Ayyappan, (Malayalam: അയ്യപ്പന്) (Tamil: ஸ்ரீ ஐயப்பன் ) (Kannada:ಅಯ್ಯಪ್ಪ) is a Hindu deity. The worship of this deity was largely confined to South India previously, but now devotees started pouring from all over the world. Lord Ayyappan is worshipped in a number of shrines across India: at Kulathupuzha, in Kerala, he is worshipped as a child; at Achenkovil in conjunction with his consorts, Pushkala and Poorna; and at Sabarimala as an ascetic - a celibate meditating in solitude for the benefit of all mankind. The name "Ayyappan" is used as a respectful form of address in Malayalam, and the famous mantra Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa can be directly translated as Give me shelter, Lord Ayyappa! He is considered to be born out of the union between Mohini (Vishnu) and Shiva.
The most famous Ayyappa shrine in India is the one at Sabarimala with over 50 million devotees visiting it every year, making it the second largest pilgrimage in the world.
Dharmasasta, Hariharasudhan, Manikandan, Sathanar, Sastan, Cattan (from Sanskrit Sasta), Ayyanar, Natrayan, Nattarasan, Bhutanathan, Pandala Raja, and Pamba Vaasan.
The asura princess Mahishi was burning up with anger at the trick the gods had pulled on her brother, the asura king Mahishasura. As Mahishasura was blessed with invulnerability to all men, the gods had sent goddess Durga, to fight and kill him. Thus, Mahishi began performing a fearsome set of austerities, and pleased the creator god Brahma. He granted her the boon of ruling the universe and being invulnerable except to a being that had the combined strength of both Shiva and Vishnu. Since such a person did not exist, she thought she was safe and began conquering and plundering the world.
The gods implored Shiva and Vishnu to save them from this catastrophe. Vishnu found a possible solution to the problem. When Vishnu had taken on the Kurma Avatar, he also had to manifest himself as Mohini, the enchantress, to save the nectar of immortality from the demons who were not willing to share it with the gods. If he became Mohini again, then the female Mohini and the male Shiva could have the divine child who would combine their powers and beat Mahishi.
Some versions give a sightly more detailed version of the union of Shiva with Vishnu. One version tells that the asura Basmasura had so pleased lord Shiva with his austerities that Shiva gave him a boon of anything he wished. So Basmasura asked for the ability to burn to ashes anything which he placed his hand over. No sooner had Shiva granted this, than Basmasura ran after the god, threatening to turn him to ashes.
Shiva called to lord Vishnu for help. He hid himself in a certain tree as Basmasura ran here and there searching for the god. Vishnu became aware of the events, and decided that he would take the female form Mohini, "the Enchanting", and try to trump the asura's powers. When Basmasura saw Vishnu in this form, he was bewitched by her beauty. He earnestly tried to court her. So Vishnu instructed Basmasura to hold his hand over his head, and vow fidelity. With this act, Basmasura was reduced to ashes.
Vishnu found Shiva and explained the whole affair to him. Shiva asked if he too could see Vishnu in this female form. When Vishnu appeared thus, Shiva was overcome with passion, and united with "her" (Shiva's seed caught in Mohini's hands, per one version of the story). The two gods thus became "HariHara Murthy", that is a composite form of Shiva and Vishnu as one god.
From this union lord Ayyappan was born. He combines in himself the powers of Vishnu and Shiva, and is a visible embodiment of their essential identity. Lord Vishnu gifted the new-born deity with a little bejeweled bell necklace, so this god is called Manikanthan Swamy. The Tamils call him Ayyanar, and he is also called Shastha or Shasthappan by most South Indian communities.
In most Tamil versions of the story, the legend ends with the birth of the god, and with his passage around the region. But in Kerala, the story continues with Ayyappan's adoption by the Pandalam Raja, and the subsequent encounter with Mahisi.
