A Brilliant Answer on Quora on ‘Rehana Fathima trying to enter the Sabarimala Temple’

Quora Answer by Vittal Setty

  1. Do you know what this picture is about?

Sunil Gavaskar said that Pakistan batsman Fakhar Zaman should have worn the Pakistan cap properly during their match against India at the Asia Cup on Wednesday.

Somebody, maybe the captain should tell him that it’s the national cap. He should wear it properly. You can do this in PSL (Pakistan Super League) may be but this is the national team,” Gavaskar said on air for the host broadcasters Star Sports

You and I migh not find anything unusual about wearing a cap backwards, but for Sunil Gavaskar who takes cricket as his life and soul, this was extremely annoying[1]. For him, wearing the cap backwards was tantamount to disrespecting the game.

2. And you remember when Kejriwal showed up for the Republic Day parade wearing sandals?

It was not a big deal for Kejriwal, but for the police, who observe the parade with all its seriousness, it was frustrating.

3. And then many Brits were offended when they felt that Donald Trump was slighting the queen.[2]

The US president was condemned on social media for walking in front of the Queen as they inspected a guard of honour of the Coldstream Guards.

Earlier, Mr Trump and Melania, the first lady, defied protocol when they greeted the Queen: Mr Trump failed to bow and Ms Trump did not curtsy, instead simply shaking hands.

For the US president, it was no big deal, but then the Brits who value their institution of royalty, it was a big deal.

4. And then we have the Nobel Prize ceremony. [3]

The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm and the Nobel Banquet that follows is a strictly formal affair. Gentlemen are required to wear white tie and tails, while ladies should be dressed in an evening gown

5. Do you remember the scene from the Scent of a Woman

When Charlie, offers a flippant salute, Lt Col Frank Slade chastises him and gives him a lesson on the correct way of saluting

So what is common in all the above?

From sports to royalty, to army, to scientific conventions, to national gatherings – people follow the protocol of their respective fields. If you do not follow the protocol or the tradition of the institution, you do not respect the institution. As simple as that.

Can you imagine a soldier greeting his superior with a hi-five? Or you showing up to meet the queen in pyjamas? Or you moving around when the national anthem is being played?

When material things, have such a strict tradition around it, why would anyone not extend this courtesy to God and the temple he/she is visiting.

Sabarimala has a protocol as well. People who value Ayyappa will never break the protocol, as evidenced by lakhs of women who are spearheading the #readyToWait movement

If you do not respect the protocol, you have no business to be there.

Of course, there are perverted forms of traditions, like forcible sati, untouchability, etc which were clearly oppressive and caused pain and suffering.

However, it’s stupid to equate Sabarimala tradition of not allowing women of a particular age to oppression. You have to be living in an idiot’s paradise if you believe that these activists are trying to enter the shrine because of their devotion. They are trying to enter the temple, just to flout Hindu tradition and to show the middle finger to Hindus. This is a problem.

Let me conclude with two examples of how true devotees really carry themselves

  1. The below picture is of Sidha Bakul

Its just 1.5 km from the famous Jagannath temple of Puri.

In this temple, non-hindus are not allowed. And the temple has its reasons – Muslim invaders tried to break this multiple times and the priests are fiercely protective about the Deities inside

So 500 years ago, there was this great devotee of Jagannath who was born in a Muslim family. His name is Haridas Thakur. Though he was so close to the temple, he never made an attempt to enter the temple. He respected the protocol and peacefully chanted the Hare Krishna Mantra 22 hours a day at Sidha Bakul. And moved by his devotion, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited him every day. And to this day, devotees from the world over visit this place – Sidha Bakul to get inspiration from him

2. Many Iskcon devotees are born in white Caucasian Catholic families and as such the temple administration does not let them in. Do they sign The world’s platform for change petitions to get into the temple? No. They respect the protocol. They travel all the way from Canada/US to visit Puri every year, to just stand near the pillar in the picture below, way outside the temple and crane their necks to get a peek into the patita pavana Jagannatha deity (marked in the picture)

These Iskcon devotees are more Hindu than many of the people born in Hindu families. Yet, they do not carry hatred for being denied entry. Rather they respect the tradition of the place. They do not make attempts to force themselves in. Just to get a slight darshan of the Lord, from outside the temple showed above, they travel 1000s of miles all the way from the west, every year. And they do a nice Harinam sankirtan(group chanting) just outside the temple.[4]

Now that is devotion. They are devotees because they respect the protocol/tradition of the shrine they are visiting.

You cannot even meet the chief minister of the state without the correct intentions, the necessary background checks, the qualifications, and the protocol. And some jokers want to meet God, throwing all tradition to winds.


There is this famous quote from a great philosopher Rupa Goswami that I am reminded of


pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā

aikāntikī harer bhaktir

utpātāyaiva kalpate

Translation: Devotional service that ignores the vedic literature and the processes, is simply a disturbance to the society


pic source: Google images


[1] Fakhar Zaman wears Pakistan cap backwards: He should wear it properly, says Gavaskar

[2] Trump defied royal protocol while meeting the Queen – twice

[3] The Dress Code at the Nobel Banquet

[4] Harinam Sankirtan in Jagannath Puri