Wednesday, December 21, 2011

POURNAMI VRAT - FOR PROSPERITY

There are so many people who finds it difficult to live happily and comfortably with their income and they have to do several adjustments  to control their expenses.Such people may be expecting to get more income or to live contented with the income they have.To get more income or to live happily and with prosperity we have to
perform Pournami Vrat and  Bhuvaneswari Pooja.
In the Olden days  this Vrat and  Bhuvaneswari Pooja were performed by even Maharajas.When Sri Rama
was crowned as Maharaja at that  function, Lord Viswamitra told  Sri Rama about this Vrat.
Lord Viswamitra told Sri Rama that a person, who ever let him be, a Family Head, Business Man, or Maharaja
the society will respect them to an extent because of their wealth and money.A poor man will be neglected by
the society except Sanyasis(Monks).So Sri Rama was adviced  to perform this Pooja and Vrat which he used to practice  and his country flourished to prosperity very soon.
It is said that Lord Sri Krishna also performed this Vrat and Bhuvaneswari Pooja at Dwaraka Puri.
Those who recite Bhuvaneswari Mantra will sure get out of their poverty is  what Lord Shiva also said about this.
Sri Bhuvaneswari is one of the ten incarnation of Mother Goddess Bhadra Kali.Bhuvaneswari is represented by the holy Mantra word 'Hrim'.
Bhuvaneswari,Thara,Kali,Bhairavi,Chinnamastha,Dhoomavati,Bahalamukhi,Kamala,Mathangi,Shodasi are the
ten Incarnations.
Among the Nav Grahas she is connected to the Moon, and so she is worshiped on the 'Full Moon Day' which
is also known as 'Pournami Day'.Bhuvaneswari stands gracefully as the Goddess of  each and everything in this
world.
The Pournami Vrat was started by a Sage 'Kaapaleeswara Swamikal' and those who perform it can lead a
contented , happy and prosperous family life.They will be getting respect and approval from the society.They
can shine in their profession and will get  help  to solve their problems by the Devi.
This Vrat Has to be performed on all Full Moon Days(Pournami Days).The Vrat starts from the previous Day.
On the previous Day after sunset recite Durga Sthotras or Kali Devi Sthotras and visit a Devi temple.On the Pournami Day should not sleep during Day time.Should not consume alcoholic drinks etc.Entertainment activities has also to be avoided.Chant Devi names or 'Mantras' as much as you can.In the evening visit a Devi Temple.Only one time meals  is allowed.No food to be taken  for supper also.The full moon in the sky  has to be
visited after the dusk.In the Pooja Room or a Clean place wearing an yellow dress sit turning towards Northern direction and recite the Devi Dhyanam' as follows:-
                                          Udwadinadyuthimindu Kireedam
                                          Thunga Kucham Nayanathraya Yuktham
                                           Smeramukhim Varadankusapaasa
                                          Bheethikaram Prabhaje Bhuvanesim.

And then recite Mantra as:- " Ohm Hrim Shreem Kleem Bhuvaneswarye Namah" (Recite this minimum 108
times).
Sitting  after spreading an yellow cloth on the seat and wearing yellow dress is better.The mantra can be
recited  more times  as you can).Devi Temple has to be visited on the previous day,On the Vrat Day and
the next day morning also.On the Vrat day either in the morning or evening light an oil lamp for Devi
using pure 'Ghee' at home.Once in an year performing 'Bhagavathi Sewa'  at home is also auspicious.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thrikkunnapuzha Dharma Sastha Temple

In the Theeyattu songs which are sung for Ayyappan Teeyattu there is reference of the 108 temples of Lord
Ayyappa which were started by Sage Parasurama.In that song  the first temple which is mentioned is of
'Thrikkunnapuzha Sastha Temple.It is situated in Alleppey District 6km from Nangyar Kulangara.(Nangyarkulngara is only 2km south of Harippad).
In this temple the Lord Dharma Sastha is existing with his wife Prabha and son Sathyakan.The deities  are consecrated  on a  21" high 'Sila peet'  and the idols are  made of 'Pancha Loha' for  the three depiction of Sastha,Prabha and Sathyaka.The small Sathyaka is shown in between Lord Sastha and Prabha.
