(Padmasree P.R. Krishnakumar, Former Chairman of SASS)
“Swamy Saranam, Ayyappa Saranam” – as any other Devotee of Lord Ayyappa, exactly I don’t remember when I started chanting this namam/manthra.RegularlyheardatmyhouseatCoimbatore frommyearly childhood, heard from parents; loudly from the temples, houses during Vrischikam month. The vibrations of this manthra is more and continuous during the mandala-season and the Ayyappa bhakthi within me also grew along with me. Though, regularly practiced mandala- vritha with eagerness for Swamy Darsanam, I did not go to Sabarimala for many years, may be due to my laziness. However, at my age of 20 years, my first Sabarimala pilgrimage happened quite unexpectedly, that also along with a MahaYogi and continued it for next 10 years, incessantly. Thanks to the unshaken, dedicated prayers of my mother, I could get the darsanam of Sabareesa and feel complete mental satisfaction.
In 1971, my father fell and was bedridden, so critical that doctors told one day -Life can be saved with regular medicines, but will be in coma stage, just prolong the imminent death. At this crucial situation, the Faith in Swamy Ayyappa made my mother to take an Oath to send her son, me, to Sabarimala, observing strict Vritha, trekking and climbing the sacred 18 steps/pathinettampadi chanting saranamayyappa, and perform Sashtanga- namaskar/ lie down with all the body parts touching the ground, in front of Swami Ayyappa.After taking this oath only, my mother gave permission to doctors to start treatment of my father. Simultaneously, she requested that “mahayogi” to take me also along with him to sabarimala. To fullfill the prayer of my mother, I prepared for Sabarimala pilgrimage.That Mahayogi was none other than the Ganagandharvan/the celestial singer Padmavibhooshan K.J. Yesudas, whose bhakthi/devotion towards Ayyappa has strong impact in his life.
Every year batches of Ayyappa devotees used to go Sabarimala regularly along with Yesudas from Thiruvananthapuram and this time myself joined him as Kanny-Ayyappa/First timer. He removed his mala (sacred garland) from his neck and put it in my neck with blessings, which I felt as Swamy Ayyappa directly blessing me. With that feeling of contentment, prepared
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Irumudi/ the sacred luggage with Ghee-coconut and pooja materials, trekked the path of stones and thorns, took holy dip in the divine Pampa river, trekked neeli – mala, saram-kuthy etc, climbed the sacred pathinettampadi/18 steps chanting loudly sarana ghosham and reached Sannidhanam…The mental satisfaction/atma-nirvruthy enjoyed while praying in front of the Swamy, can not be expressed with words, it is to be felt. My pilgrimage along with the God-likeYesudasfor10yearsfrom1971to81,participationin theOrchestra at sannidhanam, Bhajans, Sarana ghoshams, makara-jyothy darsanam, preparation of food and dining with him..all these are considered as boons to me…Though, due to health issues, nowadays, I am unable to reach the sannidhanam physically, my mind reaches there with the sweet, divine memories and feel complete satisfaction…
My mother’s prayers, along with the medicines brought miraculous cure to my father, he lived long with energy. Moreover, the unshaken, complete faith of the Yogi, Sage Yesudas in Sabareesan/Ayyappa can’t be expressed inwordsorthroughleactures.Thatmaybethe reason,evennowweare regularly witnessing many wonders, the power, the supreme power, presented through various experiences of many persons/devotees, in various ways..Swami Saranam…!!!
Bhutanatha Gita- Basis of all customs in Sabarimala
(Sree Moolam Thirunal P. G. Sasikumar Varma, President, Pandalam Palace Trust)
First of all let me state that `Dharma Sastha’ and `Ayyappa’ are not the same. Dharma Sastha has two wives namely `Poorna’ and `Pushkala’. On the other hand, Ayyappa one of the reincarnations (avatar) of Dharma Sastha is a naishtik_brahmachari (staunch celibate) and likes to live in solitude i.e. deep forest. Whenever adharama (evil) reach its peak in this world, each time Dharma Sastha takes avatar to save mankind from the evil forces.
The kingdom of Pandalam was once ruled by the king Raja Rajasekharamannan, an ardent devotee of Dharma Sastha and Siva. He had no children and was worried that after his death, the kingdom would perish without any heir, but continued to rule upholding its traditions and values and also praying to God for a child. Once he was hunting in the forest, he heard a baby crying from the nearby river Pampa. On reaching the banks of Pampa, to his surprise the king found a new born baby with divine looks lying there. His immediate thought was since he had no child of his own; this divine looking boy could be a god given gift to him and carried the baby to the palace taking utmost care.
