Sunday, December 5, 2021

Bhadradri dragged into controversy

(Anirudh)

  • Pravara and Gotra made an issue in the temple
  • Common devotees want to solve the issue as soon as possible
  • Ask government to consider the issue as important
  • Issue gone viral in social media
  • Pundits and priests divided into two groups making ugly comments on the Facebook

Why did  Lord Rama and Goddess Sita of Bhadrachalam temple, the divine couple on the earth, were dragged into a controversy on ‘Gotra’ and ‘Pravara’ of them? Who will be held responsible for it? Why is the sanctity of the temple  being hit by the unwarranted postings that were made viral in the social media? Are the egos of some of the priests of the temple and others who opposed them led to the unseemly controversy?

The Sitaramachandra Swamy temple came into news for the wrong reason in 2013. First time, the Gotra and Pravara of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita were changed during Sita Rama Kalyanam. Instead of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita gotra and pravara, the priests uttered the gotra of Vishnu and Laxmi. Some of the pundits found fault then by saying it is against the temple traditions and customs. In the words of Annadanam Chidambara Sastry, a vedic scholar and founder chairman of Hanumath Adhyathmika Kendram, Arepalli Agraharam, Guntur district, who wrote a book on “Bhadradreesunaku Jaruguthunna Ghorapacharalu” (Heinous insults being heaped on Bhadradri Rama during rituals), said, “All the rituals in Sitaramachandra Swamy temple in Bhadrachalam are being deviated causing a rift between Vaishnavism and Shaivism.” Sastry had said that the Pravara and Gotra of Lord Rama during puja programs in Bhadrachalam, even in Kalyanam, are in the following way.

The Gotra of Lord Rama is Vasista and the Pravara should be chanted as Nabhaga, Ajha and Dasaratha. But, the priests have been chanting Achyutha Gotram instead of Vasista and pravara has also changed. The priests used to chant the word Ramanarayana many times than Ramachadra Swamy as an alternative name. In this, the pravara of Ramanarayana was chanted as Parabrahma Sarma, Vyuhanarayana Sarma and Vibhava Vasudeva Sarma. These names will be used while referring to the Pravara of Vishnu. It is a new phenomenon to the Bhadrachalam temple rituals. As per common Hindu belief, Lord Rama was borne as Nara (man) and evolved ethics by following certain principles. The devotees used to consider his Pravara as Nabhaga, Ajha and Dasaratha of Vasista gotram. Likewise, the gotra of Sita Devi is Gouthami and pravara should be Swarnaroma, Hasvaroma and Janakula. Here too, there is total deviation by saying the gothra of Goddess as Soubhagya. Pravara is Viswambara Sarma, Rathnakara Sarma and Ksheerarava Sarma. The kshatriya king of Rama was made to be seen as belonging to Brahmin caste. “It is nothing but a serious crime against God”, Sastry said.

As per Valmiki Ramayanam, Lord Rama was depicted as Harihara Advaitha Murthi and there is no difference between Rama and Siva. The temple priests are slowly bringing deviation creating differences between Siva and Rama. The great saint Ramadas placed Sivalingam in the campus of the temple. It was clearly written in the 244 page of Bhadradri Vaibhavam, written by Podicheti Srirangacharyulu, who works as the temple priest. “The sivalingam was unearthed as part of conspiracy of some of the priests,’ Sastry alleged. The gotra and pravara issue was made viral in social media, particularly Facebook and WhatsApp. Abusive comments were made against each other supporting and opposing the change in gotra and pravara of Bhadradri deities. Some of them used filthy language while commenting on the issue. Common devotees got disturbed with it. Locals from Nagaram village near Paloncha raised objections on changing gotra and pravara of Lord Rama and Sita during Rama Kalyanam.  Another attempt was made to change the guru of saint  Ramadas. Kabirdas was the guru of Kancharla Gopanna, who christened his name as Ramadas under the influence of his Guru. But, some persons tried to establish Ramadas as Vaishnavite by campaigning that his (Ramadas’) guru was Raghunatha Bhattar. The tradition of Dasa aka Dasu belonged to North India and the name of Ramadas came on the aspect. The priests of the temple who are on the roles of temple conducted press meets and made abusive comments against Chidambaram Sastry, who filed a case in the court against them for tarnishing his image. They also found fault with their opponents during Rama Kalyanam in 2019.

Bhadradri Pranta Parirakshana Committee convenor Busireddy Sankar Reddy made several representations to the executive officers of the temple and commissioner of endowments to stop the controversy on the temple. The argument of priests of the temple is that there is no difference between Ramachandra Swamy and Ramanarayana. There is no sense in making an issue on Pravara and Gotra. Why does the State government remain a mere spectator while the temple is being dragged into the controversy? The advisors of the government had not tried to solve the problem. The seers close to the chief minister had given weight to the priests of the temple and not made an attempt to hear the objections of the others. At present, it seems that the government is trying to solve the issue. The endowments commissioner Anil, who came to Bhadrachalam two days back, has allegedly asked the priests and commentators not to make controversial on the Rama Kalyanam. The priests were asked if they had enough historical proof on the changing gotra and pravara to prove their argument. They were asked not to make controversial remarks against anybody. The will and wish of devotees is – to restore the sanctity of the temple, being called Dakshina Ayodhya. The customs and traditions of the temple should be protected.  

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