To visit and do offerings to the Sastha family is very auspicious.If we visit this temple and pray Dharma Sastha to solve our family problems he will resolve the problems existing between husband and wife and also problems among other family members.People who are tensed with insecure family matters when offer pooja rituals in Thrikkunnapuzha Dharma Sastha Temple, their complicated problems will be get solved with the Lord's Grace.
The temple was under the administration of Edapally swaroopam but from 1972 on wards the temple is under control of 'Ayyappa Seva  Sangham'.The sanctum of Lord Sastha is square shaped.
The annual festival of this temple is in the month of 'Vrichikam'  for ten days and the 'Arattu' will be on 'Uthram'
star day.
The sub deities of this temple consists of Lord Subramania,Lord Shiva,Lord Gosala Krishna,Nav Grahas etc.
Lord Subramanya is having importance as that of Lord Sastha and the sanctum of Lord Subramania is  a round shaped  large one.
The main offerings in this temple are 'Kalabhabhishekam,Pooja rituals from Morning to dusk(Udayasthamana Pooja)Pithru Pooja, and Thila Homam'.
Since the Lord Dharma Sastha is existing here with his wife and son, visiting this temple and doing pooja rituals will help secure  our  family and give prosperity also.
For performing 'Karkidaka Vavu Bali' large number of devotees reach this temple every year.They perform the 'Bali' on the beach at the back side of this temple.
There is a special festival from 'Dhanu' 1st to Dhanu 11th for which large number of devotees participate with
'Kavady' etc.The 'Shashti Vrat' rituals are also performed here for Lord Subramania.In the olden days
the fishermen of this place used to visit this temple and they were given 'Paddy seeds' which was  made sacred from the temple.They  scatter them at places in the water where they used to catch fish regularly.
Their belief was that by Lord's grace they would  get better catch of  fish always.Some fishermen still continue
this practice.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Different Forms of Dharma Sastha

Lord Ayyappa was born in the month of Dhanu on 'Uthram Star' day and it was on a Saturday and so in temples of Dharma Sastha or Ayyappa these days are considered sacred.Visiting Sastha temples on Saturdays is auspicious  and visiting on all 'Uthram Star' day every month is also sacred.Visiting Sabarimala or any other Sastha temples during Mandala Season,On Saturdays,On Uthram Star days, and on Makara Sankrama day
are all graceful..Sabarimala Pilgrimage,Sastha Suktham,Sastha Puspanjali(Performing Pooja with flowers),Neerajanam(An Offering in temple using coconut by lighting wick lamp with gingly oil and sesame seeds),Pampa Snanam(Taking Bath in Holy River Pampa),Mandala
Vrat(Performing Observances during Mandala Season),Neyyabhishekam(Unction  of Idol with the Ghee),Breaking the coconut on stones meant for that purpose etc can be done to get his good graces.Blue 'Sanghu Pushpam' flowers and blue Lotus flowers  are also dear to the Lord.
When we visit a Sastha temple we are getting the blessings of Lord Shiva,Lord Maha Vishnu also.Since he was born to 'Vishnu Maya' we will get the blessings of 'Devi' also.
Lord Sankaracharya  described that there are 'Nineteen Forms' of Lord Dharma Sastha.His idols which are formed naturally and which are made on stones and 'Lohas' (One metal or mixture of several metals like Pancha Loha) are seen.He is worshiped in 'Sivalinga' form and without any form also.His 'Vahana' is horse but Lord Sastha mounted on a horse is not found anywhere but depiction that he is mounted on an Elephant is seen at many places.
The assumption of Sabarimala Dharma Sastha is entirely different from other places.The assumption there  is as incarnation of Lord Dharma Sastha.Sabarimala Ayyappan is wearing a golden crown and sacred Royal clothes,he is showing 'Njana Mudra' by his right hand.Left hand is placed on the left knee,He is wearing a yogapatta(a typical lace) and he is a young sage in deep meditation.That is why young ladies are not allowed to enter that shrine.Every day before closing the sanctum there is a ritual by which sacred ash is applied on the deity,'yoga dandu' is placed in his hand to change him again to a Sage form and in meditation.A chorus will sing the song 'Harivarasanam.....' and the sanctum will be closed.