On reaching the palace, the joy and happiness of the Raja as well as his
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Praja (country men) knew no bounds. Since the baby was born with a Mani (bell)aroundhisneck, Rajaandthepeopleofhiskingdomaffectionately called him Manikantan. The king believed that since Manikantan was a gift given by Dharma Sastha, the boy was given the best education to make him excel in various fields like science, literature and arts, also in higher intelligence,warfareandpoliticsetc. PrinceManikantanalsoshowedhis mettle and bravery in the art of war and hunting and became the blue eyed boy of Pandalam Royal family and its people. Finally the king decided to make him the `yuvaraja’ of his kingdom and started making preparations for the same.
However, when the king’s cunning minister came to know of this decision, he expressed certain doubts. After the arrival of Manikantan in the royal family, the queen subsequently became pregnant and had given birth to a boy child. The minister’s question as to whether the boy received from forest or the one delivered by the queen was to be crowned as yuvaraja of the kingdom raised doubts in the mind of the queen. Even though Raja had no doubts about his decision, the words of queen left him depressed. He was also feeling very sad because his queen had become a pawn in the hands of the minister and his coteries.
In order to overthrow Manikantan from the palace and as per minister’s advice, the queen started acting as if she was having acute pain in her stomach. The king brought many vaidyas (physicians) from different part the kingdom for her treatment without any success. As there was no progressinqueen’sailment, royalphysicianofthepalacefinallyruledthat tiger’s milk was the best medicine for healing acute stomach pain. On hearing physician’s verdict, prince Manikantan declared that he would go to any forest to bring tiger’s milk required for healing his mother’s ailment. The king became depressed to hear Manikantan’s vow and half heartedly allowed him to go to the forest, but sadly waited for his successful return.
But much to the surprise of the queen and minister and their coteries, within a short time Manikantan came back from forest on a streak of tigers. On seeing Manikantan in his new avatar the terrified queen and her coteries realized that Manikantan was none other than `Lord Ayyappa’ the reincarnation of Dharama Sastha, begged for his mercy. The king who also doubtedManikantanbeggedformercyandinamultiplesetofmind i.e. love, perplexsion, terrified and surprised (vedassu, Medassu, Bheeti, Atbhut), started praying to Ayyapa in divine form, with utmost devotion. Pleased with the prayers of Pandalam Raja, the Lord Ayyappa told him about the real aim of his avatar and requested that he may be allowed to go back to the same forest where the king found him.
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Then the king prayed to Ayyappa that he may be relieved from the burden of births and deaths (Moksha). To this, Ayyappa replied that for attaining moksha one should get relieved form their Karmas. And this could be achieved only through continuous practice. Thereafter, the Lord also cleared the doubts raised by the king through Gyanopadesas and Tatuopadesas. The father and son later discussed various subjects in detail andtheLordclearedallthedoubtstotheking’s satisfaction.
The Lord explained the king in detail about Karmas by births, ways to destroy and overcome karmas, result of doing good things to others without expecting anything in return (nishkama karmas), Infinity (Brahma) and Illusion (Maya), Identification and signs of Brahma, Origin and different states of Maya, concept of Virat Purush (supreme form of Lord), Trimurthis (Brahma, Vishnu, Siva) etc.
He finally cleared the doubts of the Raja regarding origin of Pancha Bhootas (five matters in the world), Gunatraya (three virtues), Srishti (origin of life), relations of body and soul, divine vision, formation of different forms of life, working of mind, human body and 96 principles, features of a good guru, characters and divisions good and bad deeds, virtues and vices, ways to become a faithful devotee, difference between devotion, knowledge and ignorance, dramatic behavior of the universe, principlesofdifferentwaysofliving, etc.
This preaching given by Lord Ayyappa to his foster father Pandala Raja which in the form of a debate is defined as “Bhootanatha Gita”.
(Bhootanatha puraanam-Shri Bhootanatha sarvaswam -Vidwan Kurumullur Narayana Pillai)
Towards the end of Bhootanatha Gita, Ayyappa gave necessary advices regardingconstructionofatempleatSabarimalaand itspilgrimagetothe devoted king.
Lord advised Raja the following:- The blue mountains seen on the eastern side of river Pampa is blessed with immeasurable natural beauty. Find out the most ideal place on the top of this mountain and build a temple dedicated in my name at an auspicious spot and install my idol inside that sacred temple(This place is also blessed with the presence of `Aadi Sastha’ installed by Lord Parasurama). Ayyappa further gave detailed directions regarding dedicating a place near him for `Malikappurathamma’ who adorned the role of his mother, pathinettaam padi (18 steps), Makaravilakku (lighting of lamps), Thiruvabharanam (Lord’s ornaments) etc.