 Early Childhood
Lord Ayyappan had his human sojourn as the son of the Raja (King) of Pandalam. At that time, Raja Rajasekhara ruled the kingdom of Pandalam. During one of his hunting expeditions, the Raja was puzzled to hear the wails of a child on the banks of the River Pampa. He moved in the direction of the voice to find a resplendent infant there. The beautiful baby with radiant face wore a gemstone (precious stone) around his neck, hence the name Manikantan ("Mani", means gemstone and "kantan" means wearer around the neck). Manikantan was born of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and Hara (Lord Shiva), with Hari assuming the form of a female (Mohini). Hence Ayyappan is also named as Hariharasutan (Sutan meaning Son).The king, though pious, charitable, just, and God-fearing, had no children. The king was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and his queen was devotee of Lord Vishnu. They had prayed to their respective deities for blessings in the form of a child. He accepted the child as God's gracious response to his fervent prayer for an heir to his throne. Manikantan was given proper education and training and he grew into a boy well versed in academic lore and martial arts of the time like Kalaripayattu. The Cheerappanchira kalari at Muhamma, in Alappuzha District was responsible for his training in the martial arts. Meanwhile the Rani (Queen) gave birth to a son, however the king regarded Manikantan as his elder son and decided to crown him as the Yuvaraja (heir).
Since the minister of the Raja was always against Manikantan becoming the Yuvaraja, he along with his sycophants turned the queen against the king's decision. On the coronation day of Manikantan as Yuvaraja, the queen pretended to be suffering from unbearable stomach ache, and said she was unable to get any relief from the treatment of any doctor (Vaidya). Finally a fake practitioner appeared at the instance of the minister, and prescribed "the milk of a tigress" as the cure of the queen's illness. The king appealed to one and all to get the tigeress-milk, but no-one dared. At last, Manikantan volunteered and went to the forest in search of tigress Milk, despite the king's attempt to stop him. The king was deeply frightened that the deemed Yuvaraja may not come back alive.
Manikantan entered the forest to fulfill his divine duty, to rid the world of demoness Mahishi. Manikantan killed her and released a beautiful woman who had been cursed to become Mahishi. The young woman asked Ayyappan for his hand in marriage, but he declined, being a celibate. However he promised that she would be visited by pilgrims and would be housed next to his temple, and if the number of new pilgrims visiting him stopped, then he would marry her. Hence she is now worshiped as Maalikapurathamma. There is also another version of this story. It is believed that Maalikapurathamma was a young girl in Cheerappanchira family where Ayyappan was trained for Kalari (martial arts).
On the death of Mahishi, Indra - the king of the gods, who was displaced and banished by Mahishi, led several tigers for the disposal of Ayyappan.
Days later Manikantan entered the palace precincts riding a fierce tigress and followed by a pack of her cubs. The schemers were frightened into confessing their plot. They were convinced of his divine origins, and prayed to him to be with them for their own salvation and for the safety of the kingdom. Immediately Manikantan disppeared. The king would not eat anything if Manikantan did not come back. Then Manikantan gave a vision (Darshan) to the king.
Filled with emotions of happiness, grief, fear, wonder and 'Bhakti' (devotion to God) and self-surrender, the king stood praying for the mercy and blessings of Manikantan. He repented he could not fully visualize the truth of the divine powers of the Lord and repeatedly requested Him to forgive him for behaving as if He were his son only. The Lord lovingly embraced the King who prayed to bless him by freeing from ego and the worldly life of birth and rebirth and grant Moksha (salvation). He told the King that he was destined to return. The king implored Lord Manikantan to allow him to build a temple and dedicate it to him and the Lord assented.
Manikantan then enlightened the King on the path of attainment of Moksha. The Lord shot an arrow that fell at the top of Sabrimala and told the King that he could construct a temple at Sabarimala, north of the holy river Pampa and install His deity there. Ayyappan also explained how the Sabarimala pilgrimage shall be undertaken, emphasizing the importance of Penance vratham and what the devotees can attain by His 'darshan'.
