തര്‍ജ്ജനി

Sabarimala – More of a reality than a myth

The logical history of Sabarimala is linked to the mythical history of Lord Ayyappa. It would be an arduous effort to find out the border at which the myth crosses over to reality and vice versa. Nonetheless, both the logical and mythical histories have their own significances.

Sabarimala – The myth

Sabarimala was once under the regime of the Pandalam dynasty. So there can’t be a mythical history for Sabarimala without the mythical histories of Lord Ayyappa and Pandalam dynasty.

Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala had his human sojourn at Pandalam as the adopted son of the King of Pandalam. It is believed that the King of Pandalam, who didn’t have an offspring to assume his throne, got a baby from the banks of the river Pampa. The king heard an oracle that he should take the baby to his Palace and that the baby will show the intent of his birth at 12. Because the baby had a bell tied in a string around his neck, he was called Manikandan; meaning a person who has a bell around his neck. At 12, he would be known as Ayyappa. The King took the baby home and the Royal Family accepted the child as the Prince. But after some time, the Queen delivered a baby and the attention of all except the King in the Royal Family switched to the new born baby. The Minister in the Royal Palace told the Queen that unless Manikandan was thrown out of the Palace, her own son could not become the next King. He was playing on her jealousy. It worked out.

According to the directives from the Minister, the Queen pretended to have fallen ill. The Royal Family doctor prescribed her the milk of leopardess. It was also a trick of the Minister. He knew that Manikandan would take up the challenge. As expected, Manikandan went to the forest in search of leopardess-milk, despite resistance from the King. He was around 12 now. In the forest, in a fierce battle, he killed the demon queen Mahishi, who used to attack and kill the people and their cattle. She was even feared by the Gods. After she was killed, all the Gods praised and worshipped Manikandan. Knowing the intent of Manikandan’s visit, the King of the Gods, Indra, transfigured into a leopardess and the rest of the Gods joined them, as leopards. Manikandan climbed on top of the leopardess and led the way back to the Royal Palace.

Everyone was surprised to see the Prince coming with a group of leopards. Ayyappa took rest underneath a banyan tree. The Queen and the Minister were now frightened and confessed to the King about their misdeeds. Finally, the King came out himself with others to welcome his son to the Palace. Manikandan forgave the misdeeds of his mother, the Minister and others. Despite demands from the King that Manikandan should take over as the King of Pandalam, he nominated his younger brother to follow his father. He then took the King to the forest and told him that the intension of his human sojourn was complete and that he had to leave now. He then blazed away an arrow toward a hill. He asked the King to construct a shrine for him where the arrow alighted. He also requested his father to come annually to visit him at the shrine. Thus he gave up his human life and his divinity entered Sabarimala. Parasuram, another incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu, built the idol of Ayyappa and the architect among the Gods, Viswakarma built the temple in the Sabarimala (Sabari hills) at the place where the arrow alighted. This is the myth about Lord Ayyappa.

Sabarimala – The reality

The Pandalam Royal Family has its roots in Tamil Nadu. The members of the Pandalam Royal Family are descendants of the Pandya dynasty of Madurai. The Pandya Kings fled to today’s Kerala in two groups, after losing the battle against Malik Khafer, the General of the then Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji. One group settled down in Punjar (Kottayam Dist) and the other in Pandalam in 1202 AD. The then ruler of Venad helped them establish the Kingdom of Pandalam. The Kingdom of Pandalam extended to over 1,000 square miles. The royal family of Pandalam belongs to the 'Bhargava Gothra' while other Kshatriya families in Kerala belong to the 'Viswamithra Gothra'. Secularism was one of the prime principles of Pandalam dynasty and they helped the other religious followers to build a mosque at Kadakkad and a church at Kudassanad. It is also believed that those who settled down in Pandalam had sympathies toward the Buddhist beliefs.

