Lord Sri Ayyappa Gayathri Manthra
Om Bhotanathaya Vidhmahe
Bhava Putraya Dheemahi
Tanno Saastha Prachodhayaath
Lord Sri Ayyappa installation at the Parasakthi temple took place from April 2nd – April 4th, 2004. The program took place with devotees participating in homas and the 108 Kalasa Puja. The Jaladhivaasam and Yanthra Sthapanam were done by Dr. Kumar Garu who had been chanting the Ayyapa Manthra for 60 days prior to the installation and had given life to the manthra. Lord Sri Ayyapa devotees chanted the bhajans with great enthusiasm “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa"
An abhishekam for Lord Sri Ayyappa is conducted every Sunday at 10.00 AM. The pratishta for Lord Sri Ayyappa took place in April 2004.
Loka Veeryam Mahaa Poojyam Sarva Rakshaakaram Vibhum
Parvathee Hirdyaanandham Saasthaaram pranamaamyaham
I bow to Lord Sastha (Ayyappa, the upholder of Dharma and Sasthra) who gladdens the heart of Devi Sri Parvathi. He is a peerless warrior who protects all. His glory is great and He deserves great reverence and devoted worship.
Panguni Uthram Nakshthram (Uthram Star in the month of Meenam as per Malayalam era), which falls on March 25th, 2005, is celebrated as the Birthday of Lord Sri Ayyappa. Some religious scholars state that His birthday is on the day of Makara Sankranthi (the day of Vernal equinox day in January) when His human avatar merged with the Divine Vigraham in Sabari Malai. However, most religious authorities agree that the correct date of His birth is in Panguni under the Uttara Phalguni Nakshathra, based on His appearance on Earth in the Human form. This day also coincides with the installation of Lord Sri Ayyappa's Deity at the Parashakthi Temple.
What the Puranaas say about Lord Sri Ayyappa
Lord Sri Ayyappa is also known as Hari Hara Puthra, Dharma Sastha, and Manikanta, The episode of Lord Sri Ayyappa is described in the Brahmananda Purana and Skandha Purana. Sri Ayyappa or Hari-Hara Puthra is the Divine Avatar as a consequence of the union of Lord Sri Mahaa Vishnu's Mohini avatar and Lord Siva. This avatar of Hari-Hara Puthra was necessary to destroy the evil demoness Mahishi (Buffalo Faced Asura).
Baby Lord Ayyappa was found on the shores of the holy Pamba river by the heirless king of Pandhalam, Rajasekara when he was out on a hunting trip. As the divine child was wearing a golden bell around his neck, the king named him Manikanta and adopted Him as his son. Soon the queen had her own child. As the children grew up, young Sri Manikanta was loved and admired by all, and the queen started feeling jealous and wanted her own child to ascend to the throne. The queen feigned a strange ailment, which required a tiger's milk for its cure. Sri Manikanta took up the task of getting it for His mother. He ventured boldly into the forests, caught up with Mahishi and fulfilled the purpose of the avatar by killing the demoness. The Divine Child returned home triumphantly riding a tigress and the queen realized the divine nature of Her foster son. Prince Sri Manikanta explained to His foster parents about His divine mission, helped crown His younger brother on the throne and went to the crest of Sabari Hills to be there eternally as a divine yogi. The king wished to have an abode made in His memory. Accordingly, a sanctum was built to install an idol made of Panchalohas (an alloy of five metals) and consists of 18 steps to reach the sanctum. These 18 steps represent 5 Indhriyas, 8 Rajas, 3 Gunas, Vidhya, and Avidhya. Lord Sri Ayyappa also advised the king of the nature of the austerities to be observed before the pilgrimage to this temple. On the day of consecration and installation of the idol, amidst the sound of Saranam chanting and conches, pipes and drums, Sri Ayyappa was transformed into a stroke of lightning that was absorbed into the idol of Dharma Sastha.
How the Devotees should worship Lord Sri Ayyappa
A devotee who wishes to perform the pilgrimage should undergo penance consisting of strict celibacy, morning and evening ablutions, growing of beard and daily prayers for 41 days. Saranamvili or the call of dedication and refuge in Lord Sri Ayyappa is an essential part of the daily worship. The 3 austerities prescribed for devotees are austerity of the body (purity, uprightness, continence, and non violence), austerity of mind (tranquility, gentleness, silence, self-control, and purity of thought), and the austerity of speech (speech that causes no annoyance to others, truthful, pleasant and beneficial and recitation of scriptures). Vegetarianism has been prescribed during the 41 days vratham to help achieve the above austerities. Brahmacharya (continence) will help convert the physical energy to spiritual energy. Self-surrender leads to self-realization. The self that surrenders is the ego and the self that realizes is God. Carrying of the Irrurnudi on the head and chanting of "Saranam" is a total surrender to Him. The devotee undertakes the pilgrimage to liberate the human soul from the worldly possessions with great determination, devotion, and dedication. During the journey to the Sabari Hills, the devotees recite "Swamy Saranam, Ayyappa Saranam" (Thou protect me and I surrender). The minds of the devotees are filled with the thought of Lord Sri Ayyappa and devotees call and recognize each other by the name of Lord Sri Ayyappa! Everyone seems to dress alike, look alike, talk alike and think alike. Every devotee becomes a Karma Yogi, Jnana Yogi and also a Bhakthi Yogi. The only Karma (action) left for the devotee is to reach Lord Sri Ayyappa Sanctum Sanctorum of the Sabari Hill. The devotee has the wisdom to dissolve the identity of Jeeva (Ego) by filling up the mind with the name and form of Lord Sri Ayyappa. The devotee purifies the mind through total dedication and surrenders to Swamy Sri Ayyappa.
