The famous Sreekrishna temple in Guruvayur in the Thrissur district does not allow entry of non-Hindus. However, last week the Guruvayur Devasom that manages the temple made a landmark decision to allow non-Hindus into the dining hall situated outside the temple compound called the Annalakshmi Hall Oottupura. This decision to allow non-Hindus to enter the dining hall and have the Prasada Oottu or temple feast has not gone down well with the chief priest of the temple.
In a dissent tone, the chief priest of the temple, P Chennas Narayanan Namboothiripad has said that the changes would affect the templeâ€™s glory. He told TNM that he has sent a letter to the Devaswom Minister and Devaswom Commissioner asking them to revoke the decision.
In the letter he strongly criticized the decision saying that it has created deep anguish among devotees. "Several organisations, individuals have come and personally met me to share their worry over this. The decision was not taken in the meeting in which I was present and it was definitely not with my consent,â€ť the letter says.
Last week, many non-Hindus had attended the feast in the temple.
More than the feast itself, the priest is worried that if non-Hindus are allowed in the dining hall, then there was a chance that they would step into the adjacent temple pond. â€śAaratt (bath of the deity) is done in the pond. All the thantris and pujaris who work in the sanctum sanctorum also take bath in the pond. All this would impact the glory of the temple. Normally, when non-Hindus enter the temple or the temple pond, we sprinkle holy water to purify the surroundings. The hall where the prasada oottu is conducted is near the temple pond. If non-Hindus are allowed to enter the dining hall, chance is that they would enter the pond,â€ť the letter says.
Last year, the chief priestâ€™s brother and Guruvayur temple Thanthri, Chennas Dinesan Namboothiripad had called for a discussion on entry of non-Hindus into the temple. "There should be an open discussion among all the stakeholders regarding the topic. From that discussion, we need to arrive at how we will allow entry to non-Hindus, what is to be done, and other related issues. Only the government can take such a decision, they should do so,â€ť he had said.
P Chennas Narayanan Namboothiripad however opposed this and in a statement said, "The opinion that non-Hindus must be allowed entry is the individual opinion of only one member of the thanthri family. The family does not agree to this point of view.