From the Viewsroom

Throw open the temple doors

Anand Kalyanaraman | Updated on March 08, 2018

Not just to music stalwarts such as KJ Yesudas, but everyone

At a packed Margazhi season concert at Vani Mahal in Chennai last Saturday, KJ Yesudas had the audience in thrall — with soulful renditions of several Carnatic and devotional songs in a voice often hailed as ‘touched by God’. In the midst of the concert, sprinkled with humility and mirth, came a poignant moment. Singing in praise of Krishna, the presiding deity of the Guruvayoor temple, the 77-year-old Yesudas nearly choked up, noting that the doors of the temple are still not open to him. Man-made mental walls keep him out, he said. Despite him recovering quickly, many in the audience were moved. This is not the first time Yesudas has expressed his anguish at not being allowed inside the Guruvayoor temple.

Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple and Yesudas, a Christian, does not make the cut, say the powers-that-be at the temple. How valid is this stance in this day and age, and in a pluralistic, multi-cultural, multi-religious society such as India’s? Are proponents of hard-line positions not harming the cause of Hinduism and humanism? Should the accident of birth and choice of faith continue to preclude one from entering places of worship? Shouldn’t we celebrate and make the most of the diversity the country offers us?

A non-Hindu he may be but Yesudas has done yeoman service for Hinduism over decades through his songs. It is instructive that Yesudas has been offering prayers at the Sabarimala temple and was also recently allowed entry to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. It’s high time the Guruvayoor temple authorities see reason. This is not just about Yesudas. People across the spectrum should have the freedom to pray and worship anywhere without hindrance; that would be true freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution. It’s time to throw open the doors.

Senior Assistant Editor

Published on December 26, 2017

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