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

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 2010-01-15 18:33.

don't come to any assumptions with out knowing the fact
do u know yesudas is visiting every year to sabarimala as a ritual
and every day while opening and closing temple yesudas songs is being played

Submitted by prakash (not verified) on Sat, 2010-01-30 11:43.

Dear sreejith,

This prakash from Tamil nadu pls give the deatil of sabari malai history of the year because we want to no the history of pandalam & sabari malai which year pls give correct year should ayyapan was born ( pls give correct year ) & which year pandala raj and bulilt the sabari malai temple ( pls give correct year ) pls do needful to me

With regards

Prakash ( A ) Sharabash
Mobil no : 09385575557

Submitted by O.K. Sudesh (not verified) on Mon, 2010-02-01 15:33.

പെട്ടൂ ശ്രീജിത്ത്‌, ആകെ പെട്ടു!

പ്രകാശമാനമായ ഒരു പേരില്‍, ദാ ഒരു സാക്ഷാല്‍ തമിഴുഭക്തന്‍ ഓട്ടോഗ്രാഫുമായി പിന്നാലെ കൂടിയിരിയ്ക്കുന്നു. ആട്ടെ എന്തൊക്കെയാണ്‌ അദ്ദേഹത്തിനു വേണ്ടത്‌? അയ്യപ്പന്റെ ജനന തീയ്യതി, ജനന സ്ഥലം, പന്തളം ചരിത്രം --തല്‍ക്കാലം ഇതു മാത്രം മതിയാവുമെന്നു തോന്നാമെങ്കിലും, ദാ ഇതു കൂടി ഇപ്പോഴേ മുന്‍കൂറായി കൊടുത്തേയ്ക്കുക:
--അംശം, ദേശം
--ഫര്‍ക്ക, താലൂക്ക, ജില്ല, സ്റ്റെയ്റ്റ ....
--പുറമെ, മേല്‍പ്പടി ദേശ-വസ്തുതകളൊന്നുമെ തമിഴകത്തില്‍ പെടുകയില്ല എന്നതിനു കേരള ഗവഃയുടെ കുറ്റിയടി-മേല്‍ച്ചാര്‍ത്തും.

അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ ഈ പ്രകാശ്‌, പാണ്ഡ്യരാജവംശത്തിന്റെ ആ പഴേ ക്ലെയ്ം കൊണ്ടുവരും. ഏത്‌? മുകിലന്‍ അല്ലാവുദീന്‍ ഖില്‍ജിയുടെ പടനായകനായിരുന്ന മാലിക്‌ കഫൂറിന്റെ പടയോട്ടങ്ങളില്‍ തകര്‍ന്നുതരിപ്പണമായി കിഴക്കോട്ടു പിടിച്ചവരായിരുന്നു പാണ്ഡ്യര്‍. അവര്‍ ഒരു ഭൂപ്രഭുവായ കൈപ്പുഴ തമ്പാന്റെ പക്കല്‍ നിന്നു വില കൊടുത്തു വാങ്ങിച്ച പ്രദേശമാണ്‌ പന്തളം എന്നാണ്‌ അറിവായ ചരിത്രം. അക്കാര്യം പ്രകാശ്‌ അറിഞ്ഞാല്‍ സംഗതി പതുക്കെപ്പതുക്കെ കരുണാനിധിയുടെ ചെകിട്ടിലും എത്തും. ജന്മനാ മൈസൂര്‍കാരിയാണെങ്കിലും, പ്രതിപക്ഷിയുടെ കാതിലെത്തിയാലും ഈ സംഗതിയെ രാഷ്ട്രീയമായി ഉപഭോഗപെടുത്തിക്കളയും! ശബരിമലയെപ്പറ്റി ഇത്രയും പുകില്‌ നിങ്ങളെല്ലാം കൂടി ഇവിടെ എഴുതിയുണ്ടാക്കിയ സ്ഥിതിയ്ക്ക്‌, ഇനി ഈ ചരിത്രവും കൂടി ഈ തമിഴുനാട്ടുകാരന്‍ അറിയാനിനിടവന്നാല്‍ മതി. കാര്യം എളുപ്പം നികത്തി കിട്ടും. അല്ലെങ്കിലേ മുല്ലപ്പെരിയാര്‍ ഒരു ദേശീയ-വംശീയ പ്രശ്നമായിരിയ്ക്കുകയാണ്‌ --ഓര്‍മ്മിയ്ക്കുമല്ലോ. ഇപ്പോഴേ സ്കൂള്‍കുട്ടികളെ സ്കൗട്ടു യൂനിറ്റുകളെപ്പൊലെ വിട്ടു ശബരിമലയിലെ ചപ്പും ചവറും നീക്കം ചെയ്യിച്ചു വരികയൊക്കെയാണ്‌.

കുന്തിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നൊര്‍ക്ക്‌ മുദ്രേം കാട്ടി കുന്തിച്ചിരുന്നോണ്ടാ മതി. ഏരിയാവ്‌ കമ്പ്ലീറ്റ്‌ ലവന്‍സ്‌ അടിച്ചു കൊണ്ട്‌ പാം, കെട്ടാ! ആര്‌ന്ന് വെച്ചിട്ടാ? ഉദയസൂര്യനും രണ്ടിലേം കൂടി, മലേം പൊഴേം മൊത്തം പങ്കിട്ടെടുക്കും ന്ന് .... തമാശ്യല്ലാ ... ഒന്നൂല്ലെങ്കില്‍ മ്മ്ക്ക്‌ എല്‍ഡീയെഫും ഊഡീയെഫും കളിക്കേണ്ട സ്ഥലാണെന്നെങ്കിലും ഓര്‍മ്മവേണം ന്ന് ....

