Vrindavan, 2017.12.07 (VT): A civil judge has reportedly written a letter to the administration of the Banke Bihari Temple, asking for darshan timings to be extended from eight hours to twelve. Over the past one hundred and fifty years, the number of pilgrims visiting the temple has more than tripled, he said, and devotees barely get a chance to see Him whilst being pushed and pummeled by the crowd.
On normal days, the number of pilgrims visiting the temple is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. And on festivals, the number of temple visitors can reach several lakhs (hundreds of thousands). In another letter, a local police official echoed the request for darshan to remain open longer, citing the troubles devotees face trying to get darshan.
Though there is some logic to the request, local resident Hari Baba sees it in another way.
“Banke Bihari is a fifteen year old boy,” he said. “Forcing him to work so much amounts to child labor. How can a judge even suggest such a thing?”
“People want Banke Bihari to adjust his schedule for their comfort,” added Radha Dasi. “What they forget is that we are here to serve him, not the other way around. How can we ask Banke Bihari to wake up earlier than he likes, skip his afternoon nap, and be late for Raas Lila with Radharani just for our convenience?” (V)
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