There is no clear evidence as to when did the pilgrimage to Sabarimala begin. After the instauration of the temple, it left unreached for about three centuries. One of the Kings in the later generation rediscovered the traditional paths to reach Sabarimala. He had many followers with him, including the descendants of the Vavar family. They refreshed their resources at Erumely and this marked the beginning of the famous Petta Thullal at Erumely. They laid down their arms at the place today known as Saramkuthy. Those who are on their maiden visits to Sabarimala thrust arrows at this place. The temple was then renovated. In 1821 AD, the kingdom of Pandalam was added to Travancore. 48 major temples including the Sabarimala temple were also added to Travancore. The idol was erected in 1910. The temple conflagrated in 1971 and underwent a major revamp.

The history behind the worshipping methods

The customs of the pilgrims to Sabarimala are based on five worshipping methods; those of Shaivites, Shaktists, Vaishnavites, Buddhists and Jainists. At first, there were three sections of devotees – the devotees of Shakti who used meat, liquor and other drugs to worship their deity, the devotees of Vishnu who followed strict penance and continence, and the devotees of Shiva who partly followed these two methods. It was then that the Buddhists and Jainists entered, spreading the concepts of Ahimsa. Another name of Lord Ayyappa is Sastha which means Buddha. This is a prime example of the reach of the Buddhist beliefs to this part of the world. All these can be seen merged into the beliefs of pilgrims to Sabarimala. The chain the pilgrims wear comes from the Rudraksha chain of the Shaivites. The strict fasting, penance and continence is taken out of the beliefs of the Vaishnavites. Ahimsa is taken from the Jainists. The constant and repeated utterance of prayers reminds one of the Buddhists. The offering of tobacco to Kaduthaswamy can be considered to be taken from the Shaktists.

Those who decide to go to Sabarimala need to observe strict celibacy. The procession of Malikappurathamma to Saramkuthy and her return without any exuberance shows one the patience, endurance and mental strength a man can achieve. The ghee filled coconuts in the blazing fire hearth symbolizes the burn off of one’s selfishness. A bath in river Pampa stands for driving away the sins one committed in his life.

Where humanity scores over myth and logic

The striking significance of the beliefs about Sabarimala is the absence of the touch-me-not-ism among the upper castes of Hindus. All are equal before Lord Ayyappa. Even the deity and the devotee are known by the same name – either Ayyappa or Swamy. This is the only such belief in the entire world.

Through the observation of strict penance, fasting and continence, one learns to control his senses. He gives up his lust and other human desires. He remoulds himself. On reaching his destination, he realizes the meaning of Thathwamasi – ‘That is You’. Thus he recognizes the enormous power, restraint and resilience from within.

Another importance which is more relevant these days is the oneness of diverse religious beliefs. It is one temple in the world, with doors open to all, whatever be their beliefs. The triumvirate of Ayyappa, a Hindu; Vavar, a Muslim and Kochu Thomman, a Christian speaks volumes for this factual truth. It is here that Sabarimala becomes more of a reality than a myth.

Sreejith Kumar G
sreejithkg@gmail.com
http://sreejithkg.blogspot.com

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 2005-06-28 16:06.

Thanks to Chintha and Sreejith for this wonderful article about Lord Ayyappan.
This is the only temple in the world where no religion barrier, no wealth barrier, no physique barrier.
People from all religions reaches to this temple every year.
Rich and poor share the prilgrimage together by helping each other during journey and no money power is seen in this temple for darshan nor in the dress code. Everyone looks alike.
Every one pronounce the only mantra "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa", this brings unity among people.

Submitted by Sunil (not verified) on Mon, 2005-08-01 16:14.

കുറച്ചുകൂടെ വസ്തുനിഷ്ടമാക്കായിരുന്നില്ലേ സഹോദരാ? പന്തളം രാജകുടുംബത്തിനും അയ്യപ്പന്റെ മിത്തും തമ്മിൽ‌ എന്താണ് ബന്ധം? -സു-

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Tue, 2005-08-02 02:07.

