Lord Ayyappa or Dharma Shastha represents a combination of spiritual powers symbolized by the forms of Lord Vishnu, the Power that maintains the universe and Lord Shiva, the Power that periodically re-absorbs the manifestations into Reality. The Puranas state that when the Ocean was churned (Samudra Mathanam) by the Devas and Asuras, many rare things emerged from the Ocean including Goddess Lakshmi, Halahala Poison (which was consumed by Lord Shiva) and the Amrutha Kalasam (the nectar granting deathless life). When the asuras snatched the bowl and ran away, Lord Vishnu took the form of a Mohini and with her charms as a Mohini, took away the bowl of nectar from the Asuras and gave them to the Devas. Lord Shiva who happened to watch this, got attracted to Mohini and thus was the birth of Lord Ayyappa.
‘Lord Ayyappa’ is also called ‘Kaliyug Varada’ , that is, protector of the evil propensities of the Kaliyug. The purpose of the Avatar of Lord Ayyappa is to reinstate the moral values in the society. Lord Ayyappa annihilated the buffalo faced demoness to protect human beings from the propensities of Kaliyug. During the Kaliyug, the degraded moral values of the society pave way to a total devastation of the society where people are prepared to adopt any means to achieve their selfish needs and spread mistrust and incurable diseases like never before.
The Puranas say that Lord Ayyappa took birth in the Earth as the son of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu when Lord Vishnu was in the form of ‘Mohini’. So, Lord Ayyappa is also called ‘Hari Hara Putra’. The Sabarimala Temple is situated in a Hill, which is surrounded by thick forests and hills. In order to reach to the Lotus feet of Lord Ayyappa, the devotees have to climb these hills. It requires a preparation of 41 days of fasting and leading a life which is totally devoted to the Lord.
The Sage ‘Parasurama’ installed the idol of Lord Ayyappa in the Sabarimala Temple. The temple was built by the foster father of Lord Ayyappa, who was the King of a local kingdom in ancient Kerala called ‘Pandalam’. In order to reach the lotus feet of ‘Lord Ayyappa’, the devotees have to climb 18 steps. 18 steps represent the 18 hills which again represent the 18 Vana Devtas (Hill Gods). It is believed that the first 5 steps represent the five ‘Senses’. The next 8 Steps represent the ‘Ashta Ragas’ (eight musical chords). The next 3 steps represent ‘Trigunas’ (‘Satvika’, ‘Rajasa’, & ‘Tamasa’). The last 2 steps represent ‘Vidya’ (intelligence) and ‘Avidya’ (ignorance).
Devotees offer pujas for Lord Ayyappa to get rid of the evils of Shani (shani dosham). They believe that offering ‘Til Oil Diya’ (Neelanjanam) in Ayyappa Temple on Saturdays enhances the auspicious aspects of ‘Shani Dasha’ and keeps them away from the ‘Doshas’ of ‘Sade-Sathi’. Devotees avoid non-vegetarian food on Saturdays and pay a visit to the ‘Ayyappa Temple’ to rededicate their devotion and faith.
| LordAyyappa | LordBalaram | LordBhairav | LordBrahma | LordBuddha | LordDattatreya | LordDhanvantari |LordGanesha | LordHanuman | LordHayagriva | LordJagannath | LordKalki | Lord Kartikeya | Lord Krishna | Lord Kubera | Lord Kurma | Lord Mahavir | Lord Matsya | Lord Narasimha | Lord Nataraj | Lord Rama | Sai Baba | Lord Shiva | Lord Skanda | Lord Tirupati Balaji | Lord Vamana | Lord Varaha | Lord Vishnu |