Wednesday, November 30, 2011

High Time to Open Doors of Guruvayur Temple to Dr. K.J. Yesudas

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This blog post is written Dr. (Mrs) Vaidyanatha Iyer Thankamani, Professor and Head, Department of Biotechnology, University of Kerala. Dr Thankamani writes about the persistent denial of entry to Dr K.J. Yesudas into Guruvayur temple, a thought I fully support. 
The Day Is not Far when  Guruvayur Appan Himself  will Throw Open The Portals of  His Sanctum Sanctorum and rein in the Divinity Incarnate  K J Yesudas. .... Like Nandi moved off to clear Nandanar ‘s path to  Visualise Chidamabara Nathan Lord Siva
Hinduism distinguishes itself from other religions by its profound philosophical depth. As one peruses the Bhagavad Gita, he/she realizes that it is more a confabulation between intimate friends (Krishna and Arjuna) rather than the ‘Song of the Lord’. Here Krishna tries to restore Arjuna’s morale, dispel his fears and infuse him with confidence to confront the challenges ahead. Though the backdrop is the imminent outbreak of hostilities with vast armies arrayed against each other, the motif is identical to countless situations played out in our quotidian lives – a person is cowed down by fear, self-doubt, vacillation, and, his friend or near one tries to invigorate him with words borne out of affection and experience and belief in the person’s qualities.

Hinduism empowers a believer to see God as not one confined to the sanctum-sanctorum of a temple but in any life form/source of energy which enriches and provides for, which gives meaning to our earthly existence.

Today we Hindus are increasingly abandoning the philosophical precepts that our religion proffers and embracing symbolism in the form of ‘incorrigible’ rituals and stifling rules. Without caring to know the essence of the Mahabharatha or the Bhagavad Gita, we brandish draconian religious edicts to prevent non-Hindus from entering places of worship.

Dr.K.J Yesudas whose enchanting voice graces all religious functions/temple festivals in our state is still barred from entering the Guruvayoor temple. His ‘Gandharva Naadam’ rendering ‘Thuyilunaru .. Gananaadha’ to invoke Ganesha, ‘Harivaraasanam Viswamoahanam’ to lull Ayyappan to sleep and ‘Thandavam Siva Thandavam’ which elucidates the Dance of the Destroyer help create a divine atmosphere in temples and households. I am sure many ardent devotees will agree to this.

We, as mortals, engage in base acts prodded on by greed, selfishness, anger etc. Yet, we enjoy the rights to enter places of worship solely because we happen to be born into a particular religion. Anyone who leads a life of austerity, and service to other life forms and strives to improve oneself in his field of work through tenacious effort qualifies to be a Hindu.

Dr. K.J Yesudas is more Hindu than many ‘born’ Hindus themselves (including the author). His simple way of life, respect for Hindu beliefs (though he is a Christian) and his immortal songs about the presiding deities of various temples which act as salve for millions are attributes of a true Hindu.

In the Mahabharatha, there is the allegorical story of sage Utanga. The sage, an ardent devotee of Krishna is granted the boon that he would find water whenever he is overcome by thirst. The sage was once crossing a desert and was tormented by thirst. He prayed to Krishna to help him. Soon a Nishada (a hunter-gatherer of low caste) arrived there with his hunting dogs. He offered the sage water from his sheep skin bag. The sage, overcome by disgust at the sight of the Nishada, refused. When the Nishada urged Utanga to accept water from him, the sage was incensed and berated the Nishada. The sage soon realized that the Nishada was none other than Indra offering him ‘amrita’, the elixir of life at the bidding of Krishna. Utanga’s wisdom and knowledge had been clouded by the barriers of caste and untouchability. He was governed by the rigid, fossilised divisions in society and had not attained ‘true jnana’ or enlightenment. We Hindus are imitating Utanga, learned in rules and rituals but failing to transcend the discrimination/divisions that blight our society.

Like the Nishada being shunned by Utanga, Yesudas is being prevented from entering Guruvayoor, though he purveys ‘amrita’ through his songs. Only when the doors of Guruvayoor are laid open to welcome Yesudas will each Hindu have cleansed himself of the inequity that we as a group have been meting out to Yesudas.

