'Modi Will Touch Idol...': Shankaracharyas Not Attending Ram Mandir Opening | Know Their Reasons

The Shankaracharyas are heads four shrines called 'peeths' or 'pithams' (institutes) situated in Uttarakhand's Joshimath, Gujarat's Dwarka, Odisha's Puri and Sringeri in Karnataka

File photo of Jyotirmath Shankaracharya.

All four Shankaracharya, the heads of major Hindu shrines, will not be attending the inauguration ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22.

The Shankaracharyas are head four shrines called 'Peeth' or 'pithams' (institutes) situated in Uttarakhand's Joshimath, Gujarat's Dwarka, Odisha's Puri and Sringeri in Karnataka. The shrines were founded by eighth-century religious scholar Adi Shankaracharya, considered one of the most influential philosophers in Hinduism. 

These are considered as the four cardinal 'pithams' established by the philosopher-saint Adi Shankara, or the four principle seats of learning.

While Shankaracharya of Joshimath Peeth has raised issue over Champat Rai's involvement in the responsibilities of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Puri Peeth's pontiff said he won't go because there is nothing for him to do there as PM Modi will be inaugurating the temple. A mantri of Dwarka Peeth, meanwhile, said the Shankaracharya won't be attending the ceremony due to protocol, adding that there is no displeasure over the event.  

Why Are Shankaracharya's Not Attending Ram Mandir Inauguration

Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Govardhana Peeth in Puri; and Jyotish Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Avimuktateshwaranand Saraswati in Uttarakhand's Joshimath have said that they will not attend the inauguration because religious scriptures were not being adhered to at the event.

In a video posted on his official X handle on January 9, Jyotish Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Avimuktateshwaranand Saraswati said that none of the four pontiffs would be in Ayodhya on January 22 as the consecration was being done before the construction of the temple was completed, adding that "others" should go and the Ramanand sect of Hindus should take over the responsibilities related to the temple.

“It is the duty of shankaracharyas to ensure that religious scriptures are properly followed,” Avimukteshwaranand said. “The scriptures are being undermined by carrying out consecration before the construction of the temple is complete. There is no reason for this rush.”

“If the temple belongs to the Ramanand sect, why is Champat Rai heading the trust?” the seer questioned. “He should then hand over the temple to the Ramanand sect before the consecration,” he said.

The Ramanand sect was founded by 15th-century Vaishnavite devotee Ramanandi. The Vaishnavites worship the Hindu deity Vishnu, of whom Ram is believed to be an incarnation. Champat Rai, General Secretary of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, does not belong Ramanand sect.

Meanwhile, on January 4, Nischalananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of the Puri shrine, had said that he would skip the consecration ceremony as he was “conscious of the dignity of his position”.

“[Prime Minister Narendra] Modi will inaugurate the temple, he will touch the idol, then what am I supposed to do? Stand and clap?” the Shankaracharya said.

Shankaracharya of Dwarka and Sringeri have issued statements saying they were not objecting to the consecration ceremony of Ayodhya Ram Mandir, however, administrative officials at both the shrines said that the seers will not be present in Ayodhya on January 22, 

While speaking to Outlook, Brahmacharya Narayananand, a mantri of Dwarka Peeth said that Jagatguru Sharada Peethadhiswar doesn't have any objection to the ceremony. "He is extremely happy. But there are several protocols for which he would like to exempt himself from it," the mantri said, adding that he has some prior engagements as well in Dwarka during the ceremony.