Submitted by Aneesh (not verified) on Mon, 2010-05-03 23:03.

Kiduu... ee climax...

njan 2 manikur eduth vayikuka aayirurru... ee climax adipoli..

@ sreejith
Very informative article... good if you give the references too...

Thanks to all

The myth about "Krishna parunth" is still not cleared. I heared that some stones in the thiruvabharanam has some powers to attract parunth. Is that so?

Submitted by deenadayalan (not verified) on Thu, 2010-05-13 02:01.

ayyan house is the only place in the world where all would like to reach until they die. my ayyan gave me life, givining me life and will give life. i wish all the people have to come to sabarimala once to see my ayyan. ayyane please make others life a peaceful one and every one in the world live with all prosperous, including me. have belive in my ayyan he will give you everything in your life.

Submitted by aneesh (not verified) on Thu, 2010-07-15 22:29.

Dear Sreejith,

sabarimala temple ethu kalakhattathilanu nirmmichathu. ayyappan jeevicha kalathano vavarum undayirunnathu? AD 600 kalathanu ivide muslingal vannathennu parayunnu. sariyano? anenkil vavarum ayyappanum thammil kanunnathengane? athinum varshangalkkumumbu ayyappa kshethram nirmmichathalle?

Submitted by jayalal (not verified) on Thu, 2010-07-22 04:51.

Door open to all....Then what abt ladies...why they are not allowed there...????

Submitted by Shashi Shetty (not verified) on Wed, 2010-08-18 18:30.

You are extremely wrong and misinformed. Yesudas was not banned from Shabarimala but, from Guruvayoor where non hindus are not allowed. Infact Yesudas is a ardent devotee of Swami Ayyappa and his voice for famous song Harihara suthan is played for deity every evening.

Submitted by jacob (not verified) on Sat, 2010-08-28 06:46.

This is truely a good article, explaining the lord Ayappa myth in a clear and simple language

Submitted by Arumi (not verified) on Mon, 2010-09-20 14:18.

South India was under the influence of Buddhism before the Bhakthi period. Buddhism was common mans religion with many Bodhisatvas/Local Dieties. God Iyappa was one among them. After the Brahmins entry into south India with the help of Kings, Buddhism was replaced by modern Varna based Hinduism that promoted the caste system. Even Thirupathi temple was once a Buddhist temple later taken over by Aryanized God. The new Hinduism brought in myths and stories to make the people forgot about their past Buddhist history. Even though these Gods were name changed the local people still follow the century old special traditions and rituals associated with the diety which we cant find in other new Hindu temples. In TN the Ayyanar and Muni temples were again the same Ayyappan and originally came from the Buddhist Dieties and Buddha. Most of these Gods/temples were either changed to new Gods by using ornaments and clothings or destroyed and replaced by new Vedic gods. Many Buddha idols were found lying broken or unused near the new Hindu temple complexes in many parts of south India.

Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.

Submitted by gurudev (not verified) on Fri, 2010-10-22 12:00.

Dear Sreejith Kumar, the writeup was good and informative, however plz throw some light on makara jothi, its importance and how it happens, warm wishes

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 2010-11-01 14:26.

My dear man i really appreciate your effort in digging out the history but you know one thing that myths are created from history. so you can never interrelate myth with history.

Submitted by karthik (not verified) on Sat, 2010-11-06 17:28.

the single star which appears on sky just before jyothi appears...... how is it possible star on sky is not artificial,............can u answer.........dont just throw blame blindly......

Submitted by karthik (not verified) on Sat, 2010-11-06 17:32.

door open to all but everyone should follow 41 days vridham but ladies cant do that as they have to undergo menstrual cycle for periodic 30 days...

Submitted by Vijay (not verified) on Tue, 2010-11-16 22:23.


I dont understand what you want to tell the reader. whether you want to tell that this story is myth or realty. in the first session you told the story about Lord Ayyappa. and later you started telling about history of Pandala kingdom. but you were not able to correlate both of these.

and to small answer to many people. The temple was not created for lord Ayyappa. There was Shastha temple there which was created by Parasuram. Lord ayyappa joined with Shastha.

If you just ignore the story of Mahishi the remaining part of Ayyappa's story is simple. So I belive that Mahishi's story may be exagerated but all other things are real.

Swamiye saranam Ayyappa

Submitted by Sreejesh Madhavan (not verified) on Wed, 2010-11-17 10:24.

Hi all,
I am a relative of previous year's Sabarimala Chief Priest (Melshanthi). I have to say that Mr.Vijay's opinion is absolutely right. Parasurama created 5 Sastha temples in Kerala. Sabarimala was one of them. Lord Ayyappa joined with Dharmasastha's idol (vigraha).

The story may be a myth. But we have to agree that Sabarimala pilgrimage is the finest example of Indian tradition and culture. It is a unique pilgrimage. We can't find any other place in the world to match with Sabarimala.

Submitted by O.K. Sudesh (not verified) on Thu, 2010-11-18 13:13.

