Sunday, December 14, 2014

VERY RARE -The portrait of Swamy Ayyappa in the tree at Tummagunta in Nellore district

VERY RARE -The portrait of Swamy Ayyappa in the tree at Tummagunta in Nellore district

Unusual abode The portrait of Swamy Ayyappa in the tree at Tummagunta in Nellore district.

Devotees worship Ayyappa ensconced in a tree with unflinching faith

NELLORE: When one mentions about shrines of Lord Ayyappa, many revered places of worship, including the most famous Sabarimala, come to the minds of devotees across the country.
But the Lord has taken abode in a tree at Tummagunta of Vidavalur mandal of Nellore district, which may not be known to many, including the ardent devotees of Lord Ayyappa. The 15th century temple, which is associated with many legends, is now catching the attention of devotees.

Significantly, huge quantity of camphor is lit at the temple to coincide with the appearance of Makara Jyothi in Sabarimala on the day of Makara Sankranti every year. The temple also conducts Laksha Thulasi Archana on the full moon day during Karthika month.

‘Sthala purana’

According to ‘Sthala purana’ or local history, Vijayanagar Emperor Sri Krishna Devaraya, who was on his way back from the South to his capital, desired to take rest for some time at this place along with his soldiers, their horses, elephants, etc. Impressed by the nature’s pulchritude at this place, the emperor decided to construct a village there and asked some of the Brahmin families in his entourage to settle down there.

Accordingly, the Dravidian Brahmin migrant families originating from Taamraparni river basin, which is on the Kerala and Tamil Nadu State borders, settled at Tummagunta. They planted a ‘Juvvi’ (Pluksha in Sanskrit) tree and Indian rubber fig tree with scientific name: Ficus Elastica Moraceae and consecrated it with Lord Mahaa Saastha , another name of Ayyappa ‘yantra’ (copper plate on which Beejaaksharaas are engraved). Devotees continue to worship Ayyappa in His tree-abode with unflinching faith, chief priest of the temple Bhattaram Chandrasekhara Sarma said.

Lord on a lion

Moreover, the temple possesses a rare painting of Lord Ayyappa that depicts Him riding on a lion instead of the tiger, which is generally considered to be his Vahana (vehicle), with bows and arrows in His hands. “The painting, which was kept in the sanctum sanctorum constructed adjacent to the Ayyappa tree, was done on the basis of the description of the Dharma Sastha in the Brahmanda Purana and the Moola Manthra of Lord Ayyappa, which also describes the Lord as being mounted on a lion,” claims Bhattaram Pattabhiramaiah and his son Vijaya Kumar, the migrant Brahmins.

Source :

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sabarimala Virtual Q - Steps for Registration and Booking 

Opening and closing of Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple for the year 2014 - 2015 - 2016

Opening and closing of Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple for the year 2014 - 2015 - 2016

                                  Om Sri Swamy ye Saranam Ayyappa

The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala is open for darshan only during certain specific periods in a year. Below are the dates on which the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple will remain open during 2014 - 2015 - 2016.

MonthPoojaOpening dateClosing date
November 2014Madala Pooja Maholsavam16/11/201427/12/2014
December 2014Mandala Pooja27/12/2014
Thirunada opens for Makaravilakku30/12/201420/01/2015
January 2015Makaravilakku Day14/01/2015
February 2015Monthly Pooja – Kumbham12/02/201517/02/2015
March 2015Monthly Pooja – Meenam14/03/201519/03/2015
Sabarimala Utsavam24/03/201503/04/2015
April 2015Painkuni Uthram (Ayyappan Nakshatra Birth Date) & Arattu03/04/2015
Meda Vishu Festival10/04/201519/04/2015
May 2015Monthly Pooja – Edavam14/05/201519/05/2015
Idol Installation Day28/05/201529/05/2015
June 2015Monthly Pooja – Midhunam15/06/201520/06/2015
July 2015Monthly Pooja – Karkkidakam16/07/201521/07/2015
August 2015Monthly Pooja – Chingam16/08/201521/08/2015
September 2015Monthly Pooja – Kanni16/09/201521/09/2015
October 2015Monthly Pooja – Thulam17/10/201522/10/2015
November 2015Sree Chithra Atta Thirunal09/10/201510/10/2015
Madala Pooja Maholsavam16/11/201527/12/2015
December 2015Mandala Pooja27/12/2015
Thirunada opens for Makaravilakku30/12/201520/01/2016
January 2016Makaravilakku Day14/01/2016

Sunday, December 30, 2012

మహా పడి పూజ -Maha Padi Pooja @ Bharath Nagar , Yuva Sena Grounds, Hyderabad

Annadhanam and Puja
Annadhanam is one of the primary duty of Ayyappa Bhakta. This was insisted because one must see Ayyappa in every living being. But unfortunately it has become a ritual.

