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Debate over birthplace of Hanuman ends in stalemate

Hyderabad: The face-off between Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and Sri Hanumad Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust of Karnataka to resolve the controversy over the birthplace of Hindi god Hanuman ended in a stalemate on Thursday
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2021 12:37 AM IST

Hyderabad: The face-off between Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and Sri Hanumad Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust of Karnataka to resolve the controversy over the birthplace of Hindi god Hanuman ended in a stalemate on Thursday.

The debate was held between the experts committee of TTD headed by National Sanskrit University vice-chancellor V Muralidhar Sharma and Hanumad Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust founder Swamy Govindananda Saraswati Swamy at the university premises in Tirupati.

After a heated argument between the two sides, Govindananda Saraswati walked out of the meeting. He told reporters that there was no point in having discussions over the birthplace of Lord Hanuman after several centuries, when Valmiki Ramayana clearly mentions that he was born in Kishkindha on the banks of Pampa Kshetra (Tungabhadra river near Hampi).

Stating that the experts committee constituted by the TTD on the issue had no authority to decide the birthplace of Hanuman, Govindananda Saraswati said such sensitive issues should be decided by Hindu religious seers such as the Shankaracharyas, Madhwacharyas and Jeeyar Swamijis.

He alleged that the arguments of the TTD were misleading the common people. “ We cannot depend on the mythology but have to go by Ramayana. Did the experts committee ever come to Kishkindha to examine the evidences?” Govindananda asked.

Speaking to reporters separately, Muralidhar Sharma said various ancient scriptures including Puranas and copper plate inscriptions clearly indicated that Tirumala, also known as Anjanadri, was the birth place of Lord Hanuman.

He strongly refuted the claims made by Govindananda Saraswati that Lord Hanuman was born at Anjanahalli on the banks of river Pampa near Hampi in Karnataka. “He did not come out with any evidences to prove his claim,” Sharma said.

TTD scholar Kuppa Vishwanatha Sharma, who moderated the debate, declared that the findings of TTD Pundita Parishad (experts committee) were concrete and that the arguments of Hampi Swamy held no substance.

On April 13, coinciding with the Ugadi festival, TTD came out with a booklet, claiming that Anjanadri in Tirumala was the birthplace of Hanuman. The claim was based on a report submitted by an eight-member expert committee headed by Muralidhar Sharma, constituted in December 2020.

Sri Hanumad Janma Bhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust of Karnataka, however, strongly protested the claims and dashed off a six-page strongly worded letter to TTD in the first week of May. Trust founder Govindananda Saraswati said TTD’s claim was “daiva droham” (betrayal of god).

Muralidhar Sharma said that the experts committee of the TTD had done extensive research for four months and gathered mythological, literary, archaeological and geographical evidence to come to the conclusion that Tirumala, also mentioned as Anjanadri in ancient scriptures, was the birthplace of Hanuman.

Reacting on the debate, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former TTD trust board member G Bhanuprakash Reddy said it would be better if the issue were left to the Hindu seers like Shankaracharyas and Jeeyars to decide. “The debate is totally unwarranted.”

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