But before the departure of the Lord, the King secured a promise from the Lord that on thai Pongal on January 14, every year,(celebrated as "Makara Jyothy" all his personal jewellery (usually kept at the Palace) will be adorned on His image at Sabarimala. Hence on the 12th of January every year, the Jewellery will be taken on foot from the Palace by a special emissary of the kingdom, after the puja with all pomp, devotion and reverence. Immeditely when the Arti is over, Royal Garuda (Eagle) flies over the Palace, (which seems to be quite automatic). The Royal Garuda flies ahead, and appears guide the pilgrims throughout their journey. Since there was no modern means of communication like Telephone or Mobile, to the hundreds of thousands of Devotees desirous of worshipping Lord Manikantan's Jewels enroute to His Abode, this Garud was the sole and absolute signal of advance information even to the Temple authorities at Sabarimala to get ready for the adorning of the Jewels. This journey on the 12th and 13th of January finally reaches Sabarimala on January 14th. Immediately after the jewellery is adorned on the Deity, there is an Aarti ( offering by burning Camphor). The miracle is that just after the Arti, without loss a second, the Jyothy appears on the east side of the Temple up above the Hills (details are given hereunder).
But then the Lord further consoled the King saying that the devotees who held him and his descendants in 'Bhakti' shall happen to be devoted to Him as well. Manikantan then blessed the King and all others assembled there, and vanished. The King duly constructed the temple at Sabarimala, dedicated to him. The deity for installation was prepared by Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and was installed by himself.
A strong liking for sweets is a common factor of all Hindu Gods and Ayyappa is no exception. Appam and Aravana (Payasam made of rice, ghee and jaggery) are the prasadams of the Lord. There is an interesting story behind these prasadams also. The Raja of Pandalam admitted Ayyappa to a famous Kalari (gymnasium where traditional martial arts of Kalaripayattu is taught) at Cheerappanchira in Cherthala in Alappuzha district. The young daughter, Leela, of Kalari Panicker fell in love with Ayyappa. But Ayyappa was so involved in his studies that he didn't notice the girl's infatuation. It's also believed that she later became Maalikapurathamma who was dejected when Lord Ayyappa refused her marriage proposal, after offering her a seat in Saram kuthi near Sabarimala Devasthanam.
Soon the girl started bringing him food to capture his attention. Time passed by and the girl reached her puberty. And her family, following the Hindu tradition, prepared special cuisines to celebrate the occasion. One mandatory item on the menu is Rthumathikanji (porridge made using rice and five times the quantity of jaggery). On that day she took this porridge to Ayyappa, who was practising payattu in the Kalari. He liked it very much and requested the girl to bring only the porridge everyday. It is believed that the practice of offering Aravana as prasadam to the God was born from this incident.
Lord Ayyappa is the presiding deity of Sabarimala temple. Information on the life and teachings of the Lord are mostly based on legends. In fact, there are very many popular stories associated with Him among the devotees. These differ from one to another depending on the imaginations of the narrator and inherent variations due to the passing down of the stories from generation to generation. However, there are a few events which are common in all the stories and which can stand historical scrutiny.
• All stories confirm that Ayyappa lived in the Pandalam Palace as the son / savior of the King.
• He had had super-human or divine knowledge, wisdom, and courage and had great liking for the King and his people.
• He protected the King and the kingdom from the attacks of enemies.
• At the end of His life in Pandalam, He vanished into the forests and is ever since worshiped at the Sabarimala temple.
