Nearly three decades ago, K.J. Yesudas was stopped at the gates of the Sree Krishna Temple in Guruvayur, Kerala. His religion (Christianity) was held him, and the classical and cinema singer was barred from performing in the precincts of the Hindu lord. However, Yesudas’ guru Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar was let in. But seeing his disciple’s plight, the Guru led Yesudas to an impromptu, all-night concert in praise of Lord Krishna outside the temple.
The reverberations of that incident continue to be felt to this today. The Kerala Minister for Cooperation and Devaswom G. Sudhakaran has urged the Guruvayur Devaswom Temple Board to allow Yesudas into the famous temple to “set right a wrong”. But the Nair Service Society has opposed the proposal saying the move would create an unnecessary controversy as everyone knew that the temple did not allow non-Hindus inside.
“Coming from a person who represents a party (CPM) which doesn’t believe in God, the minister’s initiative amounts to an infringement on Hinduism,” Nair Service Society general secretary P.K. Narayana Panikker has said. “Why does every one want to teach secularism to Hindus alone? Why don’t they make similar interventions in other religions?”
For his part, Yesudas says he doesn’t want to be allowed into the temple alone. “Places of religious worship, be it a temple, a mosque or a church should be thrown open to all,” he says.
What do you think? Does it make sense to keep Yesudas out because of his religion in this day and age? If Yesudas can perform unfettered in the Kollur Mookambika Temple, why should only the Guruvayur Temple bar his entry? If Sonia Gandhi can be grandly welcomed at many of our big Hindu temples, including Tirupati, why can’t Yesudas?
Is man giving god a bad name? And what the Hell, let’s ask it—is Lord Krishna reserving a special place in Heaven for all those who divide his devotees?