like jaggi vasudev ji amritanandmayi ma ,sri sri ravi Shankar ji mukundananda ji jagat guru kripalu ji maharaj sudanshu ji maharaj etc ABOVE ALL OUR CHAITANYA MAHA PRABHU AND BHAKTI VEDANTA SRILA PRABHU PAD JI also loved all MANKIND . then who are we silly humans not to let people in temples??LET US ALL TRY TO EXPAND HINDUISM .JAI JAI HINDUISM

  39. mrs prema surendren says:

    respected hindus to add to my earlier comment EVEN OUR MANTRLAYA RAGHAVENDRA SWAMI never cared for any JATI he loved all human beings .one small warning to my fellow hindu brothers and sisters .if you do not want HINDUISM to shrink and [since it is already shrinking as many are converting as a result in india [the birth place of Hinduism]to Christianity and islam [these 2 religions are expanding ]while Hinduism is shrinking let us not further allow it to shrink with our bias towards some people by not allowing them into temples.let the TRUE HINDUISM PROPOUNDED by swami RAMAKRISHNA PARAMAHAMSA AND SWAMI VIVEKANANDA enhance and spread far and wide

  40. Shankar Nath says:

    As a Western born Hindush, a shishya of Gurudev Swami Nischalanand Puri Shankaracharya and a person who lives in Puri for some months every year, I cannot agree which such creiticism of the rule of access to Sri Mandir. Many Mandirs are open to everyone on the whole India, but access to garbhagriha if frequently resticted to Brahmans only, and in some case only some families of Brahmanas can offer the service. In Varanasi everyone can touch Kashi Viswanath lingam, while in Udupi the murti can been seen from outside through holes, but it can be daily served by a single Sannyasi only. The darshan of Sri Jagannath can by obtained in 4 ways:
    1) Watching the Daru Murti inside Sri Mandir; 2) Watching the discus Nilachal atop the Sri Mandir; 3) Whatching Patita Pavan at the Eestern Gate of Sri Mandir 4) Seeing Sri Jagannath inside one’s earth through meditation or in dreams. All these forms of Sri Jagannath’s darshan are equivalent, but the irst one is subjected to specific limitations, while the other 3 are not.
    The first kind of darshan implies entering Sri Mandir, and this entrace is subjeted to specific rules. The one entering must 1) Be born in Bharatavarsham 2) From both Hindu parents 3) Never having eaten meat even once. 4) For a woman, never marrying a non-Hindu (Indira Gandhi as denied access since she married a Parsi). These rules are attributed to Adi Shankar, and they were voluntarily respected by the greatest bhaktas of the past, in a time when there existed no police checking the entrance. Haridas Thakura Not even approached the square in front of Sri Mandir, and used to have daily darshan of Nilachal. Rupa Goswami, since when he was a child his father temporarily converted to islam and for some time fed him with meat, also never entered the Sri Mandir. His nephew Jiva Gosami, who never ate meat, entered the Sri Mandir, while while he used to worship Patita Pavan from the gate. in more recent times Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was considered the most learnt Sannyasi if Puri and the son of its chief kudge. When young he used to enter Sri Mandir everyday for darshan, but then used to ener only during holyday, and during the rest of the year he was satisfied by the darshan of Patita Pavan. Consequently, Sri Jagannath darshan is open to everyone, one form is restricted while the other three are not. Instead of blaming those who preserve the rules of purity of Sri Mandir, let us benefit from the darshan of Jagannath as Papatita Pavan every day, and participate in Ratha Yatra to se him as Daru Murti on his chariot.

  41. Palaniswamy M says:

    If the world follows and adopts the principles
    THERE IS ONLY ONE RELIGION – THE RELIGION OF ‘LOVE’
    THERE IS ONLY ONE CASTE – THE CASTE OF ‘HUMANITY’
    THERE IS ONLY ONE LANGUAGE – THE LANGUAGE OF ‘HEART’
    THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD – HE IS OMNIPRESENT
    as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba declared, there will not be such discrimination among human beings.