Many Guruswamis demand the disciples to compulsorily conduct a puja in their house and feed all from their group. There is nothing wrong in the practice if person can accord it. By feeding His devotees The Lord will definitely be happy.

But for those who cannot afford - feed any single deserving poor person with whatever possible food. The Lord will be pleased with this act.

One need not expect any invitation for any Ayyappan puja and can very well attend any puja and help for the puja to the maximum extend possible. 

Calling everyone as "Ayyappa" or "Swami" should come from heart and not as a mere ritualistic word. Callout the Sharanams only during appropriate occasions and Sharana Gosham should not disturb any Puja activity. 

Swami is always with us -  ready to give us whatever we want.  Following the Vratham with utmost sincerity will definitely fetch something more than what we want  -the result will be Ayyappa himself.

Two more requests
And along with all these, though not in the Vrutham rules, also make a strong Sankalpam regarding 2 aspects:
1. The thousands of devotees who come to sannidanam are also the very form of Sastha. We dont know the quantum of devotion of any Bhakta and who is dear to Swamy.. So please donot cause any disturbance or uncomfortable feeling to any devotee...  

2. Make sure that the greenery of Sabarimala is not disturbed by us. Do not throw any plastics or any other garbage at sabarimala zone. Do we spit inside our house? But we do everything in Sabarimala. Its the abode of the Lord and to keep it clean is the first service to the Lord than anything else.

Sabari Calendar 2012 -13

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sabarimala Calendar for the Year 2011-12

The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala is open for darshan only during certain specific periods in a year. Below are the dates on which the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple will remain open during 2011 – 2012.
The temple is open for monthly pujas for five days from the first of Malayalam month on all months in year. Other days when the temple is open are for Sabarimala Shrine festival, Vishu, Ayyappa Idol installation anniversary puja, Onam puja, Sri Chitira Attam Thirunnal, two months during the Mandalam Pooja season (November – December) and finally during the Makaravilakku Puja (January) season.

Sabarimala Ayyappa TempleCalendar 2011 – 2012

January 2011 at Sabarimala
January 14, 2011 – Makaravilakku Puja
Temple open on all days in January till January 20, 2011
Temple closes at night on January 20, 2011.

February 2011 at Sabarimala
February 12, 2011 to February 17, 2011 – Kumbha Masa Puja – Monthly Puja – The temple remains open for five days during the period.
March 2011 at Sabarimala
March 09, 2011 to March 19, 2011 – Meena Masa Puja Monthly Puja and Sabarimala Annual Temple Festival.
Painguni Festival and Special Puja is also on March 19, 2011.
April 2011 at Sabarimala
April 10, 2011 – April 18, 2011 – Vishu and Medam month Puja and Darshan
April 15, 2011 – Vishu Kani Darshan at the Temple
April 18, 2011 - Vishu Festival Ends
May 2011 at Sabarimala
May 14, 2011 to May 19, 2011 – Edava Masa Puja - Monthly Puja – The temple remains open for five days during the period.
May 10, 2011 – Ayyappa Idol installation anniversary puja
May 11, 2011 – Ayyappa Idol installation anniversary day
June 2011 at Sabarimala
June 15, 2011 to June 20, 2011 – Mithuna Masa Puja – Monthly Puja – The temple remains open for five days during the period.
July 2011 at Sabarimala
July 16, 2011 to July 21, 2011 – Karkidaka Masa Puja – Monthly Puja – The temple remains open for five days during the period.
There is also a Niraputtari in this month and the date is decided by the Travancore Royal Family.
August 2011 at Sabarimala
August 16, 2011 to August 21, 2011 – Chinga Masa Puja – Monthly Puja – The temple remains open for five days during the period.
September 2011 at Sabarimala

