It was only last week that the famous Sreekrishna temple in Guruvayur in the Thrissur district of Kerala decided to allow non-Hindus into the dining hall situated outside the temple compound.
But the landmark decision by the Guruvayur Devasom has been put on hold after the chief priest of the temple, P Chennas Narayanan Namboothiripad opposed it.
This decision to allow non-Hindus to enter the Annalakshmi Hall Oottupura. and have the Prasada Oottu or temple feast was vehemently opposed by the chief priest.
“Devaswom Administrative Committee had decided to allow entry of non-Hindus to the dining hall outside the temple compound and also to allow devotees to wear shirt, vest and chappals. But based on the letter by the temple priest it has been decided that the status quo will continue for the prasadam ootu (free food distribution). The matter will be incorporated in the Devaprashanam (astrological ritual to interpret the will of god) and the final decision will be based on that,” said a statement by the Guruvayur Devaswom Administrator.
P Chennas Narayanan Namboothiripad had said that the changes would affect the temple’s glory. In a letter to the Devaswom Minister and Devaswom Commissioner, the chief priest said, "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.”
The priest was worried that non-Hindus would step into the adjacent temple pond. “Aaratt (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,” the letter said.