I don't have any problem to agree with all these divine feelings... though i am agnostic. now can you fellows just avoid this drama called 'makara vilakku'. it's real bullshit man ...bullshit....

Submitted by Madhan (not verified) on Sat, 2010-11-20 22:42.

Pls do not use such a word in this post.if u dont belive in makara jothi its up to u, we r not forcing non believers to believe. Pls do not hurt other belivers feelings.There r so many good things in sabarimala. Belive it and u will surely feel it. Swami saranam

Submitted by PRAJNA nil (not verified) on Sat, 2010-11-27 14:30.

That's right. Harivarasanam is sung by Melshanthi and his team inside the sanctorum.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 2010-12-10 22:20.


i would like to know more about this.pls let me know.....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 2010-12-17 02:06.

Vavar is none other than Babar. Spelled so by the natives of Kerala. The friendship that we hear about Vavar with Lord Ayyappa goes like this. Moghul emperor Babar was ruthlessly killing people in Kerala as well other parts of India for all the riches which we all know. It is said....Lord Ayyappa appeared to him and asked him the reason for his brutality to which he answers ..."the Riches". Lord Ayyappa puts loads of those precious stones...etc..infront of him and when Babar tries to touch them...they all become dust....and that's what he says to Babar....after you die this is what you would become and you can carry nothing. That's when Babar is said to stop killing the innocent and conquering and as a boon to him....it is said by Lord Ayyappa that whoever visits Sabarimala will visit your Durgaah first and then will come see me.

The point here is ....if you try to know the truth...be it anything....you have to have a right intension.....
If your intension is to prove that something is wrong....
that's what you'll find...

Yat Bhavam Tat Bhavati...

Submitted by R.Krishnan (not verified) on Fri, 2010-12-17 08:11.

The above explains clearly the cosmopolitan nature of the shrine.
The proof of sincerity of the above beliefs was shown on Sun Tv a few days ago where the poultry, Fish, mutton and the liquor shop owners talked about loss of business due to Sabarimala season.
The channel also introduced the viewers to many Robbers, Drunkards & Smokers who developed enough will power to quit Robbery, Drinking & Smoking by observing the vratham and lead a life useful to the society.

Whether History or Myth, a large mass of people do have faith in Sabarimala and that is an important perception of humanity which scores over everything else, if not why do 50 lakh people would be present in Sabarimala last year to witness the Makara villaku.

Submitted by O.K. Sudesh (not verified) on Fri, 2010-12-17 13:31.

This is not a religious site madhan sami nor its a holy 'we' site. Here we discuss facts and fiction spread about Sabarimala and Ayyappa. And for your information, 'makara vilakku' is not looked upon with scientific reasoning or with historical understanding by most of the devotees who throng there, but as a superstitious phenomenon. It is not good for a belief system to spread utter nonsense packaged as divinity, and you -- if you are a healthy believer -- should not promote such bullshits too!

Submitted by O.K. Sudesh (not verified) on Fri, 2010-12-17 14:06.

Contrary to what you say, Anonymous, Babur (you spelled Babar) never ventured into the southern parts of India. And the people of Kerala have never been ruled by Moslem kings/emirs/tyrants in all through their history. Babur's timeline was 1483-1530. That was the period just after the ebbing of the Vaishnavite Kulasekhara Dynasty (which was continually mauled by armies of Pandyas and Cholas and came to an end by end of 12th c) and the formation of small principalities under Nair chieftains like zomorins of calicut and all. That was also the time of the arrival of the colonial powers too.

But Malik Kafur (most active during 1296-1316) might have something to do with the creation of Ayyappa myth (or 'reality' as they popularly claim here). He was the general of Allauddin Khilji of Delhi Sultanate and he made hugely successful expeditions to southern India. In one of his forays for plunder and killing, he drove the then-Pandyan king of Madurai to further eastward and into the forest. And the Pandyan King sought refuge in Kerala, where now Pandalam is situated, and bought the area from a local noble called Kaippuzha Thampan as a temporary set up. There ends the known history behind this myth (or 'reality'). And now you will know why so many Tamils are attracted to the deity Ayyappa and its worship also.

Submitted by Sajith krish (not verified) on Fri, 2011-01-07 15:55.

Certain places ignorance is better than knowledge. Can anyone find the end of this world?
So please accept certain things. Its more a science than myth

Submitted by O.K. Sudesh (not verified) on Sat, 2011-01-08 15:47.

Very much pedestrian Mr. Sajith Krish .....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 2011-01-15 09:47.

As you said the makarajyothi is the light or fire or whatever lit up by the officials, then what do you have to say about the makaranakshathram and the eagle which follows the Thiruvabharanam every year...

Submitted by Karunanidhi A (not verified) on Sat, 2011-01-15 19:04.

Dear Jayan

As per my understanding, the Aayanar of South Tamil Nadu and Ayyappan is same. Same are in seated position, same are having their temples in forest or near the lake, etc. In Ariyankavu, ayyappan has two wives (Purna and Pushkala) same is the case with Ayyanar.

Later on some people want to distiguish between the same, so some stories has been made.

As in the case of Ayynar, Ayyappan worship should also started before the Brahmin micration to TN and Kerala.