In other depictions of Lord Sastha he is not having crown.He is not having 'Chinmudra' and yogapatta.Sastha in other assumptions is wearing bow and arrow.Sastha which is the depiction as a family head is shown with his wife
'Prabha' on one side and son 'Sathyakan' on the other side.He is wearing blue silk dhoti.
The Sastha at 'Chamra Vattom' is the protector of  the place 'Thirunavaya;.The idol is believed to be formed naturally. The deity can cause  rain or stop rain is believed.
The Sastha at 'Thiruvullakkavu' temple is considered as Lord of Education.The presence of Goddess Saraswati who is 'Vidya Devata' is here.So 'Navarathri' is important here.He is also considered as married.
The Sastha deities at 'Thakazhy' and 'Achan Kovil' are Physicians.(Vaidya Nadhan forms).The oil at Thakazhy and 'Theertham'(Holy water) of Achan Kovil removes diseases.
A rare depiction of the deity of Sastha is at 'Poonjar' Dharma Sastha temple.Here he is 'Veda Sastha'.In his right hand an  opened Veda Text is shown.
The Sastha at 'Aryankavu' is 'Kalyana Roopan'  which is as a bridegroom.A ritual known as 'Thrikalyanam' is also performed  here.
Sastha at 'Kulathupuzha' is a boy.There the 'meenoottu' is famous by which the fishes in the river near the temple is given food.The fishes are known as 'Thirumakkal'.We will get blessings from Lord by giving food to the 'Thirumakkal'.
The Sastha at 'Cherpulassery' is 'Santhana Moorthy'.By praying to the deity  childless couple will get children  is the belief.The  Lord will bless for getting married also.
Sastha as a family head is the deity at 'Kollangodu' Dharma Sastha temple also.
At 'Ponnani Kavanadu' Ayyappan Kovil 'Ayyappan Vilakku' is very sacred and well celebrated.
At Kollam 'Sasthamkotta' Dharma Sastha temple the Mandala  season is celebrated in a grand manner.
At Pandalam Dharma Sastha Temple there is no shape and form for the deity.Only a 'Sila'(stone) is placed.
Nedumkunnam Dharma Sastha temple,Kooropada Dharma Sastha temple,Vazhoor Vettikattu  Dharma Sastha temple,Mulamkunnathukavu Dharma Sastha temple, Meenthalakkara Dharma Sastha temple,
Pangode Dharma Sastha temple etc are all important and sacred Sastha temples in Kerala.Visiting these temples during Mandala Season  is auspicious.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Karthyayani Vrat- For Unmarried Girls

In the Malayalam calendar month of Vrichikam most of the Gents of Hindu families will be performing 'Vrat'
(Observances) even if they do not have plans to go for a pilgrimage to Sabarimala.Many people continues the 'Vrat' for 41 days which is up to 'Dhanu 11' so that it will be one 'Mandala' period of 41 days in total.
Some others will continue the Vrat up to 'Makara Vilakku' festival which means that they do the observances  for two months in total.Many people do this for allowing the body to recover from the fatigue happened during
the other ten months of the year.They wants to keep their body and mind pure for two months in an year.They want to improve their health and so they will stop cigarette smoking,drinking alcohol,eating spicy and non-vegetarian food, and try to keep calm by  avoiding worries and tension by chanting God's names.Eventually all these good habits will surely help them to improve their health conditions a lot.Early to bed and early to rise  will help boost the health conditions very much.Those who performs the observances will rise early in the morning,  take bath and visit the near by temple every day as a daily routine during those days which help reduce their tensions to a good extent.
Cherthala Karthyayani Temple
When the Gents in the family taking the observances  the ladies might be also eating vegetarian food during the whole period when men performs it.They can also take bath in the early morning and visit temple and keep their body and mind pure for a 'Mandala Period' of 41 days  if there is need  in this regard.It is evident that  young females can not perform observances continuously for a period of 41 days and enter the temple also.The days 5 or 7 which they have to break in between because of periods can be performed after wards to make a total  of 41 days.