The most popular and widely accepted story goes to say that Lord Ayyappa had had His human sojourn as the son of the Raja(King) of Pandalam. At that time, Raja Rajasekhara ruled the kingdom of Pandalam. During one of his hunting expeditions, the Raja was puzzled to hear the wails of a child on the banks of the river Pampa. He moved in the direction of the voice to find a resplendent infant there. The beautiful baby with radiant face wore a bead ('mani') around his neck. Mythology has it that Manikantan was Ayyappan, born of Hari and Hara. The King, though pious, charitable, just, and God-fearing had no children. He accepted the child as God's gracious response to his fervent prayer for an heir to his throne. Manikantan was given proper education and training and he grew into a boy well versed in academic lore and martial arts of the time.Meanwhile the Rani gave birth to a son. The King regarded Manikantan as his elder son. He decided to crown him as the Yuvaraja. The King's corrupt Minister had had a deep dislike for Manikantan. The Minister made the innocent Queen believe that adverse consequences would befall her if Manikantan was crowned Yuvaraja and that the kingdom actually belonged to her son.
They conspired between them to get rid of Manikantan by hook or crook. They bribed the royal physician into becoming an accomplice of theirs. The Rani pretended to be afflicted with severe pain in the stomach, and the physician prescribed the milk of a tigeress as the only cure for the ache. The King was in an agonizing fix. He knew that none could be deputed for a mission that was so patently suicidal. However, the youthful and valiant Manikantan stepped forth and volunteered to fetch the milk. Despite the worried protestations of his foster-father, he set out for the fearful forests.
Days later Manikantan entered the palace precincts riding a fierce tigeress and followed by a pack of its cubs. The schemers were frightened into confessing their nefarious plot. They and others now knew that Manikantan was no ordinary being. They were convinced of His divine origins, and prayed to Him to be with them for their own salvation and for the safety of the kingdom. However, Manikantan was now determined to leave the place.
Filled with emotions of happiness, grief, fear, wonder and 'bhakthi' (devotion to God) and self-surrender, the king stood praying for the mercy and blessings of Manikantan. He repented he could not fully visualize the truth of the divine powers of the Lord and repeatedly requested Him to forgive him for behaving as if He were his son only. The Lord lovingly embraced the King who continued to pray: " Lord, kindly bless me by freeing me from my egos and the worldly life of birth and rebirth and grant me ' moksha’ (salvation). Kindly continue to be the savior of my family and stay eternally in my kingdom.” Manikantan then enlightened the King on the path of attainment of 'moksha'. These words of the Lord are contained in ‘Bhuthanathageetha’, which is in the form of conversation between Him and His foster-father. To the King who is by now mentally cleansed and completely immersed in 'bhakthi', Lord Ayyappa said: " I am to free you from all worldly sorrows & worries and to grant you 'moksha'. All those who are and would be born in your family shall have my blessings unfailingly. I am always accessible to 'bhakthi' and only 'bhakthi ". The Lord told the King that he could construct a temple at Sabarimala, north of the holy river Pampa and install His deity there. Ayyappa also explained how the Sabarimala pilgrimage shall be undertaken, emphasizing the importance of 'vrutham' and what the devotees can attain by His 'darshan'.
The Lord further consoled the King saying that the devotees who held him and his descendants in 'bhakthi' shall happen to be devoted to Him as well. Manikantan then blessed the King and all others assembled there, and vanished. The King duly constructed the temple at Sabarimala, dedicated to Him.