September 7, 2011 to September 11, 2011 - Onam Puja.
September 9, 2011 – Thiru Onam Puja

September 16, 2011 to September 21, 2011 – Kanni Masa Puja – Monthly Puja – The temple remains open for five days during the period.
October 2011 at Sabarimala
October 17, 2011 to October 22, 2011 – Thulam Masa Puja – Monthly Puja – The temple remains open for five days during the period.
October 25, 2011 to October 26, 2011 – Sri Chitira Attam Thirunnal
November 2011 at Sabarimala
November 16, 2011Mandala Kalam Starts – Shrine open for 41 days
Temple open on all days from November 16.
December 2011 at Sabarimala
Temple open on all days till the night of December 27, 2010 on all days.
December 27, 2011 – Sabarimala Mandala Puja - Temple closes in the evening
December 30, 2011Temple opens for Makaravilakku.
January 2012 at Sabarimala
January 15, 2012 – Makaravilakku Puja
Temple open on all days till January 20, 2012
Temple closes at night on January 20, 2012.
Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple Timings
On the above days the temple usually opens at 0400hrs and closes at 1300 hrs and then opens again at 1600 hrs and closes at 2300 hrs.
Neyyabhishekam takes place from 0430 hrs to 1130 hrs.
During the peak seasons the timings might altered to accommodate the large number of devotees.

Sabarimala festival from March 10

The 10-day annual festival at Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala will be held from March 10 to 19.

The temple will be opened on Wednesday afternoon. The rituals will begin with chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Rajeevaru, assisted by head priest (Melsanthi) Ezhikode Sasi Namboodiri, performing the Ashtadravya Ganapati homom on Thursday morning.

The purification rituals `bimba-sudhikriya' and `praasada-sudhikriya' will be performed on Wednesday afternoon prior to the ‘kodiyettu' ceremony, which will be between 10.35 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. on Thursday. The chief priest will perform the ‘kodiyettu' rituals before the golden temple mast and hoist the ceremonial flag.

‘Utsavabali' will be performed from March 11 to 18 at a specially prepared pandal in the temple precincts after the ‘utchapuja.' The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi, will perform the Utsavabali.

The Utchapuja during the festival period will be performed by 11 a.m. and the Utsavabali darshan will be from 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.

The Vilakkinezhullippu procession will be held at the Sannidhanam from March 14 to 18.

The Pallivetta ritual will held on March 18. The presiding deity will be taken in a ceremonial procession to Saramkuthy on the traditional trekking path for the Pallivetta ritual after the Athazhapuja on March 18.

The Painguni Uthram, which is believed to be Lord Ayyappa's birthday, falls on March 19. The 10-day temple festival will conclude with the Aratt ceremony on March 19 when the deity will be taken out in a procession to Pampa for the Arat ceremony. The Aratpuja and Utchapuja will be performed at the specially prepared Arat-kadavu in the Pampa river on the foothills of Sabarimala at 11 am.

The deity will be taken back to the Sannidhanam in an Arat procession by 10 p.m. The Tantri will bring down the ceremonial flag, marking the culmination of the annual festival.

KSRTC services
According to Kerala State Road Transport Corporation sources, the corporation will operate special services to Pampa from its depots at Pathanamthitta, Chengannur, Kottayam, Thiruvananthapuram, Erumeli, Kumily and Kottarakara from March 9 to 19.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Guru Swamy

''Guruvan Guruve Saranam Ayyappa !'


Gurur Brahmaa Gurur Vishnuhu Gurur Devo Maheshvaraha |
Guru Saakshaat Para Brahma Tasmai Shree Gurave Namaha ||


Whoever is the Guru he is Lord Shiva !
Whoever is Lord Shiva he is Guru !

-Guru Githa

It is said that chanting the name of the Guru is equivalent to chanting the name of Lord Shiva, Guru's abode is Kashi Kshetram and water used to wash Guru's feet is Ganga.

