Ayyappa Deeksha – 41 days of unwavering and intense Devotion towards Lord Ayyappa.
Today, I will be writing about the Story of the Lord Ayyappa. Lord Ayyappa and his Story is close to me and the reason is my father taking the Deeksha since last 24 years which made to me know more about the Lord Ayyappa and his life. Devotion is a completely different shade altogether in one’s life. Some express their devotion and some follow the implicit way. In South India, the Devotion followed towards any Lordis by taking up ‘Deeksha’ or ‘Consecration’ (following the religious path). Deeksha is seen in praying for Lord Durga, Lord Hanuman, Lord Shiva, and Lord Ayyappa aswell. I will now explain the Deeksha and the dedication in devotion that human being shows. Firstly, Lord Ayyappa is mainly worshipped in South India. He is also worshipped as ‘Manikandan’. It is believed that he was born out of the union between Lord Shiva and Mohini, who is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, Ayyappa is even called as ‘Hariharan Puthiran’ which means the son of both Hari or Vishnu and ‘ Haran’ or Shiva. That’s how the Lord Ayyappa was born and he was born for the welfare of the society.
Reason for Ayyappa’s birth was to protect the World from ‘Mahishi’. ‘Mahishi’ was given a boon that she would not be killed until or unless it is the union of two males. That’s the major reason for Birth of Ayyappa to Lord Shiva and Vishnu. Lord Ayyappa Deeksha is observed in the Hindu month of ‘Kartika’ which falls in the month of November as per Georgian Calendar. One who takes up this Deeksha follows strict religious practices to receive the Lord’s blessings. The devotees observe a 41-day ‘Deeksha’ before visiting Sabarimala. During this Deeksha, a devotee has to wear black colored clothes and walk barefooted. The devotee should avoid all physical pleasures and other family ties and should live like a celibate or ‘Brahamachari’. He should continuously practice the good behavior and should not involve in any kind of unethical things. Apart from the above practices, the devotees have to take bath only with Coldwater early in the mornings and pray Lord Ayyappa before the Sunrise every day and do the same in the evening after Sunset. After dedicated 41 days Deeksha, Devotees carry ‘Irumudi’ which contains rice, coconut and other things which run the family. Holding it high on their heads, Devotees start their journey for Sabarimala. Irumudi kettu is very essential and only those with Irumudi kettu are allowed to climb the 18 golden steps which take Devotee to the entrance of the Lord Ayyappa.
After reaching Sabarimala, Devotees take bath in the holy river Pampa, and they start their hill journey to reach the abode of Lord Ayyappa. Once Devotees reach the shrine, the atmosphere turns Spiritual, Undisturbed, Calm and Soulful. With those vibes, the devotees with a lot of devotion and happiness climb the 18 Golden Steps and submit their Irumudi Kettu to seek the blessings of the Lord Ayyappa. This is how the Deeksha of 41 days gets completed, a ‘Vratham’ that changes the Individual and makes him a person with a lot of responsibility, respect,
I will tell you what do these 18 golden steps represent:
- Vision – (ThePanchedriyas – Five Human Senses)
- Love – (Ashtaragas– Feelings of Humans)
- Unhealthy Competition
- Thamas – (Trigunasand Last Two– Human Personalities)
- Avidya – Ignorance
- Vidya – Knowledge
I have been part of the LordAyyappa journey for as many as 23 years and have been to Sabarimala temple 3 times and each and every time has been a fantastic experience. Must and should plan the 4th one soon!