Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saranam Ayyapa

Saranam Ayyapa -> I surrender to Lord Ayyapa.
Saranam or Saranagathi in sanskrit means surrender.

With the blessings of my Mother and Father and in remembrance of my Guruswamy - Shri. Sharma Guruswamy I would like to get enlightened and try to enlighten others by illustrating the teachings of my Guruswamy, who is a staunch believer of Lord Ayyapa.

With the help of this blog I would like to bring the essence of wearing mala and going to sabarimala.

1. Tathvamasi

The first thing that comes into my mind before I start anything is the word 'Tathvamasi' , At the facade of sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala a board with a word 'Tathvamasi' is hung, Most of you might have noticed it. After a lot of reading I came to know that this word is extracted from the Chandokya Upanishad.
Leaving the updanishad aside and coming to the actual meaning of the word , which is so simple and very common sense word....Tathvamsi -> You are the reflection of your actions.

I always admire my guruswamy, though he being a staunch believer of God, co-relates every religious belief to a scientific fact. Now just remember Newton's third law and co-relate the word Tathvamasi. For those dont know here is the Newton's 3rd law "For every action there is a equivalent opposite reaction".

The meaning given in most of the websites for Tathvamasi is "Thou art that", which is nothing but self-realization. When do one attain the state of self-realization?..Well, according to my hypothesis it requires years of practice & Penanace.. A few personalities who have attained that state are Ramana Maharishi, Sage of kanchi Jagath guru shri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi and many more..

A small word with very indepth meaning and value.. So rich were our vedas and upanishads..

2. Brief History of Lord Ayyappa

Like every other God, lord ayyapa was incarnated to destroy the evil forces then. Mahishi, a Demon, was granted a wish by Lord Bhrama that she can only be killed by a man who is born by union of Males. The Devas could not bear the atrocities of Mahishi and finally pleaded the Trinity(Siva, Vishnu and Brhama) for help.
With the divine union of Lord Shiva(Haran) and Lord Vishnu(Hari) was born Lord Ayyapa also called as Harihara putran/ Dharma Sastha / Manikandan.

King Rajasekhara who hails from Pandya dynasty was ruling Pandalam in Kerala. One day while he was hunting in forest he found a infant lying in the forest with no one around. The king adopted the child, who was then childless and considered the infant as a gift from god. The king named the child as Manikandan, as he was found with a bell tied around his neck.

Manikandan grew in Pandalam and was getting ready to become the next king. But the queen was blessed with a child from her own womb and she wanted her own child to become the king rather than the adopted child. She pretends head ache and asks Manikandan to bring the milk of tigress to cure the head ache. Manikandan in pursuit of the tigress milk proceeds to forest. Manikandan during his pursuit for tigress milk, finds and kills Mahishi and fulfilling the reason for his incarnation.

Manikandan proceeds to do his tapas in the hills of Sabarimla, promising that he will be visible to his beloved parents in the form of jyothi during the start of uttaranya punya kala, famously known as makkara sankrathi.(Pongal in south India, lodi in north India).

Lord Ayyapa sits in a yogic posture with Chin mudra in right hand and folded left hand palm (Palm cannot be seen), which clearly depicts that Lord Ayyapa is a giver and does not expect anything in return. Lord Ayyapa sits in Thamarai Peetam and a rope is tied across his legs.

The Thamarai peetam is nothing but the laps of Goddess Parvathi and the rope is her hands tied across the legs of Lord Ayyapa.

3. Mala Dharanam

Sabariamala Vratham starts with Mala Dharanam,

Mala Dharana Mantram:

Gnana mudram shastra mudram Guru Mudhram namamyaham
Vana mudhram shuda mudhram rudra mudhram namamyaham
Shanta mudhram Satya Mudhram Vrata mudhram Namamyaham
Sabari ashrama satyena mudhram padu sadhapime

Gurudakshinaya purvam tasya-anugraha Karine
Sharanagatha Mudhrakyam Tvan Mudhram Darayamyaham

Chin Mudhram Kechari Mudhram Badhra Mudhram Namamyaham
Sabariachala Mudrayay Namasthubyam Namo Namaha

The Vratham ( Penenace ) is for one Mandalam (41 days). The Vratam is also called as Brahmacharya Vritam. The are several practices which needs to be followed like, no hair cut, no shaving, no nail cutting, abstinence from sex.. etc..

The above things are some habits which needs to be followed, but the real essence of 41 days of penance as stated by my Guruswamy is..

"Leading a simple life, Not spending Lavishly, helping the poor and needy, Indulging in good deeds" ...

By following this for 41 days, it becomes a way of life .. which is the real essence of wearing Mala for Sabarimala and the destiny of every ayyapa bhakta..

4. Poojas to be performed

a. During the month of Margazhi ( December ) the whether is normally cold in northern parts of India and comparitively less colder in southern parts of India. Early rising would be the last option during these days and the first thing in deeksha is to rise early and take bath in normal tap water than hot water. The reason being if we get used to hot water during these 41 days, during the actual travel to Sabarimala we have take bath in several holy rivers like Azutha, Pamba and several other rivulets on the way and the water would be freezing cold. Though there can be exceptions it is good to take bath in cold water and train ourselves for the final destination.

b. Only after performing our daily routine we can take up the ayyapa pooja, for example Brahmins usually do Sandhyvandhanam and then only do the rest of their poojas.

C. Ayyapa pooja includes the folowing
1. 108 Sarana Ghosham
2. The 21 Ayyapa Slokas and prostration to god after every slokam.

There are several other slokas like kiratha ashtakam, Ayyapa sahasranamam, mala mantram and so on...

But my guruswamy says-> Just surrender to lord ayyapa and chant "Swamiye Saranma Ayyapa" is more than enough and is above all the slokas!!

To be continued...
Saranam Ayyapa.