Today the Supreme Court of India recommended that no one be barred from the Jagannatha temple in Puri because of his faith or nationality, providing legal support to Srila Prabhupada’s long-standing desire that his disciples be allowed to enter, as described in the following excerpt from my forthcoming book about Srila Prabhupada and Juhu:
Srila Prabhupada was concerned that his foreign disciples were not allowed entry into some Hindu temples, notably the Jagannatha temple in Puri. In April 1974, Syamasundara Brahmachari invited Prabhupada to visit the Jagannatha temple, but Prabhupada replied, “I have not visited Jagannatha Puri because my men are not allowed to see the deity. When you arrange that we can visit the temple with my disciples then I can come immediately. . . .
“It is very regrettable that these European and American boys who are purely Vaishnava and who follow all principles are not allowed by the rascals to enter the temple. As stated in the Padma Purana, arcye visnau siladhir gurusu naramatir vaisnave jati buddhir.
“I do not know what makes the management take this attitude. If you can remove this restriction you will do a great service to the Gaudiya Vaishnava community. According to shastra, anyone who wears tilak and sikha and kunti over and above the Vaishnava dress or Vaishnava sannyasi must be accepted, especially while chanting Hare Krishna mantra with bead bags. Kindly convince them and induce them to allow these Vaishnavas to enter the Jagannatha Temple.”
Yours in service,