The Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan, representing at least 22 senior pundits in the country, recently wrote to the Sarpang dzongkhag administration to bar a pundit from conducting a seven-day puran or prayer ceremony in Jigmecholing gewog.

This was done following numerous instances where the pundit was found violating the code and conduct of pundits as prescribed in the traditional Hindu religious scriptures and norms followed by the HDSB, states the letter.

Senior pundits have expressed their concerns that if he is allowed to continue his activities it will not only undermine the principles and sanctity of the Sanatan Hindu Dharma as practiced in Bhutan but that it may irreparably tarnish the image of other Hindu pundits in the country.

Senior pundits pointed out that one of the 10 areas that the pundit violated was by presiding over a Vishnu puran during Shivaratri on February 24. Moreover the puran was conducted without approval from HDSB and the dzongkhag administration, it is stated.

The senior pundits alleged that donations were collected during the puran without approval from either the dzongkhag or the HDSB. In a similar incident, the same pundit had allegedly collected donations during a private puran. It is also alleged that he rejected all old notes and that he compulsorily asked people to offer only new and fresh notes.

“Keeping this in mind the HDSB has decided to bar him from conducting any religious functions within Bhutan in the near future unless he fulfils the time-tested norms of a hindu priest,” the letter states. “He is already boycotted by the Bhutanese pundit fraternity.”

One of the senior pundits, Tulasiram Bhandari, said that for the betterment of the Hindu community the pundit be stopped from conducting any religious programmes and rituals.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang