Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Interesting Things about Sabarimala


Sabarimala is one of the famous temple in south India situated in the district of Pathanatitt, Kerala, India. The presiding diety is Shasta facing East. Other deities at the temple are Malikapurathamma, Ganapathy, Kadutha Swamy and Vavaru Swamy. The temple is closed almost most of the year except for Mandala pooja, Makaraviallku and monthly first five days.  Mandala pooja commences during Oct-Nov. then the temple reopens again for Makaravialku.  Pankuni Uttram , the birthday of Lord Ayyapa is also celebrated.

The Legend of Lord Ayyapa is described below precisely. The King Rajasekara, ruler of Pandalam, was a direct descendant of Pandya Dynasty. During his reign, people were happy and content as he was impartial and righteous.  However, the King was unhappy as they had no heir to the kingdom.  Both the king and queen pray to Lord Siva for blessing them with a child.

Lord Siva wanted to see Lord Maha Vishnu in the form of Mohini (the enchant) the form mahavishnu took during the palazhi madhanam, by devasuras to get away from the curse of Durvasa. Upon the request of Lord Shiva,  Lord Vishnu transform into mohini. Lord Siva enchanted in the spell of mohini, a child was born to them and named as Shastha. Dharma shastha on Siva’s instruction took the avathara of Manikanda (Ayyapa) in order to bless the King with a child and answer their prayers.

One day while the king was hunting in the forest, he heard the cry of a baby. He followed the sound and saw the baby on the banks of River Pampa adorned with golden chain with bell on his neck. King was amazed to see the child, then a sage (Lord Siva in disguise) appeared and told the king to take the child to palace and he be named “ Manikanda” as the child had golden bell around his neck, also he told the king, Manikanda upon reaching the age of twelve would know the  divine truth. He then disappeared into the forest.  King and his men were very happy and with great joy the King took the baby to Palace. People in the kingdom were also happy as the king got an heir.  But, the Chief Minister of the king was worried as he was in the dream of becoming the next king to this country. Manikanda grew in the kingdom as prince and learnt all martial arts and other shastras.  Manikandan’s guru’s son was a dumb boy; that worried the Guru very much. Manikanda with his divine power made guru’s son speak.

Mean while , the queen was blessed with another boy and was named Rajarajan.  King was very much happy with Manikanda and decided to declare as heir to the crown. Diwan who hated this started devising a plan and he iniated poisoning the boy.  Manikanda becomes ill and no doctor in the region could save him.  Lord Siva in disguise of the doctor saved the boy.  On this he persuaded the queen that her own should become the next king rather than Manikanda who is only a foster son. Queen , pretends her self suffereing from sevre headache that only tigress milk is the only cure. Ayyappa goes in search of tigress milk, and conflicts with mahishi and give her moksha., on the banks of river Azhutha. She was given a scared place at sabarimala shrine, as Malikapuratthamma.

Lord Indra on instruction of Lord Siva takes the form of tiger and other as tigress march towards the kingdom. Lord Siva again appeared as a sage and told the king the divinity of Manaikanda. The king begged opardon to Manikanda , that all these happened because he didn’t knew the truth.  Manikanda, tells the king that time has come for him to go and he shoots an arrow and ask the king to construct a temple for him where the arrow is found. The place where the arrow was found was Sabari and King constrcted a temple. Ayyapa is as brahmachari  in Sabari mala, in the form of Yoga Nidra performing penance. s

Lord Manikanda told the king that his devotees should come to temple after vrata of fortyone days, with irumudi as remembrance of the bag carried by ayyappa when he went on search of tigress milk. King built a temple there with eighteen steps. And then onwards people go to Sabari mala  after performing vrata.

There are several temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappan all over India. Among these the important temples along the Western Ghats are: Kulathupuzha – Ayyappan is a child here, Aryyankavu – He is a bachelor here, Achankovil – here he is as Dharmasastha with Poorna and Pushkala (his wives) Sabarimala – here he is a yogi, meditating for the benefit of all.

Mandala Pooja beginning from the month of Vrishchiga (Malayalam month – corresponding English months are  oct – nov)  & Makaravilakku on Makar Sankarathi – Jan 14th are very auspiscious. Rest of the year the temple is closed except for the 1st five days of Malayalm month.

Makaravilakku  which  falls on the first month of Makaram (Jan 14 or 15th). During this day, lord Ayyappa is adorned with Thiruvabaranam, (Holy Jewels) which is taken as precession from Pandalam royal family and adorned to Lord on the Makara Jothi day around 6.00pm. The chief Priest adorns the lord with jewels and performs deeparadhana (arti).  At this time, towards the northern side, Kanthan mala, a deepam (light) appears. This is considered to be the greatest movment of joy for the devotees of Lord Ayyapa.

Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.


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