Row over Purification Ceremony of Temple Turns Bitter
BY: STAFF CORRESPONDENT
May 22, NEW DELHI, INDIA (TIMES OF INDIA) The controversy over the purification ceremony at the Lord Krishna temple in Guruvayur after the visit of Vayalar Ravi and his family turned bitter on Monday with the Union Minister accusing the temple chief priest of trying to resurrect the legacy of "untouchables".
The 'punyaham' (sprinkling of consecrated water) was performed on Saturday in the wake of the 'Choroonu' (first-feeding ceremony) of the minister's six-month old grandson, Rajiv Krishna, held a day earlier in the temple which recently refused access to eminent singer Jesudas because he is a born Christian.
Upset over the whole episode, Vayalar Ravi's son, Ravi Krishna, has threatened to move the court. The Minister's wife is a Christian.
"I feel aggrieved, humiliated and insulted," the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs said adding "I go to the temple occasionally. I believe in Guruvayur temple and I go there to pray before Lord Guruvayurappan. My son used to go to even Sabari Malai".
The Minister said he had joined his son, daughter-in-law and the grandson at the temple where they were received by the Devaswom President Ravindran.
It was on Saturday that the 'Tantri'(Chief Priest) Raman Namboodri said about the purification ceremony at the temple where entry is barred for non-Hindus.
"This is not the way the priest can behave," Vayalar Ravi remarked.
He recalled that this had happened again after a similar ritual was performed a few years back when he visited the temple with his wife Mercy.
"I have gone there to seek the Lord's blessings for my grandson which was why the 'choroonu' was performed there. I do not want to add anything more now," the Minister said.
Vayalar Ravi's son was not allowed to enter the temple ten months ago while his wife Nisha was allowed to offer prayers.
The 'choroonu' and 'thulabharam' (weighing with offerings) ceremonies were conducted in the presence of Devaswom officials.
Guruvayur is a temple where entry to non-Hindus is strictly barred. Recently, the state Devaswom Minister G Sudhakaran's letter to temple authorities to consider allowing Jesudas to offer prayers inside the temple had kicked up a row.
The minister said it reminded him of the plight of untouchables in the past.
As per the Tantri's edict, "all my generation, my daughter's children, my son's children and all my coming generations, cannot go to Guruvayur temple," the Minister said.
Asked whether he will take the issue to court, he said "No, I am not going to do it but my son is a little upset. He wants to go to the court."
"My family is distressed", Krishna said adding "we find it hard to believe that we are made to prove that you are a Hindu that you are born a Hindu". The Minister's wife Mercy Ravi said there should be a debate on the issue and that tradition and customs should change with times.
"That is a good thing, there should be a change. This has happened in the past also. It can happen again", she said.