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Dispute over ‘Y’ nama, ‘U’ nama

Staff Reporter


Nama is the subject of a dispute in the High Court

It concerns the Yoga Narasimha deity at Melkote


BANGALORE: The nama was the subject of a dispute in the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday. It was the sign on the forehead of a Sreevaishnavite deity that was the centre of the dispute.

The question before the court was the sign on the forehead of Lord Yoga Narasimha at the eponymous temple in Melkote. The dispute related to whether the nama on the deity’s forehead should be in the form of ‘Y’ or ‘U’, each representing different a sect of Sreevaishnavism.

The petitioner Anandalwan is an archak at the Ramanujacharya Sannidhi at Melkote, which is part of the Cheluvarayaswamy temple. He said both the Cheluvarayaswamy and Yoga Narasimha temples were more than 1,000 years old and they followed the rituals and traditions set by the Sreevaishnava saint Ramanujacharya.

A resident of Raja Street, Vangipuram Nambi Math in Melkote, Mr. Anandalwan said he and several other devotes were hurt by the illogical and arbitrary order passed by the Deputy Commissioner of Mandya and the Commissioner for Endowment and Religious Charities and the local Endowment Officer (of the temple) permitting a silver crown to placed on the idol of Yoga Narasimha with the symbol ‘U’.

Mr. Anandalwan said the symbol ‘U’ stood for the Vadagalai sect, while those who had ‘Y’ on their foreheads were followers of the Tengalai sect. Though both sects owed allegiance to Ramanujacharya, the nama on the forehead differed.

Mr. Anandalwan said he belonged to the Tengalai sect and the forehead of Lord Yoga Narasimha used to be anointed with the ‘Y’ symbol. However, when some ornaments were stolen from the temple last year, the priests started putting a “tilak” on the forehead of the idol.

However, the authorities issued an endorsement on an application by a Vadagalai devotee donating a sliver crown to the deity with the ‘U’ symbol. The authorities permitted the crown to be placed on the Yoga Narasimha idol.

Challenging this, Mr. Anandalwan said that after the theft of some ornaments from the temple, the priests were anointing the deity with a “tilak”.

Stay sought

Claiming that the order of the authorities in permitting the ‘U’ symbol on the deity’s forehead violated the belief of worshippers, Mr. Anandalwan urged the court to stay it. He termed order illegal, illogical and arbitrary. Moreover, it had thrown to the winds centuries of tradition.

Justice N. Kumar, in his interim order, stayed the anointing of the deity with the ‘U’ symbol and adjourned further hearing in the case.

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