Bhubaneswar, Nov 16 (LocalWire) Odisha assembly on Saturday passed the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to confer special status to Gobardhan Math at Puri headed by Jagatguru Adi Sankaracharya.
With the passage of the bill, the Gobardhan Math, Puri will no longer be governed by the provisions of the OHRE Act, 1951, state law minister Pratap Jena said.
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, the Gobardhan Math cannot be equated with other mutts (monasteries) of the State because of the unique position it occupies in the Hindu religion.
It is one of the four mutts believed to have been established by Adi Sankaracharya with the objective of propagating traditional Sanatana Dharma.
Each of these mutts is headed by Sankaracharya who is considered the top-most religious and spiritual leader in his own right among the Hindus.
The status of Sankaracharya of Gobardhan mutt at Puri is even more important having regard to his involvement with the affairs of Shri Jagannth 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 Hindus and followers of Jagannath cult look upon the institution of Sankaracharya with utmost respect as the highest platform of Hindu religion in the State.
The other three mutts- 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.