'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