Taking to Twitter, the PM urged Swami Awadheshanand Giri, the Mahamandaleshwar of Juna Akhara which is the largest of the 13 akharas at Kumbh, to allow the pilgrimage to remain symbolic given the corona crisis.
After PM’s appeal, seers urged the pilgrims to not attend the next shahi snan in large numbers.
आचार्य महामंडलेश्वर पूज्य स्वामी अवधेशानंद गिरि जी से आज फोन पर बात की। सभी संतों के स्वास्थ्य का हाल जाना। सभी संत… https://t.co/IVy25XvSeQ
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1618629649000
PM Modi’s call comes as one of the top seers Mahamandaleshwar Kapil Dev Das (65) of the Nirwani Akhada had died from Covid-19 complications on Thursday. Following his demise, two Sanyasi or Shaivite sects, Niranjani and Anand Akhadas had announced their exit from Kumbh.
PM Modi said that all the saints are cooperating with the administration and expressed his gratitude to the saints for their gesture.
Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat also made an appeal to seers to cooperate in the fight against Covid-19.
Responding to PM’s request, Swami Awadheshanand urged people to not attend the mela in large numbers.
माननीय प्रधानमंत्री जी के आह्वान का हम सम्मान करते हैं ! जीवन की रक्षा महत पुण्य है।मेरा धर्म परायण जनता से आग्रह… https://t.co/qP1elIoItI
— Swami Avdheshanand (@AvdheshanandG) 1618630524000
Swami Awadheshanand further said that only one shahi snan is left in which only a few sadhus will participate. The Swami added that sadhus also believe that this is the best thing to do.
Although the Niranjani Akahra had announced to conclude Kumbh, other akharas were reported to be unhappy. The three Bairagi (or Vaishnavite) sects — Digambar, Nirvani and Nirmohi — had said that the Niranjani and Anand Akhadas had “no right” to exit Kumbh.
The Sanyasi seers consider the third Shahi Snan, which was on April 14, the high point of the congregation, while to the Bairagi seers, Ram Navami (on April 21) and the fourth Shahi Snan (on April 27) are most important.
The apex body, Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad, had tried to resolve the impasse but could not arrive at a decision.
On April 14, the day of the Baisakhi shahi snan which is considered one of the most auspicious days of the Kumbh, a staggering 9,43,452 devotees took a dip in the holy Ganges.
The ongoing Kumbh was shortened this year to just one month from April 1 to 30 due to the pandemic. In normal circumstances, the event, which comes once in 12 years, is held from mid-January to April.
(With inputs from agencies)