  42. Ravindran says:

    I think on should understand , Why Puri , Guruvayur & Sabarimala
    poses restrictions on certain devotees , Though the article touches upon on various aspects , why no one else other than Gandhiji
    has been able to influence the change of rules . If I remember
    because she was married a Parsi even Mrs Indira Gandhi was not allowed to enter Puri Jagnanath Temple – There are certain procedures in Vaishnavite temples Where it is felt that Foreigners
    may not give importance to Bath & food they take before entering the temple which is likely to pollute the sanctum of the temple procedures – God is not an human being to immediately take +ve or -ve action on certain factors -Many miracles which is impossible for any human being or the machines he has built to achieve has been achieved over many centuries -Hence to say God has approved or has not approved is a wrong statement – Time alone tells what Gods action would be – Surely through Government intervention the Temple Board can take a decision to allow any visitor but it should not be a bull dozed decision

  43. Yogithakur says:

    Sanatan or the Hindu dharma, tag carried by us like a house constracted without foundation. The core base of realism always differs with the controversial laws enforces by few for their own benifit in the name of God which not at all confines the enlightenment of devotee but it only makes another laws of God by same people blooms again again so the divisions are. From ages these are continuing but no one think about that there is a end for everything other than Truth.
    There is a word witnessing which the Shakshigopala is manifested by Godself or otherwise the complete cycle will stop.
    But resistance should be there.

  44. S B khanna says:

    14-3-17

    As far as the Foreigners are concerned , there are two type of devotees, temporary neophyte devotees ,and serious devotees, the point to be noted is ,if the Temple only allows Hindus, than Its my opinion that such serious foriegn devotees should mention Hindu as thier religion on the passport as evidence of the religion they follow, and the temple authorities will have to think twice before refusing entry to them failing the Courts can be approached for justice.

    Hare Krsna
    S B Khanna

  45. krisskid says:

    There are many facets to Sanatana Dharma and of equal significance. While Bhakti and in particular, Nam Sankirtan are suggested as the best option for people of this KaliYug, it does not mean one should forsake the other important facet of Vedic Shastras, Temple Agamas, Smritis that enjoin any Hindu to adhere to certain discipline in personal life as well as social life according to his position (varna and ashrama). If one commits a deadly sin, the person needs to perform stipulated prayaschittas truly in accordance with the Shastras, only after which the person is treated proper and admitted into the mainstream society. Even in the case of the brahmins who seem to enjoy so many privileges over other castes, they too cannot enter the sanctum unless they are the priests of that temple. Against this backdrop, myriad occurrences of “discrimination” against a true devotee by the priests have been recorded in our history. Still the priests were not looked down upon because they only adhered to what the shastras dictated.
    Take a westerner, he takes all sorts of meat – beef, pork, mutton, chicken, fish and what not. The Hindu Shastras have come down heavily on persons who eat cow meat. In Islam too, pork is strictly prohibited. Just that a westerner has “converted” to Hinduism does not elevate him to equal status and opportunities as traditional Hindus, since he has not done the necessary prayaschitta for his past sins from the Hindu viewpoint. He is not absolved of his sins until then. A panda well trained in religious tenets and grounded in anushthan – achar – vichar has every right to forbid any “impure” foreigner from temple entry.
    The degeneration of our Hindu religion is on the other plane – The material worldliness and unbound avarice of all Hindu religious persons occupying vital institutional posts are the causes behind this. “Show me money” is their only taarak mantra. Be it Rameswaram, Kanyakumari, Guruvayoor, Tirupati, Varanasi, …we see the same mindset plaguing them. As one visitor noted here, it was easy for him to get entry to a foreigner inside the temple precincts after bribing the temple people at Chidambaram and Srirangam both in Tamil Nadu. The culprit is not the religion but the man of today.

  46. Christophe says:

    This fact is not important for foreigners who cant go in he temple, because god is everywhere! But it is a very huge mistake for persons who forbit non hindou coming!It is a kind of insult to God, because they are not kind with persons coming to meet him … poor persons! They think doing something good and it is very bad …..

  47. prasad ortigal says:

    Well the knowledgeable personalities has said it all right but in my view. I think the priest may have lost his knowledge of SANATANA DHARMA. Because if an action performed with SATWA,RAJAS AND TAMAS has its corresponding karmic reaction which of the above qualities did he performed. also since when did the priest become God in other to judge others by raise and skin color. I am very disappointed though.

    It is said that Hinduism is a mother of all religions so why been selective about who practices it or not?
    that is very bad.

  48. vellanki dasaradhi says:

    Yes. It is unfortunate that at some temples man made rules are enforced denying equality to all devotees.I would like to ask who are foreigners? Did all those right from Aryans greeks, sakas, hunas, kanishkas, parthians who invaded our country occupy and merge with people here by marriages and following the customs here at that time are not foreigners? Governments also should not encourage such bad rules and allow darshan of deities in all temples to all irrespective caste creed, race etc.

  49. VANDANA says:

    THE PANDAS OF THE PURI JAGANNATH TEMPLE THEMSSELVES EAT SO HOW CAN THEY FORBID OTHERS

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