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Malayalis and Guruvayur Temple: Isn't it Time to Change Ridiculous Norms?

For me, a visit to Kerala is never complete without a visit to its most popular and revered temple, the Guruvayur Temple. Right from the time I was a kid, my parents visited this temple at least twice a year. So many legends continue to sweeten the experience of devotional ecstasy that one feels at this holy place, where the little Lord Krishna is worshipped and pampered as the deity named "Guruvayoorappan."

The famous playback singer Dr. K.J.Yeshudas is an ardent believer of Guruvayoorappan but the temple has stringent rules about permitting only Hindus to enter. That reminds me of the famous devotional song that Yeshudas sang because it resonates in the hearts of every Malayali,:

"Guruvayoor ambala nadayil oru divasam njaan pokum, gopura vaathil thurakam, njaan gopakumaraney kaanum."

Sorry for the poor translation but this means, "One day, I will go to the Guruvayoor Temple, the door leading to the sanctum sanctorum shall open someday and I will see the young cow herd prince."

Sadly, many famous people were prohibited from offering their prayers at the temple because they were not "pure Hindus." I see this as a ridiculous and narrowed interpretation of what Hinduism stands for. 

It had been reported that Rajiv Gandhi and later, Sonia Gandhi were not allowed to enter the temple because they were not considered 'pure Hindus.' The famous and now the late Mrs. Mercy Ravi (wife of top Congress Party leader, Vayalar Ravi) had to undergo considerabe discrimination because she attended her son's marriage conducted inside the temple and the authorities realized that she is a Christian by birth much later and they wanted her to pay for the 'punyaaham' or the 'purification' rites to cleanse the whole temple that she had polluted with her presence.

The funny thing is that I personally know of people from different religions who visit and pray at this temple but they are not 'caught' because they are not famous people. However, they say they can't openly let others in their community know that they worship at this temple because they would be ridiculed and isolated for doing so. We have such ridiculous social norms in the name of faith and I wish this could be changed. 

I believe temples such as the one at Guruvayur should be open to all those who want to have a darshan of the presiding deity there.

What's your take on this?

♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all those who believe in changing outdated norms for a better, happier society. REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people who love reading books by Indian writers. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥


I've never understood what it is to be a pure Hindu.. who sets the standard? Is there a rule book? Did not someone say that Hinduism is just a practice and not a religion? The temple authorities must understand that people do not wish to enter the temple to gawk at the crowd. They rather have only one mission in mind. To catch a glimpse of the adorable sweetness that is the little boy wonder. True to what you say, its hard to imagine the lord wishing this. Vayalar Ravi episode really made me cringe.
Jaisy James said…
thanku so much for ur comments in blog. pls do visit n post ur coments when time gets
R's Mom said…
you are so right Swapna...its quite sad that Yesudas is not allowed into Guruvayyur when he is perhaps the staunches devotee of Lord Krishna...his songs have such strong devotion in them that I am sure one day Lord will walk out himself to greet him
Nitha said…
I totally agree with you Swapna. BTW thanks for visiting my space. Loved to read your write ups here. Shall visit again.
Thank you all so much for sharing and discussing your thoughts here. I wish we could bring in the change we want to see but alas, it doesn't always work that way, does it?
Anonymous said…
Show the Guruvayur Temple authorities the article you find at the above link. It will put them in their place. It will make the highest caste of the Hindus squirm to be in their own bodies. What you will read there are my observations. I was only interested in finding out the truth. And if the truth puts a smile on the face of the Hindus, it is only a side effect; not my intention.

Thanks for the suggestion. I really think its very thoughtful of you to suggest this.
harimohan said…
while agreeing with you that temples should have unlimited acess to all devotees and believers one also should be aware that the holy city of Islam Mecca is prohibited to non muslims so are many mosques ( iam not at all telling our temples should emulate this ) Strangely Guruvayoor temple has non believers of the communist kind who are its decison makers ! as they are part of its devaswom commitees !
We Hindus can be blamed for all these paradoxes by one sentence lack of unity
poor Guruvayoorapan what will he do with such devotees !

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