Dear Sri Sunil,
You might not have got the essence of the matter to speak like this. See, Sabarimala is entirely a myth. If you are to introduce some logic into it, then you will have to pursue the routes of the beliefs. It will eventually get you to the Pandya Kings of Tamil Nadu and their exiles at Pandalam. It was for this correlation that I thought it would be worthy if I try to inculcate both the myth and the reality simultaneously. Moreover, apart from the pure religious perspective, you have to see the embraceable concepts lying under the top strata of myth. See, the Pandalam dynasty was the first to help in building mosques and churches here. In the stories also, you will get to see the inter-religious relationships of Ayyappa. Don't you think this correlative?
Now read the essay again, and I hope you will find what is the intertwining factor between Ayyappa and the Royal family of Pandalam. Being a Pandaliyan, I know it better.
After all, if there wasn't any relation between Ayyappa and the Pandalam Royal Family, would have the holy ornaments kept in their possession until the beginning of the Thiruvabharanam Procession?
Thanks,
Sreejith Kumar
http://sreejithkg.blogspot.com

Submitted by Bee (not verified) on Thu, 2005-08-04 02:06.

Hi

I also worship Swamy Ayyappa and also proud to have gone to see him in Sabarimala after 40 days of fasting and prayer.

But I am completely against commercialising the temple.Also disagree with you in telling " It is one temple in the world, with doors open to all, whatever be their beliefs." With all due respect may I help you recollect the fact that Yesudas,the singer is banished from Sabarimala,bcz he is a christian? Now does that statement still hold good????

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Sat, 2005-08-06 02:26.

I think your conjecture is thoroughly wrong. The singer Yesudas is relegated from Guruvayoor and not from Sabarimala, saying he is a Christian. So the above statement still holds good. There are many foreigners coming to Sabarimala and to the Pandalam temple every year. Those with apparent 'foreign looks' aren't even asked whether they are hindus or not.
Regards,
Sreejith Kumar

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Sat, 2005-08-06 02:36.

Another reply to Bee...

Do you know; the Pandalam temple is closed every night after playing 'Harivaraasanam' with musical instruments. The Sabarimala temple is closed after playing the recorded 'Harivaraasanam' song, sung by none other than the man in question Yesudas. It is a practice follwed for years.
Regards,
Sreejith Kumar

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Sat, 2005-08-06 02:51.

Dear Sri Vasudevan,

Thank you very much for your feedback. I belong to Pandalam and it was comparatively more easy for me to write an article on Sabarimala, its beliefs and history. I am totally against giving unnecessary importance to religion and beliefs, because nobody today considers religion as a way of life and divinity as an asylum. If anyone speaks, he may be badged as a religious fundamentalist. Here comes the importance of Sabarimala. As you have correctly pointed out, there is no religion bar and money bar. I personally know many people who do not believe in god and idol worship, coming to Sabarimala and Pandalam every year! These two temples really stand out in this respect. Remember, KJ Yesudas is still not allowed to enter the Guruvayur temple!

--
Wishing Good Time,
Sreejith Kumar G

Submitted by Manu (not verified) on Sun, 2005-08-07 15:55.

hi friends,
Am very new to read this magazine, and i was reading the write up about Sabarimala. Offcourse, SM is a popular and dramatic pilgrim centre in worl for integration of religions. All peoples, it may be devotees nor visitors or tourists, irespctively from all relegions can be there.And from my personnel experiance,so many peoples are going there also.

But the point to be noticed is, Sabarimala income controled and spend by Govt Of Kerala like all other Temple assets and the income from VAAVAR TEMPLE in sabarimala is going to some Muslim Trusts, may be known as MAHALLU COMMITEE...This kind of partiality is allways there in Kerala, and this makes the relegions become enemies. Why not our Govt canot ask the incomes from churches and masjids , since they are using and consuming the wealth and income from temples only..???

Thanks and Regards
Manu

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Mon, 2005-08-08 00:11.

This has been a debatable issue for a long time now. There are shouts that the wealth of the temples alone should not be taken by the Government. There are suggestions that the existing subsidies for the Hajj pilgrims should not be allowed since such a practice is not suitable for a secular government. But an abrupt revision in a volatile issue like this would always create 'expectedly unexpected' problems.
Regards,
Sreejith Kumar

Submitted by REV.SAJU ZACHARIAH (not verified) on Wed, 2005-08-31 06:54.