What is the Spiritual Significance behind the Worship of Lord Sri Ayyappa
Lord Sri Ayyappa teaches us the sacred principles of brotherhood to remain happy and peaceful. We go in herds with devotion to His sacred shrine and He is pleased. Truth, fidelity, devotion and hard work are His ways to kill evil. With these virtues, His teachings transcend time and help to solve the riddles of human misery.
When the human perception reaches the higher levels beyond the physical limitation, inner peace emerges with the protection by the recitation of the sound of Sri Ayyappa. The 18 Steps to the Path of Liberation: The 18 steps of the temple Sanctorum represent the necessary spiritual sadhana to go beyond human perception. The 18 chapters of the Bhagavath Geetha appear to be the most pertinent in explaining the 18 steps of the Sabari Hill Temple. While crossing each of the 18 steps to Sri Ayyappa Swamy's Sannidhanam, the Seeker expresses great determination to relinquish the sensual perceptions one by one. The necessary sadhana to prepare the mind, body, and intellect to remove the sensory perceptions are beautifully described in the 18 chapters of Bhagavath Geetha. The crossing of the 18 steps represents the symbolic completion of the sadhanas stated in the 18 chapters of the Geetha. It is possible to explain the connection between the 18 chapters of Geetha and the 18 steps of Sri Ayyappa Temple. Many devotees of Sri Ayyappa believe that the Geetha verse 66 in Chapter 18 is a direct reference to Dharma Sastha. Dharma Sastha establishes the Dharma and the entire Geetha describes the importance of human Dharma and the only way to abandon the Dharma is by surrendering to the Lord.
Sarvadharman Parityajya Mamekam Saranam Vraja
Aham Twaam Sarve Papebhyo Mokshayishayami Ma Sucha
Abandon Worldly Dharmas and Surrender to Me
I Shall Rescue You From Sins and Sorrows.
This verse is commonly present in all Sri Ayyappa Temples and the devotees treat this verse as a direct commandment from Dharma Sastha. The first line of the verse asks the devotee to abandon worldly Dharmas. Dharmas refer to rules, standards, and laws imposed by society to guide material life. The root cause of material life is desires. Sorrows, sins, and attachments are illusions of lower ignorant consciousness of mind. Dharmas, in essence, are the barriers of our liberation from sorrows and sins. In the second line, the Lord orders the devotee: "Surrender unto Me, I will rescue you from sins and sorrows and help you to reach the Highest Spiritual Consciousness." Divine life is real, eternal and free from the illusions of sins and sorrows. Liberation is impossible without total surrender to His feet. He only can release us from the worldly ties. The Lord promises to shower His Grace to liberate and ultimately to realize Brahman. Dharma Sastha has established this Eternal Dharma of realizing the highest Spiritual Consciousness, the symbolic unification of Athman and Brahman. The devotee is reminded in 18 ways that worldly possessions hinder the progress of liberation and finally reaches the Sanctum Sanctorum of Lord Sri Ayyappa Swami. The 41 days of Vratham is to force the mind to withdraw from attachments of worldly possessions and to direct it towards the Absolute Truth. The walk by foot through the jungle symbolizes that the path to spirituality requires greater efforts. The coconut represents the human body, the outer shell of the coconut symbolizes ego, and the ghee is the Athman (human soul). Coconuts have three eyes: two eyes represent the intellect and the third eye is the spiritual eye.
The meditating yogic posture of Lord Sri Ayyappa represents the Brahman. The rear compartment of the Irumudi symbolizes 'Praarabdha Karma' (accumulated worldly possessions). The devotee exhausts all the worldly possessions during the journey. The devotee opens the spiritual eye of the coconut, breaks the coconut and pours the ghee (Athman) onto the idol (Brahman). At this time, the devotee has detached the ego and worldly possessions. He/she has developed an attitude of total surrender to the Lord (infinite love for the Lord). The devotee begs Him to grant the total Unity with the Lord. This liberation of Athman from ego and wordily possessions is the message of the Vedhantha
in a symbolic language.