Singer Yesudas is the beloved voice of Kerala. He has serenaded Malayalis and those outside the state with film music and devotional songs in equal parts. However, despite the numerous songs he has sung in praise of Krishna, his religious identity has meant that the singer has not been allowed to enter the famous Sree Krishna temple in Guruvayur.
According to SouthLive, the singer said, "It is possible even for insects to enter the temple, but not me."
Yesudas was speaking at an award ceremony held at the Poornathrayeesa temple at Tripunithura in Ernakulam on Friday. The award has been instituted in the name of his father Augustine Joseph, who was also a well-known singer in his time.
Yesudas has always been vocal about his wish to enter the Guruvayur temple.
Even though he has performed concerts scores of times outside the temple for the famous Chembai Vaidyanatha music festival, he hasn't been allowed to offer prayers at the sanctum sanctorum.
The singer's pain was apparent in his words: "If I had been born as a cockroach or a fly, it would have been possible for me to enter the Guruvayur temple."
The singer further added that he was proud to be the son of a man who had encouraged him to pursue music when it was not a popular choice.
"I am proud that I was born to a father who asked me to learn music at a time when there was nothing to be achieved with music," he said.
The singer, who has regaled four generations of Malayalis with his magical voice, also expressed his displeasure over the current state of music: "I am sad seeing how learning music and singing have become mere mockery on social media. I am sharing this thought with those who, by simply winning an award, think that they have become everything - I have become nothing even after meditating on music for such a long time."
Though born in a Roman-Catholic family, Yesudas is also a follower of the Hindu religion. In September 2017, he applied for permission to pray at the famous Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
Following this, the Executive Committee of the temple decided to allow the singer to visit the temple on the occasion of Mahanavami or Vijayadasami day which fell on September 29 and 30 respectively that year. However, Yesudas didn't visit the temple on either day.
"There is no use in rushing. When God calls, I will visit him. For this, none of you should hold you breath and lose your life," he had said.
Yesudas has sought permission several times to enter the Guruvayur temple but he has been turned down every time because the temple bars non-Hindus from going in.
However, he regularly visits the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Patthanamthitta district and Kollur Mookambika temple in Karnataka without any restrictions.
In 2008, he was denied entry by the Kadampuzha Devi temple in Malappuram district.
â€śI am deeply pained at the experience I had at the temple. Even cats and rats can go near the God. Why Yesudas is barred?â€ť he had reacted then.
During the time when Yesudas had applied for permission to enter Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple, the LDF government in Kerala had said that it supports temple entry for all, irrespective of religion. However, the Kerala Minister for Devaswom Kadakampally Surendran had added that every temple has its own rules and that they cannot be changed overnight.