Puri Gajapati advises people to get brave in spirituality

Puri: Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb is King of the Puri and the “Aadyasevak” of Lord Jagannatha. He is also known as “Thakura Raja” from Puri. Gajapati Maharaja has a special place in Jagannath culture because he plays a significant role in the rituals and the Shrimandir festivals.
The pious king of Puria spoke honestly about various topics related to the Temple of Jagannath in an exclusive interview to Birupakshya Tripathy, executive editor, Pragativadi.
Here are the passages:
Do you think that the Cyclone Storm FANI will have a negative impact on Rath Yatr this year?
I firmly believe that this year Rath Yatra will be celebrated with a deep religious fervor. The administration takes appropriate measures to normalize the situation on the war trails. The devotees, as usual, will bury the city in the temple.
How satisfied are you with the ritual and management of Srimandir?
In my opinion, Srimandir’s management has improved over the past 60 years. There’s still a lot to be done. The government took over the management of Sri Mandiri in 1955 and therefore Gajapati Maharaja does not have much say in the daily administration of the temple. Gajapati became an ordinary citizen after the monarchy was abolished in 1803. Temple management is now with the government after taking responsibility from my father Gajapati Maharaja Bira Kishore Deb.
The government is trying to introduce reforms in the management of the temple administration over the past several years. Although the temple of Puri is different from other temples in the country, how far do you accept the reforms?
Srimandir’s management has improved over the past 50 to 60 years. However, the administration of the temple should take appropriate measures for its unhindered management. The Supreme Court gave suggestions on the management of the temple, which was discussed in detail in the board of directors. The only responsibility lies with the administration and the chief administrator of the temple for the smooth running of jobs.
Lately, there was a rough negligence in the management of rituals, and this has hurt the religious feelings of the devotee. What is your opinion on this and how can this be resolved?
Disturbances and poor management are greatly reduced. But this must be thoroughly checked. I think the number of disturbances has decreased in relation to the past. Correct cohesion between the administration of the temple and the officials will solve the problem.
What do you have to say about the officers and their role?
It is high time that the children’s officials receive a quality education that relates to the Jagannath culture and the religious and spiritual spirit. Srimandir Adarsha Gurukulam was founded in order to provide quality education to the officers of the officers. This institution will provide them with a basic insight and knowledge of Jagannath culture in order to build them as an ideal officer. There is a need to improve their financial situation as well as the standard of education so that they can become ideal employees.
The Supreme Court decided to abolish the hereditary service. What is Gajapati Maharaja’s opinion in this regard and is it possible to make a decision?
The Supreme Court considered some issues of public interest litigation (PIL) and the hereditary rights of officials were one of the issues. The chief administrator of temples and clerks discussed this issue in detail. Everyone agreed that the rituals of the temple were based on religious writings and that they were transmitted from centuries. It is important that servings are chosen on the basis of their merits for carrying out rituals. Employees who no longer engage in business should be compensated. Employees in business need to receive compensation.
The administration has taken measures for rituals and darshan. There is a growing dissatisfaction among devotees in providing darshan in waiting queues. What is your opinion on this?
The administration takes appropriate measures to rationalize the darshana system in the temple of Jagannath for devotees. The number of devotees has increased. It is therefore important that the rituals are completed in time to allow the devotees to get the opportunity to offer prayers. The administration introduced the darshan order on an experimental basis and offered prayers in the sanctuary to avoid torment.
Is there a danger for Srimandir? Are you satisfied with the measures taken for the safety of the temple?
While the temple is on the list of terrorist hits, the government takes appropriate measures to resolve the situation. I am sure that the government is deeply concerned about the security of the Jagannath temples, which is considered the highest religious seat of Hinduism. Puri is the most important dhama among the four dhami.
ASI is entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and maintaining Srimandir. But, it is often seen that the agency concerned does not carry out its responsibility appropriately. What do you have to say about it?
Perhaps the government has entrusted responsibility for maintaining Srimandir since 1979. But I do not think ASI is working properly. Shrimandir is the living seat of Hindus. It differs from other temples. The maintenance of the temple was immediately taken over after the stone collapsed several years ago. Jagmohan work is done, but the state of Nata Mandap and Bhog Mandap is not good. The steel structure with the main temple was responsible for causing damage due to the impact of the cyclonic storm FANI.
Srimandir is associated with the religious feelings of dozens of Odijas. Are you sure of his safety and longevity?
Lord Jagannath can best answer this question. We never know what will happen and when this will happen. We can try, but everything depends on Him. He is the creator and responsible for his blooming. The Lord enjoys a good drama. Everything takes place under his leadership. This is Kaljug. They are poorer than the good ones. Things are shaped according to His desires and we have little say about it.
Gajapati is the main servant of Lord Jagannatha. Do you have any special feelings in this regard?
There is no difference between yours and mine in this respect.
What is your message to the devotees?
The devotees are human beings. They were born as people because of their sacred act. They should seek refuge in God and spiritual activity. Only then can I progress on the right path.

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