Sunday, September 30, 2018

Swamiye Sharamanamaiyyappa !!!

This blog is based on the verdict of what Supreme Court has declared on Sabarimala, where they are allowing women of all age to enter the Sabarimala temple.
 

Those who don't know Sabarimala can read here and understand about the story of Ayappan and his devotees and believers. 

I have a personal connection with Ayyappa and the whole nine yards because I used to go with my Dad to all puja's and temple visits during those 42 days... ! I remember singing bhajans of Ayyappa during those puja's such as - Thedi varum kannugalil - which even my North India school teacher's were fan of and I have sang those during my school assembly as well!!!
 
So, I have a story too and its very close to my heart. When I say heart, its because it involves my Dad who is a big Ayyappan bhakt and I can vouch how deeply he is spiritual with Ayyappan. My dad Meladathe Chandrasekhan Nair who started worshiping Lord Ayyappan at the age of 12 - very young and today he is 83 years old but he went to Sabarimala for 42 years and walked the sabarimala 42 years from Erumelli to see his Lord Ayyappan's darshanam (visit). Imagine when he started this at the age of 12, being his daughter how I am connected to all of this. Every devotee who completes 18 years of visit to temple will plant a coconut tree there at Sabarimala and my Dad has planted two of them.


Even before my birth my Dad named me Usha -Ushas and I can see all this is related to Ayyappan because he used to often talk about Usha (Dawn) puja, Uccha (afternoon) puja and Vaighuneram (evening) puja. 
Every year my Dad used to take leave/PTO from his work to go to Sabarimala after completing his 42 days strict vritham, when he was bachelor I am sure he could and after his marriage still he did follow and went every year. I remember as a kid I used to see my Mom used to go and stay at my friend's house and after that she used to come when her menstrual cycle was completed. But my Dad never shy away from his social responsibilities even though he was a Guru swamy who used to take lot of kanni swamies with him to Sabarimala. Being a husband and father of his two children he fully did his duties. He used to take four times bath but he used to make sure he dropped his wife to her office while she was in her menstrual phase and he took care of dropping his daughter to school and rest besides doing puja's in the Ayyappan temple in Uttamnagar, Pune India. He is a devotee and he would do anything in the name of Lord Ayyappa. He earned things to build a temple for Ayyappan in Uttamnagar, Pune Maharashtra instead of building a house for his family. A very true and faithful human being, I am not saying because he is my father but that's how I have known him from outside people.


There were landlords/sarpanch's who have given free land to my Dad to build house but my Dad used that land to build Ayyappan temple. His philosophy is if there's a will there's a way and so if there's a way for his family to have their house they will have. He never believed in things that he got as a gift or bribe, belongs to him - he always said this is not hard earned by my effort so it will not stay with me for long so he used to donate that money which they used to get from their boss to the worker's canteen and every worker used to enjoy the samosa and tea that day.

An honest man, a believer and family man. I am very proud of my Dad for who he is, a very logical and rationale.


In fact I have been to Sabarimala at the age of 9 when I was in 4th grade. I went to Sabarimala by keeping the vritham (42 days) and then went with my maternal Grandma and cousins. I will tell you I still remember it was a hardship being myself a sports person it was touch climbing those mountains and walking continuously before it gets dark and finally rest in a tent that night. Early morning 4 am you get up to take shower in the Pampa river and then walk to the path of darshan of Lord Ayyappa.
I have been there and done that and after that I have more respect for my Dad because it is hardship and only a true dedicated person would take that effort. 


My Dad went till he was 79 and then we as kids being selfish stopped him because we don't want him to be pushed around during stampede and he probably understood our love and dilemma. But what I want to say is religion, belief is all about individuality and personal choices.
I know my Dad, who is very strict about Ayyappan and the vritham that one must follow. I remember there was one Shekharan uncle who was in Military and came to Dad to go to Sabarimala and my Dad did the puja and he wore the mala to go to Sabarimala but guess what he did drink in between those 42 days of vritham when he was not supposed to. He lied to my Dad but somehow some guilt that it came out and he apologized to my Dad. I remember there were many such stories and it was real not a myth. 
Many Maharashtrians have faith and they did follow the rules and went with my Dad to Sabarimala and they came back and been to a Ayyappa bhakt in Uttamnagar.
All this is good, and now we hear about the verdict where Supreme court says women can go to Sabarimala irrespective of what age they are. I hear many debates on this who are in favor of this verdict and those who are not.

I am a believer and I feel that one should have freedom to do what they want that doesn't hurt anyone. I never was religious and I know even today I have my sentiments because of my parents. I will respect what they believe in but over the period of my personal experience I am an agnostic and strong believer in humanity as my religion.

People should have freedom to worship or not to worship. It should be their personal choice.

After this verdict was out, I was listening and reading about this but I had my Dad behind my mind all the time. As I see lot of debates and arguments and discussions on the social media. All this and then I thought of my Dad. 

Whenever I felt a doubt, I have always gone to my Dad to ask because I think he is a person who thinks rationally and would give his unbiased response after that he won't tell me what I should do.
So today, I asked my Dad what is his thoughts on the verdict.

His response: "I don't agree supreme court's decision about women's entry to sabarimala temple. Those who believe in sabarimala ayyappa swami they will not enter the temple when they are in the age-group of 10 - 50."

I responded back to him with love saying, Swami Sharanam and he responded back - Ayyappa Saranam,! 
I totally agree, its all about one's belief system.

If you really believe in God which ever God you will have your faith in that and hence you will follow the rules as supposed to those who don't believe will not take the effort to do anything.

It's all in the belief system. Now those who don't believe and still want to prove something will go and visit ....? Not sure what they are trying to prove!!!

I know that in other parts of the world wherever Ayyappa temple is there women go and worship and there is no restriction so what is this all about?

Is this specific about Sabarimala? Then women who are okay to take that hike during their menstrual period is totally their personal discretion I believe unless there is a separate agenda.

Still, I believe this should not cause any issues to those who believe in Ayyappa dharma sashtav.

Because at the end its about one's own belief. Those who believe will follow the rules and those who won't will not take the effort to do anything.

Being a agnostic, I will say let's live and let others live peacefully, as long as you don't discriminate between human being all is well and peaceful!

Swamiye Saranamayyiappa !

~ Dawn 

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