Sabarimala Tantri Kandararu Rajeevararu has submitted his explanation to the Travancore Devaswom Board on the purification rituals performed at the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in the wake of the entry of two women of reproductive age to the temple during the annual pilgrimage season that came to a close on January 19.
Devaswom Commissioner N. Vasu, who is the chief executive officer of the TDB, had issued notice to the Tantri in January first week seeking explanation for closing the Ayyappa temple to perform the purification rites on January 2.
The TDB was of the opinion that the Tantri had failed to follow procedures for performing the rites.
It felt that the Tantri’s decision, especially against the backdrop of the Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all ages to Sabarimala, was not justified.
Mr. Rajeevararu told The Hindu that he had submitted his explanation to the Devaswom Commissioner and it would be inappropriate to divulge the details at this juncture.
The Commissioner said he had received the Tantri’s explanation denying the charges levelled against him by the TDB.
Mr. Vasu said he would place the explanation given by the Tantri before a TDB meeting to be held on Tuesday.
The patron of the Tantra Vidya Peedhom at Aluva and Tantri Akkeeramon Kalidasan Bhattathirippad said the TDB action, seeking explanation from the Tantri, regarded as a paternal figure to the presiding deity, was deplorable and inappropriate.
He said Mr. Rajeevararu was duty-bound to perform the rites as prescribed in the Tantric texts and as per the custom at Sabarimala.
Moreover, he had performed the rites after holding discussions with the Devaswom officials and in the presence of around 20 TDB staff posted there, he said.
Mr. Bhattathirippad said the Supreme Court verdict did not restrict the Sabarimala Tantri from performing his tantric duties at the temple.
But, the TDB has misinterpreted the Supreme Court order and humiliated the high priest, hurting the religious sentiments of Ayyappa devotees.