Musings on Sabarimala
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Musings on Sabarimala

January 12, 2019

On January 2nd in the dark of the night two women dressed in black waited atop a hill to enter a restricted area. They waited for the right time to make a break for it. And just before dawn, they sneaked in with surgical precision and next day it was news !

No, we are not talking about surgical strikes by our Jawans, we are talking about Bindu, 42 and Kanakadurga, 44, the first women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Ayyappa Swamy temple at Sabarimala after the Supreme Court verdict that the temple be opened for all, including women between the ages of 10 and 50.

Just a few days ago another woman Manju, 36, sneaked into the temple. But Manju, instead of using the dark of the night for cover, used grey of the dye — she dyed her hair grey so people would think she is post-50 years of age.

Now, every time someone between the age of 10-50 enters the temple, the temple is shut for two days for a cleansing ritual. At this rate, Sabarimala will be opened only once a year, rest of the year they will only be purifying it.

While women claim they were not allowed into the temple because menstruating women are considered impure, the devotees say it’s not the case and that it’s about not distracting the Lord based on a story! And this story has a Mysuru connection.  

It seems, Ayyappa was born to destroy a female demon and when he did kill the demon, a beautiful woman emerged from the dead demon’s body. This woman had been cursed to live as a demon but Ayyappa had released her.

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She was so grateful to Ayyappa that she asked him to marry her. He refused, saying he was a Brahmachari and his mission was to go to Sabarimala to answer the prayers of his devotees. But he assured her that he will marry her when kanni-swamis, or first time devotees, stop coming to Sabarimala.

She said she would wait. And wait she did because the neighbouring shrine to Ayyappa is built for this woman-in-waiting and is worshipped as Mallikapurathamma!

Now the interesting tit-bit for Mysureans. Mallikapurathamma’s original name was Mahishi and she is the sister of Mahishasura, the man our city is named after and whose statue stands atop Chamundi Hill.  

So devotees say it is not about menstruating women being impure, but about the philosophy that Ayyappa Swamy is celibate so that he can focus on answering the prayers of his devotees.

By the way, it is interesting to note that while we keep saying “menstruation” is considered impure, there is a festival called Ambubachi Mela, a four-day fair to mark the annual menstruation of Goddess Kamakhya at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam !  

This temple atop Nilachal Hills in Guwahati is shut for four days so the Goddess can go through her “period” in peace. In fact, all temples in that region are closed, and on the fifth day temples are opened and there is celebration ! The temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses the Yoni — vagina — symbolised by a rock sculpture !

Yes, for fanatic Hindus this might come as a surprise. That is why it is important to note that Hinduism is not a book-based religion with a set of rules but a tradition-based one, changing with each region and its people. This is what makes Ayyappa Swamy temple issue not just about equality.

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By the way, there are quite a few temples where men are not allowed — three well-known ones being the Attukal Bhagavathy temple, which is called the ‘Sabarimala of women,’ Brahma temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan and the Bhagati Maa temple in Kanyakumari.

While the Sabarimala verdict may be a landmark judgement for women’s equality movement, will BJP use this to push forth another form of equality — One Nation – One Law?  

Now that a Hindu religious patriarchal bastion has been breached at a time when a perceived pro-Hindu BJP is in power, may be the government can bring in Uniform Civil Code.

The government will simply say, if Hindus, BJP’s perceived vote-bank, can reluctantly accept change and be progressive so can all other religions — no more conversion and no more talak… talak… talak.

Now, while fighting for entry to a temple, women must choose their battles wisely and take up other defining issues like Uniform Civil Code, Inheritance Laws, Right to Effective Education, Free sanitary pads for underprivileged women and Reservation of seats in the Parliament. These issues will change the attitude of men towards women and empower women. Entry to a temple located deep in a forest does not.

Yes, our Constitution says equality is a fundamental right but we must understand its spirit and its limits.