KOCHU THOMMAN MUTHALALI,A CHRISTIAN,OF POLACHIRACKAL FAMILY OF MAVELIKKARA BY THE ORDER OF THE TRAVANCORE KING BUILT/REMODELLED THE SABARIMALA TEMPLE IN THE EARLY PARTS OF 20TH CENTURY.THE WHOLE STORY IS MENTIONED IN THE MALAYALA MANORAMA 60TH JUBILEE CELEBRATION BOOK

Submitted by G Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Wed, 2005-08-31 08:05.

That was a new information for me. Thanks. :-)

Submitted by arun (not verified) on Mon, 2005-09-12 04:56.

Normally one observes 6 week virutham period before going to Sabarimala. but during the rest of the year, how should one be ?
I think its very difficult for somebody to follow the austerities throughout the year. So, Im just wondering if there is something mentioned somewhere of how should one's act/practices be during non-virutham period?

Submitted by G Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Tue, 2005-09-13 00:15.

It also helps maintaining the body and its needs, not peripheral. By keeping away from non-veg and other such things, our extra fat and the likes burn off naturally and yes, without any medicine and treatment. Haven't you heard about the month of Karkkidakom? It is considered as the month for limiting our intakes and maintaining our body. Just like the fasting and penance period. It gives you immense control and resilience from within.

Submitted by k.l.biswas (not verified) on Wed, 2005-10-26 21:34.

It is great srijith .Keep it up

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Thu, 2005-10-27 00:45.

@ k.l.biswas
Thanks for the support Biswas

Submitted by aveen krishnan (not verified) on Sun, 2005-11-13 13:56.

Hi sreejith,

First of all thanks for the article...keep it up...
I want to raise my concern of more concrete jungles coming up at sanidhanam recently.
The place one thought where everyone was treated equal is changing where new hotels are coming up and rich stay days together...This had lost the purity of the jungle as a whole.
I agree the ever increasing rush need to take care ,but it should be by temporary sheds than permannat one...
all selling of goods has to be stopped in the jungle,devotee should make a point not to entrain this...

but who cares in kerala.....?

TDB ....just want to eat the money,and put blame on the decipline of devotees from other state...

Ayyapa only you can help here

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Sun, 2005-11-13 18:48.

Yes you are right. But we have to address the requirements of the pilgrims as well. But when that is met with, the basic idea of the pilgrimage would be lost! It is about endurance and suffrering and not not luxury. The Govt is eating up the money more than what the TDB does I would say. Anyway, you have pointed out a very valid aspect, but it would have side efffects as well.

Submitted by dr.Balagopal (not verified) on Fri, 2005-11-18 19:06.

Dear Sreejith, I am writing this in appreciation of the factual, precise and well balanced articles on Kerala history and Sabarimala. You have done a wonderful job.I am a person who is intrested in history and found your articles maintaining an above average standard. Regards. Balagopal.

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Sun, 2005-11-20 07:33.

Dear Balagopal,
Thanks a lot for your comments.

Submitted by Krishna (not verified) on Thu, 2005-12-08 16:34.

Let us examine the legend of the friendship between Vavar (a Muslim chieftain) and Dharma Sasta of Sabari hills. It is the general belief that Dharma Sasta is the Kali Yuga incarnation of Siva and Vishnu (son of Vishnu in the costume of Mohini and Siva/Hariharaputra). This story is unbelievable on various grounds. At least a thousand years before the birth of the Prophet the worship of Sasta had started here. According to a set of Marxian historiographers the Sasta temple at Sabari hills was a Buddhist temple. Buddhism reached here during the reign of Ashoka in the third century B.C.E itself. The religion of Buddha began to decline since the eighth century onwards. Thereupon the famous deity of Sasta or Aiyappa was Hinduised. Beyond doubt, we can say the Sasta worship started very long before the birth of the Prophet. According to them Brahmins migration to Kerala started from the fourth century onwards. It is the general belief that the temple worship is associated with Brahmins. If so this temple came into being very long before the birth of the Prophet. Other sect of Marxian historiographers believes that the Sasta temple at Sabari hills was a night shelter in the trade route between Madurai and Central Keralam. Kerala was connected to Tamil ruling lineages from the early decades of the Common Era42. Any way this trade route has had existed since the beginning of this Tamil connection of Kerala. Therefore the legendary hero Vavar was in no way a Muslim/Islam, because Sabari hills became the seat of Lord Aiyappa/Sastavu years long before the birth of the Prophet. Most of all amongst the Muslims of Kerala there is no such name Vavar in use and it proves the futility of Islamic relationship with Sabari Hills. Above all the Bramandha Purana, which mentions about Lord Aiyappa and Vaparan. This Vparan of Bramandha Purana was later wrongly spelt as Vavar. No doubt this legend is the purposeful creation of proselytizing interest and a later addition in the history of Muslims of Keralam.

