Sabarimala Row: Only Gurus Can Change Traditions, Says Sri Sri
Sri Sri said according to his scientific logic, menstruating women cannot observe the 41-day fasting vratham ritual.
Talking about the ongoing protests over the Sabarimala row in Kerala, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Friday, 15 February, said that changes in existing traditions can only be brought about by religious leaders and devotees, not by the law or by a government.
“It is not the law but religious leaders and devotees who can change traditions. Otherwise we must respect the existing traditions,” the spiritual leader asserted.
“Not the choice of court or government to take a call on such issues and if all the religious leaders and priests approve that women are allowed, then it is acceptable but not without their (religious leaders’) consent,” Sri Sri said.
‘Menstruating Women Cannot do 41-Day Vratham’
He further said that no one should violate a certain way of worship, with respect to the furor over women’s entry into the Sabarimala shrine. Sri Sri further added that it should not be made into an issue for “no apparent gain”.
“If certain devotees have certain way of worship, why should we violate that? Why should we not respect that? If there is a certain rule of temple, we must respect that. Don’t make this into an issue for no apparent gain.”
Calling it a harmless tradition, Sri Sri said even women are saying that they don’t want to go there.
“So many people have been hurt due to Sabarimala,” the spiritual guru added.
Sri Sri said that according to his scientific logic, menstruating women cannot observe the 41-day fasting (vratham) ritual.
“My logic was in the past everybody had to take 41 days of vratham. Women with the menstrual cycles cannot do a 41-day vratham. Moreover, you have to walk (for) so many days and it was not easy for women to go. All these scientific reasons were there,” the founder of Art of Living told a gathering of his followers.
“Why would you cast pain on crores of Lord Ayyappa devotees,” he asked.
"It's a pity that Kerala, a state known for progress and communal harmony, is burning. I call on everyone to keep calm and restrain from acts of violence. We have to wait for the Supreme Court's decision on the review petition," Sri Sri said in a statement.
Protests erupted across Kerala on Wednesday after two women entered the Sabarimala temple before dawn, with the Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SMS) calling for a state-wide shutdown on Thursday.
The shutdown saw major violence on Thursday with nearly 100 people, including police personnel, getting injured.
Sri Sri, however, also asserted that no such action should be taken that could result in violence and that "the temple traditions should be respected".
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