The role of the Guru is significant in the Ayyappa cult. The Guruswamy is usually an elderly person who has undertaken pilgrimage to Sabarimala not less than seven consecutive years in the traditional long route and had darshan of Makara Jothi. The devotees treat the Guruswamy as Ayyappan himself. It is important that pilgrims gain knowledge from the Guru on all the aspect of the Pilgrimage. One should serve the Guru physically, mentally and verbally.

The pilgrims should give the due respect and reverence the Guru deserves. All instructions of the Guru should be carried out without fail. The Guru will enlighten the Shisyas the austerities to be followed. He will teach them the slokas and way to perform pooja and bhajans. He shall prepare them for the pilgrimage mentally and physically. He will lead the pilgrims safely and comfortably to Sabarimala.

Rules for Ayyappa Deeksha

'Swamy ye Saranam Ayyappa !'

The life of the man can be improved and re-energized by performing Tapas or austerity. Tapas may be performed in body, speech and mind as per 'Gita'. When man applies himself to these three components, he changes for the better.

Given below are the austerities and regulations that has to be strictly followed for taking pilgrimage to Shri Sabarimala

Deeksha has to be undertaken after getting permission from parents. Then one has to get the permission of the the Guru. After this the date is fixed to commence the deeksha. The previous day before the said date one has to offer prayers to ones family deity and make a holy knot with yellow cloth with 1.25 currency units within and present it to the family deity, thereby taking Her/His permission to commence the deeksha.

Previous day before starting the deeksha, the devotee willcleanly shave, clip his nails, trim his hair and make himself physically clean. The holy mala / garland (tulsi / uthradsham) should be cleaned and smeared with sandal paste and placed before the portrait of Lord Ayyappa. The devotee should also buy a new pair of coloured (ONLY BLACK) dhoti and towel/shawl.

On the day of starting the deeksha the devotee shall raise early, bath and offer prayers to family deity, Navagrahas and perform pooja to the holy mala. Then he shall go to temple with his Guru. The mala has to be received from the Guru in midst of chanting of Saranam. After wearing the mala the devotee becomes Lord Ayyappa himself and starts the demands of pious life.

The devotee shall withdraw from all social activities and spend his time by taking part in praying, poojas, bajans, visiting temples, cleaning temples, feeding the poor, helping the poor/sick and attending religious discourses.

He shall take only satvic foods and refrain 100% from taking meat, intoxicating drinks / drugs, chewing betel leaves and from smoking.

He shall bathe twice, if possible thrice, daily and perform pooja by at least chanting 108 Ayyappan Saranam. He shall continuously chant Saranam Ayyappa in mind, both at work and at home.

He shall not hurt anybody verbally or physically.
He shall treat all co-devotees as Lord Ayyappan himself and serve them in all the ways.

He shall not feel proud of the respect and privileges he gets when he is wearing the holy mala. When others prostrate themselves on his feet he shall not feel proud but dedicate the same to Lord Ayyappan and say aloud 'Lord Save everybody for their faith in you'.

He shall not cause inconvenience to his family members on account on observing the vritham.
As he starts his deeksha every year, he shall think that he is doing the same for first time and follow all the rules of the deeksha strictly.

He shall strictly follow brahmacharya (continence), refrain from sex, thinking of sex, develop passion against all women including his wife, and treat all women with motherly feeling.

He shall not apply oil to his hair and shall not take bath with oil smeared over his body.

He shall not attend any social function like birthdays, engagement, and wedding, etc. and shall feast in anyone's home who have not undertaken the deeksha.

He shall avoid being in the proximity of dead body and shall not eat anything till he bathes if he accidentally sees one.

He shall always carry a tulsi leaf with him to prevent him from evil feeling and from Thitu.

He shall not sleep on bed but on floor, he shall not use pillow but wooden block, he shall not use footwear but walk with bear feet.

He shall totally surrender himself to Lord Ayyappa.

One should remember that the grace and power of Sabarimala increases and reflects back by observing the above rules strictly

History of Lord Ayyappa

The descendants of Pandya dynasty discarded by Thirumala Naicker Diwan of Raja Vijayanagar, who was then ruling the Pandya Kingdom, comprising of Madurai,Tirunelveli, Ramananthapuram, were living scattered in places like Valliyur, Tenkasi, Shengottah, Achankovil and Sivagiri. At that time, Pandyas were ruling in many parts of Travancore. The descendants of Pandya dynasty belonging to Chempazhanattu Kovil, living in Sivagiri were given the right to rule the country of Pandalam, by the King of Travancore eight hundreds years ago. King Rajasekara was the direct descendant of this dynasty

King Rajasekara was very talented, courageous and just in his deeds. People were living happily and prosperously during his regime. However, the king was very unhappy that he had no children and his subjects were also worried that he had no heir to inherit his kingdom. As per the wish of the queen, both of them prayed Lord Shiva for blessing them with a child.