This 'Vrat' performed by ladies in the month of 'Vrichikam' up to Dhanu 11 is known as 'Karthiyayani Vrat' and the purpose is to get a most suitable husband for them or to get the person whom they love to be their husband.
For this the  young ladies who seek this purpose should visit a 'Durga Devi Temple' for 41 days in the morning after taking bath starting from 'Vrichikam 1st.' They have to pray the Goddess about their intention and avoid spicy and non-vegetarian food for the whole 41 days 'Vrat' period.Try to keep away from any kind of conflicts and keep the body and mind pure by chanting Devi's names and incantations.Submit to Goddess flowers like 'Chempakam,Mandaram,Asokam,Chethi,Sankhupushpam(White) and perform 'Pushpanjali' whenever you can during the 'Vrat' period.Those who face obstacles  to get a married life and those who face unnecessary delay to get married will get rid off their problems by Devi's grace.
. Girls can  also perform 'Monday Vrat' and visit 'Lord Shiva Temple' for this purpose.(married women can perform  this Monday Vrat for long married life).
For getting the lover as the husband and for getting a very suitable husband for those who seek so and to get married without delay for those suffer from obstacles in  this regard may perform 'Karthyayani Vrat'.
The Gopikas of 'Vrindavan' prayed to Goddess Karthyayani Devi(Durga Devi) to get the love of Lord Krishna and we know that Devi blessed them to materialize their wish.
 Unmarried girls if have  needs as above  can perform 'Karthyayani Vrat' from 'Vrichikam 1st.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

THRIKKARTHIKA - FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS


Thrikkarthika is an important Hindu festival and it  is a 'Festival of Lights' celebrated with enthusiasm all over Kerala,Tamil Nadu etc.
In Kerala on Deepavali Day Hindus celebrate it auspiciously well along with all other Hindus of India and abroad. Except Brahmins others usually does not light so many lamps outside the house
as part of the celebration of Deepavali in Kerala.The celebrations are mostly confined  for one day only with a big feast with sweets,morning oil bath, and lighting fire crackers.Deepavali(the array of lights)  are  mostly not done.But the Keralites celebrate the
festival of lights literally on 'Thrikkarthika day'.
In the month of Vrichikam(Nov-Dec) on the Karthika day which mostly falls on the full moon day is celebrated
as Thrikkarthika.
As usual the celebration includes a feast with sweets, visiting nearby temples in morning and evening especially
Devi Temples.  Some people believes it is a celebration for the  killing of  demon
Karthika Puzhukku
"Narakasura' but most of the people believes this day as the birth day of Goddess 'Karthyayani Devi'.Usually on Thrikkarthika day no crackers are lighted but the highlight is given for devotion.In Many parts of Kerala people do not even make a feast on this day but make rice soup(Kanji) with 'Karthika Puzhukku'(A vegetable preparation of a mixture of several underground stems like 'tapiocca').
In the evening at dusk in each and every Hindu homes they illuminate their premises with small earthen oil lamps
in the  lawn,on the walls, on the terrace, in the pooja room, on the steps, in each and every corners etc and it will be a beautiful sight.Almost all Devi Temples in Kerala will also be decorated with thousands of lighted small oil lamps.
We  in Kerala  are celebrating the birthday of Devi 'Karthiyayani' which is a form of
Durga Devi or Parvathy itself.This day is the  main festival day of several Devi temples of Kerala.The most importance is given to the Devi at 'Kumaranallur' of Kottayam District.Some people even say this day as
'Kumaranallur Thrikkarthika'.Kumaranallur temple which dates back to 2400 years was built by Cheraman Perumal and actually it was constructed for 'Kumaran' which is Subramanian.Mean while another temple was being constructed at Udayanapuram intended for Devi.But on the day selected for the idol to be consecrated in the temple 'Devi' entered the Sanctum Sanctorum and a divine voice was heard as 'Kumaran- alla-ooril' means this place is not for Kumaran and later an idol which was  worshiped by a Sage earlier was installed there.It is believed that Lord Parasurama appeared on that day and performed the idol
installation within one minute and vanished. Kumaranallur Devi temple is one of the most important Devi temples of Kerala  which is one among the 108 Devi Shrines.The 10 day festival of Kumaranallur temple ends on the Thrikkarthika day.In the evening the temple premises will be beautifully illuminated with thousands of oil
lamps and electric bulbs.
