Govardhan Mutt in Puri moved out of Odisha govt’s control

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Hindu Religious Endowments (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed in the state Assembly on Saturday. With this, the Govardhan Mutt in Puri will no longer be governed by the provisions of the OHRE Act.

By virtue of the amendment, the Gobardhan Math at Puri headed by Jagatguru Adi Sankaracharya is excluded from the definition of religious institution. 

As a consequence, the Gobardhan Math, Puri will no longer be governed by the provisions of the OHRE Act, 1951.

There are more than 18,000 Hindu public religious institutions in the state all of whom are governed by the provisions of the OHRE Act. 

Gobardhan Math, Puri is one of them.  However, it is well known that the Gobardhan Math cannot be equated with other Maths of the State because of the unique position it occupies in the Hindu religion.  It is one of the 4 Maths believed to have been established by Adi Sankaracharya with the objective of propagating traditional Sanatana Dharma. 

Each of these Maths is headed by Sankaracharya who is considered the top-most religious and spiritual leader in his own right among the Hindu public. 

The position of Sankaracharya of Gobardhan Math at Puri is even more important having regard to his involvement with the affairs of Shri Jagannath Temple.  The Sankaracharya heads the Mukti Mandap Pandit Sabha which renders valuable advices on complicated questions on religious affairs. 

Further, the Sankaracharya is granted a special right of worship during the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath.  The general Hindu public look upon the institution of Sankaracharya with utmost respect as the highest platform of Hindu religion in the State.

The other three Maths-Sarada Math at Shringeri in the State of Karnataka, Dwaraka Math at Dwaraka in the State of Gujurat and Jyotir Math at Joshi Math in the State of Uttarakhand have been allowed to function as independent religious institutions and are kept beyond the purview of their respective State Endowment Acts.

In other words, the governance and administration of these Maths have been kept out of the purview of the respective State Endowment Acts.