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Thu, 2005-12-08 18:24.

The points you gave made for interesting reading. Even if these stories of Vavar were created intentionally, there is no harm in it. But it is wrong to say so about the Vavar family nevertheless, because the descendents of his family still exist. It is also wrong to generalise the name 'Vavar' and say it is most uncommon. It needs thorough study. Some names aren't that common and widely accepted in different eras. For example, nobody could have imagined the name "Brijith" in 3rd century AD! Nobody names his child "Pankajakshan" these days. Anyway, the intent of the above article is only to assertain the communal harmony that is absent these days.
Sreejith Kumar

Submitted by Rakesh (not verified) on Fri, 2005-12-09 16:29.

I have a small doubt about the Vavar family, whether this Vavar was a Muslim or Hindu? I heard that there is a mosque as well as a temple in the name of Vavar.

Anybody know the details??

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Mon, 2005-12-26 16:16.

To the best of my knowledge, Vavar is an Islam. I haven't heard about any temple in his name, but there surely is a mosque.

Submitted by Anumodh N.K (not verified) on Wed, 2006-01-04 15:41.

Sreejith .. that was informative and thought provoking !!
Do you have some information on "Makarajyothi", I never got any solid information or facts regarding this.

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar (not verified) on Sat, 2006-01-07 00:18.

Thanks for your comments.

Well. Your question is debatable. The officials say there is nothing preplanned in it. But the atheists say it is artificial. My knowledge of the Jyothi is limited to this information. The topic of interest here was the communal harmony in the story that is absent today. In that context, the Jyothi is totally irrelevant.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 2006-01-07 04:08.

ജ്യോതിയെ പറ്റി:

പത്തനംതിട്ടക്കാരുടെ അറിവിൽ, മകരജ്യോതിയെന്നത് ഉൾക്കാടുകളൊന്നിൽ ഇലക്ട്രിസിറ്റി ബോർഡുകാരിടുന്ന തീയാണ് . വർഷങ്ങളായ് അവരത് തുടരുന്നു -- ഇനിയും തുടരും.

സംക്രാന്തി വേളകളിൽ, ഉൾക്കാടുകളിലേക്കും മറ്റ് മലകളിലേക്കൊന്നും ആൾക്കാരെ കയറ്റുകയില്ല.

ഒരു വേള നിയമസഭയിൽ ഈ വിഷയം എത്തിയപ്പോൾ, നായനാർ സർക്കാർ വിദഗദ്ധമായ് ഒഴിഞ്ഞ് മാറുകയാണുണ്ടായത്. വിശ്വാസങ്ങളെ തൊട്ട്കളിക്കുന്നത് ആപത്തെന്നുള്ള അറിവിനൊപ്പം, ഇത്ര മേൽ സർക്കാരിനും ദേവസ്വം ബോർഡിനും വരവ് ലഭിക്കുന്നൊരു സം‍ഭവം അലങ്കോലപ്പെടുത്തണ്ട എന്ന വിചാരവും കാണും.

എന്തുമാവട്ടെ, അല്ലേ?

Submitted by JJ (not verified) on Sun, 2006-01-15 01:31.

I feel the makarajyothi has to be investigated because people really want to know how it happens..I too am curious to understand something with regard to this... Is there any way this can be investigated.. ??? Are there any studies done by any organization regarding makarajyothi... ??

Submitted by Krishna (not verified) on Sat, 2006-01-21 19:49.

