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Photos: scenes from the Sree Krishna Guruvayoor Hindu temple (Kerala, India).


The Gods Must Be Angry



A change in the dress code for women entering the famed Sree Krishna Guruvayoor Hindu temple in Kerala, India has apparently annoyed the deity, according to an astrologer conducting rituals in the house of worship.

Temple manager Vijayan Nambiar said that astrologer Padmanabha Sharma, while conducting the ashtamangalaya devaprasanam (astrological consultations) Sunday, said that the deity was unhappy over the entry of women in salwar-kameez.

Temple authorities, after detailed consultations with the priests, are now considering once again giving the nod to a restriction in the dress code. Earlier, women were only allowed to wear a sari to the temple. On July 26, 2007, the rules were relaxed. But now, the priests are weighing the need to revert to the original "sari only" policy, to appease the deity.

"See, these statements are being made based on what happened today (Sunday), when a ritual was taking place. When he (Sharma) asked for a piece of cloth to be brought, the cloth was cut into two pieces, while he wanted an uncut cloth. Sharma made the comments after seeing this", said Nambiar.

Since October 31, 2007, a team of nine people, including the temple priests, has been engaged in the rituals and prayers to find out whether the gods are happy or not. The ritual is being held in Guruvayoor temple after seventeen years.

"The rituals began on the 31st; these priests give out their opinions as and when they go ahead with their rituals. These are all preliminary findings and when their entire rituals get over in another ten days time, they would come out with a full-fledged report on what are all the changes required to make the deity happy", said Nambiar.

Lately, Kerala's most famous temple has been in news for a variety of reasons.

In June, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), staged what it called the "second Guruvayoor satyagraha", calling for a revival of renaissance values.

The same day, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) undertook an all-women, day-long fast to protest the CPI-M's demand to bring about legislation to open up Kerala's temples to all devotees, regardless of their religion.

State BJP president P.K. Krishnadas said that a political party need not comment on ritualistic decisions.

"The very fact that a devaprasanam is being held indicates that there are some issues. Those who are doing the rituals are the best people to come out with a solution, and it is for them and not for political parties to make decisions", said Krishnadas.

November 6, 2007

Conversation about this article

1: Jagdeep Singh (London, England), November 06, 2007, 10:15 AM.

Let's stick to Sikh affairs and not concern ourselves with other religions. We have enough contradictions, hypocrisy and chauvinism to deal with amongst ourselves.

2: Amrik Singh (New Delhi, India), November 06, 2007, 10:32 AM.

We certainly don't need to be sanctimonious. But, this story does serve to remind us of what our Gurus rescued us from ... and what we are again sliding back into, if we don't get our act together, quickly!

3: Ruby Kaur (Oxford, England), November 06, 2007, 6:24 PM.

Amrik Singh, I have real horror stories to tell you about the bigotry and misogyny and hypocrisy I have witnessed at Gurudwaras in England and Kenya, things that would make your blood turn cold. Amazingly, if you try and talk about it, you are often intimidated, told to be quiet, especially if you are a woman, I would fear for your safety, if the truth of what corruptions happen at SOME of our Gurudwaras was revealed. So let's concentrate on our own problems, rather than criticising others.

4: Roopinder Singh Bains (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), November 06, 2007, 10:31 PM.

Those who live in glass homes should not throw stones: we need to examine how "dalits" are treated in our Punjab.

5: Brijinder Khurana (Delhi, India), November 07, 2007, 1:42 AM.

This story reminds us about a similar pattern of hypocrisy developing within the sevadaars and jathedars in some of our gurdwaras ... they are beginning to behave as if they own the gurdwaras and seem to be ruling over the sangat.

6: Tejwant (U.S.A.), November 07, 2007, 1:25 PM.

This shows how man-made dogmas can breed parochial mindedness, all in the name of some angry "god". Thank God, Sikhi is not personality-based but idea-based, hence a pragmatic way of life sans "ism"s. However, the honchos at the Takhts, etc. are trying to do the same with Sikhi as those bare-chested men of "god" in the article. Let's not let this happen. should become the flag bearer for this.

7: Bakhsish Singh (Brampton, Canada), November 13, 2007, 7:27 PM.

"Farida kaale likh na lekh, apnde gireybaan mein sir neevan kar vekh": Baba Farid says - "Don't indulge in black deeds; instead, look down and examine your own heart". So many rituals have entered into Ssikhism, let's deal with them first. As an example: at the Darbar Sahib in Amritsar, women are not allowed to do sewa either of palki, kirtan, etc. We have become hypocrites. According to a Punjabi idiom, "Pehlan apni pidi thale danda phero"

8: Sarvjit Singh (U.S.A.), November 20, 2007, 11:07 AM.

Nice article. What is wrong in reporting something on an E-Magazine about India. It is freedom of speech after all that motivates E-Zines. Yes, some Sikhs also have such cultural nonsense, but let us bring them out also so that those practices can be ridiculed ... and eradicated. Hey, why not? This is what sensible and responsible journalism is all about.

9: Jesse (U.S.A.), December 17, 2007, 5:20 PM.

I dont think there is anything wrong with dress codes. Modern fashion is sold as "sexy and attractive" and much of what some women wear in modern times is plain disrespectful. Sexy and attractive is for people who want to attract the opposite sex. A Sikh's job is to fight against lust and not to invoke it. Modern fashion is made specifically to invoke lust. I personally believe salwar kameez to be proper, not showing the body but when boys or girls wear tight jeans and skimpy tops to gurdwaras, I think people should speak up. It is bad enough they don't have enough self respect to cover their body outside, but it is unforgiveable to dress like sexy models in any gurdwara or another place of worship.

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