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10 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Musings on Sabarimala”

  1. If one want to worship a deity, she/he should strictly follow the customs and traditions attached to the deity. She/he should have faith in that. If you don’t have the faith in the customs and traditions, it definitely means you don’t have the faith in the deity. It is not a matter of right or it is not a matter of discrimination of any kind. It is the matter of faith. If you don’t have the faith, Why and what for you are going there? Moreover, apart from the politicisation of the issue by all the parties, how a court could interfere in those customs and traditions? One should think all of these points without bias.

    • Manava says:

      Sounds stuff and nonsense. The underlying Sabarima issue is discrimination against women of certain age bracket. These so called customs are created by those who manage the temple for centuries, the underlying aspect of this control is rule by iron fist. f really God does not want these women in certain age brackets to come and worship him, which I do not believe in any way, I wonder about this God who should see every devotee as equal. BTW, I am a devout Hindu, and the nonsense like this creates a mockery of a religion which is known for its broad mindedness. Menstruation is a biological phenomenon, and considering those women who have active menstrual cycle as impure is wickedness, pure and simple. This was the very reason that women were and are being suppressed in India, by men. Shame on them.

  2. Strangeworld says:

    @Thiru So, the temple authorities are conveying the message they are hearing from Lord Ayyappa: ” Ye women of menstruating age, thou art impure because of your monthly periods, hence thou art unfit to worship me”. I too do not believe this nonsense.
    We read the story of Kanakadasa, how he was barred from worshiping Lord Krishna in the Udupi Krishna temple, because of his low caste, although, he wasvery devoted to Lord Krishna andand what Lord Krishna did in the end to demonstrate the fact that all humans are created equal. Hindu religion has its fair share of this sort of bigotry, which uses the reason of customs and tradition to bar certain class of devotees. Not very long ago, when the husband dies, the poor widow was forced by the community to jump into a fire, and commit suicide! That was prevailing custom and tradition until it was abolished.

  3. swamy says:

    If the temple authorities refuse to let woman, then to facilitate the smooth entrance of women to the temple, Central or State government should take over the temple. It is very simple, and I don’t know the reason for hesitation in this regards.

  4. Raghu says:

    Question is Who are these mafias actually? why Mafia is doing all this?
    In Nut shell, Money and Religion is the core reason! And the mafias are no one else but those who systematically controls your thought through establishment i.e. nexus of Media , Academicians, Bollywoodiyas & political parties etc.
    Money.. How?
    A little background first. A Unified India is obvious to become strong in coming years. Focus on word ”Unified”! Current regime is daring to manufacture in India. ”Make In India” is a major threat to current global power balance. So break India or make people feel we are broke.
    History reveals that, India was always seen as a consumer state and a big market, which may become ”seller” to the world if current regime will hold the ground for more terms. Obvious threat is, if India (with 1 billion potential buyers) become self sustainable.. who will buy the products of Europeans & Americans?
    But a disintegrated India with many small nations (Kerela, Bengal, Assam maange Azaadi… now you know the Aazaadi gang) will be as usual business. Just like, Tajikistan, Kajikistan, LaLaListan, Blah Blah-istan etc. It will be remain poor and don”t mind being a ”buyer” forever!
    Now comes the religion part.
    Christianity & Islam is fighting hard to catch & convert India. But again, Evangelism (Christian conversion) and Islamification will be a tougher task in a ”Unified” stronger India with Hindu as the majority religion.
    Additionally, the current regime have already cut down the supplies of NGOs and missionaries. Now any funding is under the lens of agencies. Compare this with the previous Sonia”s regime when terrorist equivalent Zakir Naik and other missionaries were given open hand. Zakir Naik was asked to ”trained” IPS officers and he infact donated money to Congress.
    To execute both these goals, ”Money and Religion”, you need to have breaking India plan into hand.
    What”s the plan?
    Before Breaking India, break this regime first! Creating fake unrest by riding on to the fears of minorities, castes, gender and paint the current regime as Anti minority (Dadri case), Anti Dalit (Rohith Vemula), Anti Women (BBC”s India”s daughter documentary), Anti Students (Kanhaiya), Gurmehar, ISIS attack, . Luckily, Jat andolan, Saharanpur, BHU riots, Patel movement in Gujarat all are punctured in the past..
    So Now the fresh package Rafale and Sabarimala incident !

