‘Snubbed’ Shankaracharya leaves Kumbh

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Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, heading the Dwarka and Badri peeths, on Sunday said he was leaving Kumbh-2013 and would not return if his demand for having Chatushpath (putting up Shankaracharyas of all four peeths in one block around an intersection) was not met by the administration.

However, the Swami said that he was not asking his followers to boycott Kumbh and there was still time for the administration to take a decision on his demand. He left for Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, from where he would go to his ashram near Jabablpur.

Swami Swaroopanand had decided to hold a meeting of his followers on Sunday after all the 13 akharas had threatened to boycott Kumbh, if his demand for Chatushapath was met. They had alleged the Shankaracharya was trying to encroach upon land which was traditionally given to ashrams.

While the representatives of the other two Shankaracharyas — Swami Nischalanand Saraswati (heading Puri peeth) and Swami Bharati Teerth (heading Shringeri peeth) — were present at the meeting, no formal decision has been taken on whether or not quit Kumbh.

Swami Nischalanand's representative Acharya Ram Kailash Pandey said, "The final decision will rest with our revered Guru. No formal decision has been taken yet . We demand Chatushpath. But as things stand, the administration still has about a month's time as our Guru would be coming to Kumbh on January 29. Meanwhile, we will continue with our preparations."

At the press conference after the meeting, Swami Swaroopanand, said, "I would not be taking a dip in the Ganga during Kumbh-2013 if the conditions are not favourable for establishing Chatushpath. But there is still time for the Magh Mela to start. I cannot ask my followers to boycott Kumbh because religious feelings are involved. It is for the administration to provide a clean Ganga as well as a clean Mela." He reiterated that the administration was under pressure from "impure Shankaracharyas", who have already been allotted land.

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