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On the entry of non-Hindus in Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple is one among the thousands of Lord Krishna temples in Kerala. But the devotees are more found of the Unnikrishnan (the child Krishna) at the Guruvayur Temple. Everyone wants to get married here and wants to give the first meal of their child here. Even non-practicing Hindus want to offer prayers to Lord Krishna here. The net result is that the temple has become a center of controversy.

The biggest controversy is whether to allow famous singer Yesudas to pray in Guruvayoor or not. Then there is the occasional hiccups created by the cleansing ceremony performed in the temple when a non-Hindu visits the temple. The recent controversy involved Union Minister Vayalar Ravi’s Son.

Now there is a debate going on in Kerala whether to allow non-Hindus or not into the Guruvayur Temple.

The Kerala State Government is ready to enact a law to allow non-Hindu believers entry into temples provided there is a consensus on the issue.

An apex body of priests and Brahmin organizations in Kerala (Yogashema Sabha) is ready to explore the possibilities of reforming temple practices and traditions in tune with times.

The Guruvayur Kshetra Paramparya Paricharaka Samithy, consisting of the temple priests of Guruvayur, is not ready to allow non-Hindus into the temple.

The opinion of the poor Hindu devotee who stands in the long queue to visit the temple is not needed mainly because they are not organized and is not a pressure group. And sometimes the collective opinion of the poor Hindu devotees might usher in aggressive changes in which the priests and the temple governing body might be blown away. So for the priests, it is better to keep them away.

In rural Kerala, Christians and Muslims often ask their Hindu neighbors to offer prayers and alms in their name at Hindu temples. For these innocent souls, praying to the Hindu gods are yet another way to solve their day-to-day problems.

If a non-Hindu wishes to visit a temple, he/she knows very well how to behave there. For them the Hindu temple is like a church or mosque and all they want is to pray to the almighty at that particular place. Simply because, they believe in the power of that particular deity.

The temple priests or the authorities might be able to identify a Yesudas or a Vayalar Ravi’s son. But what about the millions of other non-Hindus? Thousands of non-Hindus have already visited the Guruvayur Temple and thousands will visit in the future. Is there any method to identify a non-Hindu? So, the whole exercise of denying entry to non-Hindus is pointless.

The priests and other organizations have every right to demand that only Hindu believers should occupy positions in the governing body of the temple. But they don’t have any right to stop a non-Hindu believer from praying at the temple.

And to clean a temple after the visit of a particular person is humiliating and insulting. Such monstrous practices should be banned and should have no place in a civilized society.

By the way, where is Lord Krishna (Unnikrishnan) in this whole episode? So much of cleaning might have driven him out of the temple. He might be sitting outside watching this entire show with that smile which conquers the entire universe. Or he might be playing with the kids outside the temple.