Most of the readers of this article would have seen the movie ‘His Highness Abdullah’ at least once (probably several times). I hope many will recollect the dialogue delivered by Nedumudi Venu ‘ Poonul ittathu kondu aayilla. Brahmanan ennu paranjaal brahmajnaanam ullavan , eswarane ariyunnavan ennau artham. Sangeetham eswaranaanu, than sangeetham ariyavunnavan aanu”. Dr. K.J Yesudas, humility incarnate, does not realize that Guruvayoorappan dwells inside him !

(A  Reminiscence ....
The author is privileged to be wedded into the illustrious family of Mahakavi Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer whose home was frequented by great exponents in literature. Once at a family religious ceremony in a fully packed hall at his home Mahakavi Ulloor walked to the gates, held on fondly the hands of his invited special guest and friend Mahakavi Kumaran Aasan and led him to a chair in the very front row. Suddenly there was a shocking silence followed by bickering and moorings in whispers. But no one dared to spell out the WRONG or  voice their resentment simply because the “accused” was not an ordinary mortal but an Intellectual giant powered by knowledge and virtues The next day dawned to find Ulloor  declared an outcast by the Brahmana Samooham. Ulloor in sheer glee replied softly “Till yesterday I was only a Brahmin; today I am elated to be a Human Being”. That is the essence of Hinduism, a code of life and not a mere religion).
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Blogger girishell said...

All Yesudas has to do is get a certificate from Arya Samaj ..saying he believes in Hinduism and is a Hindu from now on..Why cant he do that if he desires to see Guruvayyorapan that much.

Yesudas can go in front of Guruvayoorapan and not see him..Only if he sheds his pride and believes Guruvaropan is the supreme lord will he see him anyways

I dont think casteism has anything to do with Yesudas getting entry to the abode

November 30, 2011 4:53 PM  
Blogger girishell said...

I dont think casteism has anything to with Yesudas not able to see the Lord.All he has to do is get a certificate from Arya Samaj saying he is a believer in Hinduism from now on.
Why cant he do that if he so desires to see the Lord.He has to just shed his pride.
He can be in front of Guruvayoorapan and not see him if he doesnt believe Guruvayoorapan is the supreme lord.
I have been to Guruvayoor and had 100 things in my mind while standing in the queue..I dont think I really saw Guruvayoorappan that day.

November 30, 2011 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anjana said...

Call me old-fashioned, but I don't believe in changing divine traditions that are centuries old simply because there are a few people that are exceptions to the rule. I believe traditions are setup the way they are for a reason and that we should abide by them. That applies to G temple where non-Hindus are not allowed as well as to SM temple where non-Hindus are more than welcome.

While I appreciate KJY's faith in G appan, opening the doors to him will demand the opening of doors to many others. To your point, all his good karma in terms of singing hymns with utmost devotion has probably made him 'qualify' as Hindu. However, Sankaracharya made those rules for a reason and I believe they must remain so. Remember all the mishaps that occured in the temple when the Govt made salwar kameez okay for women - and then a Devaprasnam had to be done? I wouldn't mess with these things that I don't understand.


December 01, 2011 9:22 AM  
Blogger sankaranarayanapillaik said...

An honest Hindu can not block anybody from entering a temple if he asserts that he believes in the deity of that temple. Hindu temple is meant for the whole world; not for any group.

December 01, 2011 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Satish said...

Yesudas is denied entry as he is a well known figure, even as multitudes of common folk who are non-hindus enter it un-noticed. so this rule to ban his entry defies common sense.

March 25, 2012 2:11 AM  
Blogger Ashwin Reghunath Nair said...

Yes he was denied but that's valid because he's known. And as said there are so many who enter without knowledge. Fine the person of this blog, then take the initative to grant Dr. K.J Yesudas or any other figure into Macca or else Sri Sandeep Chatihanya to Vatican. Then talk about this. What divinity. He's a singer yes and a God's grace in voice. Even though several malpractices were followed to reach where he has, he's not divine he's just a singer. Just for one man never ever should rituals be changed. Fine if that's the case then let us be allowed into Macca and Vatican then we'll see.

April 09, 2012 8:19 AM  

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