Attempts by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to mediate between the trustees of Shani Shingnapur temple and activists over the bar on women’s entry at the shrine failed to make any headway.
During the meeting, Ravi Shankar – the founder of Art of Living Foundation -- suggested that only the priest should be allowed on the holy platform to which the women activists disagreed, saying there should be women priest as well.
“Everybody, irrespective of gender, has equal right to worship and therefore there should be no discrimination. In the meeting I have suggested to both the parties that only priest should be allowed to be on the platform where deity is placed,” said Ravi Shankar.
Ravi Shankar said nowhere in the scriptures is written that women should not enter inside the temples. “If that would have been the case, women would have not been allowed inside India’s biggest temple-Kashi Vishwanath temple.”
Responding to Sri Sri’s suggestion, Desai said, “If both men and women are to be disallowed to have darshan by stepping on the chabutara in future, then activists of Bhoomata Brigade should have an opportunity to perform the last Pooja at the sacred platform in the presence of Sri Sri and Maharashtra chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis.
According to the current practice, neither women nor men are allowed to go on to the Chauthara (platform). However, during the morning and evening aarti, men are allowed on the platform provided they pay fee the trustees fix.
(With inputs from agencies)