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Why should women be denied the opportunity to worship? (55)

This view takes into account only the physical aspect and fails to see the spiritual essence of the pilgrimage. Sabarimala pilgrimage is more important for the rare opportunity it provides for the cultivation of life-reinforcing spiritual disciplines than the accessibility or any other factor. The view is also illogical as even in the olden days […]

Women and Sabarimala Pilgrimage (54)

The sages of yore have prescribed several modes of worship and spiritual disciplines that help human mind to evolve to Unconditioned Consciousness or attain God-Realisation. As individuals differ from one another, physically and psychologically, the practices of Self-realisation are also prescribed differently, suited to the people of different temperaments. If one selects a particular mode […]

An experiance of a womwn devotee (53)

PAATTIAMMA, a 97 – year old woman devotee has been going to Sabarimala walking all alone through dense forests for more than forty five years. Not only during the annual season of pilgrimage but also on the first of every Malayalam month and during the days of Vishu and Thiruvonam when the shrine opens for […]

Homam and the Homa-kundam (52)

The spiritual methodology evolved in temple worship involves the application of several practical Thaanthric principles that combine the Vedic rites, Manthra invocation and Yogic contemplation. Both the material and the subtler psychic and spiritual energies are applied in the rituals. Homa-s integrate the physical energies released from the appropriate materials offered to fire and the […]

Vratha Mudra-s (51)

It is customary to wear a sign (Mudra) to mark a Vratha. The oldest form of it can be seen as the Yajnopaveetha (the sacred thread) worn by Brahmins. The wearing of a Mudra during a Vratha is a usual practice even today. During the Vratha preceding the Sabarimala pilgrimage a Maala (rosary) with a […]

The Importance of the Vratha-s (Religious Austerities) (50)

Vratha-s are special observances for achieving spiritual refinement. They involve rituals and austerities. The purpose of such disciplines is to train man for the evolution of spiritual consciousness leading to Self Realisation. Rituals will be meaningful only if they are reinforced with devotion. Austerities and devotion complement each other helping one to gain one- pointed […]

The well-known insignia slogan of Ayyappa worship is “Swami sharanam” (49)

Rishiprokthanthu poorvaanaam Mahaathmaanaam gurormatham Swami saranamithyevam Mudraavaakyam prakeerthitham. The well-known insignia slogan of Ayyappa worship is “Swami sharanam”. This has been recommended by the Rishi-s and Guru-s of yore. Its meaning given by adepts is as follows : ‘Swaa’ kaarochhaaramathrena swakaaram deepyathe mukhe Makaaram thu sivam proktham ‘E’kaaram sakthiruchyathe. The moment the ‘Swa’ sound is […]

The Sharana-Manthra (48)

Among the various modes of spiritual disciplines included in Ayyappa worship is the Japa of the Sharana-manthra: “Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa”, which confers immense spiritual power to the worshipper. The Malayalam month Vrischikam (October-November) dawns with the reverberation of this very potent Sharana-manthra of Lord Ayyappa – “Swamiye sharanam Ayyappa”. The pious and vibrant utterance “Swami […]

Practice of Japa in Ayyappa Worship – The Significance of Sarana Manthra (47)

The literal meaning of Japa is constant vocal or mental repetition of spiritually potent words or sentences. Japa leads to contemplation on their meaning and import, which will in turn result in invoking the higher faculties of consciousness and expansion. The practice of Japa is universal irrespective of religious differences. This shows that it is […]

The Rites that Mark the Finale (46)

The Representative of the king of Pandalam, who had accompanied the Thiruvaabharanam procession and stayed back at Pampa for two days, would be arriving at Sabarimala on the third of the month of Makaram. He would be received with ablution of his feet by the Melshaanthi. The Kalabhaabhishekam, libation of Lord’s idol with sandal paste […]