Govt. cannot take over Udupi temple, says seer
source: The Hindu, October 7, 2004
BANGALORE, OCT. 6. Visvesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math in Udupi has said there is no question of handing over the Udupi Sri Krishna Temple to the Department of Religious Endowment, and the Government could not take over temples established or run by a community.
In an interview to a newspaper, the swamiji took the stand that the temple did not belong to the department. A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court had held that Sri Krishna Temple was a "denominational temple," which meant that it belonged to a community and could not be taken over. "It belongs to the Ashta Maths," he said.
The swamiji, who is known for his outspoken views and efforts to bring back into the fold of Hinduism those who have embraced other religions, said that since childhood, he and many of his contemporaries were told by their elders that the "gopuram" in question was built by the then Krishnapur Math Swamiji. He was now surprised to hear the story that it was built during the reign of Vijayanagar rulers.
Sri Vishvesha Tirtha said it was a matter of debate why it was demolished in haste. He was pained that some intellectuals were claiming that the gopuram belonged to Saint Kanakadasa, and that its demolition was an insult to the members of the Kuruba caste. The controversy would destroy the harmony between the Astha Maths and the Kurubas, he said.
The swamiji invited the leaders of the Kurubas for a discussion with him at a place and time of their choice for solving the issue amicably.
Beerendra Keshava Tarakanandapuri Mahaswamiji of the Kaginele Mahasamsthana Kanaka Gurupeetha has expressed support to the demand that the Government take over Sri Krishna Temple immediately and appoint an administrator "as it was public property." Earlier, a few political leaders had made the demand.
In a statement to the press, the swamiji said there was no relation between the Ashta Maths and Sri Krishna Temple, and criticised the maths for "treating the temple as their personal property." He also criticised the Government for not taking over the temple. He alleged that there was a conspiracy to make the Department of Religious Endowment drop the move to takeover the temple, and warned the Government that it would have to face the wrath of the devotees of Sri Krishna and Kanakadasa as well as the public. The Government, he said, would have to take responsible for the consequences of any decision to drop the takeover move, he said.
Work on tower
The swamiji demanded that the construction of the "Kanakadasa tower" in Udupi be stopped immediately, and said the work should not be resumed till the coordination committee of the Paryaya Swamiji and the representatives of the Gurupeetha was constituted. He criticised the "delay" in constituting the committee.