Why I will not enter Sabarimala Temple
I am a Hindu woman devotee of Ayyappa Swamy and I will not enter Sabarimala Temple Yes, thats my decision Its backed by logic and deep faith in...
I am a Hindu woman devotee of Ayyappa Swamy and I will not enter Sabarimala Temple! Yes, that’s my decision. Its backed by logic and deep faith in Sanatana Dharma. The allegations that women have been denied entry into the sacred temple of Sabarimala because of discrimination, is far from true.
No devotee of Ayyappa will buy the argument that the lord is against women in reproductive age. People who are ignorant of the principles and practices of Hinduism may be vulnerable to such false propaganda. Since Sanatana Dharma is complex and presents itself in various dimensions Hindus themselves are not at times empowered to prevent the malicious attacks on the core of the dharma.
Are women really excluded ?
Since the deity in Sabarimala is in the form of a Naishtika Brahmachari (absolute brahmachari), male devotees observe 'mandala vratham' - 41 days of strict penance to cleanse himself ahead of the trek to the shrine. Is it possible for a man to undertake this vratam without the cooperation of his wife? I may not visit Sabarimala but as a wife, I am a part of the entire spiritual journey . When my husband embarks on the 41 day ‘vratam’ I know that my ‘parokshavratham', the indirect penance has begun!
The ‘vratham’ involves a rigorous routine like waking up in the wee hours and visiting temples after bath, eating frugally. It is common practice that in a house where ‘Ayyappa Deeksha' is observed by the husband, it's the wife who wakes up before he does and helps him thru his rituals. His adherence to ‘brahmacharya' or abstinence is but dependent on the wife! I ensure his 41 day 'vratam' is completed successfully, send him off with rituals, receive him with celebration on his return.
If my husband is physically worshipping the lord, my worship is spiritual. I am invested emotionally in the process. I meditate on the lord always and I am in ‘Dhyana' during that 'vratam'. I hold the lord in my heart when my husband is trekking the ghats. Isn’t that devotion according to Sanatana Dharma?
In Hinduism we hear that ‘God is the slave of a devotee' if your devotion is so pure you just have to ‘meditate' on the lord and that is so powerful especially when the lord himself is in a meditative state - Ayyappa in Sabarimala sits in Arddhasana or Yogapadasana. This posture reveals the mood of asceticism, the tapobhavam. The knees are bound by 'yogapatta' (a belt made of cloth) and hands are in yoga mudra. Ayyappa in this state elevates one to the conscious awareness (observing) state which is called Sat-Chit-Ananda or meditative state! So when my husband is physically fulfilling his vratam, I am emotionally and spiritually engaged in the process.
Science behind the tradition
I am a Hindu woman and I know for a fact that most of our rituals are ‘science based’. On March 30th 2016, when the Bombay High court gave a ruling that women be allowed into Shani Shingnapur Temple, it was Sadhguru who gave the science behind the ban on women entering the temple.
According to the popular mystic Jaggi Vasudev, keeping women out is not 'discrimination' but 'discretion'. The Shani Temple, built for the Lord of “dominance, distress, depression, disease and disaster” Is a place of dangerous energies- exorcisms and other powerful occult processes take place there and Its not wise to expose women to those negative energies especially when the next generation depends on their well being.
In the case of Sabarimala, it is for another reason that women are excluded. It is to protect them from travails of long penance and travel through jungles. Women during menstruation are fragile and as such the body will be in pain, weak and lethargic. Women wish to avoid strenuous physical activities during that period and a study of societies across the globe showed that they have in one form or the other, kept women away from strenuous physical labor during this delicate phase. The logic behind this practice was not 'impurity' as the feminists would want us to believe, but to protect a woman when she is most vulnerable!
Tradition of wearing Silver toe rings soon after marriage is also backed by science. Silver a good conductor activates the nerve connecting the toe, uterus and the heart –This regulates menstrual cycle enhancing chances of conception. Decades ago, Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner, an Austrian philosopher Scientist shared this science of our tradition with the world.
Attacks on Hindusim
In Hinduism who doesn't know that the three main portfolios of finance, education and defence are handled by Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga respectively and that there are restrictions on men in the Attukal temple and Linga Bhairavi temple? It is common knowledge that there are temples where transgenders are accorded divine status and also shrines where the menstrual phase of a woman is celebrated as in the Mahadeva temple in Chengannur and Kamakhya Devi temple in Assam. What does this tell us about the Hindu view on menstruation and the feminine?
Be it the attacks on the holy shrine of Sabarimala back in 1950 when the sanctum sactorum was completely gutted and the deity was broken, or the recent efforts in constructing a church in front of the Mahadeva temple or misleading pilgrims to visit a nearby church as a part of the ritual to the sacrilegious act of carrying sanitary napkins in the ‘irumudi’ by the likes of Rehana and Mary are in fact the ‘bloody impure acts' that the court should have condemned.
A foreigner, an Indophile, Francoise Gautier has been vociferously speaking about how the ancient wisdom of Hinduism is constantly under threat from Islam and Christian missionaries and how right he is!
My Idea of Empowerment
I am concerned about real word issues of women in India- rest assured they are not about being able to step into Sabarimala temple!
I know for a fact that India’s GDP will increase by 27 per cent if women in equal numbers as men join work force. I would like to see that happen. The Gender Gap Report of World Economic Forum (WEF) stresses on reduction in the gap so that our country can surge ahead. That will happen if women match men in Education, Health, Economic Participation and Political empowerment indices. I wish to work towards that.
In this great land where 80 per cent Hindus reside, a woman in her ‘fecund stage ‘is considered nothing less than Brahma who is the creator himself –and how I pray will a Mary or a Rehana understand this? Dear friends, in Sabarimala temple where lord Ayyappa sits is in fact the ‘garba griha' the ‘womb chamber' and by what logic can any one say he is a ‘misogynist'?