There are various lore’s connected with Lord Ayyappa. These relate to discovery of the child at Pampa, Manikantan's youthful days in the Pandalam palace, bestowing the power of hearing and speaking upon the deaf and dumb son of His teacher as Guru-dakshina, His friendship with Vaver, bringing the tigeress's milk, accomplishing His divinely destined mission of annihilation of the demoness Mahishi, eliminating the forest-thug Udayanan, bestowing moksha on Sabari, blessing His foster-father with moksha and so on. Legend also goes to say that Manikantan was the incarnation of Lord DharmaSastha. Raja Rajasekhara was in his previous birth a rich and pious 'brahmin ' by name Vijayan who was a very strong believer and devotee of Lord Dharma Sastha. Such was Vijayan's ' bhakthi' towards the Lord that He blessed the brahmin by granting his wish to be born as his son in his next birth when the Lord would offer him "moksha'.... A collection of legends called Ithihyamala first published in 1904 gives a slightly different version.In it the Raja of Madurai finds Ayyappan ,as a young man well versed in archery ,in a forest.The story then follows the same pattern as above except that the Raja recognises him as an Avtar or incarnation of Shastha.This story could be nearer the truth.The Pandyans subsequently migrated to Pandalam in Kerala.This story is plausible since it explains why members of Pandalam Royal Family even today do not stand directly in front of the sanctum sanctorun at Sabarimalai.This version puts Ayyappan as a Senapathi or Captain of the Pandyan army whose popularity and influence with the King was disliked by locals.It is obvious that even subsequent generations of Royals would be honoured by Ayyappa and would apparently cause the idol to stand up-the ostensible reason for Royal family members not standing in front of the idol.If he were their ancestor-adopted or otherwise this could not be the case. Also the popular Kerala version places the Vishnu-Siva union and birth of Sastha smack in the 13-14th century since Ayyappan's close friend is a Muslim.Islam has come to India in historical times!
The Pandala Raja constructed a small temple, 18 steps above the ground as instructed by the lord himself. Each of these eighteen holy steps represents a desire one must conquer in life. The 18 steps and the temple have in recent times been coated in gold. The original vigraham was a wooden idol , and was inaugurated by Parashurama (incarnation of Vishnu).
The common cry heard during the pilgrimages to his shrine is "Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa!" ("Oh Swami, we take refuge in you").
Pilgrimage to Sabarimala begins from the 1st of Vrichikam, a Malayalam month coming in the middle of November (probably between 14-17. The most important day for Ayyappan is Makarasankranti Day, which is the 1st of Makara (a month of the Malayalam calendar). This day will fall between January 14-16. Currently millions of devotees come from all parts of India to Sabarimala for a glimpse of Lord Ayyappan, having undertaken 41 days of Vratham (austerities). In 2005, at least 50 million devotees made the pilgrimage to Sabarimala (from 1st Vrichikam to the 1st Makaram).
On Makarasankranti,*** every year without fail, miraculous events occur. Firstly as the jewels (Thiruvaabaranam) of the Lord are transported from the Old Pandalam Palace to Sabarimala, a Krishnaparanth (holy Garuda - an eagle - the vehicle of Lord Vishnu), circles above the precious jewels (in fact guarding them), like a protector. This rare eagle is rarely seen in the midst of people for a long period of time, yet the auspicious bird follows the Thiruvaabaranam procession, finally circling above Sanithanam at Sabarimala nine times as it pays its respects to Lord Ayyappan. During this time, there is not a single star in the sky except for a special Nakshatram. As the beautiful jewels are placed on the golden body of the Lord within the temple, the several hundred thousand devotees outside, crammed into any available free space, chant "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa". When the jewels are finally all adorned on the Lord, the Nakshatram in the sky miraculously disappears, as all the Devas and Celestial beings leave the sky to get a glimpse of the Lord in all his splendor. Within moments of the Lord being adorned with the Thiruvabaranam, an effulgence (Divya Jyoti) appears in the opposite hills of Shabarimala, appearing 3 times. This hill is called Ponnambalamedu. It is believed that the Lord himself appears in the form of that Divya Jyoti. It is firmly believed that Lord Indra himself lights the divine efflugence. The entire hillside reverberates with the chant "Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa" as the devotees witness this auspicious Darshan, as the Devas and celestial Rishis arrive at Sabarimala to participate in birthday celebrations of Ayyappan effulgence. These auspicious sights are different forms of the Lord Himself appearing. The devotees then climb the 18 holy gold steps to arrive at the sanidhanam where they finally get a glimpse of the Lord as Himself, in all beauty, Manikanta Shri Dharmasastha, adorned with jewels. It is believed that if one witnesses these events after having undertaken 41 days of severe austerities (Vratham), one can attain Moksha.
