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Article on Ayyappa Vrutham and Sabari Yatra Series I S.NO 6.00

The Almighty Bhagawan favours some types of beads. Thulasi, Tamarai (lotus), Rudraksha, Spatika. One can adorn a mala made of any one of them. The amsa (attributes) of Shiva seems to be predominant in Murugan and that of Vishnu in sastha. Thulasi is the favourite leave for Vishnu hence it is but natural that Dharma Sastha should favour thulasi beads. One does pooja (Offer prayers and courtesies) to the string of beads (Mala) and invite the rudra ganas (minions or angels of Rudra) and assume that these Ganas will protect the wearer of the Mala. We pray to Ayyappa “ Ho Ayyappa we wear your Mala and start the vratha (Austerities) may you protect my vratha and allow me to have the bliss of your darshan.

To get the grace of God one needs the correct guidance and hence it is imperative to have this from our preceptor i.e. our Guru. We cannot even approach GOD without the grace of the Guruswamy. The Guruswamy acts as a bridge between the GOD and the bhaktha (seeker). The Guru makes it easy for the bhaktha to attain the grace of the GOD as quickly as possible. Hence one adorns the Mala from the Guru and only then bhaktha becomes eligible to keep the vrath (austerities).

The bhaktha should not remove the mala till one returns from Sabarimala. There are certain circumstances that during the course of the vrath one would be forced to remove the mala and discontinue the vrath. One can approach their Guruswamy for more details. These are called “thittu” or impurities which occur due to circumstances such as obsequies etc. It is best for us to take direct advice on such circumstances from the Guruswamy. If one removes mala in such circumstances they cannot make the Sabari yatra (pilgrimage) that year.

When one wears the Mala it is assumed that Sri Ayyappa himself enters the soul of the bhaktha to protect him from all evil effects. It is because of this fact that bhakthas wearing mala call each other “Ayyappa”. Is it not apt to call one who is always thinking of Ayyappa as “Ayyappa”?

It is also a practice to call a Bhaktha as Kanni (Virgin) when he or she wears the mala for the first such pilgrimage he makes. Do we not call our daughter a Kanni (Virgin) till we hand her over to her husband? It is a very similar situation that we call the bhaktha a virgin till one enjoys the bliss of the union with Sabarimala Nathan.

One should approach their Guruswamy and ask all their doubts on the Vrath and all other related matters. One should not hesitate to clarify their doubts lest they break the austerities and they should not feel shy to approach their Guru as he is there to provide all such clarifications. The Guru shows his grace by showering his blessings thus making us eligible to keep our vrath properly and have the darshan of the Lord. The Guru explains the path and its tenets in such simple words that they are forever etched in the minds of the bhaktha just as a parent would do to their child. One must thank their fate for acquiring a good Guru and must adhere to his advice at all cost.

Yatra MAY 2007