Submitted by ajit vadakayil (not verified) on Thu, 2011-01-20 06:15.

punch into google search SABARIMALA MAKARA VILAKKU VADAKAYIL-- to find out what is happening!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 2011-01-21 00:17.

thanx 4r ur info...........................................i also believe in supernatural power and supreme.......bt according to ayyapa it is clearly confrmed that sum miracle is going happened every year thats a mystery..............................!!! as jyothis is coming from snce the temple is built.......................i had a grt doubt ..............................if jyothi is true as believe by everyone so, confrmly say that is its coming from the temble started.......................and one more doubt that it is not a actual temple rht nw where we r worshipin.....................!!!

Submitted by Dr. pradeep (not verified) on Fri, 2011-01-21 07:47.

Almost 90% of pilgrims including other state members are attracted to this place due to the lure of makaravilakku. I have visited ponnambalamedu and verified from the tribals that it is man made. The devaswamb board should take steps to stop cheating innocent people. You just go through the commentaries of TV channels on makaravilakku and see the true face of cheating.

Submitted by jogy (not verified) on Fri, 2011-01-21 09:19.

Dear friends

All the doubts regarding the Sabirimala and Ayappa is made clear right now. Man made lightning of makaravilakku leads to the death of 102 poor pilgrims. Even Devasam Board is agreed it is man made, but unfortunately some were entered with some new religious version for it , it is so sad.

Submitted by arun (not verified) on Sun, 2011-01-23 12:30.

yes bro..you are correct i have gone to male i went to up hill of male i saw garuda coming corrcetly at that time..and now rahul eshwar son of former chief priest said makara jyoti and makara vilakku is different..so please great communists in this blog understand makara jyoti and vilakku are differnt and makara jyoti is the star glitters in sky above the temple so may be vilakku may be fake like this so...correctly use your word about which one you are talking makara vilakku or makara jyoti

Submitted by ashokha (not verified) on Mon, 2011-01-24 13:11.

see the wikimapia map. ponnambala medu is a big open land. trees are removed. there is a platform for lighting a lamp. a check post to stop the pilgrims to go there so that then they will know the secret.

youtube embed code didn't work well. may be net weak. click the code in the next blog by copy paste method and know the scandal

or click the link below




பொன்னம்பல மேடு ஒரு பெரிய பொட்டலாய் உள்ளது. அவர்கள் சொல்வது போல் அடர்ந்த காடாய் இல்லை. ஒரு பெரிய மேடையும் கட்டி வைத்திருக்கிறார்கள். எனவே விளக்கை ஏற்றுவது ஆதிவாசியோ காட்டுமிராண்டியோ இல்லை. தேவஸ்தான ஆசாமிகள்தான் ஏற்றுகிறார்கள். பக்தர்கள் அங்கே போய் விடாமல் இருக்க போலிஸ் காவல் உள்ளது. மகரத்தில் சூரியன் தற்போது உள்ளது. சூரியன் மறைந்து கொஞ்ச நேரத்தில் மீனத்தில் உள்ள குரு கண்ணுக்கு தெரியும். அது ஒரு மாதம் அப்படித்தான் தெரியும். நாம்தான் அதற்குப்பின் வானத்தை அண்ணாந்து பார்ப்பதே இல்லையே. அல்லது அது சிவகாசி வானமாகவும் இருக்கலாம்.

மனிதர்கள் நடந்து நடந்து ஒரு ஒற்றை அடிப் பாதை செக்போஸ்ட்டிலிருந்து பொன்னம்பல மேடு வரை பின் அதிலிருந்து விளக்கு ஏற்றும் மேடை வரை உண்டாகியிருப்பது சாட்டிலைட் படத்தில் நன்றாக தெரிகிறது. விஞ்ஞானம் முன்னேரி விட்ட பின் மக்களை ஏமாற்றிக்கொண்டிருக்க கூடாது.

some says in the news papers that they are seeing the celestial star in the East. Then it is "THIRUVATHIRAI" STAR which is in "GEMINI". In the month "THAI" (makaram) after the sunset the Gemini will rise in the East and the star Thiruvathirai will come up slowly in the East.
எங்கள் குழு இனி சபரிமலை செல்வதில்லை என முடிவெடுத்துள்ளோம்.
see the wikimapia map. ponnambala medu is a big open land. trees are removed. there is a platform for lighting a lamp. a check post to stop the pilgrims to go there so that then they will know the secret.
we have decided not to go to sabarimalai hereafter

எங்கள் குழு இனி சபரிமலை செல்வதில்லை என முடிவெடுத்துள்ளோம்.

our group has decided not to go to sabarimalai here after.

I have given three examples (year 2010,2011 and 1990) of the planetary position for reference. Other years will also be only like that. As star Thiruvathirai in GEMINI is a brightest one it will be visible easily in the east during sunset particularly in the month January (mahara masam). It is pity with people with poor knowledge about astronomy as they can be cheated easily.

jupiter in aquarius (kumbam) which is visible after sunset in jan 2010

jupiter in pisces (meenam) which is visible after sunset in jan 2011

jupiter in gemini (mithunam) which is visible in east after sunset in jan 1990

in 1990 jupiter and the star THIRUVATHIRAI would be seen in january 15 on the makarajothi day.


Submitted by Sreejith (not verified) on Tue, 2011-01-25 00:31.

Thanks to all of you for continuing the discussion in a nice manner.

I would like to make a few things clear:

(1) I have stated very clearly in one of the comments earlier that I do not believe in Makara Jyothi. The Jyothi is a ritual to attract more pilgrims, which in turn brings in a lot of revenue to the temple.