The festival of 'Oorakathamma Devi' is also on Thrikkarthika day and it is said that it is the birth day and idol
installation day of the deity.
In many Tamil Nadu State temples also numerous oil lamps are lighted on this day as at the famous Madurai Meenakshi Temple where more than one lakh (10 million) oil lamps are lighted on this day.
Like that   one of the most important Central Travancore Devi Temple 'Chakkulathu Kavu' has its 'Ponkala'
celebration on this day.Like Attukal Temple the 'Ponkala' celebration of this temple has earned much fame
Chakkulathu Kavu Temple
in recent years millions of women participate in 'Pokala' by preparing 'naivedyam' to the Devi.To several kilometers   around the temple the rows of 'Ponkala pots' along with the devotees can be seen on road sides and open places.
Thrikkarthika lamps helps to give prosperity to brothers and sisters also.When brothers lights the lamps eventually their sisters will  also be  benefited while when sisters lights the lamps their brothers also gets the prosperity.For this purpose usually a 'kolam' used to be drawn and typical lamp known as 'Elephant lamp'
has to be  used.If another type of lamp 'Jyothy lamp' is used our Original home(Tharavadu) will get prosperity too.
From all these beliefs we can understand that by lighting the lamps on the Thrikkathika day evening we will get the blessings of Devi and she will  bless us with prosperity.
Astrologers say that  there are some astrological reasons also behind the lighting of lamps on Karthika day in Vrichikam.They say that it is to lessen the problems of 'Vrichikam Rasi' and to gain strength to 'Moon'.
The common man need not be worried about all these astrological facts  but has to light as much as small earthen lamps filled with oil and  light them up beautifully in and around the house and on walls,steps etc.May Goddess bless us all with prosperity and happiness and the rays  of lights removes the darkness from our way of progress.This year's Thrikkarthika Festival is on  November 25, Wednesday, 2015.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Oachira Parabrahma Temple

Oachira Parabrahma Temple is a very ancient Temple of Kerala without any building structures,sanctum sanctorum, Idol and priests.It is situated beside NH 47 and is 34 km from Kollam. This place which is spread on a vast land of 36 acres is a pilgrimage center  for millions of people every year.In the Hindu religious belief  it is stated that God is without any particular form or shape and we can not measure the power of God.Since such a form can not be imagined by us we have manifested human shaped God forms for the sake of concentrating in our mind to do meditation.In temples idols are consecrated to worship that enormous  power easily.In the Bhagawath Geetha Krishna says that the  true devotee of God can assume him in any form,Call him in any name but with loving devotion.He may accept that form and give  them vision.
At Oachira temple God Siva in his "Digambara form' is worshiped .He is Parabrahma who is the  Creator and Protector of the Universe,without any form or shape and possessing  tremendous power which can not be assumed or measured.He is supreme consciousness  which  does not differ from the nature.He is 'Ohm karam' in which everything is contained in.
There are several well kept Banyan trees in the Oachira temple premises( 'Padanilam')  where large number of poor people and devotees are dwelling in the shades of those trees chanting God's names and Sthotras.People from far and near visit this temple to get solitude and God's grace every day.The festivals of this temple   are 'Vrichikam Panthrandu Vilakku'  'Oachirakkali'  and  'Irupathiyettam Onam'.
Oachira Panthrandu Vilakku is mainly considered as the days from 1st Vrichikam to 12 th  Vrichikam (November-December) every year during which thousands of devotees come here and stays for 12 days in small sheds and huts.These huts has to be  reserved  earlier for the devotees to stay as per their intentions regarding the period of  stay. The first 12 days of Vrichikam,next 12 days if you prefer like that or next 12 days if that will be convenient for you, as per your wish and convenience can be  selected for  the days for 'Bhajanam Parkkal'(Staying  there chanting   God's names and Mantras.)
During these periods the  temple compound which is known as  'Padanilam' would be transformed in to a gorgeous  Pilgrimage center where exhibitions,trade fairs, stage programs, etc are all conducted and thousands of pilgrims will be staying there chanting prayers  and thousands visit there every day.Staying at the temple compound for 12 days is considered  very auspicious which will bring  good grace from God and the wishes of the devotee will be fulfilled.
