Following public’s protest against its decision to ban chanting of mantras and bhajans in Amarnath cave, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) clarified that it did not impose any restriction in the cave shrine. It said that it has neither intended nor declared the entire area as a “silence zone”. They had banned the chanting of mantras, the jaykaras or saying ‘Bam Bam Bole’ and also ringing of bells. At the same time they have directed the pilgrims be given certain facilities, which are welcome. It would not be wrong to state that technically the decibel level of sound generated by the chanting of mantras, jaykaras, by the pilgrims will be definitely less than the decibel levels of sound generated by loudspeakers. This is a technical fact. In spite of the clarity of this fact using the environment as an excuse for prohibiting the jayakaras of the pilgrims, seems to be arbitrary doesn’t it? Jaykaras, and chanting of mantras are an integral part of any pilgrimage. Thought of a pilgrimage without them is unthinkable. The pilgrims experience joy and bliss by chanting. Amarnath attracts pilgrims from all over the world. As they approach the shrine the eagerness and anticipation of being in the presence of the Lord increases in the pilgrims. This is when the pilgrims begin to chant ‘Bam Bam Bhole’ which increases the joy and anticipation of being the presence of the beloved Lord giving them spiritual joy assuaging their tired limbs and spirits and building up their strength to continue this arduous journey. To experience and understand this going go on pilgrimages is mandatory.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)