(2) There are greedy people who administer things in Sabarimala. They are forced to continue the "rich tradition" of the man made Jyothi. One reader expressed the view that it is hard to believe that the government which is not keen in producing enough Aravana and Appam on time every year cares about all the other aspects of Sabarimala. When you get to see the money figures the temple attracts every year, it is easy to believe THEY WILL.

(3) Fasting is good to burn your excess calories. Did I say the saying no to non veg will reduce you fat??? Ahimsa is a principle that has to be made in practice when you are a Swamy devotee. That is why you are instructed not to eat non veg during your vratham period. But I have seen full time drunkards even in the Thiruvabharanam box carriers. Would you believe it? :)

(4) Regarding the VIP queue in Sabarimala - again the temple authorities and the government needs to be blamed, and not the beliefs or the temple. A more easy digesting example would be "Islamic terrorism" is not done by good Islams.

(5) Several readers opposed to the statement that this temple is open to all. Just look at other temples. Would it allow a lady to enter the temple during her menstrual cycle? Why don't you protest that? This temple allows both sexes, the only difference is a female is not allowed during the period for which she has menstrual cycles. In other words, a female cannot observe vratham for 41 continuous days. Now don't question me with the case of a female who is not having menstrual periods for she is pregnant! :)

(6) Regarding the exact periods during which each of these incidents happened - I was trying to correlate the history and the myth. If you go by pure myth, you will be forced to believe a lot of highly complex thoughts. There is a believe that Parasurama erected the idol in Sabarimala. In that case, we will be forced to believe that Muslims were in "Kerala" even during the period of Parasurama. When you go by another myth, Parasurama created the land of Kerala. If you associate the Onam story of Kerala, you will be forced to believe that Parasurama existed even before Vamana's incarnation! If you read the last few paragraphs in my article, you would understand that I wanted to highlight the good things that evolved from these myths and realities.

Submitted by Vikram (not verified) on Tue, 2011-01-25 20:47.

Dear Sreejit, you have explained the whole concept very well. Really liked your conclusion paragraph. Hope everyone understands the real message of of visiting Sabarimala - being secular, respecting humanity and stay in peace. God Bless!!!!

Submitted by Suresh Cr (not verified) on Tue, 2011-02-08 15:06.

Devotees call ayyappa as Kaliyuga pratyaksha divam . That means Ayyappa lived pandalam around 900 years ago when pandyan king arrived here. Yes we can find proof for pandalam dynasty. But there is no evident available about Ayyappa, Mahishimardana,Vavar whereabouts. I think it is a story created by Pandalam Royal family to make money now kerala Govt.

Submitted by vineeth (not verified) on Thu, 2011-02-10 11:22.

dear brother,
mr yesudas has sung keerthana in sabrimala

Submitted by visvesvaran (not verified) on Sun, 2011-05-08 20:12.

I went through the balanced article of Dr. Sreejith. Very good work

Here are my views:

The makara jyothi is very very similar to what is being followed as "Kaarthikai deepam" in Tiruvannamalai, where Shiva is represented as the Fire (Agni) element.

The Karthikai deepam is man made and acknowledged by the Temple and the State also.

As such, there is nothing miraculous about the Makara Jyothi. It is a man made effort (similar to a light house in the shores of the ocean to guide ships) to guide human beings to note the ascending Star in the sky and bring focus to the devotees. It is the large scale version of Aarthi to the Deity.

At the same I do not discount the Bhakthi, or the group energy brought in by the pilgrims chanting "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa" in unison. Such energy always heals, uplifts mind and purifies the spirit, leading to miracles.

Proof of Group Energy: The energy in a cricket stadium is very different from a cricket match watched at home. Police disperse crowds using tear gas, lathi charge to 'break' the group energy and collectivity of the mind.

The collective conscious working in unison has tremendous spiritual power . Miracles do happen.

Want proof?
Satsangs of spiritual leaders, Massive prayer healing sessions of Christians.
All the Muslims, all over the world offer their namaz in the direction of Mecca, that brings in the collective energy of Divinity among Humans, to make Mecca and Medinah a truly powerful and spiritually transforming place.

The group energy is what 'sustains' the divine power present at Vatican, Mecca, Amritsar, Palani or Tirumala.

A 'prepared' person derives the maximum benefit.

Pilgrimage is the process of preparation of the individual/group that is infused with rituals to purify the mind of all vaasanaas and Be in a state of surrender to ensure the Divinity work from within.

All pilgrimages, across religions/faiths bring transformation at an individual level. The underlying reasons (scientific or spiritual) remain the same.

Ultimately, God is One. Only the paths are different.

Submitted by R.Sajan (not verified) on Wed, 2011-06-29 00:22.

Alangad Yogam is the 'father's yogam'; and Ambalapuzha Yogam is the 'mother's yogam'. What connection does Ayyappan's father have with Alangad, and mother with Ambalapuzha?

Kesari Balakrishna Pillai's 'followers' tell the following story:
In one of his missions, Udayanan first plundered the Avalokiteswara Vihara for the treasures there and then proceeded to the Pandalam palace.

At the Pandalam palace, Kaampillil Panikkar was the Commander of the forces. He was thinking of retirement due to old age, and was training his son at the Palace, to take over.

At the time of Udayanan's attack, the younger Panikkar was away somewhere and the old Commander could not fight off Udayanan.