  5. Raju says:

    1000 crore rupee church coming up in Shabarimala. Now you understood what these issues were all about!

  6. Ajith says:

    It doesn’t look like a simple issue! It seems like taking control of Kerala by mafia! Here was an article in a kannada news paper which was translated to English by somebody! Read this. And you know what is the hidden agendas
    The Supreme Court of India is hearing the issue of entry of women into Sabarimala Temple. The final verdict is not out yet. Thus a discussion on that is not warranted now. Devotees have begun the vrat (austerities) for the Sabarimala Pilgrimage. Many others are in the process of beginning theirs. We thus need to understand the historicity of this issue at in question. It is important to know what transpired and what happened before this issue landed in the courts. We can save Sabarimala only if we know this. Else, we will see that the Lord Ayyappa temple will vanish in front of our eyes.

    What is their objective? It is primarily to establish a church near Lord Ayyappa’s temple and also to ensure that it should become a centre for Christianity and not a Pilgrim centre of Hindus. Large scale conversion in and around Sabarimala region is not a recent phenomenon, it has been happening for quite a while. Evangelists attempting to proselytize devotees visiting Sabarimala by saying multi God worship is the reason for their miseries. Saying these they take them to St Thomas Church and try to convert them.

    Lakhs of pilgrims visit Sabarimala. We may think that a few hundred going away may not be significant loss. It would have been a blessing if they had done only that much. But remember, Christian missionaries never stop at that. They have set out to make Sabarimala a Christian centre. The vandalism and attack by Christians on Sabarimala temple on 15th June 1950 is a proof of this intent. Converted Syrian Christians living around Sabarimala, set fire and burnt the temple down. Then Minister of Kerala, C Keshavan, had stated that “one temple down means so much of reduction in superstitions.” There was severe criticism for this.

    In the immediate aftermath, Christian missionaries laid low. But they were not sitting idle. They planned on another mission. About 20kms from Sabarimala in a place called Nilackal, there is a temple of Lord Mahadeva (Shiva) On March 24, 1983, they claimed that a 2000 year old wooden cross has been found and a missionary propagated that it was brought by St Thomas. Not only that, he also spread false news that a Brahmin from Chennai unable to tolerate this, stabbed St Thomas to death.

    Believing this myth, Christians began visiting Nilackal. Then Government also sanctioned one acre of land to build a church there. Sri Kummanon Rajashekaran, Presently Governor of Mizoram had launched a protest struggle of over 6 months to stop this. Subsequently they sanctioned reserved forest land at a distance of 4 km from Nilackal to build this church.

    However, we need to know the real story behind this wooden cross. In the environmental and climatic conditions of Kerala a wooden cross of 2000 year old could have never survived. It is now known that this cross was put there by Missionaries about a week prior to the so called discovery. They also named the street St Thomas Road and Sabarimala as St Thomas Mount. An interesting development happened in the meanwhile. According to the clarifications issued by the Vatican and also confirmed by the Pope, St Thomas never visited India nor was he killed by any Brahmin from Chennai. St Thomas breathed his last in Ortana, Italy. Thus the myth and lies propagated by Syrian Christians in Kerala was busted.

    Doing a cursory fact check on discovery of 2000 year old wooden cross and any Christian records also reported negative. There are no such evidences at all. Padre ML Mathir had published a book in 1883 in which he had written that Syrian Christians of Kerala are neither original Christians nor migrants who came from abroad. They were Brahmins who were converted to Christianity.

