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yesudasK. J. Yesudas or Jesudas, (born January 10, 1940) is an Indian classical musician and a playback singer. He has won the National Award for the best male playback singer seven times, the most by any singer. Yesudas sings Indian classical music, devotional and popular songs. He has recorded more than 40,000 songs in many languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Malay, Russian, Arabic, Latin and English through his long career. He has been singing for most Indian languages except Assamese and Kashmiri. He is fondly called ‘Gana Gandharvan’.
For a brief period, he was with Sri Vechur Hari Hara Subramania Iyer after which he took advanced training from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, a maestro of Classical Music. Although he is a Carnatic Music expert, he mastered Hindustani Music. He has taken the words of Sree Narayana Guru, “One Religion, One Caste for all humans” to heart.
Harivarasanam is recited before closing the temple door at night. Harivarasanam song, which is sung today at Sabarimala as the Lullaby at night (Urakkupattu) was composed by Sri Kambakkudi Kulathur Srinivasa Iyer. It is said that Srinivasa Iyer used to recite the composition, after the Athazha Pooja, standing in front of Lord Ayyappa at the main temple. With the efforts of Swami Vimochanananda, it came to be accepted as the lullaby by the Thantri and Melsanti.
Though there have been many versions of this song sung by many renowned vocalists, the temple plays the rendition by Dr.KJ Yesudas. Dr. Yesudas is a staunch devotee of Lord Ayyappa though being a Christian by birth.
Though he is a Christian, he is a devotee of Lord Ayyappa. “Many people are of the view that I have changed my religion. I love ‘Parabrahmam’ and to me he cannot be identified with any religion.
In the same way, if you wear the ‘Ayyappa malai’ you become one, even if you are a Hindu or a Christian or a low caste. You become Ayyappan for 48 days, chant his name and keep it within yourself, whoever you are… where can you find such an experience?
God has given the ‘Five Elements’ to us for free and we are using them commercially… God has provided everything, right from an ant to human beings but man has been selfish in converting them for his own profit. I did not take the wrong path… Nobody need mistake me. I have been going to the Ayyappa temple for nearly 30 years.” Says Yesudas.