Posted: 06 April 2013 at 1:12am | IP Logged
Ayyappan manikandan (also called Sastavu, or Sasta) is a Hindu deity worshiped in a number of shrines across India. Ayyappan is believed to be an incarnation of Dharma Sasta, who is the offspring of Shiva and Vishnu (as Mohini, is the only female avatar of the God Vishnu ) and is generally depicted in a yogic posture, wearing a jewel around his neck, hence named Manikandan. Ayyappan may bear a historical relationship to the tutelary deity Aiyanar in Tamil Nadu.By the 20th century, there has been an increase in the number of worshipers of Ayyappan from many different groups, spurred by vast improvements in transport and communication in southern India .Ayyappan's annual festival is a time of pilgrimage for ever-growing numbers of men from throughout South India. The most prominent and famous Ayyappan shrine is the one at Sabarimala, in the hills of Pathanamthitta in Kerala, with over 30 million devotees visiting it every year, making it one of the largestpilgrimage sites in the world. These devotees fast and engage in austerities under the leadership of a teacher for weeks beforehand and then travel in groups to the shrine for a glimpse of Ayyappan. Bus tickets are hard to obtain for several weeks as masses of elated men, clad in distinctive ritual dhotis of various colors, throng public transportation during their trip to the shrine.The name "Ayyappan" is used as a respectful form of address in the Tamil and Malayalam languages. The mantra Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa can be translated as, "Oh Ayyappa! I seek refuge in you".
- ETYMOLOGY:- Ayyappa is known as "Hariharasuta" because he is the son of Hari (Vishnu), the saviour and Hara (Shiva), the destroyer. His most common name is "Manikanda" because when the king Rajasekara Pandiyan of Pandalam found little Ayyappan in a forest, there was a "mani" (jewel, in Sanskrit) tied around his "kan?ha" (neck, in Sanskrit).As Dharma Sastha, many of them consider him to be born out of the union between Mohini (an avatarof Vishnu) and Shiva.
- LEGENDS:- 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. She asked for the boon of invulnerability, but Brahma said it was not possible so Mahishi planned and asked invulnerability to all men except by the son of Shiva and Vishnu (Both are male & no possibility to give birth to any one). He granted her the boon of ruling the universe and being invulnerable except by the son of 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 (ambrosia or amrit) 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 slightly more detailed version of the union of Shiva with Vishnu. One version tells that the asura Bhasmasura had so pleased Lord Shiva with his austerities that Shiva gave him a boon of anything he wished. So Bhasmasura asked for the ability to burn to ashes anything which he placed his hand over. No sooner had Shiva granted this, than Bhasmasura ran after the god, threatening to turn him to ashes. Shiva called to Lord Vishnu for help. He hid himself in a peepal tree as Bhasmasura 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 Bhasmasura saw Vishnu in this form, he was bewitched by her beauty. He earnestly tried to court her. So Vishnu instructed Bhasmasura to hold his hand over his head, and vow fidelity. With this act, Bhasmasura 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. The two gods thus became "Harihara Murthi", that is a composite form of Shiva and Vishnu as one god.From this union, Lord Sree Dharma Sastha was born. He combined in himself the powers of Vishnu and Shiva. Lord Ayyappan is an incarnation of Lord Sree Dharma Sastha and Lord Ayyappan is a visible embodiment of their essential identity. Sri Ayyappa belongs to Pandya Royal Community. He was the head of a clan. It is believed Sri Ayyappa merged to sri dharma sastha. Lord Vishnu gifted the new-born deity with a little bejeweled bell necklace, so this god is called Manikanthan Swamy. He is also called as Shasthappan by most South Indian communities.
- OTHER LEGENDS:- There are many popular stories associated with Him among the devotees. The stories differ, but there are certain common elements:
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 tells that Lord Ayyappa had His human sojourn as the son of the Raja 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, and was surprised to find a resplendent infant there. The beautiful baby with radiant face wore a bead ('mani') around his neck. 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 grew into a boy well versed in academic lore and martial arts. 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 a deep dislike for Manikantan, and made the innocent Queen believe that ill would befall her if Manikantan was crowned Yuvaraja and that the kingdom actually belonged to her son.They conspired 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 tigress as the only cure. The King 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 tigress 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 happiness, grief, fear, wonder and 'bhakti' (devotion to God) and self-surrender, the king prayed 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 only his son. 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 saviour 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'. 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 tales connected with Lord Ayyappa: the 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 Vavar, bringing the tigress'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 Dharma Sastha. 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.Another tale goes like this: Lord Ayyappan as Manikandan born to Pandala Maharaja is set to conquer the King Udayan who is a strong Buddhist and has been harassing the people of Pamba region. Maharaja sends Manikandan to learn martial arts Kalari toCheerappanchira, the Muhamma of today in Alappuzha district. The panicker there trains him of Kalari. It is here where the Guru's daughter Nila falls in love with Lord Ayyappa (Manikandan) but He refuses to marry telling he is a Bhrammachari and has a mission. She offers a sweet made out in a function in their family which Lord likes. This sweet payasam was what turned out to be the Aravanapayasam today. The 2012 devotional album of Lord Ayyappa by P. Unni Krishnan titled SABARIMALAI VA CHARANAM SOLLI VA has a song that describe the war of Lord with Udayan and Vavar and also has another song about the Mukkal Vettom temple which was built by the Guru family in Muhamma. This album also has a reference to the current day's practice of Charana Gosham and koottu yatra to Sabarimala being the practice adopted from the Buddhism as per the wish of Lord Ayyappan.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 follows the same pattern as above except that the Raja recognises him as an Avatar or incarnation of Sastha. This story explains why members of the Pandalam Royal Family even today do not stand directly in front of the sanctum sanctorum 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.
- Ayyappa lived in the Pandalam Palace as the son / savior of the King.
- He had super-human or divine knowledge, wisdom, and courage and loved the King and his people.
- He protected the King and the kingdom from the attacks of enemies.
- LORD AYAPPA & 7 CHAKRAS:-There are Seven Chakras Every Human has this aspect
- Lord Dharmasastha Temples Associated with 7 chakras:-
Photo of Lord Ayappa:-
- Bhrammarandram - Crown chakra - Kanthamalai where Makarajothi appears
- Aagna - third eye chakra - Sabrimalai
- Vishuddhi - Throat chakra - Pandalam
- Anagadham - Hearth chakra - Kulathupuzha
- Manipooraga - Solar plexus chakra - Ariyankavu
- Swathishtanam - Sacral chakra - Achankoil
- Mooladhram - Root chakra - Sori Muthu Ayyanar temple Papanasam near Karayar, Tamil Nadu.
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