    Another incident that can be recalled is finding of a lizard in Aravana Payasam given as Prasad in Sabarimala. This obvious was impossible as proven by the report of the Special Commissioner of the High Court in his report based on inspection. This clearly was a canard spread by the church to erode the sanctity of Aravana Payasam. Narrow pipe connecting the helical pump attached to the cooling chamber with the filling machine could not carry a rat’s tail or a lizard intact. And moreover, any piece longer than a small slice of coconut kernel in the aravana payasam would be cut into pieces during the draining out process of the cool payasam into the filling machine. Thus it was clear that someone deliberately put this lizard into the container before packing.

    There are more. When an Ashtamangala Deva Prashna (Deva Prashna is branch of astrology performed to ascertain the causes of undesirable situations and to remedial actions) was performed to determine causes of repeated stampede in Sabarimala temple – it is said that Christian missionaries were behind fixing the outcome of this process which concluded that the Vigraha (Idol) was touched by a woman, liquor and other intoxicants have been sold in the premise and lot of immoral activities were behind repeated calamities happening in the temple.

    Exactly a month later after the Deva Prashna, the main priest of Sabarimala Temple was abducted on 23rd July 2006 by a gang of 10 goons and taken to flat of a Christian lady Shobha John and divested him of all gold ornaments. Shobha John was a sex worker – the priest was stripped and obscene pictures were clicked. Complaining to police proved futile. The DIG also was bought over by them. To trap the priest, western church also established Christian Church Brigade and it was planned by them, revealed by Rahul Easwar.

    The mastermind behind this episode were Bechu Rahman, Shobha John, and Biju Peters. It should also be noted that Bechu Rahman is Dawood Ibrahim henchman. Christians and Muslims united to defame Sabarimala. But the truth was known to the world due to this episode. Even to this day, Guruvayur and Sabarimala temples face threat from Jihadis.

    Remember! 360kgs of Explosives were discovered on December 3-4, 2016 not so far away in the forests surrounding Sabarimala. This was to blast Sabarimala on December 6th as a revenge for Babri Masjid. Thanks to Forest Guards who discovered this and literally saved Lord Ayyappa!

    As proclaimed by Travancore Devaswom Board (which administers Sabarimala Temple), it has revenue of Rs 255 Crores last year. Despite this, it continues to pay hefty tolls, water and electricity bills. For providing facilities to pilgrims in 110 Acres in Nilackal, Sabarimala temple had paid Rs 6.5 Crores to the Government. But for the church a mere 4km away spread over 58 acres, Government provided the land free. The church that was built by lying that it had a 2000 year old wooden cross celebrated its 25th Year which was graced by Oscar Fernandes who bluffed even more about Jesus and the history of this church.

    Supreme Court has entertained a PIL and is about to deliver its verdict on the same. Going by the observations thus far, it is interfering in the traditions and conventions of this much revered Hindu Temple. Traditions and conventions are not a matter for legal adjudication, they are long established practices and accepted as such without looking for reasons or justifications. Remember, our courts also lean upon traditions and conventions, not necessarily explicable – and day is not far when even traditions of the court will be challenged and trampled upon. Let me quote Judge we can draw upon an anecdote often quoted by Uthirapathy Kadirvelayudham, noted Advocate and Judge who presided over a Special court. It is a convention that when the Judge arrives in the court, everyone stands up and greet him/her with folded hands. Judge as well as the audience pray with folded hands that the process of dispensation of justice has commenced and that true and fair justice should be bestowed upon everyone.

    But he recalls an incident when an accused openly defied this convention and refused to stand up which was reprimanded by a judge who preceded him. The accused had stated in categorical terms that they would stand up only to their supreme faith and would not stand up for ordinary men including the judges. Which faith he belonged need not be said. This is the risk even the court faces in near future, if traditions are subjected to such legal reviews.