Oachira which is 'Ohmkara Chira'  is very ancient and it is believed that this is the place where a 'Nampoothiri Brahmin' of 'Akavur Mana'(House of a Brahmin Nampoothiri) got 'darsan' of  'Lord Shiva' as Supreme God 'Parabrahma' in the form of a "Buffalo'
'Akavoor Chathan'  who beloged to 'Parayi Petta Panthirukulam' was a servant of the 'Akavur Namboothiri' That learned man used to take bath every day early morning and started  his Pooja rituals.Chathan who was illiterate asked him one day which God he was praying and  what would be his shape.Namboothiri for teasing him answered but  seriously said  that he was praying 'Parabrahma' and  shape of that Lord would be like a Buffalo.
Poor Chathan was a firm believer of God, but was not knowing pooja rituals or any prayer mantras   but  meditated from the  following day concentrating in his mind God in the shape of a Buffalo.After 41 days God came to him in the form of a Buffalo and stayed with him.The buffalo followed him where ever he went and helped him in his works also but nobody else could see that buffalo.Once the Nampoothiri without knowing about these happenings asked Chathan to accompany him for a pilgrimage.Buffalo was following them but Nampoothiri could not see it.When they reached Oachira they had to go through a small door and Chathan was instructing the Buffalo to turn its head slightly to safe guard its horns and  come through the door.Nampoothiri felt anxious that Chathan was actually speaking to somebody but he could not see any thing.Nampoothiri asked Chathan to whom he was talking to and Chathan replied in a silly manner that it was 'Parabrahma'. The astonished Nampoothiri suddenly touched Chathan and looked and saw the Parabrahma in the shape of a Buffalo.Suddenly the Buffalo vanished from sight.The sad Chathan said that he would not come without his companion and stayed there praying to Parabrahma and thus the 'Bhajanam Parkkal'(Staying at Oachira praying to God) started.There are no Pooja rituals or offerings to the God here.Even the soil here is considered  sacred and the devotees collect a little soil as 'Prasadam'.Chanting God's names and providing food to the devotees and poor people are considered auspicious here for getting God's bliss.Every day free food is served to thousands of devotees and poor people who are staying in this temple premises.It is being possible from the contributions made by rich devotees.Even God takes human form and participate in this 'Annadanam' is the belief.
For those who can not stay in the temple for 12 days consecutively can stay there one day each every month so that it becomes 12  in an  year which  also helps to get God's grace.Oachirakkali in the month of Mithunam(June) is also celebrated here which attracts thousands of people to this sacred place.The first 12 days of Vrichikam month is the most important celebration in this temple which is famous as 'Oachira Panthrandu Vilakku' festival.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

The Vaikom Mahadevar Temple is considered as one of the  oldest and most important Siva temples of Kerala.This temple is known as 'Perum Thrikkovil' and is situated in the heart of Vaikom Municipality of Kottayam District.  'Vaikom Ashtami Festival'  is celebrated all over Kerala along with Vaikom Temple.It is believed that an Asura named 'Khara' installed the the three Shiva Lingas of Vaikom,Ettumanoor, and Kaduthuruthy.It is believed auspicious to visit these three temples before 'Uchapooja' (Pooja ritual in the noon) and also said that our reasonable wishes will be fulfilled.
It is also believed that Lord Parasurama consecrated the Shiva  'Linga' at Vaikkom temple and constructed the temple also.One thing is certain that the Linga of this temple dates back to Thretha Yuga and the Pooja rites to the Deity has not been  broken till today.The Lord Siva, of this temple is lovingly called as Vaikkathappan and he is revered in three forms every day.In the morning he is considered as 'Dakshina Moorthy'  at noon he is considered  in 'Kiratha form' (as a Hunter) and in the evening he is in the form as 'Sachidanantha'.Dakshina Moorthy is the Universal teacher and also responsible for all the arts and artistic talents.So like Goddess Saraswathi Devi he bless the devotees with good deeds and thoughts and helps them to attain good education and bless them with artistic talents.
