Dwarkapeeth Shankaracharya Swami Swarupanand Saraswati has demanded that Sachchidananda Giri, the businessman-turned-ascetic, and sadhvis Trikal Bhavanta and Radhe 'Maa' be restrained from participating in ceremonial 'Shahi Snan' (royal bath) in Nashik Kumbh Mela.
The statement of Shankaracharya, camping at the pilgrimage town of Trimbakeshwar near here, came days after Sachchidananda, who was given the title of 'Mahamandaleshwar' last week, was restrained by Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad President Narendra Giri from visiting the holy fair in the wake of the controversy over his alleged involvement in liquor trade and criminal activities.
"Sadhvi Trikal Bhavanta of 'Pari Akhara', Radhe Maa of Mumbai and Sachhidananda Giri have no right to participate as ascetics in the shahi snan and should take bath as civilians," the Shankaracharya said while interacting with reporters yesterday.
While first shahi snan, the ceremonial bath of sadhus and mahants, falls on August 29, the other two will be held on September 13 and 25.
Mahant Gyandas, who also claims himself to be the President of Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad, also endorsed the demand made by the Shankaracharya.
"The entry of pretenders is rising in the sacred arena of the sadhus and mahants. Trikal Bhavanta, Radhe maa, and Sachchidananda who is a liquor professional should be restrained from participating in 'shahi snan'," he claimed.
In an oblique reference to the controversy over awarding of 'Mahamandaleshwar' title to Sachchidananda, earlier known as Sachin Dutta, Gyandas said the credentials of an individual should be cross-checked before allotting him the religious title.
Awarding of the title in Allahabad on Guru Poornima festival on July 31 had sparked off a controversy as Dutta was said to be owner of a beer bar in the NCR region and alleged to be named in an FIR lodged in Punjab.
Referring to Radhe 'maa' against whom an FIR has been lodged in suburban Mumbai, Gyandas said she had already been boycotted by 'Juna Akhara' and being restrained from taking royal bath.