Udayanan overcame the Pandalam security and took away their Princess, who was the only sister of the King. Their mother had been married in from Ambalapuzha royalty.

After some hours, the younger Kaampillil Panikkar turned up and was grief-stricken to hear about the Princess' abduction. He immediately set off after Udayanan with his available assistants.

They reached Udayanan's camp at nightfall; and consensus was reached to attack at daybreak, for lack of light then.

However, the young Panikkar could not wait, presumed to be due to his emotions for the Princess. And he stole into the Camp alone, and managed to take off with the Princess in the darkness.

On their way back, the Princess who felt that her return would only cause loss of honour to the Royalty, and the consenting Panikkar decided not to return to the Palace, but to go into hiding and be together.

Pandalam was 'padma-dala-puram', with ten 'dalam's or villages; one of which was Ponnambalamedu in the forests. The romantic duo decided to settle at Ponnambalamedu, away from public view.

Eventually, they had a son, who grew up with the animals around, including tigers and leopards.

In one of his hunting expeditions some time later, the Pandalam king happened to pass Ponnambalamedu, and found his lost sister and former Commander-designate. The King requested them to return, and the couple refused. The King then demanded that his nephew, the heir to the throne be given to him. This had to be acceded to, and the King returned after the hunt with a son from the wilderness.

[Another version is that the King, enraged at the Commander-designate after hearing the story from the soldiers who returned to Pandalam, used to raid Ponnambalamedu often and was fought off by the Kampillil Panikkar. In the last expedition, Panikkar could not withstand; and the Royal party killed both parents of Ayyappa and set fire to the village. The King spared the child who was his blood-heir, and took him away with him to the palace.]

Kaampillil is a Nayar family at Muppathadom near Eloor in Ernakulam district. Muppathadom and the surrounding area were parts of the Alangad kingdom.

To get help against Udayanan later on, it was only natural for Ayyappan to go to Alangad and his father’s people. The subsequent story of the defeat of Udayanan in the combined attack by Alangad and Ambalappuzha yogam is known.

Dr.S.K.Nayar mentions Kaampillil Panikkar and Mulleppallil Nayar as being members of Ayyappan’s Alangad battallion. Mulleppalil is reportedly Dr.Nayar’s ancestors as well.

Two groups are now fighting in Court to be the Alangad Yogam, which position gives a lot of privileges at Sabarimala. One is at Manjapra, near Angamaly; and the other is at Alangad village itself. Both places were in Alangad kingdom in olden days. Manjapra group says that they are descendents of the Parvathyakar [pravarthyaar] of the Alangad Raja, entrusted with sending the Petta troupe to Sabarimala every year; and this right makes them the genuine Alangad Yogam. The Alangad set asks how people far away from Alangad village itself could be any Alangad Yogam.

I learned of the Kampillil connection from informal talk with both groups; and happened to learn of Kesari’s version only later on. I went to Muppathadom and met the current members of the family. They have an Ayyappa temple which the locals call the ‘original Alangad Yogam’.

The family has no male heir now. The 70 and above year old ladies that I talked to said that they are not interested in any Yogam recognition. One of them said her son had been the last male heir of the family. After the two other groups started fighting each other in Court over the title, one group sent goons after this heir though he was not involved in the title-battle. They attacked the house and terrorised the young man, who was a non-interfering KSEB worker. The trauma made him ill and he died soon after, while still in his thirties. ‘We don’t want any Yogam or its money, Sir; we want to be left alone’ were their words.

I had been to Cheerappan Chira also; and was only happy to hear their story that Ayyappan was their family member, that 3/4th of his divine powers are in their temple and that Sabarimala has only 1/4th. The 3/4th goes to Sabarimala for Makara Vilakku every year. I think that their selling their version stronger would help Arthunkal Palli also.

At the Arthunkal Palli nearby, I was told that 1. the then priest of the Church [Rev. Fr. Velutha] only recommended and got Ayyappan admitted into Cheerappan Chira Military Academy and 2. Arthunkal Palli was founded by Ayyappan’s first cousin and real son of Pandalam Raja. Sebastian had been the prince’s Christian name on conversion by Zabor Easo at Nilakkal. That is how Arthunkal Palli is ‘St.Sebastian’s Church’.

The Vellalas of Tamilnadu have in their own way, proved that Ayyappan was neither Nayar nor Eazhava; but is ‘Vellaalan Ayyan Ayyappa Swami’.

I write this impromptu and without preparation. By the way, did you ever read the 1920s-written Bhoothanaathopakhyaanam?

Submitted by vignesh v (not verified) on Sun, 2011-08-21 10:18.

swami saranam
kaliyuga varadanaya ayyappa swami ennum anugraham choriyum
sciencum mythum ellathinumappuramulla daivikamaya aa prabha aa thirusannidiyilundu
namukku athu anubhavikkanamenkil ellavareyum snehikkukayum sahayikkukayum venam

Submitted by sudhi (not verified) on Tue, 2011-10-11 13:50.

