Dalit youth Yadukrishna appointed as head priest of temple in Kerala

Keezhcherivalkadavu witnesses a historic event

Updated - October 10, 2017 07:40 pm IST

Published - October 09, 2017 07:46 pm IST - PATHANAMTHITTA

Historic event: Yadukrishna at the Manappuram Siva Temple near Thiruvalla on Monday.

Historic event: Yadukrishna at the Manappuram Siva Temple near Thiruvalla on Monday.

The small hamlet of Keezhcherivalkadavu, where the Pampa and Manimala rivers meet near Thiruvalla, witnessed a historic event in the post-Temple Entry Proclamation period with a Dalit on Monday taking charge as the head priest (Melsanthi) of the 150-year old Manappuram Siva temple attached to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).

The 22-year-old Yadukrishna is the first-ever Dalit to be appointed as Melsanthi by the TDB. This youth, who hails from the Pulaya community, has learnt ''tantra'' under the guidance of renowned tantric scholar K.K. Anirudhan Tantri of the Sree Gurudeva Vaidika Tantra Vidya Peedhom at Moothakunam near North Paravur in Ernakulam district.

Yadukrishna was ranked fourth in the maiden examination conducted by the Devaswom Recruitment Board and incidentally became the first Melsanthi to be appointed from the rank list at a TDB temple.

“Yadukrishna is a studious seeker who has been learning tantra at the 30-year-old Vidya Peedhom for the past 10 years. He came to me at the age of six as a helper who brings flowers for puja at the Naalukettu Sree Dharma Sastha Temple at Chalakkudy,” says Anirudhan Tantri. “We should not forget the rich Hindu concept that one becomes a Brahmana or an outcast by his or her deeds and not by birth.

Yadukrishna, born to P.K. Ravi-Leela of Pulikkunnathu house at Koratty in Thrissur district, says, “To me, performing rituals at a temple is a devotion and dedication and not a mere job.” He is doing his Masters in Sanskrit literature.

''Boy of good discipline''

His Guru remembers him as a boy of “good discipline” which, according to him, is a basic pre-requisite of a priest. “The step taken by the TDB to eliminate caste in priesthood is a historic one,” said K. Prabhakaran of the Hindu Aikyavedi and Murali Kovoor of the Bharatiya Vichara Kendram.

The villagers accorded a rousing reception to Yadukrishna when he reached the temple along with his guru in the morning. They took the new Melsanthi to the temple in a ceremonial procession with the accompaniments of Vanchippattu and traditional temple percussion.

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