Vaikkathappan is known as 'Annadana Prabhu' also.To all the devotees come to the temple before noon is provided a feast from the temple which is known as 'Vaikkathu Prathal'.This feast is made in the temple itself and known for its super taste.This 'annadanam' is held in this temple for centuries without fail.
The deity of Vaikkathappan is also known as 'Viswanathan'  means the owner of this whole universe.The annual temple festival is for 12 days in the  dark lunar cycle of 'Vrichikam' month (November-December).

This day is celebrated with awful galore and  exultation.The Vaikom town will be beautifully decorated and there will be a flow of thousands of people from far and near to participate in the temple functions today to get the grace of Lord Siva.
After dusk the Deity will be taken on an elephant to the 'Aanakkottil' with music,temple torches,color,pageantry etc and after some time Deities of 8 temples  in nearby areas are brought on different elephants in separate processions there.The arrival of all these processions  in a colorful manner with Panchavadyam,Chendamelam,colored umbrellas  and temple torches etc including Theyyam,Nilakkavadi,Karakattam,mayilattam,dance etc converts all the roads leading to the temple with joyous scenario  which are all stupendous that  fills the hearts of devotees with devotion and happiness.When all the 8 deities arrives there is a ritual known as 'Kanikkiduka' which is offerings made  to the Lord which is a unique system seen only at Vaikkom temple.The 'Vrishapha Vahana' Ezhunnellippu (Procession with the Idol of  Nandi-The Bull) is also a special ritual during the festival period.
The Subramanya Swamy temple situated at 'Udayanapuram' 3km from Vaikkom temple  has several attachments to Vaikom temple.'Udayanapurathappan' (Subramanya) is considered as Lord Siva's son and he will be also brought in procession to Vaikom temple for the festival function and will be greeted in a grand manner.There is another ritual known as 'Koodipooja' in Vaikkom temple with Udayanapuram Subramanya Swamy.
Vaikkathu Ashtami is celebrated in all Siva temples of Kerala along with Vaikom Temple.It is believed that
'Vyagrapaada Rishi' who was a firm devotee of 'Vaikkathappan' got 'Darshan' of Lord Siva on the Ashtami day and it is celebrated  as rejoice of this event as well as part of the temple festival.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Swamy

Sabarimala Temple is completely different in many aspects to other temples of Kerala.When Kerala was derived from the Sea Parasurama divided Kerala in to 64 Gramas (Villages) and it is also famous that he established several temples for the welfare of this state.The Sastha temples of Sabarimala,Achankovil,AryanKavu etc were established to protect Kerala from all evils.
Lord Ayyappa is also considered as Lord of 'Saneeswaran' who is in control of 'Saturn' which is 'Sani' that causes so many disturbances   in life.Even Gods can not escape from the grip of 'Sani' and to describe the power of Sani there is a story that once when the influence of Sani was nearby (Apaharam) in the Horoscope,  Lord  Shiva absconded himself and stayed alone without notice from anyone for the whole period of Sani Apaharam.Afterwards he came out and boasted to Sani that he could not do him any trouble.Sani replied that it was due to his effect that  Lord Shiva had to stay alone in disguise for  that whole  period  and the  pleasant  Svia
gave him the authority as an 'Eeswar'  or made him equal to  God. We call him as 'Saneeswaran' and he is in control of human life for one third of the whole life.It means if a man lives for Ninety Years he was  mainly in influence of 'Sani' for 30 years.There are so many ways 'Sani' influencing our lives.'Ezhara sani' , 'Kandaka Sani" Sani Apaharam' etc  decides one third of our  whole life.
It is in this instance that the importance of Sabarimala Temple arises.Lord Ayyappa is the authority of Sani also and by praying Lord Ayyappa our problems due to Sani can be get rid off.
But for visiting Sabarimal Temple there are certain rituals and rules  to be performed and followed.Lord Ayyappa is actually married and  he has two wives 'Pushkala' and  'Poorna'  but at Sabarimala Temple he is in the form as a 'Yogeeswara' and hence ladies in between 10 and 50 are not allowed.