Electricity board members wont switch the street lights regularly. Will they got to the forest and light the makara jyothi? This statement is made by an anti hindu to hurt the feelings of Hindus. If are sure try to prove it. Hindus should protest aginast these kind of absurds.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 2006-01-21 22:41.

Its not necessary that Electricity Board Members should be there to make it happen.
Anyone who is well paid and under proper security can do that.
There is nothing to feel about Hinduism on the basis of such govt.sposored acts.

Think rational.

Submitted by സുനില്‍ (not verified) on Sun, 2006-01-22 10:27.

ഏതോ ഒരു ആത്മകഥയില്‍ ഇക്കാര്യത്തെ സംബന്ധിച്ച്‌ വിശദമായി എഴുതിയതായി ഓര്‍ക്കുന്നു, പക്ഷെ ഏത്‌ എപ്പോള്‍ എന്നുമാത്രം ഓര്‍മ്മയില്ല്യ. ഒന്നുറപ്പ്‌, പ്രകൃത്യാ ഉണ്ടാവുന്നതല്ല മകരജ്യോതി. അതറിയുന്നവര്‍ പുറത്തുപറയില്ല്യ. കാരണം “മകര്‍ജ്യോതി”യുടെ(വിശ്വാ‍സത്തിന്റെ) ആവശ്യക്കാര്‍ ധാരാളമുണ്ട്‌ എലക്ട്രിസിറ്റ്യ് ബോറ്ഡ് ജോലിക്കാരയാലും പോലീസുകാരായാലും ഇക്കാര്യം മറച്ചുപിടിക്കുകയേ ഉള്ളൂ. “വികാരം” ഹനിക്കപ്പെടാതിരിക്കണമല്ലോ!
അതിനാല്‍ തന്നെ ഇതിന്റെ സത്യം പുറത്തുവരുമെന്ന്‌ പ്രതീക്ഷിക്കേണ്ട. അറിഞവര്‍ തന്നെ അറിയാത്തവരായി നടിക്കുകയും നടക്കുകയും ചെയ്യും.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 2006-01-25 11:42.

Hi everyone,
Can everyone write in English. It is pretty hard for all of us to read in malayalam not everyone can read malayalam

Submitted by Sunil (not verified) on Wed, 2006-01-25 15:23.

You are welcome to comment in English anonymous. Please write your name. Also note that this is a site in malayalam for malayalam. I understand that all malayalees cant read or write malayalam. Sorry, let me ask you a humble question: If you want to communicate with the writers and readers of this site, why dont you take little effort to learn malayalam, Sir? Once again sorry for asking this question. In your opinion world should have one language? Sorry, don't misunderstand, please. Dont want to hurt you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 2006-01-30 16:00.

Mr Anonymous,

Form this "Anonymous" I can able to understand that you are making some lies without knowing anything. Give enough evidence or proof for your statments. If somebody is lighting the Makara Jyothi then the truth could have exposed long time before.

Give a single evidence for your stupid statement.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 2006-01-30 16:06.

"Makara Sankranthi" (around 14th January) day is the most auspicious day at Sabarimala. The Jewel Casket is carried on head from the ancestral residence of the royal family of Panthalam to the Shrine on this day. A Garuda, the Brahaman kite, follows this ornaments-carrying procession, hovering about in the sky, After these ornaments are worn on the Lord the bird circles the temple in the sky three times and disappears.

A Star(Uthram Nakshathra) that can never been seen in the sky appears on the day of Makarajyothi before the sighting of the Jyoti. A Jyoti is seen for a little time on the hill top showing the presence of Swamy Ayyappan gracing his devotees. "SWAMIYE SARANAMAYYAPPA"

Submitted by Independant_Thinker on Thu, 2007-01-11 03:34.

Let us look at another angle:

Davasvom Board shouldn't have any problem if an independant TV channel is interested in sending a camera crew to the said area to record what is happening, right? They should help such an effort.

The Jyothi as it is shown on TV seems to glow from below the jungle tree line, not up in the sky. If it is indeed a star, then let that be verified by qualified scientists in the field as well.

