25/10/2011 Pilgrim Rituals

Traditionally, austerities begin on the 1st of Vrischikam with the wearing of a Maala(rosary) of Rudraaksha or Thulasi around the neck. The pilgrim going for the first time to Sabarimala finds out a Guruswami, a preceptor-guide, who has a few years of experience of going to Sabarimala, preferably eighteen years. A pilgrim receives the rosary with a metallic pendant with the figure of Lord Ayyappa engraved on it, either from the Guruswami or a temple priest. The wearing of the rosary is symbolic of the pilgrim’s spiritual training to identify himself with the Supreme Truth represented by the form of Lord Ayyappa. The Mahaa-vaakya of the Rig-veda: ‘Thathvamasi’- You are that Supreme truth boldly inscribed on the top of the temple reminds one of this Truth.It is an opportunity for the pilgrim to apply spiritual disciplines in life. After wearing the rosary, he is expected to make an effort to transcend the limitations of hid personality and its restricting expressions and moods.

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