Lord then addressed the king “ Mahabhagan… I am now going to send an arrow and the spot where this arrow falls would be the most ideal place for building my temple”. Accordingly, as per wishes of Lord Ayyappa, king of
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Pandalam built a temple in the middle of the forest called `Sabarimala Dharma Sastha Temple’. Ayyappa also identified places near him dedicated to Forest Gods, Vavar (enemy turned friend of Ayyappa), Karuppu Swamy and Karuppayi Amma
The last chapter of Gita also explains various aspects of sabarimala pilgrimage. Details regarding customs and practices to be followed in each place, food habits to be followed, fasting rules, related temples to be visited, travel routes during pilgrimage etc. are extensively described. Considering the details given in the above chapters, let us undoubtedly believe that all traditions, customs and rituals of sabarimala temple as well as customs and practices to be followed during the pilgrimage are put in place only as per directions from Lord Ayyappa himself. Let “Bhootanatha Gita” be the basis of all customs and practices for Sabarimala Pilgrimage.
अथानामजने दुःखम् अिजतानां च रणे । आये दुःखं ये दुःखं िधगथाः कसंयाः ॥ ( पत, त – िमभेद/ १७४ )
Arthanam arjane dukham/Aarjithanam cha rakshane// Aaye dukham vyaye dukham/Digarthah kashta samsayah//
It is difficult and painful task to acquire wealth. It is also equally painful to protect the acquired wealth. Wealth results in unhappiness while acquiring it as well as while spending it. Fie on such a wealth which is the cause for all miseries.
The War Between Lord Ram And Hanuman
It’s a matter of a shock and surprise to learn about such a war!
Onceameetingofgreatsageswasorganizedintheroyalcourtof Ayodhya including sages of the likes of Narada, Vashishta, and Vishwamitra.
They had gathered to discuss whether Lord Ram’s own self was more powerful than his Name. Hanuman was also present in the court, but did not express his opinions. Most of the sages expressed that Lord Ram’s own self was obviously stronger than his name. However, Narada disagreed with other sages and insisted that Ram’s name was powerful than his own self.
When the meeting got over, and the sages were dispersing, sage Narada went up to Hanuman and told him to pay his respect to all the sages but leave Vishwamitra, as he was a King.
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Hanuman respected sage Narada a lot, so he readily obeyed his instructions and did not offer his respect to Vishwamitra. In the beginning, sage Vishwamitra did not mind this behavior of Hanuman. However, when Narada told Vishwamitra that Hanuman had deliberately avoided him so as to disgrace him, his anger shot up and ordered Ram to kill Hanuman for his disgraceful behavior. Vishwamitra was the guru of Rama, so he did not argue with him and readily agreed to fulfill his orders.
When Lord Hanuman came to know the intentions of Lord Ram, he felt very much depressed and was confused as to why his beloved Lord Ram would want to kill him. However, Narada told Hanuman to keep calm and keep on chanting “Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram.”
Lord Ram began to shoot arrows at Hanuman one after the other. However, none of his arrows could hurt Hanuman at all. Lastly, Ram used Brahmastra against Hanuman, that too failed. He was startled at this and began to ponder why all his weapons failed to harm Hanuman. Sage Narada, who was watching this, admitted that he had planned this episode of war between Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman just to prove that the name of Ram is stronger than Ram himself.
Thus, this story of the war between Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman shows us the importance of believing and chanting the name of Lord Ram – The Supreme Power.
In this age of Kali Yuga, we are so engrossed in petty things that we rarely remember to take the name of the Supreme Lord. Lord Ram is our Savior, and so we should always remember to chant the Ram Nama.
- Ÿ NationalExecutiveCommitteemeetingheldon30thJune2020.
- Ÿ Various State Executive Committee meetings were conducted during the month. : Kerala – July 4; Pondicherry on 5th, Madhyabharath – 9th, Sourashtra -12th, Kokan – 16th, Delhi – 17th, North Gujarath and Jharkhand-19th .
- Ÿ Historical Supreme Court Judgement regarding ownership and administration of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram came on 13th, which may become a beacon of light towards freeing of all temples from the Government controls. SASS issued press releases hailing the verdict
- Ÿ Due to unavoidable circumstances our Website Launching planned on 17August, has been postponed to a future date, yet to be finalized.
Published from Ayyappa Vihar, Viyyur, Thrissur, Kerala-680010
by P. Shanmuganandan, National Administrative Secretary on behalf of Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam.