Yadhu Krishna

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A brief biography

Dec 29, 2019: The Times of India


‘I’d come to Sabarimala as a devotee, now I’m a priest here’

Yadhu Krishna was that rare child who did not have to be dragged to a temple. Fascinated by the rituals, he began helping out at a neighbourhood temple at just six. Two years ago, he aced the Travancore Devaswom Board’s (TDB) recruitment exam, standing fourth in a list of 62, to become the first Dalit priest of the powerful board that administers some 1,200 temples.

Creating history, the Pulaya youth entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Manappuram Mahadeva temple in Valanjavattom village of Pathanamthitta in 2017. Two years on, this December, he was selected for special duty at Sabarimala.

“I had visited Sabarimala on five occasions as a devotee. It is sheer luck that I am working here as a priest today,” says Yadhu, whose parents are daily wage workers.

At 12, he enrolled at the Sree Guru Deva Vaidika Thantra Vidyapeedom in North Paravur, some 50km from home in Thrissur, and studied tantra shastra and Sanskrit. “Now, I want to complete my PG in Sanskrit,” says Yadhu who discontinued his studies after he was selected as a priest.

Caste, says Yadhu, was never a hindrance while pursuing his goals. Once he took charge as a priest, an upper caste forum made allegations of laxity against him but an inquiry set them aside. “So far, I have not had any bad experience as a priest,” he says, adding that he hopes to be the head priest of a major temple some day.

— Jaikrishnan Nair

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