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Old 8th September 2010, 15:03   #151
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Some of the rituals I never understand. For example, the need to take off shirt. I used to visit Udupi Krishna mutt all my life, but I have practically stopped now because of this shirt removing business. Lot of people have bad body odor, when they take off shirt, it is in full emitting state. With so many shirtless people around you, jostling around you for a view, it can get really suffocating. After one such experience, I have stopped entering any temple which mandates shirtless dress code. I make exception only if the temple is deserted and no chance of BO suffocation.

Last time I went there, the cop at the entrance says remove shirt, I told him I ain't that pious and walked away. The guy got really pissed.
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Old 8th September 2010, 15:12   #152
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Some of the rituals I never understand. For example, the need to take off shirt.
I was also actually confused as to the logic behind this and was looking for the answer. Few days back a learned person who is well versed with sastras explained that there is no such rule in our books to remove shirt because there were no shirts at all. All that was asked was that a man should compulsorily have a cloth on his shoulder (uttareeyam or kanduva in telugu) when doing certain things and visiting temple is one such thing.

In old days I think men, especially in this part of the country might not have wore any cladding above waist owing to the kind of humid climate, and this might have become a custom that has been retained in the religious activities while it changed in other areas. Because one doesn't find such rule or custom in AP or many other parts of the country. It would have certainly been followed if that was written in Sastras. So I believe its just a custom that has been handed over generations.

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Old 8th September 2010, 15:15   #153
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Some of the rituals I never understand.
...
Last time I went there, the cop at the entrance says remove shirt, I told him I ain't that pious and walked away. The guy got really pissed.
Me too think like you. I think GOD wanted us to believe and have faith in HIM. The rules and regulations put in by humans some times are ...

Not only temples, but some durgahs, churches etc. I found similar stuff.
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Old 8th September 2010, 15:25   #154
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Default Day 7 - Aug 27

Sorry to break this interesting topic on removing shirt, pls continue.
Day 7 was dedicated to ladies for shopping. Went to Thrissur city, Mother & Wifey had a blast for over 5 hours!!!

On the way, we'd to step into cousin's Chinmaya mission school for a moment
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p3.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p4.jpg

This is a temple within the school for Godess Saraswati
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p5.jpg

On way to Thrissur Kalyan sarees
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p6.jpg

I promised some pics to Ranjit from Wadakanchery & here're some of them from the main town
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p1.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p2.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p7.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p8.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-p9.jpg

Sorry about the interruption on removing shirt. I always used to hate when I was a child, but I'm no longer bothered except like the instances of what Samurai has mentioned on body sweat & stink.

In that case, Samurai wouldn't like to visit any of the temple in KL because, as far as I can recall, except Sabarimalai, all other temple mandates removal of shirt to get inside the temple . I think the reason to remove shirt is to bring equality like wearing uniform in schools.
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Old 8th September 2010, 15:31   #155
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Udupi temple has started the shirtless routine only recently. And it is only during a set time of the day. If one goes at any other time, they don't insist on removing the shirt.
I got peeved too with the shirtless entry law. Most temples in Kerala insist that you don't come in with a shirt. However, please note that all the temples insisting this is only against shirts. Not against the cloth that covers the torso. One can still drape a dhoti kind of cloth on the shoulders and go in.
This is not a ritual. It's more of a practice that is now followed dilligently as a ritual in temples.
Not wanting to make a contentious point, I believe this came in to segregate people based on caste during earlier times. Highcaste people with the sacred thread were allowed entry in to the sanctum all the way. Low caste people were stopped at various points based on which caste they belonged to.
Once it became a mandated practice, down the ages, many temples in Kerala still held to the no shirt policy, but let people from other castes go in. But Guruvayoor still doesn't allow Non Hindus and the great Yesudas wasn't allowed in too.
When people tried politicizing this Yesudas downplayed it every so graciously.
He was asked by media, how he feels though singing more songs on Krishna and Ayyappa, not being allowed in to Guruvayoor he came with a small story.
He said, "A mother has 11 kids, of which 10 are inside the house and 1 is outside in a storm. Now who does the mother worry more about?"
He thanked krishna for being the mother and making him the 11th kid and the temple board for keeping him outside and the miscreants for creating a storm about it.

Anyway, even in Meenakshi temple I find it jarring to find a board that non hindus shouldn't cross a limit (the place till where one can take photos).

That is what makes places like Sabari hills, Nagore Dargah, Velankanni temple very holy. All are same in eyes of god here and in the eyes of men who administer these places.
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Old 8th September 2010, 15:38   #156
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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
In that case, Samurai wouldn't like to visit any of the temple in KL because, as far as I can recall, except Sabarimalai, all other temple mandates removal of shirt to get inside the temple . I think the reason to remove shirt is to bring equality like wearing uniform in schools.
I feel it is the other way. Wearing a shirt makes all men look similar. But without it, at one extreme you will have muscular hunks with 6 pack abs trying to showoff, and then at the other extreme you have severely out of shape men trying to hide under the shawl or towel.
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Old 8th September 2010, 15:45   #157
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@aargee. being topless is not a part of uniform. read my earlier post!

And then a look at the pujaris. They need to take a bath before entering the sanctum everytime for the puja. And once they take their bath, they don't like to touch any person or any cloth.
The mundu/ dhoti/ veshti they wear is separately washed by them and dried separately and is untouched by others members of his family even. So once he finishes his ablution, he wears that dhoti (which is called madi or pure) and after that doesn't touch any other cloth or person.
When he flits around the sanctum offering prasad and aarathy to the devotees, the last thing he wants to get in touch with is someone's shirt in the jostling crowd.
So many temples started insisting that remove the shirt and walk in.
Ideally, the practice later became like take a bath in temple tank and come in dripping went in Kerala temples, sans the shirt. Now the dripping wet has been exempted.
If you want the quickest darshan in Tirumala tirupati temple, do this.
Get in to pushkarni at 2 am with just your dhoti. Come out dripping wet. Do Angapradakshina (circumambulate the temple rolling on the ground) dripping wet.
They will open the main doors and let you walk in royally along with the others who did this great feat that morning. You can have nirmalya darshan unjostled and walk to god like an emperor.

