Puthige mutt seer Sri Sugunendra Teertha ascends Paryaya Peeta in Udupi

For the next two years, the Paryaya seer will oversee the administration and pujas at the Udupi Sri Krishna temple.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 18, 2024 | 1:05 PMUpdatedJan 18, 2024 | 1:05 PM

Sugunendra Teertha Paryaya Peeta

Sri Sugunendra Teertha, chief of the Puthige mutt, ascended the ‘Paryaya Peeta’ at Udupi Sri Krishna temple amid festivities in the small hours on Thursday, 18 January.

For the next two years, the Paryaya seer will oversee the administration and pujas at the Udupi Sri Krishna temple, as per the traditional cyclic rotation of the administration among the eight mutts of Udupi.

Sri Sugunendra Teertha Swami took a holy dip at Dandatheertha Lake in Kaup at 1.30 am and reached Jodukatte to take part in the rituals and grand Paryaya procession. He was accompanied by his junior pontiff Sri Susheendra Teertha.

Related: Puthige seer welcomes HC dismissal of PIL against Paryaya ritual

Handed over charge

After a darshan of Lord Krishna, the Puthige seer was handed over the charge of the Udupi Sri Krishna temple by Admar mutt seer Sri Vishwapriya Teertha by leading him to the Sarvajna Peeta.

Earlier, various tableaus, ‘pili vesha’ teams and music bands joined the colourful Paryaya procession. The Puttige seers were taken in a beautifully decorated palanquin placed on open vehicles.

Udupi district in-charge minister Laxmi Hebbalkar, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP and Union Minister Shobha Karandlanje, MLAs Yashpal Suvarna, V Sunil Kumar and former minister Pramod Madhwaraj were present.

PIL against the ritual

On 8 January, the swami had welcomed the Karnataka High Court verdict dismissing a PIL seeking a stay on the Paryaya ritual.

Reacting to the court order, he said that in Udupi, the judge had issued a fair statement.

“We are not bound by worldly matters. Religious beliefs should not be restricted by them. There should be no barricades. Noble matters should be spread everywhere across the world. It was good that the court stated that they will not interfere in religious matters,” he said.

The PIL, filed by Gururaj Jeevan Rao, had pleaded before the court that the Paryaya title should not be handed over to Sri Sugunendra Teertha Swami as he allegedly violated traditional customs by travelling abroad.

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Court orders

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna Dikshit, questioned the PIL, asking what was wrong if knowledge was spread abroad. The court declared that it would not interfere in religious practices and beliefs and rejected the plea.

The Puthige seer had faced opposition against assuming the Paryaya Peeta earlier as well. Similar sentiments were expressed in 2008 when six seers out of eight mutts had abstained from Paryaya, but the Shiroor seer supported his Paryaya then.

The Puthige seer is ascending the Paryaya Peeta for the fourth time in his 50-year Sanyasa life, as per the biennial cyclic distribution of puja and administration of the Sri Krishna Mutt and temple at Udupi among the Ashta mutts. He had adorned the Paryaya seat previously in 1972, 1992, and 2008.

(With PTI inputs)