Opinion : Sabarimala
Are women really barred from Sabarimala? Every temple is having a unique idol concept, so is Sabarimala: explains Shri Rahul Easwar, a member of Thazhamon Madom, family of the head priests of Sabarimala Temple
Sabarimala ‘women’ entry case has been widely debated in national and international media in the past week. It almost became a flash point between the ‘Conservative’ and ‘Progressive’ debate. Many would like to see things in black and white and without nuance, we are all having liberty regarding our opinions. But can we take liberty with facts?
Facts regarding Sabarimala
- Every year ten thousands of women visit sabarimala. (Here falls the argument of “Constitutionality of banning woman”.)
- Only Young woman from the age group of 10 – 50 are having regulation.
- It is not because of Periods.
- It is not because of travel difficulty. (Had it been so how can women over the age of 50 and, girls below the age of 10 can enter?)
What is the real reason?
It is an in-depth question concerning the very fundamentals of temple and temple worship. Vivekananda was once asked, “If God is everywhere, why do we need temples. He replied – “Even though air is everywhere, we need a fan to feel it”. Temple according to “Tantra Shashtra” is a Yantra – Tantra – Mantra samuchaya or a combination of all these. Every temple is having a unique idol concept, pratishta sankalpa or temple philosophy.
For example there is Sabarimala for Women, Attukal Devi temple, where 30 lakh women offer pongala, is in Guinness Record for the largest congregation of women. In Attukal Pongala, men don’t offer pongala because it is more designed for women. In the same way, in Chakkulathu Kavu Devi Temple, Nari pooja is there where men don't take part. In Mannarasala Temple, there is female priest. In Chenganoor Devi Temple, period or menstruation of Devi is celebrated.
This is the diversity of Bharat and Bharateeya systems. This is the pluralism we need to celebrate. Many people find it tough to believe that there is an Islamic shrine inside Sabarimala temple premises for Ayyappa's best friend Bavar. Bavar was a person who was patriotic like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam of today. Bavar fought against the anti national forces of his time, in the same way Dr Abdul Kalam defended India's rich heritage from the Ultra Left wing anti national intellectuals.
It is time we remember the historical personality of Ayyappa. Ayyappa = Ayya + Appa or Vishnu + Shiva. When the Hindus of South India were divided and weakened in the name of Vaishnavism and Shaivism, this young boy Manikanta came along and combined Vaishnavism and Shaivism. It was around CE 1050. He created Hindu unity, took the assistance of Patriotic Muslims like Bavar and also took then Bharateeya Christians like ‘Veluthachan’ into confidence. Ayyappa in history fought against the Dacoits and Naxals of those years who were led by a person called 'Udayanan'.
Many people find the story of Ayyappa amusing and amazing and they find it too tough to believe, especially the part of joining the believers of all religion against the dacoits who were working to destroy the Hindu faith of his time. Once an youngster from college asked me after listening to one of my speeches – “It is incredible to learn about Ayyappa. It is unbelievable, are you twisting the story of Ayyappa and tweaking it to the modern situations of Bharat?” I smiled and replied – “No, I am just explaining the truth, I have documentary proof and all available circumstantial evidence pointing to the same”. And regarding ‘Ayyappa and Modern Bharat 2016’, Ayyappa, 1000 years ago, was showing the way how to save Hindus and Hindusthan by taking all believers into confidence, at the same time upholding “ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti” and go for the War against the Naxals, Dacoits, Anti Nationals.
Swamy Saranam, Vandee Mataram
Rahul Easwar (The writer is an author and activist, and the grandson of Kandararu Maheshwararu, senior supreme priest of Sabarimala)