Dehradun : The last ritual in the life of an individual, immersing the ashes in the Ganga, has taken an unholy turn. The godmen and religious community involved in the rituals in the holy cities of Hardwar and Rishikesh, have raised the controversy on whether immersing the ashes in Rishikesh is proper as per Hindu mythology.
The controversy took birth following the immersion of the ashes of the mother of the Sufi singer Kailash Kher at Parmarth Ghat in Rishikesh recently. Swami Chindanand of Parmarth Niketan, who performed the ritual said that Kailash Kher, was attached to Rishikesh since childhood and it was only proper that he held the last holy rites of his mother in the city.
However, the godmen and community performing such rituals in Haridwar did not take the incident lightly and not only condemned Swami Chindanand for not following the traditions in practicing such rituals as laid out in the scriptures, but also burnt his effigy.
Though a section of the people see commercial interests in the controversy as the almost 10,000 strong godmen and members of the community involved in conducting such rituals in Hardwar do not want them performed elsewhere, as it will mean loss of income, but those involved quoted verses from the holy books to press home their point.
Those in Haridwar, quoting scriptures, claim that the immersion of the ashes can only be done in the hold city as per Hindu religion. However, Swami Chindanand took the plea that any such rites could be done along the banks of the Ganga anywhere from Gau Mukh in Yamunotri to Ganga Sagar in the Bay of Bengal.
Quoting Padam Puran, â€˜pandasâ€™ of Haridwar say that Har-ki-Pauri and Brahm Kund in the holy city are the only places for such rituals as per the scripture. But those of Rishikesh claim that the holy river retains its sanctity only till the mountainous tracts of the city, whereafter it enters the plains in the form of a canal. Thereby for such religious rituals the apt place is along the banks of the river from Gau Mukh to Rishikesh alone.