THRISSUR: After a Youtuber-cum-vlogger, now an authority on Kerala-style chanting of ‘Jaiminiya Samaveda’ is going to be the next head priest or ‘melshanti’ of the southern state’s famous Guruvayur temple here.
Fifty-seven-year-old Dr Thottam Sivakaran Namboothiri is one of the two remaining authorities of the Kerala-style chanting of Jaiminiya Samaveda — a centuries-old tradition of Samavedic chanting in the State which was on the verge of disappearance in the 1970s.
He has taken up it as a mission to preserve its unique oral tradition by starting a ‘Gurukulam’ at a village in this central Kerala district.
Jaiminiya Samaveda features musical arrangements of 1,700 hymns from the Rig Veda and other sources and is on the verge of disappearance as currently there are only two persons who have got complete knowledge about the unique tradition of chanting.
Dr Namboothiri, also an Ayurvedic physician by profession, is the first person from his family and his traditional village Panjaal in Thrissur district to be selected as the head priest of the temple dedicated to one of the forms of Lord Krishna — Guruvayurappan.
He is also a distant relative of legendary Communist leader and former Kerala Chief Minister EMS Namboothiripad. “I was selected as the head priest by draw of lots. I will be assuming charge from April 1. From March 20 onwards, I have to be in the temple for 12 days,” he said.
He will be the ‘melshanti’ of Guruvayur temple for six months during which period he will have to remain there and cannot go home.
“It is an honour to be selected for this responsibility. My family is happy about it. They will have to, however, adjust to my absence during this period,” he told PTI.
On his plans after the six months are over, Dr Namboothiri said he will return to his practice and teaching of the traditional way of chanting of Jaiminiya Samaveda to four young students belonging to Namboothiri-Brahmin families.
He and his brother — Thottam Krishnan Namboothiri — were taught Jaiminiya Samaveda by their father.
Thirty-four-year-old Dr Kiran Anand Kakkad, the current ‘melshanti’ of Guruvayur temple, was also an Ayurvedic doctor besides being a Youtuber, singer and vlogger.
He was practicing Ayurvedic medicine in a Russian Ayurveda clinic in Moscow for six years prior to being selected as the head priest of the temple.