Just because I’m a ‘tantri’ don’t expect me to…

Kantararu Mohanaru, the controversial “junior” tantri (traditional chief priest) of the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala—a man who has been linked to the Kannada actress Jayamala and who was barred from discharging his duties after being caught with a woman in a flat—has been appearing before a three-member inquiry commission inquiring into the irregularities in the Devaswom Board.

Today’s Deccan Herald has a captivating transcript of the proceedings:

Commission: Do you know Sanskrit?

Mohanaru: No.

Commission: Then how come you were an expert member in the board which interviewed priests?

Mohanaru: I gave marks only for the pujas.

Commission: Have you studied tantras and mantras?

Mohanaru: We have traditionally been…

Commission: Tradition and all are fine. Just because the father is king the son need not become king. Do you know the vedas?

Mohanaru: No.

Commission: Do you know the Veda mantras?

Mohanaru: No.

Commission: Do you know Bhagyasooktham?

Mohanaru: No.

Commission: Then how do you do pujas in Sabarimala?

Mohanaru: There, we don’t conduct pujas using these mantras.

Commission: Don’t you conduct Ganapathy Homam and other pujas there?

Mohanaru: I do it myself with some other mantras.

Commission: But isn’t Bhagyasooktham an essential element of Ganapathy Homam. OK, let it go. Do you know the star in which Ganapathy was born?

Mohanaru: No.

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