Then again why would the Board take this chance? They make so much money from Sabarimala. What if it is not genuine? They stand to lose billions in income.

We live in the information age. Knowledge is power.

Submitted by Rajiv (not verified) on Tue, 2007-03-06 12:17.

Im a believer- im about to become a guru swamy in 2 years- But I have always had doubts on Makara Jyoti. I knew someone who has been to Sabarimala from pre independence days and he says there used to be no makara Jyoti at that time. So also was the singing of Harivarasanam. Both these were started in the 40s-50s only. Makara Jyoti as a phenomenon surely attracts a lot of people. Sabarimala has moved forward in the lines of Tirupati, where commercialism takes the upper hand and religious practises are slowly changed. Why else should have the utsavam been changes to march? I feel it is nothing but to increase traffic during the off season.
Another point- the 41 day vritham is only to make sure that you are physically and mentally well prepared to take the arduous journey. Remember that people used to walk from Alwaye to Sabarimala and back once upon a time- a practise followed by the Alangad Yogam.

Lets be aware if why we follow rituals than blindly follow them. A few more practises from day to day life:
1. Practise of fasting- to clean stomach
2. Practise of drying the small of the back first after bathing- the sushumna naadi is the first part of the body that requires heat- so to make people do that we say “chetta bhagawathy on the back and Lakshmi on the front”
3. Use of oil on select days- in the earlier days of the joint family, it would have been disastrous if people used oil everyday.
Just a few examples!

I know people will object to this post. But then lets not have the heart ruling the head!

Submitted by christine (not verified) on Fri, 2007-04-13 12:07.

dear friend
I think as a devotee let not "the heart ruling the head" is not right.When you believe in sastha you believe him, let bhakthi rule you than your intelligence.Lord ayyappa whether he exsisted or not doesn't matter when you believe him.Being a christian i believe all the stories about ayyappa.why you cant believe him?what holds you from surrendering completely ?Makar jyoti i dont know anything bout it it exsists ,let it be trick does it really matters?As a devotee nothing is more important than PUNYA DARSHANAM
And about the TDB and the govt.of kerala they are made up of corruption let them do it .Let us believe in ayyappa and go ahead,and let others believe him irrespective of there caste.Be a devotee .SARANAM AYYAPPA.......

Submitted by ചള്ളിയാന്‍ (not verified) on Sun, 2007-05-20 11:55.

ശാസ്താവ്, അയ്യപ്പന്‍, മാളികപ്പുറത്തമ്മ വാവര്‍ ഇവര്‍ ആരാണെന്നു പോലും അറിയാതെയാണ് പല ഭക്തരുംക്ഷേത്രത്തിലേക്ക് പോവുന്നത്. എന്നെ വിഗ്രഹങ്ങളാക്കി ആരാധിച്ച് നിങ്ങള്‍ നശിക്കുകയാണ് എന്നാണ് ഗീതയില്‍ കൃഷ്ണന്‍ (വ്യാസന്‍) പറഞ്ഞത്. പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കാനല്ലാതെ സത്യം അറിയാനാണ് അതിലുപദേശിക്കുന്നത്.ആരെങ്കിലും സത്യം അന്വേഷിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ടോ? എതെങ്കിലും ആര്യക്ഷേത്രങ്ങളില്‍ ഈ ആചാരമുണ്ടോ?

അറിയില്ല്ലെങ്കില്‍ ചോദിക്കൂ പറയാം.

റഫറന്‍സും തരാം. ;)

ചള്ളിയാന്‍

Submitted by cheri (not verified) on Sun, 2007-05-27 16:44.

എന്നെ വിഗ്രഹങ്ങളാക്കി ആരാധിച്ച് നിങ്ങള്‍ നശിക്കുകയാണ് എന്നാണ് ഗീതയില്‍ കൃഷ്ണന്‍ (വ്യാസന്‍) പറഞ്ഞത്
geethayil evida anu engana paranjirikkunathu.
എതെങ്കിലും ആര്യക്ഷേത്രങ്ങളില്‍ ഈ ആചാരമുണ്ടോ?
can you tell me.

