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Kashi temple Mahant quits following “Shivling” controversy

He was one of the two priests to debunk claims of a “Shivling” being found in the Wazu Khana of the Gyanvapi Mosque

Sabrangindia 30 May 2022

Ganesh Shankar Upadhyay

Ganesh Shankar Upadhyay, the Mahant or head priest of the Kashi Karvat temple resigned from his post on Sunday in light of the controversy surrounding his statements debunking the discovery of a “Shivling” in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the Gyanvapi Mosque, that is located adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

SabrangIndia had reported previously that in an interview to Aaj Tak, Mahant Ganesh Shankar Upadhyaya had revealed that to the best of his knowledge the structure found is a fountain. He said, “We have been seeing it since childhood. Fountains come in various designs and are located in the middle of water bodies. Sometimes they have a stone base. To the best of my knowledge, it is a fountain, and not a ‘Shivling’ as claimed by the Hindu petitioners. Though I have never seen the fountain running in all my life.”

But the Mahant feels that unnecessary controversy has been created in wake of his comments, and at a press conference on Sunday, he announced, “My comment was misinterpreted. I don’t understand politics, but I became a victim of politics. But Mahadev will do justice.” Hindi publication Amar Ujala quoted him as saying, “I hereby resign from the post of Mahant to protect the dignity of the post, and so I can perform my penance in peace. The post will now be held by my younger brother Dr. Dinesh Ambashakar Upadhyay.” He further said, “I do not hold anyone responsible for how things transpired and believe it all happened because god willed it to be so.”

All this has to do with claims made by Hindu petitioners that a “Shivling” had been discovered on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque during a court ordered video survey. However, mosque authorities quickly debunked the claim and said that it was just part of an old defunct fountain. It now appears that the Mahant is paying for his comments that did not go down well with a certain section of hardliners who allegedly also have close ties to the ruling regime. Notice how Upadhaya categorically said that he was a "victim of politics".

But, readers would recall that Upadhyay was not the only Mahant to debunk the “Shivling” claims. Mahant Rajendra Tiwari of the Kashi Vishwanath temple had also made similar comments and told Aaj Tak, “I have been seeing that talab (Wazu tank) since I was a child and used to go play there.” He added, “It is not right to call just any stone structure a ‘Shivling’.” In fact, he was more concerned about the destruction of actual “Shivlings” for construction of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor.

Mincing no words, he had asked about the radio silence on the destructions of those Shivlings, saying, “When the corridor expansion was taking place, they demolished Shivlings – Karuneshwar Mahadev, Amriteshwar Mahadev, Abhimukteshwar Mahadev, and Chandi-Chandeshwar Mahadev. These are the presiding deities of Kashi. They also demolished statues of the Panch Vinayaks – Durmukh Vinayak, Sumuk Vinayak, Mukh Vinayak, Jau Vinayak and Siddi Vinayak – and removed them from their mool sthan. But no one will speak about this.”

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Two Kashi Vishwanath Mahants debunk ‘Shivling’ claims

Gyanvapi case: “Shivling” controversy continues

SC orders "Shivling" to be protected without denying Muslims access to the mosque

Shivling ‘found’ on Gyanvapi mosque premises, court orders area sealed

Kashi temple Mahant quits following “Shivling” controversy

He was one of the two priests to debunk claims of a “Shivling” being found in the Wazu Khana of the Gyanvapi Mosque

Ganesh Shankar Upadhyay

Ganesh Shankar Upadhyay, the Mahant or head priest of the Kashi Karvat temple resigned from his post on Sunday in light of the controversy surrounding his statements debunking the discovery of a “Shivling” in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the Gyanvapi Mosque, that is located adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

SabrangIndia had reported previously that in an interview to Aaj Tak, Mahant Ganesh Shankar Upadhyaya had revealed that to the best of his knowledge the structure found is a fountain. He said, “We have been seeing it since childhood. Fountains come in various designs and are located in the middle of water bodies. Sometimes they have a stone base. To the best of my knowledge, it is a fountain, and not a ‘Shivling’ as claimed by the Hindu petitioners. Though I have never seen the fountain running in all my life.”

But the Mahant feels that unnecessary controversy has been created in wake of his comments, and at a press conference on Sunday, he announced, “My comment was misinterpreted. I don’t understand politics, but I became a victim of politics. But Mahadev will do justice.” Hindi publication Amar Ujala quoted him as saying, “I hereby resign from the post of Mahant to protect the dignity of the post, and so I can perform my penance in peace. The post will now be held by my younger brother Dr. Dinesh Ambashakar Upadhyay.” He further said, “I do not hold anyone responsible for how things transpired and believe it all happened because god willed it to be so.”

All this has to do with claims made by Hindu petitioners that a “Shivling” had been discovered on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque during a court ordered video survey. However, mosque authorities quickly debunked the claim and said that it was just part of an old defunct fountain. It now appears that the Mahant is paying for his comments that did not go down well with a certain section of hardliners who allegedly also have close ties to the ruling regime. Notice how Upadhaya categorically said that he was a "victim of politics".

But, readers would recall that Upadhyay was not the only Mahant to debunk the “Shivling” claims. Mahant Rajendra Tiwari of the Kashi Vishwanath temple had also made similar comments and told Aaj Tak, “I have been seeing that talab (Wazu tank) since I was a child and used to go play there.” He added, “It is not right to call just any stone structure a ‘Shivling’.” In fact, he was more concerned about the destruction of actual “Shivlings” for construction of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor.

Mincing no words, he had asked about the radio silence on the destructions of those Shivlings, saying, “When the corridor expansion was taking place, they demolished Shivlings – Karuneshwar Mahadev, Amriteshwar Mahadev, Abhimukteshwar Mahadev, and Chandi-Chandeshwar Mahadev. These are the presiding deities of Kashi. They also demolished statues of the Panch Vinayaks – Durmukh Vinayak, Sumuk Vinayak, Mukh Vinayak, Jau Vinayak and Siddi Vinayak – and removed them from their mool sthan. But no one will speak about this.”

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Two Kashi Vishwanath Mahants debunk ‘Shivling’ claims

Gyanvapi case: “Shivling” controversy continues

SC orders "Shivling" to be protected without denying Muslims access to the mosque

Shivling ‘found’ on Gyanvapi mosque premises, court orders area sealed

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