By S Chandrasekhar
For crores of devotees who come to Sabarimala from November to January, the Melshanti (Chief Priest) is next to Lord Ayyappa himself. By drawing of lots in the Pandalam Palace of Ayyappa, the mantle for this year has fallen on Thanthraratnam NR Balamurali (39), the youngest ever Melshanti in recent memory. He topped the list of ten priests short-listed. He will be formally anointed on November 16th and will remain in Sabarimala upto 2012 November.
A member of the Kottayam-Puthupally Edamana Illam, he is Chief Priest of the Sangh parivar managed Kollam Puthiyakavu Temple from 1995. He was also Chief Priest of the famous Attukal Temple in Thiruvananthapuram for a year.
Interestingly, he topped the six year ‘Tanthra Ratnam’ course from Aluva ‘Tanthra Vidya Peetham’ which came up near Cochin at the initiative of Late Veteran Sangh Pracharak P. Madhavji. Madhavji is also credited to have found out the spiritual power in Mata Amritanandamayi and giving Mata’s activity a wider perspective.
Balamurali’s father’s brother Narayana Sharma is Balagokulam’s Vice-President.
House-warning functions of several RSS karyalayas throughout Kerala and of Bharateeya Vichara Kendram were conducted by Balamurali.
At a reception given by Balagokulam, he said parents should inculcate good culture in children and, a generation rooted in spirituality, is the only solution to our present social problems.