Submitted by Balakrishnan (not verified) on Sat, 2007-06-16 21:12.

There is nothing new in this story. Do not bring words like'secularism' when narrating an ancient myth or story because the 'secularim' is a new genration politically marketable vote-fetching word.

Submitted by Akhil Sasidharan (not verified) on Sat, 2007-06-23 12:30.

Nice, to find you here. I was surfing around for the Rationalists' expose' of Sabarimala.

Good take.

Submitted by Krishna Hariharan (not verified) on Wed, 2007-07-11 15:14.

Hi,
Firstly thanks a lot for a great/rich information that you have provided. From net and some other sources I came to know that the shabarimala temple we are visiting today is not the actual/original temple, this is a reconstructed temple also I heard that the actual temple is somewere 4KM in distance from the actual temple.
Is it true? and any article on this topic?

Submitted by Sreejith Kumar G (not verified) on Sat, 2007-07-14 00:05.

It is a widespread belief that the jyothi is being lighted up by govt officials. I am 'for' an investigation in this regard, and anything like it for that matter, including the history of Taj Mahal. :-) But since it can hurt religious feelings, most govts would choose to hold back from anything on those lines. Indian Atheist Society has done some study on this. They also claim to have taken pictures of it being prepared by govt servants.

Please be informed that the jyothi is not being considered a star by even the devotees. I saw a comment by Independent_Thinker like that. Even believers know that it is fire. The myth is that the jyothi appears in Ponnambalamedu, and not in the sky.

Regarding Challiyan's comment >> At the sametime, in the tenth chapter of Bhagwat Gita, Lord Krishna says he is the season, living, non-living, heavenly bodies, stars, sun, marshal, serpent, month, scholar etc etc etc. It is advisable to believe in such forces and entities. And yes, Krishna was supernatural in stories too. So, one can worship Krishna. :-)

Regarding the question about the actual location of Sabarimala, I am clueless. I haven't read or heard such a version.

Best regards
Sreejith
(writer of the above article)

Submitted by manorajan (not verified) on Mon, 2007-07-16 21:57.

Makarajyoti is a hoax and nobody will let you find it, because Sabarimala is big business. OK? I don't perosnally have a problem because it brings money to Kerala.

Submitted by manorajan (not verified) on Mon, 2007-07-16 22:01.

Only for truth seekers.(not fundies - banish them) Go find a picture of Avalokitheswara budha statue and compare it with our Ayyappa statue. Myths grow in different layers.

Submitted by manorajan (not verified) on Mon, 2007-07-16 22:13.

Bro, Story of the Vavar could be true. There was a Manikandan who was contemporary of Vavar too. How Manikandan became god and then became one with Harharasuthan and Ayyappan is the big question.

Submitted by chithrakaran (not verified) on Wed, 2007-08-08 20:19.
Submitted by Jayan (not verified) on Sat, 2007-10-06 14:07.

History says, The pandya kingdom of Pandalam prevailed in 11th century, hardly 900 years ago. The myth says Lord Ayyappa was a foster prince of pandalam.

Myth says Lord Parasurama created the 18 steps and the diety of Sabarimala. History (or Myth?)is that Parasurama lived during the Thretha Yuga. Lots of other happenings (Mahishasura Vadham etc) happened during thretha yuga or before. The Last incarnation of Lord Vishnu happened in Dwapara Yuga (after thretha), and the present is Kali Yuga. Hence The lord Ayyappa myths travel from tretha yuga to kali yuga without touching Dwapara yuga.

I am confused. Please reply.

Submitted by ashok (not verified) on Tue, 2007-10-23 06:06.

Hi,

I worship ayyappa a lot but the concern i have here is after putting tulusi mala why do they say that the devotee is not supposed to use tobacco as it is been offered to the lord

Submitted by emmarcee (not verified) on Fri, 2007-11-16 02:54.

Just shows how convoluted this myth is. Add in the time of Mahishasura, you will be really confused. There was a temple of "shasta" before they added the myth of Hariharasuthan (which is good one for South India- like our Vadivelu) and then made one of the worriers from Pandalam an incarnation.