Mahishasuran, Son of Ramban, undertook a severe penance (Dhavam). Lord Brahma tried to distract his concentration, but having failed in his attempts, he appeared before the Asura and blessed him with a boon. Mahishasuran asked Lord Brahma to give him a boon by which no man in the earth would be able to kill him, and Lord Brahma conferred the boon on him.

Mahishasuran, armed with his boon, began to commit atrocities and murders on the earth and terrorised people. Fearing his wrath, people ran away to far away places.

The Devas seeing the atrocities committed by Mahishasuran came to the conclusion that only a divine power could kill him and approached Chandikadevi (Mahishasuramardhini) pleading to put an end to Mahishasura who was misusing the boon given by Lord Brahma. Chandikadevi set out on her mission and killed Mahishasura in a duel, on earth.

Mahishi, daughter of Karamba, brother of Ramban undertook a severe penance in order to take revenge on the Devas, who were responsible for the death of her brother. Lord Brahma appeared and offered to confer on Mahishi any boon except that of immortality. Mahishi asked Lord Brahma to bless her with a boon by which nobody, except the son created out of the union of Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Haran), would be able to kill her. Lord Brahma gave the boon and Mahishi went to Devaloka and started harassing the Devas.

The Devas incurred the wrath of Durvasa Muni who cursed them. On the advice of Lord Mahavishnu that this curse could be removed only by administering Amrutham taken from Palazhi, the devas took it from the Palazhi, but the Asuras snatched it from them.

Lord Mahavishnu in the disguise of Mohini, went to the Asuras and got back the Amrutham and restored it to the Devas. When Lord Shiva, went to see Lord Mahavishnu who was in the guise of a Mohini succumbed to her beauty and out of their union, was born a child, who was name Dharmasastha. Dharmasastha grew at Kailasham. Lord Shiva, answered Rajasekara's prayer and ordered Dharmasastha to ake the avathar of Ayyappan . On the day King Rajasekara went for hunting in the forest, Ayyappan took the form of a baby with a golden chain and bell around his neck and placed himself near the Pamba river.

King Rajasekara went for hunting in the forest adjoining the banks of River Pampa, along with his men. He started hunting courageously in the dense forest which was a sanctuary for many wild animals. After that hunting was over, King Rajasekara advised his men to take rest and sat there entertaining himself with the sight of the natural greenish beauty and the waterfalls, of the forest.

At that time, he heard a child crying from somewhere in the forest. Surprised, he went round and reached the banks of River Pampa. There he saw a beautiful and divine child (i.e. Ayyappa) kicking its legs and crying out, and was in a dilemma whether to take the child to the Palace or leave it there itself.

While the King was engrossed in his thoughts, a Sanyasi appeared before him and told the King that he need not be afraid of the child and take him to the Palace and that the child belonged to Kshatriya dynasty capable of mitigating all sufferings. The Sanyasi further stated that since the Child had a gold bell around his neck, his name be called "MANIKANDAN" and when the child completed twelve years, the King would know his divine history. After uttering these words, the Sanyasi disappeared.

The King of Pandalam was very joyous, he took the child to his Palace and briefed the Queen about the incident. The King and the Queen, having prayed to Lord Shiva, for a child, were very happy that they had been blessed with a child. The people also felt happy that a heir to inherit the Kingdom after the King, has been found. However, the Diwan of the Kingdom who was thinking that he would be the next crown after Rajasekara was worried.

When the child, named Manikandan, began to grow in the Palace, everything began to prosper in kingdom. He was taught all martial arts and sastras and the Guru was surprised at his brilliance and agility and the extraordinary talents.