Come to think of it, great people like Buddha, Jesus, Mahavira, Gandhi, Aurobindo, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa didn't wear shirts. There were vests during buddha, jesus and mahavira times as well.

Last edited by MX6 : 8th September 2010 at 15:47.
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Old 8th September 2010, 16:00   #158
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I also get peeved by this shirt removal routine and generally try to avoid entering those temples, unless I am with my family group and do not wish to create unpleasantness for the elders. Most temples in Kerala and some temples in TN enforce this.

There are even temples that allow you in only with a dhothi and not a trouser. They hire a dhothi to you if you happen to be in trousers, and it is quite a racket. Notable temples for this practice are Kanyakumari temple and the Ananthapadmanabhaswamy temple at Trivandrum. I got irked at both places, but swallowed my irritation for the sake of my family. Had I been alone, I would simply have walked off.

Funny thing is, you can even wear a lungi at the KK temple but not a trouser!

Last edited by Gansan : 8th September 2010 at 16:03.
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Old 8th September 2010, 16:43   #159
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To be frank, two days was not enough to completely read this pilgrimage thread - Wonderful.
Nothing is most enjoyable than a long drive to your home town plus a pilgrimage trip.
I wrote in gemi's post that Kerala was a place to enjoy and drive and unfortunately the traffic jams, cars have started spoiling this lovely place. Still the interior kerala is a treat to watch. I remember going to pattambi to get a TV brought from Dubai on a rainy August day
Managing two kids on long drives - some extra energy we need - only lord ayyapa or lord krishna has to give.
I prefer travelling to Kerala during Nov before the start of sabarimala season.
Your travelogue is wonderful and the photos are fantastic. After reading and seeing the classy scenic kerala photos, I went out to have coffee in OMR road with full of dust...
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Old 8th September 2010, 16:44   #160
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Speaking of Padmanabhaswami temple trivandrum, here's three of us in hired mundus worn over our jeans. We'd actually taken a nice ayurvedic massage in the morning and no amount of showers (literally washed away 2 bars of dove soap) would remove the smell of the oil. And being topless baring our well toned () bodies we had a nice darshan of the lord.
No prize for guessing which one of us got the mazimum stares that day. This was in the year 2004. We didn't mind a bit!

@samurai. Does it fit the description of the people you've mentioned about?

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Old 8th September 2010, 19:27   #161
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@MX6 - ^^^
In my strongest opinion, such things are bound to vanish over time. I can give you a classic example.

Several years ago, say sometimes during early 90's ladies/girls were allowed inside Guruvayoor temple only with saree or traditional KL mundu. But this time, I was able to witness so many ladies/girls with salwar. If this practice can be changed over 2 decade, why not others? I too believe that such practices have been evolved over time, but by man & not written anywhere.

Coming up next - Day 8 - trip to Kalpathy village in Palakkad & return back to Chennai.

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Old 8th September 2010, 20:05   #162
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I have visited Sabarimala for about 25 times from my childhood I have never debated about the Deeksha and wearing shirts.
It was certainly pure faith in the God as most of the other Bhpians have expressed their faith in this forum.
Some practice are unique in Kerala temples and have been accepted and they are also adopting newer ways to the changing world but have kept their traditions intact.
I have a story to tell from every road from Angamally to Pamba and the trek from Pamba to Sannidanam.This was a nice travelogue and made me nostalgic.The discussion was good.
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Old 8th September 2010, 20:07   #163
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Hi aargee,

Even for a non-Hindu I found your travelogue captivating. Thanks also to MX6 and vamsi.kona for the elaborate explanations.

The lush greenery of Kerala was a treat to the eyes. Nowadays property in our area is so fragmented that it is difficult to see open areas like those.

Just out of curiosity I have heard the Yesudas incident many times in Thrissur. How exactly did everybody figure out that he is/was a Catholic?

Pls note I am asking only out of curiosity. I have no malafide intentions whatsoever.
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Old 8th September 2010, 20:21   #164
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@nowwhat. K J Yesudas stands for Kattassery Joseph Yesudas.
Yesu is Jesus in Tamil/ Malayalam. So Kattassery Joseph named his son as the Das of Jesus!
Though born Catholic, Yesudas believed in the fact that god is one. He was a follower of Narayanaguru. Music (especially classical music that he learnt under Harihara iyer and later the great Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar) made him what he is today.
So most people south especially Kerala would definitely know that KJY was born christian. Nothing to figure in this. But one can't make that out. For the uninitiated, songs of Ayyappa and Krishna and classical music makes them think he's a Hindu!
And he's married to a lady called Prabha and has three kids vijay, vinod and vishal. Vijay Yesudas also sings in tamil movies.

I've met him in person and was amazed at the kind of simplicity the great man brought about. Right from his dressing to his demeanour. I once roamed half of Tampa and Ft Lauderdale, searching for his residence.

If anyone listens to Yesudas singing Harivarasanam, their heart would surely melt. That man is beyond religion.
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Old 8th September 2010, 21:07   #165
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If anyone listens to Yesudas singing Harivarasanam, their heart would surely melt. That man is beyond religion.
I actually listen only to yesudas songs if it is on Lord Ayyappa. In fact even now the suprabhatam and pavalimpu (Harivarasanam song) that are played in Sabari are the one's rendered by Sri Yesudas.
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