All the devotees has to carry on their head an ' Irumudi' which contains the pooja materials for the deity.Mainly all the devotees carry a 'Ney Thenga' which is a coconut filled with pure Ghee for pouring on the deity.There will be heavy rush and  long line waiting to give the ghee for unction and so people in a hurry pour their ghee in a large stone structure known as 'Ney Thoni' and come back. This is not fair.You have to take out the ghee from your  coconut and give it for unction and get back the part of the ghee after unction as 'Prasadam', and then only your pilgrimage is fulfilled.More over every pilgrim has to make 18 rounds around  the sanctum with his Irumudi on head.Most of the devotees are unaware of this and they do the 'Pradakshinam' only once.From now on since you understood  the ritual in the traditional way perform it in that manner.
The observances to be followed after putting the garland, which is known as 'mala'  or  'mudra' is very important.Using a 'Thulasi beads' or 'Rudraksha' mala is better.Pendent of  Lord Ayyappa is must on the mudra.Give it for pooja in an Ayyappa Temple if possible and the Priest wears it on the Deity by which it gains an energy from the deity and you experience it  when you wear it.You transforms to an ideal form as a purified person equivalent to God.That is why at Sabartimala all Devotees are considered equal and called as 'Ayyappa' or
'Swamy'.For attaining that position as Swamy we have to perform the observances  strictly.
Earlier it was compulsory to perform this Vrat for a 'Mandala Period' which is of 41 Days.Today also majority of people perform Vrat for 41 days prior to Darshan of Lord Ayyappa.But now a days eminent Gurus also says that in this hectic way of life practicing  12 Days or 21 Days Observances is also allowed.
But to put a garland today and proceed to Sabarimala tomorrow is useless and should be avoided.
Those who visit Sabarimala Temple for the first time may go through the traditional path from Erumeli ,Karimala,Pampa,Neelimala to Sabarimala.This will consume more time and energy but  for a beginner it is auspicious.But if it is not possible go to Pampa by bus and proceed without being guilty.Lord Ayyappa still bless you.
During the observance period 'Bramhmacharya' is compulsory.Do not consume non Vegetarian Foods.Eat only foods which  you believe made in clean and neat areas.Speak and perform truthful deeds always remember God, Take bath twice a Day,Visit at least once the nearby temple etc has to be practiced.Then also you  may be worried whether you have done some thing wrong during the days of observances unknowingly.Don't worry.Take with you  a set of 20-30  of  beetal leaves (Vettila)  and throw them up in the premises of 'Malikapurathamma' by which your sins during vrat period will be excused.
The people living in other states and abroad are very much worried how to please Lord Ayyappa during their observance period.Everybody including Keralites can do pooja as follows in their homes.
If there is a Pooja room well and good otherwise in a clean room place on a stand or a neat silk a picture of Lord Ayyappa .Light oil lamp in front of it.The devotee has to  sit against eastern direction in the morning.Meditate for a while to make the mind calm.Then think your Gurus and recite 'Ohm Gurubhyo Namah'.
Then Chant" Ohm Sarva Vigna Haram Devam
                     Sarva Vigna Vivarjitham
                     Sarva Sidhi Prada tharam
                      Vandeham Gana Nayakam"
This Mantra has to be chanted for three times.Then close your eyes and see in your mind  Lord Ayyapa and Chant Moola Mantra of lord Ayyappa 36 times. " Ohm Namaparaaya Gopthre"
You can now recite Ayyappa Gayathri for 36 times  as follows
"Ohm Boothanadhaya Vidmahe
Bhavaputhrayadhee Mahe
Thanna Sastha prachodayat"
Then get up and recite " Ohm Namo Bhagavathe Revanthaya Bhootha Nadhaya Maha Veeraya Sarva Samridhikaraya Namah"  Reciting this bow down to God 3,5 or 7 times.
This can be repeated in the evening sitting against west.Or both time in the morning and evening this can be performed turning in the direction of north.This ritual can be performed for 12 or 21  days or every Saturday.
For everybody irrespective of man or woman  can recite "Ohm Revanthaya Namah" as much as you like without any Vrat or Observances any time any day but with a loving feeling towards Lord Ayyappa..Lord Ayyappa will bless you and bestow with all kinds of prosperity  and relieves from Sani Dosham etc also.It is very auspicious  and helps to materialize  several of our common needs.