The Guru came to the conclusion that he was not an ordinary child, but a divine power. After completing his education under the Guru, Manikandan approached the Guru to offer his Guru Dakshina.When Manikandan went to his Guru for his blessings, the Guru told him that he already knew that he was a divine power and he was blessed for having been given an opportunity to have Manikandan as a student. The Guru further told Manikandan that he had one request to make and that was that his only son who was dumb should be given speech. Manikandan called the Guru's son and put his hands on his head and immediately Guru's son had his speech. Manikandan requested the Guru not to reveal this to anyone and went to the Palace.

In the meanwhile, the Queen gave birth to a male child and the child was named RajaRajan. King Rajasekara, impressed with the talents of Manikandan, decided to crown him, treating him as his eldest son. He ordered the Diwan to make arrangements for the same. The Diwan hated this and started devising plans to prevent Manikandan from being crowned to the throne and to annihilate him. He tried various methods including poisoning of food, but failed in all these. However, Manikandan's body bore an injury due to these and ordinary physicians could not cure it. Lastly, Lord Shiva disguising himself as a physician, treated Manikandan's injury and cured him.

Having failed in all his attempts to kill Manikandan, the Diwan approached the Queen and told her that she had her own son, it was not correct to crown a person who came from the forest. He further told the Queen since Arthasastra itself has justified any misdeed if it was done to extract a good thing, he would suggest that the Queen should pretend as if suffering from severe headache and stomach pain and he would make the physician tell that only a tigress' milk should be brought to cure the Queen and since Manikandan would only go to the forest to bring the milk, he would be in danger from the wild animals and even if Manikandan returned without bringing the tigress' milk, the King's love for him would not be as before. The Queen, became a prey to the Diwan's plot and agreed to do what he told, so that her son could succeed the King to the throne.

The Queen, as told by the Diwan, cried out loudly that she was suffering from severe headache and stomach pain and the King, believing this, called the Diwan to bring in the best physicians to treat her. The Physician, brought by the Diwan examined the Queen and told the King that the Queen had been suffering from a dangerous disease and it could be cured only by applying Tigress' milk .The King sent several of his men to the forest for bringing this milk. The King understood that it was an impossible task and wanted his dear Queen to be cured at any cost and offered half of his Kingdom to anybody who brought the Milk.

When the King was thinking about this, Manikandan asked him to let him go to the forest promising to bring the milk. However, the King told him that he was awaiting to be crowned to the throne that he was also not of age and hence refused to let him go. Manikandan told the King, in spite of his refusal, he had to go lest he would be cursed for not curing the Queen. Since the King persisted in his refusal Manikandan wanted the King to promise to do something he wanted. The King gave the promise and asked him what he wanted and immediately Manikandan asked the King to permit to go to the Forest. The King felt disappointed that he had been tricked and with no other alternative permitted Manikandan to go to the forest.

King Rajasekara made arrangements to send a group of his loyal men along with Manikandan, which however was refused by Manikandan on the ground that the tigress might run away seeing the crowd of soldiers. King Rajasekara sent along with Manikandan necessary foodstuffs and coconuts with three-eyes, in remembrance of Lord Shiva. The Panchabuthas, sent by Lord Shiva, accompanied Manikandan to Forest. However, on his way Manikandan, came to know the atrocities of Mahishi in the Devaloka, he went there and fought a battle with Mahishi. During the conflict, Manikandan threw Mahishi down to earth from devaloka and she fell on the banks of Azhutha River. Manikandan clashed with her at Azhutha river again.

At the end, of the battle between Mahishi and Manikandan at Azhutha River banks, Manikandan climbed up on her chest and danced violently. The impact of his dance was felt on the Earth and Devloka and the Devas were afraid. Mahishi knowing that the divine power dancing on her body was none other than the son of Hari and Haran, prostrated before Manikandan and died. This dance was witnessed by Lord Shiva and Mahavishnu from a place called Kalakatti. (It is said that Leela, daughter of Kavalan, a Maharishi, due to her husband's curse,was born as daughter of Karamban, with a face of Mahishi and freed herself from the curse and obtained Moksha by the grace of Shri Dharma Sastha, which is described in Sabarimala Temple as Malikapurathu Amma, by which name she has a temple there).

