Playing Host to Deity: Festival Religion in the South Indian Tradition

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Datta wanted to return to the divine realm, but Lila enjoyed her life on earth and Datta's company. She wanted to stay on earth. Lila in turn cursed him to become a Mahisha, or water buffalo demon. They plundered earth with their evil acts. The water buffalo demon Mahishasura was killed by goddess Durga , while the water demoness Mahishasuri was killed by Ayyapan, ending the terror of evil and liberating divine Lila who was previously cursed. There are many temples in Kerala whose presiding deity is Ayyappan, the most famous among them being the Sabarimala temple.

The temple attracts millions of visitors every year during mandala season from mid November to mid January. Ayyappan temples typically show him as a celibate yogi.


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A few important temples such as the one at Achankovil Sree Dharmasastha Temple near Travancore, however, depict him as a married man with two wives Poorna and Pushkala, as well as a son Satyaka. Ayyappan has roots in Kerala, but his influence and popularity has grown among the Hindus in many states in India such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Of his many temples, the most significant is at Sabarimala also spelled Sabarimalai , set in the forests of the Quilon district Western Ghats on the banks of river Pambar, southeast of Kottayam.

It is a major pilgrimage, attracting millions of Hindus every year, particularly of Malayali, Tamil and Telugu heritage.

The Sabarimalai Temple and Pilgrimage

Many begin preparations months in advance by leading a simple life, doing yoga, abstaining from sex, eating a vegetarian diet or partially fasting, wearing black or blue or sadhu -style dress for forty one days, then trekking as a group to the shrine. The group does not recognize any form of social or economic discrimination such as caste, and all devotees form a fraternity welcoming each other as equals. The shrine priests and devotees bring flowers from all over the Western Ghats and scatter them near the shrine, all the while chanting shlokas. To keep the human traffic organized, Ayyappan devotees reserve and are assigned a pilgrimage day from one of the 51 days of pilgrimage, and each day sees over , walking pilgrims.

Girls and older women are welcome and join the journey with men, but women between the ages of are strictly prohibited in sabarimala. Because of the belief that Lord Ayyappan is a celibate warrior-yogi deity. Valentine Daniel, the pilgrimage is a part of their spiritual journey. He is also revered by Muslims in Kerala [4] due to his friendship with Vavar , [45] who is identified as a Muslim brigand in local versions of the Ayyappan myth. They fight. Ayyappan defeats Vavar, and Vavar changes his way, becomes Ayyappan's trusted lieutenant helping fight other pirates and robbers.

A mosque dedicated to Ayyappan's lieutenant Vavar swami stands next to Kadutha swami shrine at the foot of the pilgrimage path, both as a form of guardian deities. Some pilgrims offer a prayer to both, before beginning their Sabarimala forest and mountain pilgrimage hike. The Vavar legend and palli shrines may reflect the Hindu approach to accepting and co-opting legendary figures or saints of other religions within its fold. The deity Ayyappan has appeared in several regional TV and movies as a character, such as the Swami Ayyappan in multiple languages.

Media related to Ayyappan at Wikimedia Commons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Hindu god of growth. For other uses, see Ayyappa disambiguation. Scriptures and texts. Nandi Tantrism Jyotirlinga Shiva Temples. Main traditions. Vaishnavism Shaivism Shaktism Smartism. Rites of passage. Philosophical schools. Gurus, saints, philosophers. Other texts.

Devaragattu celebrates Banni Festival in Andhra Pradesh

Text classification. Other topics. Ayyappan, also called Hariharaputra, is believed to be born from the union of Shiva and Mohini. Encyclopaedia of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Sarup and Sons. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Robinson; Michael York Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Long Historical Dictionary of Hinduism. Scarecrow Press. Collected Essays.

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Oxford University Press. Dubey The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 4 March Retrieved 13 July Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. Harvard University, Dept. Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit. Retrieved 27 August Syracuse University Press. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. Springer Publishing. Pashu: Animal Tales from Hindu Mythology. Srikumaran Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. David Bardwell L. Smith ed. Religion and the Legitimation of Power in South Asia.

The Beautiful Legend of God contains the tenth and most significant book in the popular Indian epic Srimad Bhagavata Purana , which is the principal source for the story of Krishna, worshipped by many Hindus as the Supreme Being. Devoted to Krishna's miraculous incarnation, this collection of sacred tales recounts his childhood and adolescence in the forests of Vrindavan: playing with his friends, dallying amorously with cowherd maidens, and stealing butter to feed the monkeys. Krishna emerges from these episodes as an immediately engaging figure, and the stories have inspired The Beautiful Legend of God contains the tenth and most significant book in the popular Indian epic Srimad Bhagavata Purana , which is th Paul B.

Part animal and part intellectual, an image found in virtually every Indian home, Ganesa, the elephant-headed god, is one of the most important and popular gods throughout India and Hindu Southeast Asia.

Playing host to deity : festival religion in the South Indian tradition

In this, the first comprehensive, full-length study of Ganesa, Courtright covers not merely the mythology but also the ritual, the political uses, and the modern as well as the Vedic manifestations of the god. The book begins with a consideration of the various myths of Ganesa, stories of his birth, his beheading by his father Siva, and his subsequent restoration as the lord who gives, or Part animal and part intellectual, an image found in virtually every Indian home, Ganesa, the elephant-headed god, is one of the most important and po William S.

Every few decades, thousands of Hindu villagers in the Central Himalayas of North India carry their regional goddess Nandadevi in a bridal palanquin to her husband Shiva's home, walking barefoot over icebound mountain passes to a lake surrounded by human bones. This Royal Pilgrimage of Nandadevi is a ritual dramatization of the post-marital journeys of married women from their natal homes to their husbands' homes.