Brothers and Sisters, I vist Sabarimala every alternate year.
I was challenged by by a person about Makara Jyothi being a 'nonsense'and about Swamis who Starts to drink the moment they end Vratham.
I would like to put it this way. The Message is TatWamAsi, which means 'that is You'.
There is only 'you' who can Control Yourself.
Say you are provoked by a driver at a Traffic Jam and you get wild, It is you who is the sufferer.
You have pledged your mind to the other fellow.The other chap is now controlling your mind.
Now you lose your happiness, you forget about your family and you are 'not you' now, you are under his influence.
About drinking, if a drunkard kicks the habit during the 41 days of Vratham , don't u think it is remarkable?
(Even for a day, i would say, considering the alarming Alchohol Consumption of the State that has made many family lives a hell).
Iam a non beleiver in Makara Jyothi, but why should i go against it if it is a source of inspiration to
millions of people? Does anybody on earth have God's Address ?
Come on, the so called god is a phenomenon called 'TatWamAsi'.
Hear good , See Good, Say Good , Do Good and u will fell a presence of Mind. I Remember a couple of Yesudas songs 'Manassin Ullil Deyvamirunnal Manushyanum Deyvavum Onnu...' and- 'Mannilum Vinnilum Thunilum Thurmbilum Deyvamirikkunnu...' Swamiye Saranam.

Submitted by LMG (not verified) on Mon, 2011-11-07 23:29.

I have nothing to do with Sabarimala .But i have a sincere question for my fellow malayalis.
മലങ്കര ക്രിസ്ത്യന്‍ ചരിത്രപ്രകാരം ശബരിമലയുടെ റീജ്യനില്‍ എവിടെയോ സെന്റ് തോമസ് സ്ഥാപിച്ചതും AD1000 വരെയെങ്കിലും ഉപയോഗിച്ചുപോന്നതുമായ പള്ളിയുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ചരിത്രത്തില്‍ പറയുന്നത് ചേര-ചോള യുദ്ധവും തുടര്‍ന്നുള്ള ചോളന്മാരുടെ വിജയം പള്ളിക്ക് നാശംവരുത്തിയെന്നാണ്. ചോളരാജാക്കന്മാര്‍ ക്രിസ്ത്യാനികളെ ഇഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടില്ലായിരിക്കാം, ആവോ....

നിലയ്ക്കല്‍ ഒരു ക്രിസ്ത്യന്‍ പട്ടണമാണെന്ന് ചരിത്രരേഖകളില്‍ പറയുന്നുണ്ട്.

ഏതായാലും Lord Ayyapan surely after this event ...

എന്റെ main question is that , Christianikalude purathanavum charitraparvumaya sthalankalil
archealogical excavationum studysum hindukalku kuzpamillatha reethiyil nadathunathinu enthukondanu Hindu nethakalku budimuttu ...... Author thankalude afiprayathil christian samuhathinu ethra charitra pradnayamula sthalam avarku atleast archealogical excavations nekilum anuvadichu kudee....
Hindu nethakal parayuna oru nayam sabarimalayum chuttumulla ella sthalavum Ayyapane udyanam anenanu athukondu oru inchu boomiyum christianikal eduthukuda
ennum .... Are you agree with it , Whats your opinion and possible solutions?

Submitted by sujith (not verified) on Fri, 2011-11-11 12:36.

Dear brother yesudas was not banished from sabarimala it was from guruvayooor wher he was not allowed to enter yeshudas came to sabarimala several times and i have seen him there

Submitted by Mercy (not verified) on Thu, 2011-11-17 12:22.

Dear Manu,

For your question "Why not our Govt cannot ask the incomes from churches and masjids" ill like to reply. For Sabarimala Govt is helping by supporting thing like giving police protections, etc. So giving temple income to Govt has no problem. Are Churches & Masjids are given any police protection??? I really don’t know in what way you need them there income to Govt. Are you aware that all the churches in India are giving contributions to Rome for help of poor & need? Also lots of homes and Orphanages are adopted by churches income.

Submitted by sajeev (not verified) on Sat, 2011-11-19 13:26.

You r wrong Yesudas was not banned from Sabarimala. You are mistaken Yesudas went to sabarimala several times with Irumudi and sang songs there.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 2011-12-01 19:42.

Buddhism prospered in ancient Kerala

K.R. Vaidyanathan observes:

"Like Jainism, Buddhism also held sway in ancient Kerala during the reign of Asoka in the 3rd century B.C. Coming by sea, Buddhism was popular in coastal districts, Karumati, Mavelikkara, Bharanikkavu, Pallikkal, Karunagappalli, Idappalli, Dharmapattabnam, Matayi and Pallikkunny being its chief centers... Many prominent Hindu Temples of today like the Vadakkunnathan temple, Trichur and the Kurumga Bhagwati Temple, Kondugallur, and even the famous Ayyappa shrine atop Sabarimala are believed to have been at one time Buddhist shrines. ... While Jainism did hardly leave any impress on Kerala society, Buddhism was absorbed in Hinduism in respect of some of its ceremonies and forms of worship. The images, processions and utsavam, etc. associated with popular worship in present day Hindu temples in Kerala are said to be a legacy of Buddhism. Even the chakiyar kuttu conducted in temples is said to be an adaptation of the Buddhist monk's religious expositions." [Vaidyanathan: 1982: 4]

Ayyappa is Dharma Sasta

Coming specifically to Lord Ayyappa, it would be interesting to know that Lord Ayyappa is also generally, and popularly known as Dharma Sasta. Vaidyanathan observes:

"There are temples dedicated to Dharma Sasta as Ayyappa is generally known all over the State of Kerala - and now of course, in other states also. Even in temples dedicated to other deities in Kerala there will be generally a Sasta shrine. ..." [Vaidyanathan: 1982: 70]