After killing Mahishi, Manikandan went to the forest for the tigress milk, when Lord Shiva appeared before him and told him that though he had done good for the Devas, still there was one main task and that was to give comfort to the King Rajasekara who was very concerned about him. Lord Shiva further told him that he could go to the Palace with Lord Devendran in the form of a tiger. With Manikandan on the tiger, all female devas in the disguise of a tigress and male Devas, as tigers started their journey to the Palace.

When Manikandan, with the tigers, approached the Palace, the people who ridiculed him when the started his journey to forest whether he wanted a toy tigresses, really got panicky seeing the violent bunch of animals and started running helter shelter.

Just then, the same Sanyasi who appeared before King Rajasekara when he picked up Manikandan at the forest as a baby, appeared again at the palace and told King Rajasekara the real identity of Manikandan. Hearing this, the King stood in great surprise and silence. He saw Manikandan riding a tiger and people running away. Seeing the King, Manikandan descended from the Tiger and told him that since the tigresses were there, he could get the Queen cured with their milk. King Rajasekara, fell at his feet and asked to forgive him for whatever happened without his knowledge, and asked him to send back the tigers as the Queens ailment had been cured the moment Manikandan went to the forest. On that day Manikandan reached the age of twelve.

King Rajasekara told Manikandan that the Diwan was responsible for all these things and hence he should be punished. However, Manikandan told the king that he need not punish the Diwan and all had happened only through the will of God and he told further that time had come for him to go to Devaloka since the task for which he took avatar himself on the Earth is completed.

Manikandan asked the King what boon he wanted from him and he was ready to give it as he was much pleased by his devotion. Immediately, King Rajasekara told him that they wanted to raise a temple in his memory and suggest a suitable place for the temple. Manikandan aimed an arrow which fell at a place called Sabari, where in Sri Rama's era a Sanyasini called Sabari observed Dhavam. Lord Manikandan told the King to build the temple in that place and then he disappeared.

As per Saint Agasthya's advise, King Rajasekara laid the foundation stone for the building the Sabarimala Shrine. Bhagwan Manikandan, had made it clear that he would grace only those devotees who offer Dharshan after performing Vritha for fortyone days keeping themselves isolated from family desires and tastes and leading a life like Brahmacharya, thinking of good things always, and that while coming for his darshan, they shall carry the holy irumudi on their heads, as the Bhagwan did when he went to the forest to fetch tigress milk, and bathed in River Pampa raising slogans of Saranam and climb the eighteen stairs.

As graced by the Bhagwan King Rajasekara completed building of the temple with eighteen steps to reach it. When the King was thinking how to put Dharmasastha's figure in the temple for darshan to devotees, he recalled the words of the Bhagwan, the River Pampa was a holy river as River Ganga, Sabarimala was a holy place as Kasi. Dharmasastha sent Parasuraman to Sabarimala who carved the figure of Lord Ayyappa and installed it on the day of Makarasankranthi, the day on which the Makara Jothi appears. Every year lakhs and lakhs of people throng to Sabarimala irrespective of caste or creed and adorn themselves with garlands and irumudis, chants slogans on Lord Ayyappa, bathe in holy river Pampa, climb up the eighteen steps and get the grace of Lord Ayyappa, the Dharmasasth.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pathinettam Padi (18 Holy Steps) and the Significance of the 18 Steps

Before one views the Sanctum Sanctorum, one has to climb over eighteen sacred steps. These steps are now covered with `Panchaloham' (a special composition of gold, silver, copper, iron and tin. Pilgrims initiate their ascent up the Pathinettam Padi by placing their right foot on the first step. The symbolism of these 18 steps is as follows:-

The first five steps symbolise the five human senses (Panchendriyas) i.e. visual (vision), auditory (hearing), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste) and tactile (touch). These signify the `mortal' nature of one's body.

The next eight steps symbolise the eight Ashtaragas viz, Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Madha, Maltsarya, Asooya, Dhumb (Love, Anger, Avarice, Lust, Pride, Unhealthy Competition, Jealousy and Boastfulness).

The next three steps stand for three Gunas or Thrigunas (nature-born qualities) i.e. Satva, ( perspicuity, discernment) , Rajas (activity, enjoyment) and Thamas (inactivity, stupor).

The last two steps represent Vidya (Knowledge) and Avidya (Ignorance).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Swamy Sarana Manthram