    One more thing to add – a PIL seeking entry of women to Sabarimala has been filed not by women, nor by any women organization. It is filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association’ Ex-Presidents Naushad Ahmed Khan and President Karan Singh Chandiok. Two short information here: One: It also said that Indira Jaisingh is their guru and she is looking into this case. You all very well know how Modi Govt stopped them from receiving foreign funds. In fact Vivek Agnihotri can tell you how Urban Naxals work! And second: Karan Singh Chandiok’s father was nominated as Additional Solicitor General by Congress lead UPA Government in 2009

    Now you know the people behind PIL in the SC and their agenda. Now it is up to you to decide.

    • What a culture! says:

      A long ranting nonsense. If you cannot put your view in a short paragraph, it does mean you have lost it!
      Discriminating against women in a certain age bracket by branding them as ” impure” is sheer bigotry. Just open the door of this temple to women of all ages. It is men in the name of God who are carrying out this outdated practice..

  7. Unnikrishnan says:

    Current tirade of anti Hindu forces who now cry for “Minorities and Dalits” is yet another ploy by international forces who are bent upon to destabilise India under Modi. Minorities and Dalits make up almost about half of Indian population. Then there are a bunch of so called intelligentsias, elites, secular brigades, Award Wapsi gangs pampered by West and few political parties for votes (to divide, decieve and rule) and thus fragment the unity of this newly liberated nation from the clutches of looters.Sabarimala is another stab at the same goal of destabilizing India calling it communal!
    If somebody told us in 1920 that Hindu and Sikh businessmen living in Karachi is going to lose everything and become refugees and beggars we would have laughed at them and called you insane
    If somebody told us in 1960 that Kashmir pundits will lose everything and refugees in his own birth place you would have laughed loudly and mocked them for unrealistic hallucinations!
    If somebody is telling us today Kerala will lose its Hindu identity due to western Christian lobby and our corrupt po.iticians supporting vatican influence the lobbbis bark at us . That is the situation with India and Kashmir and kerala are the start of destruction! Sabarimal is preparing to build a 1000 crore church! For these people Modi is an eye sure and they all want Congress badly so the takeover happens smoothly!
    The goal is they hate Hindus and Hinduism and you an see they are attacking from all directions! Money, propaganda, appeasement, media manipulations, legal in every way!

  8. Krishnan says:

    List of Women who attempted to enter Sabarimala temple:
    1. Libi – christian, Atheist
    2. Suhasini Raj – Atheist, Hindu hater, NYT journalist
    3. Kavitha Jakkal – christian
    4. Rehana Fatima – Muslim who carried stained Sanitary Napkin along with coconut to offer “Ayyappa”
    5. Mary Sweety – christian
    Direct questions to some of my intellectual friends:
    1) Should we let 5 non-Hindu activists decide the future of 10,000 year old Hindu dharma? Come… on my friends!
    2) Are they devotees? Are they well-wishers?
    3) Are they asking equalities for our moms, sisters, or daughters? Do they really care?
    4) Why are they not fighting to reform their own religions? Why don’t they fight for cruel girl genital mutilations?
    5) What is their motive?
    Most of us are educated and believe in reforms/equality. But, at the same time, we do not want to be trapped by someone’s evil motives behind the name of equality. We do not want to be among those educated gullible who need only one logical reason to be persuaded! We want to go beyond one logical reason. We should be looking every action through different perspectives and different angles (see above questions). We should put more focus on the intentions and motives
    Also there are 4 million Hindu temples in India where 99 percent of them have female dirtiest also and everybody worship God’s and goddesses! Out of them, 2 temples restrict women and 6 temples restrict men! Anybody with even a few brain cells can see this is not the case of descrimimination ! Plain truth is Communists want Hinduism eradicated Chriitians want to all image Hinduism and loot the temples to build churches!
    99 percent of the million mosques do not allow any women of any age even anybody including the SC judges meddle with it, there will be a fatwa on his head!
    All these Bloody Bstrds gang up to rape Hindus in and loot temples ! Tgat is the absolute truth!

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