Mountain Goddessis an anthropological study of this pilgrimage and the cult of Nandadevi, especially as they relate to local women's lives. The author shows how Nandadevi's appeal Every few decades, thousands of Hindu villagers in the Central Himalayas of North India carry their regional goddess Nandadevi in a bridal palanquin t Kathleen M. The worship of Devi the Goddess is one of the most vigorous and visible religious phenomena in northwest India today. This study uses interviews, participant observations, and textual analysis to explore the nature of the Goddess and her devotees' experience of her.

This study uses interviews, pa Patrick Olivelle. The first readable and accurate translation of twenty of the most authoritative Hindu documents pertaining to ascetic ideals and the ascetic way of life, this text opens to students a major source for the study of the Hindu ascetical institutions and of the historical changes they underwent during a period of a thousand years or more.

Beginning with an analysis of the historical context that gave rise to Indian ascetical institutions and ideologies, Patrick Olivelle moves on to elucidate the meaning of renunciation-the central institution of holiness in most Hindu traditions-and the function The first readable and accurate translation of twenty of the most authoritative Hindu documents pertaining to ascetic ideals and the ascetic way of li He examines in depth its relationship to other institutional and doctrinal aspects of the Brahmanical world and its position within Brahmanical theology, and assesses David L.

This is an account of a Krishna pilgrimage in the Indian region of Braj. Drawing on his own experience of the pilgrimage, Haberman places it in a historical and cultural context, and recounts the tales of Krishna around which the pilgrimage revolves. The book should interest scholars and students of S. Asian religion and culture, and of pilgrimage more generally. Drawing on his own experience of the pilgrimage, Haberman places it in a hist Paul Younger. The Home of Dancing Sivan is an inquiry into the traditions of the Citamparam temple in South India, the only Hindu temple where the image of Sivan as Natarajan, the dancer, is the central focus of worship.

Younger begins with the living traditions, describing the community of Ditcitars, the two hundred priests of the temple who carry on an ancient tradition involving six worship periods each day, and discusses in detail the elaborate temple festivals, which attract up to , people. He analyzes the three hundred inscriptions on the temple walls, and seeks to determine from them, The Home of Dancing Sivan is an inquiry into the traditions of the Citamparam temple in South India, the only Hindu temple where the image of Leslie C.

Orr ; Leslie Orrey. Through the use of epigraphical evidence, Leslie C. Orr brings into focus the activities and identities of the temple women devadasis of medieval South India. This book shows how temple women's initiative and economic autonomy involved them in medieval temple politics and allowed them to establish themselves in roles with particular social and religious meanings.

This study suggests new ways of understanding the character of the temple woman and, more generally, of the roles of women in Indian religion and society. Orr brings into focus the activities and identities of the temple women devadasis of medieval So This book offers a new exploration of the mythology of the Hindu god Siva, who spends his time playing dice with his wife, to whom he habitually loses. The result of the game is our world, which turns the god inside-out and changes his internal composition.

The Sabarimalai Temple and Pilgrimage | Mahavidya

Hindus maintain that Siva is perpetually absorbed in this game, which is recreated in innumerable stories, poems, paintings, and sculptural carvings. This notion of the god at play, arguee Handelman and Shulman, is one of the most central and expressive veins in the metaphysics elaborated through the centuries, in many idioms and modes, This book offers a new exploration of the mythology of the Hindu god Siva, who spends his time playing dice with his wife, to whom he habitually loses This notion of the god at play, argue Handelman and Shulman, is one of the most central and expressive veins in the metaphysics elaborated through the centuries, in many idioms and modes, Isabelle Nabokov ; Isabelle Clark-Deces.

In this comprehensive analysis of South Indian village Hinduism, Isabelle Nabokov shows that a wide spectrum of Tamil rituals effects transformations of identity through similar processual and symbolic operations. She reveals that such operations may lead participants to adopt personalities which are at odds with themselves. In this comprehensive analysis of South Indian village Hinduism, Isabelle Nabokov shows that a wide spectrum of Tamil rituals effects transformations Isabelle Nabokov.

This book provides a holistic description of Hinduism, showing how different types of Hinduism form a "total" or systematic cosmology and repeat crucial values through different symbols. Looking at Tamil religious practices, Isabelle Nabokov reveals that Tamil religion is primarily concerned with transformations of identity and subjectivity, both in this world and in the hereafter. This book provides a holistic description of Hinduism, showing how different types of Hinduism form a "total" or systematic cosmology and repeat cruci This is the full edition of the early Upanisads, the central scriptures of Hinduism.

Featuring Patrick Olivelle's acclaimed new English translation Oxford, , it also includes the complete Sanskrit text, as well as variant readings, scholarly emendations, and explanations of Olivelle's choices of particular readings.

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The volume also contains a concordance of the two recensions of the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, and an extensive bibliography. Featuring Patrick Olivelle's acclaimed new English translation O Brian A. In this new book, Brian Hatcher examines the modern Hindu penchant for constructing religious worlds in an eclectic fashion. Noting how Hindu apologists from Rammohun Roy to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan make an almost promiscuous use of the world's many philosophies and religions to define and defend Hinduism, Hatcher sets out to explore the ancient roots and contemporary significance of such eclectic borrowing.

A discussion of the Vedic and classical roots of Hindu eclecticism affords Hatcher the opportunity to reflect upon the profound and widespread role of eclecticism in South Asian religion, Noting how Hindu apologis


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