Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Dwaraka-Sharda Peeth on Monday triggered fresh controversy, by saying that allowing women to pray in Shani temple would result in increase of rapes. He made the observation just days after authorities of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district allowed women to worship in the inner sanctum.
“Women entered Shani temple’s inner sanctum. The women are worshipping Shani in the temple. By doing so, Shani’s eyes would fall on women and this would result in increase of rape incidents,” Swaroopanand Saraswati said.
Bowing to the Bombay High Court order, the temple trust last week broke the 400 years tradition and announced that both men and women will henceforth be allowed to enter the inner sanctum and offer their prayers.
The Bhumata Brigade cadres led by Trupti Desai offered prayers at the sanctum sanctorum of the temple following the decision.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shani, the personification of planet Saturn, and women devotees were until last week not permitted at the platform. Shani is the personification of planet Saturn, and women devotees are not permitted at the platform.
The open temple has no walls or roof. A self-emerged (svayambhu) five-foot-high black stone stands on a platform and is worshipped as Lord Shani.