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Ayyappa Sharanam Mama

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[FONT=Verdana,Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=Impact,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif]Sunday, February 22, 2009 [/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana,Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa

Mahishasura had appeased Lord Brahma and obtained a boon that no man on earth could kill him. Empowered by the boon, he started harassing people, who in turn turned to the Devas for help. The Devas, aware of the boon given to him by Lord Brahma, invoked Devi Chandika for help. Devi Chandika engaged Mahishasura in battle and slayed him. Hence, she is also known as Mahishasura Mardhini.

Mahishi, the wife of Mahishasura, angered by her husband's death, performed severe penances and obtained a boon from Lord Brahma to the effect that only a son born out of the union of Lord Maha Vishnu and Lord Shiva could kill her, with an impression that such a thing would never be possible. Lord Shiva, wanting to put an end to Mahishi's arrogance, approached Lord Maha Vishnu, who was in the form of Mohini, the enchantress. They created a son, who was destined to destroy Mahishi. Since the child had the power of both Maha Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara), he is also known as HariHaraputra. King Rajashekhara and his Queen, who had been praying to Lord Shiva for an offspring, were chosen to rear the child on earth. The child was given a golden bell tied around his neck by his creators, thereby earning him the name Manikanthan.

Manikanthan was the adopted son of the King. The King found the baby in the forest while on a hunting trip. Manikanthan performed many miracles during his youth. The Queen subsequently gave birth to a son and hence in order to prevent Manikanthan from inheriting the kingdom, the Diwan and queen colluded and plotted to get Manikanthan killed by sending him on a trip to the jungle to bring Tigeress milk to cure a supposed stomach ailment of the Queen. They were sure that Manikanthan would be killed by the tigers and her own son would inherit the kingdom. Manikanthan ventured into the forest to get the Tigress milk. In the forest, he encountered Mahishi. In the battle that ensued, he grabbed her by her horns, threw her down on the ground, and danced on her, thereby destroying her, and freeing her soul from the asura body it was trapped in.

On his return from the forest, King Rajashekhara realized who Manikanthan really was, and informed him that the Queen was cured the moment he left for the forest. His mission fulfilled, Manikanthan was about to take leave of the King and return to his heavenly abode, when the King requested Manikanthan to pick a place where he could build a temple for him. Manikanthan shot an arrow which landed on the tip of the Shabari Hills, situated along the western Sahyadri mountain ranges, where he would be worshipped as Lord Ayyappa. The Lord instructed that there be exactly eighteen steps leading to the Temple at the Eastern gate. There is deep significance behind this, in that the eighteen steps, going from the first to the eighteenth step, represent Avidya (ignorance), Vidya (illumination or knowledge), the 3 Gunas, the 5 Indriyas, and the 8 Raagas.

King Rajashekhara was concerned about the feasibility of building a Temple fit for the Lord so high up in the mountains. By Lord Ayyappa's grace, Viswakarma - the Divine architect constructed the Temple, and Lord Parasurama - an incarnation of Maha Vishnu himself, carved Lord Ayyappa's idol. Parasurama installed the idol on the auspicious day of Makara Sankranthi.
[FONT=Verdana,Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]The temple, atop the Shabari hills, deep in the forests of Kerala, attracts millions of devotees every year. They travel through dense forests, over steep hills and brave the inclement weather to obtain his 'Darshan' on Makara Sankranthi day, which falls on January 14th each year. It is believed that the Lord comes down to the Shabari hills on this day in the form of light (or Makara Jyothi) in the north-east horizon on Ponnambala Medu to give 'Darshan' to his devotees. [/FONT]
Lord Ayyappa Gayatri
[FONT=Verdana,Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Om Bhoothanathaya Vidhmahe
Bhava Putraya Dheemahi
Tanno Sashta Prachothayat

Hari Hara Sudanay Sharanam Ayyappa
Pallikattu Sabari Malaikku Kallum Mullum Kaalukku Meddhai
Swamiye Ayyapa
Ayyappa Swamiye.

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