Born Christian, but also a follower of Hindu religion, veteran playback singer KJ Yesudas applied for permission to pray at the famous Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
A meeting of the Executive Committee of the temple has decided to allow the singer to visit the temple on the occasion of Mahanavami or Vijayadasami day which falls on September 29 and 30.
Born in a Roman-Catholic family, the singer had earlier sought permission many times from Guruvayur Sree Krishna Swami temple to pray, but it had been turned down. Yesudas said that despite singing numerous songs on Lord Guruvayoorapan, he is yet to see the deity at the famed Sree Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor in Thrissur district, as the temple bars non-Hindus from entering.
But he regularly visits 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.
Yesudas has sent the permission request to the temple authorities through a special messenger.
According to the temple, anyone who believes in Hinduism is given permission to pray. The letter given by the legendary singer affirms that he is a believer of the customs and rituals of the temple.
When TNM reached out to V Ratheesan, the executive officer of Padmanabhaswamy temple on Sunday, he said there were no procedural barriers in giving permission to Yesudas.
"The temple administration has always permitted people who believe in Hindu faith to enter the temple. Yesudas, as we all know, is very vocal about his belief in Hindu faith. A meeting convened on Monday by the temple committee will discuss the matter," Ratheesan had said.
Asked who was the authority to give the final word in the matter, the officer said: "There is no question of who gets to say the final word. Allowing people who believe in Hindu faith is not new to the temple. We already have a procedure that is being followed for so many years."
Govt support for temple entry
Reacting to the matter on Monday, Kerala Minister for Devaswom Kadakampally Surendran said that the LDF government was in support of allowing entry to people to all temples, irrespective of their religion.
"Everyone who believes in the faith must be allowed to enter temple and worship. However, every temple has its own rules and we cannot change them all of a sudden," the Minister said.
Yesudas, in his singing career that has entered its 56th year, has recorded more than 1,00,000 songs in 14 languages.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1975, Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2017.