| Kirti Prakash Das shuns his corporate life and takes up a servitor’s role during rath yatra every year. Picture by Sarat Patra |
Whenever there’s a glitch in the logistics during the arrangement of an event and everyone else is nervous, 25-year old Kirti Prakash Das Mohapatra knows just how to handle it. He is a corporate professional when in the capital but in his hometown Puri, he is an important member of the team of sevayats that organise the rath yatra.
Like Kirti, there are 20-odd members of the younger generation of hereditary servitors of the deities, who are pulled to their duties in the temple for about a month, taking leave from their corporate lives, to fulfil their spiritual commitment.
“We grew up on the premises of the temple and have known Jagannath to be our confidant, friend and guide as well as our Lord. Being with him when he is suffering from fever is our prime duty,” said Kirti.
Similarly, for software engineers Haraprasad Das Mohapatra, Nutan Das Mohapatra, Shyam Das Mohapatra and director of a private company Sanjiv Kumar Swain Mohapatra, all aged between 25 and 30, the events from debasnana purnima to bahuda yatra are priority compared to their careers.
“We are fortunate to have been born in the servitor family and to get a chance to serve the deities of the temple. It is impossible to imagine missing rath yatra and the events involved around it,” said Haraprasad.
For these young techie sevayats balancing life as servitors and engineers is not tough. “The association with the temple system of service has much to teach us. Our forefathers may not have needed to go out of the temple but they taught us the management of a grand event like rath yatra through division of labour. Getting involved in the affairs of the temple has made us confident to deal with matters in the professional world calmly,” said Kirti.
The senior servitors also appreciate the faith and dedication shown by the young generation.
“Our younger generation has shown that both personal responsibility and professional life can be balanced. All of us are proud of our young servitors,” said Jagannath Swain Mohapatra, chief servitor of Lord Jagannath. Swain’s computer engineer son declined a job offer from Australia.