As is well known that word 'Dharma' is deeply rooted in Buddhist literature. Eg. 'sadhamma' as meaning Teachings of Buddha. Sasta is a well known epithet applied to Buddha. Even today Buddha is referred to as Sasta in daily prayer of Buddhists, e.g. ' Sattha dev manussanam '. Amarkosha mentions this as one of the names of Buddha. It appears that though the nature of deity changed, the name still persists. The present nature of the Lord is considered to be a son of Siva on Vishnu. Vaidyanathan observes:

"The story is that, Siva was captivated by the charms of Mohini in which form Vishnu appeared at the time of churning of the Ocean of Milk in order to entice the asuras so that the devas could divide the nectar among themselves. Siva succumbed to the beauty of Mohini and Sasta is believed to have been born out of the union." [Vaidyanathan: 1982: 71]

Caste barriers are weak

Another notable feature is the caste barriers are comparatively weak in this temple, which is a common feature of all those shrines which were previously of Buddhist faith. This became necessary for the Brahmins to concede to, so that masses could be wooed away from Buddhism. Vaidyanathan observes:

"...the temple doors of Sabarimala are open to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and social status. Here the high and low, the rich and poor, meet on equal terms; all are alike - Ayyappas as the devotees are called after the deity itself." [Vaidyanathan: 1982: 75]

The pilgrimage to Sabari, in itself thought to be an act of tremendous virtue by the Ayyappas, involves a lot of austerities to be followed by them. It is well known that there are 18 steps that are to be climbed only by those who observe these austerities. But it is little known that these austerities are similar to the vows, known as ashta-shilas, taken by Buddhists. This point should also demonstrate how the traditions persist though the labels change.

Early Hindu literature has no mention of Ayyappa

About references in ancient literature, T.A.Gopinath Rao observes: [Gopinath Rao: 1985: 486]

"This deity which is very peculiar to the Dravida country does not appear to have been known to the region north of Godavari. In no early Sanskrit work is the deity mentioned. Even the dictionaries do not record this name and give its origin..."

In the Vishnu Purana, we hear about Mohini, but

"...It is in the Shri Bhagwata that we learn for the first time that Hara fell in love with Vishnu in his form of Mohini. From the union between Hara and Hari, Arya, Shasta or Hariharputra is said to have been born..."

"...The Suprabhedagama very distinctly mentions that Sasta was distributing the ?amrita? among the gods when it was churned from the milk ocean, by the union with her of Hara..."

Ayyappa is a Deity of lower castes

Shri Rao further observes:

"...That this deity is peculiarly Dravidian and has been taken into fold of the Aryan pantheon at a later period goes without contradiction. At present Hariharputra is treated in the Tamil country as a village deity and is mostly worshiped by the lower classes and the puja in the temple of Hariharputra of Ayyanar (or Ayyanarappan) is performed by a Shudra. The Padmasamhita states that the puja in the temple of Arya should be performed by the Parashava; We know from other sources that a Parashava is an anuloma born of a Brahmana father and a Shudra mother. But somehow Ayyanar, like the more tamasic form of Devi, such as Kali, which are worshiped by lower classes in Tamil country, is made puja to by the Brahmanas in Malabar."

Ayyappa was Buddhist

About the origin of the name Shasta, Shri Rao has to say:

"This deity is called Shasta because he is able to control and rule over the whole world; etymologically therefore, the word means a ruler of a country; and is sometimes applied to teachers and fathers. The Amarkosha applies the name to Buddha also. The Tamil Nighantus call him by the additional names Satavahana, the rider of the white elephant, kari, the wielder of the weapon known as sendu, the consort of purana and pushkala, the protector of Dharma and Yogi; they also state that the vehicle of Sasta is the elephant and the crest of his banner a cock. The names rider of the white elephant, Yogi, protector of Dharma coupled with the significance of Buddha applied to Sasta in the Amarkosha incline one to conclude that Buddha as conceived and worshiped in the Tamil country was ultimately included in the Hindu pantheon and a Puranic story invented for his origin at a later period of the history of Hindu Iconology..." [Gopinath Rao: 1985: 487]

Ayyappa has weapons of Bodhisattva

Rao gives description of image as per texts, The Amshumabhedagama, Suprabhedegama and Karanangama, notable among the description is that Lord is seated on a pitha..." with his left leg hanging down the seat and the right one folded and rested upon the seat vertically. On the knee of this latter leg should rest the elbow of the stretched left arm. In the right hand there should be a vajradanda, which is crooked stick (note the vajra a characteristic weapon of the Boudha Bodhisattva)..."

Buddha is worshipped in many forms

Lastly we may quote the opinions of Thiru. N. Vanamalai

"Though Buddhism disappeared from Tamilnadu, it became Tamil by integrating into Tamil. Buddha had become reincarnation of Tirumal. The worship of Sathanar, Ayyanar, Dharma Raja and Bodhi Raj are old Buddha worship." [Arachi: 1969: 160]

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 2011-12-13 12:48.

For a kind information jyothi is seen from the year before any electric plan was done in forest.

Submitted by Gokul (not verified) on Mon, 2012-01-09 22:22.

You are right.i agree with your opinion.also i wish to ask how that eagle come there.is that left by zoo authority?ayappan and every thing related him is true for me.i believe him.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 2012-04-08 21:41.

thank you dear Krishna, your findings are almost correct.