This is why Ayyappan is also known as "Kaliyugavaradhan", since He can help us attain Moksha in this difficult age of Kaliyuga, the age of hypocrisy and violence.
 Vazhi Nada (or Vazhinadai)
Vazhinadai is the set of verses sung by devotees while trekking to Sabari Mala. The first Ayyappa says the first verse (example: Devan Saranam). All the other Ayyappas respond with (Devi Saranam).Swamiye……………………………AyyappoAyyappo …………………………Swamiye
Swami Saranam …………………..Ayyappaa SaranamAyyappaa Saranam ……………...Swami Saranam
Devane .........................................DeviyeDeviye ..........................................Devane
Bagavaane ...................................BagavathiyeBagavathiye .................................Bagavaane
Easwarane ...................................EaswariyeEaswariye ....................................Easwarane
Sankarane....................................SankariyeSankariye ................................... Sankarane
Devan Saranam …………………...Devi SaranamDevi Saranam ……………………...Devan Saranam
Eswaran Saranam ………………..Eswari SaranamEswari Saranam …………………..Eswaran Saranam
Bagawan Saranam …………….....Bagawati SaranamBagawati Saranam …………….....Bagawan Saranam
Sankaran Saranam ……………....Sankari SaranamSankari Saraman ………………....Sankaran Saranam
Pallikattu ………………………….....SabarimalaikkuSabarimalaikku …………………....Pallikattu
Kallum Mullum …………………....Kaalukku MethaiKaalukku Methai ………………....Kallum Mullum
Kundum Kuzhiyum ……………...Kannukku VelichamKannukku Velicham ………….....Kundum Kuzhiyum
Irumudikattu ……………………....SabarimalaikkuSabarimalaikku …………………....Irumudikattu
Kattum Kattu ……………………....SabarimalaikkuSabarimalaikku …………………....Kattum Kattu
Yaarai Kaana …………………….....Swamiyai KaanaSwamiyai Kandaal ……………......Moksham KittumEppo Kittum ……………………......Ippo Kittum
Dega Balam Thaa …………….......Pada Balam ThaaPada Balam Thaa …………….......Dega Balam Thaa
Aatma Balam Thaa ………….......Mano Balam Thaa
Aethi Vidappa .............................Thooki VidappaThooki Vidappa .......................... Aethi VidappaMano Balam Thaa …………….....Aatma Balam Thaa
Ney Abhisekham …………….......SwamikkeSwamikke ………………………......Ney Abhisekham
Karpoora Deepam .....................SwamikkeSwamikke ...................................Karpoora Deepam
Paneer Abhisekham ………….....SwamikkeSwamikke ………………………......Paneer Abhisekham
Avalam Malarum …………….......SwamikkeSwamikke ……………………….......Avalum Malarum
Swami Paadham …………….. ......Ayyappan PaadhamAyyappan Paadham ……….........Swami Paadham
Devan Paadham …………….........Devi PaadhamDevi Paadham ……………….........Devan Padham
Easwaran Paadham ………..........Easwari PaadhamEaswari Padham …………….........Easwaran Paadham
Villali Veerane .............................Veera ManikandaneVeera Manikandane ...................Villali Veerane
Bhooloka Naathane .....................Bhoomi PrabhanjaneBhoomi Prabhanjane .................. Bhooloka Naathane
Sadguru Naatha ...........................AyyappaGuruvin Guruva ......................... AyyappaKaliyuga Varada .......................... AyyappaKaanana Vaasa .............................AyyappaKann Kanda Deivame ..................Ayyappa
Swami Thintakka Thom Thom …………………..Ayyappa Thintakka Thom ThomAyyappa Thintakka Thom Thom ………………..Swami Thintakka Thom Thom
 The Austerities
Devotees observe traditional austerities (vruthams) before their pilgrimage to sabarimala. Austerities normally start from the first day of the Malayalam month Vrishchikam . Devotees initiate the vrutham by wearing a Thulasi or a Rudraksha mala. After this ceremony, the male pilgrim and the female pilgrim are addressed as ayyapan and Maalikapuram respectively, until their completion of the pilgrimage.
