Many decades ago, legendary singer Yesudas was stopped at the gate of the famous Sri Krishna temple in Guruvayur. His guru, the late Carnatic maestro, Chembai Vaidynatha Bhagavathar and his troupe was however allowed inside.
Yesudas has immortalised innumerable devotional songs about various Hindu gods and the controvery around allowing the singer, baptised as a Christian, inside the temple, keeps resurfacing every few years.
Though the infamous incident involving Yesudas happened decades ago, most Kerala temples still have boards stating that non-Hindus cannot be permitted.
Reviving the contentious issue once again, RSS National Executive Committee member Indresh Kumar on Tuesday urged all Hindu temples in Kerala to open its doors to everyone, irrespective of the devotee's religion.
The leader made the statements in Thiruvananthapuram, when he arrived in the state to take part in the Cardinal Feast Day at Major Archbishop House in Pattom.
Observing that there were many temples in the state that restricted the entry of non-Hindus, Indresh Kumar pointed out that denying them entry was against the true spirit of 'Sanatana Dharma.'
Sanatana Dharma, the leader said, meant that everyone was equal before God and "opposing the entry of non-Hindus to temples was just like restricting them to understand their own culture and tradition.
Maintaining that restricting the entry of non-Hindus was nt Dharma, he said that people who are interested to go to a temple should be allowed to do so.
"Many notice boards are exhibited in several temples in Kerala restricting entry of non-Hindus in temples even managed by various Devaswom Boards," the leader noted.
He also said that Hinduism was a way of life and not a religion. Though he contradicted his own statement when he added:
"It (Hinduism) always accepts all religions, including Jainism, Sikkim, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. It preaches universal motherhood, hence known as mother of all religions."
Indresh Kumar also said that the "presence of God cannot be limited to a place of worship" and that all religions are bound to open their places of worship to everyone.