During the period of vrutham, Devotees are expected to undergo practices of simple living, and absolute cleanliness. The mind and body are to be kept impeccably pure and absolute celibacy is practiced. The devotee is expected to behave in an austere and sober fashion during his vrutham. Total abstinence from all vices like alcohol, tobacco and non-vegetarian food is stipulated. Personal adornments, hair cutting, shaving, etc. are also taboo. The devotee is expected wear black/blue/saffron clothes. The devotee is expected to pray daily in the mornings and evenings after bathing. The prayer ritual may be performed by going to any temple or in one's own pooja room. Those devotees who are desirous of worshipping Lord Ayyappa on 'Makara Vilakku' day, January 14th,(this year, 2008, it is on January 15th), may continue their vrutham till that day. The vrutham continues till the pilgrim returns from his pilgrimage to Sabarimala and removes his `mala' after breaking a coconut and offering prayers.
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:
The vritham has to be undertaken after getting permission from parents. Then one has to get the permission of the Guru. After this the date is fixed to commence the vritham. 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 vritham.
Previous day before starting the vritham, 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 (black, blue, saffron) dhoti and towel/shawl.
On the day of starting the vritham 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 vritham every year, he shall think that he is doing the same for first time and follow all the rules of the vritham 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 vritham.
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 bare 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 Batu Caves Ayyappa Temple
The Batu Caves Ayyappa Swamy Devasthanam temple is located in Batu Caves; next to the world famous Murugan Temple (Sri Subramaniyam Devasthanam) and 13km form Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. The temple was there for more than 50 years. The temple was established by a priest who is devotee to Lord Ayyappa. In the late 1980’s, due to financial constrain, the priest decided to sell off the temple to a Chinese business man who intended to convert the temple to Buddhist temple. By the Lord grace, Datin Seri Indrani Samy Vellu interfered and stopped the dealing and pay back the Chinese businessman the sum that he paid to the priest. All Hindu in this country should thank for her action on this issue. Then, Datin Seri appointed the late Mr. Loganathan to manage the temple. He managed the temple well. After a few years he passed away. The temple was locked and flooded for few years.
In the early 1990’s, a few members from nearby village (Indian Settlement Batu Caves) lead by the late Mr. Mohan @ Suseelan Guruswamy, reopened the temple and cleared the flooded water and mud. They scarified their social and family live to this temple. Their works was acknowledged by Datin Seri, and the temple management was given to Mohan Guruswamy. From then, Mohan Guruswamy gathered the youth and worked together to reconstruct the temple for devotees convenience in the future.
Unfortunately, Mohan Guruswamy was passed away in Jan’2003. The remaining management team together with Datin Seri approval, appointed Mr Uwaraja Guruswamy as a President for the temple. Mr Uwaraja Guruswamy is the person who contributed his life and soul to rebuild this temple. He want to full fill the Late Mohan Guruswamy’s dreams, that to make this temple for all Ayyappa Devotees as a one stop worship centre. Further more this is the only temple in Malaysia with 18th Holy Steps. (Sathya Maya Ponnu 18 Padigal). The first step taken by the management Team is to register thi temple with the state authority. They work together toward registration of the temple. The management team started the Temple Construction work on 2006. The Team managed to start the construction works using funds from the beloved devotees and public. Now it is 40% completed. Due to financial constrain and the landmark of this temple, which situated in side the cave, more fund to be raised for further development.
The reason that I started this blog is to create awareness to the public. I would like to make a humble request to all Hindu Devotees, please participate in the temple construction project. There are many ways to help to make this project successful. Further more this is to our future generation. I’ll update the temple event for the upcoming fasting month which will start on 16 Nov 2009 soon. Thank you.
“”ONDRE KULAM, ORUVENE THEVAN””