The Ayyappan fast, which begins at Shree Ayyappaa Kshetram (SAK) on Saturday morning of the 3rd December 2016 at 09h00, is a very special fast in that it lasts for 41 days and is during the most taxing time of the year as it spans the Christmas and New Year festive periods. In life the more difficult the task the greater is the rewards or benefits. In psychology it is known that if one does any activity with sincerity and passion for a period longer than 21 days that activity becomes a habit. It is with this in mind that the Ayyappan fast is carried for at least 41 days.
The devotee who wishes to undertake this fast, with other fellow devotees, gather on Saturday the 3rd December 2016 at 09h00, perform Poojaa, observe the Abhishegam, which is the spiritual bathing of the deity with different pure substances, symbolizing the qualities a spiritual aspirant needs to cultivate, and makes a vow to Lord Ayyappaa that this fast would be undertaken with the greatest understanding and awareness of its benefits, and with an intention to sow peace, joy and serenity. The beginning of the fast is symbolized by the wearing of a chain (Maalaa), which has an Ayyappan pendant on it, and the prayer is called Maalaatharan Poojaa.
The main aim of the various aspects of the fast is to loose body or sense organ related awareness/ consciousness and gain soul or spirit related consciousness, which leads to the realization that all that we see and all that we are is one continuous, undifferentiated and inseparable related consciousness (self-realization/God realization).
The devotee who undertakes the fast attempts to do the following to the best of his/her ability:
- Should wear a rosary or Maalaa which reminds him of his vow taken at the beginning of the fast.
- Should Wear black clothing to symbolise that he has become dead to the material world. It also symbolises that the devotee recognizes his own ignorance as the main cause of his pain and suffering.
- Should not shave or cut hair and nails in order to loose body consciousness.
- Should walk barefoot whenever it is practically possible.
- Should eat one Sattvic (Pure) vegetarian meal a day.
- Should bath twice daily preferably with cold water.
- Should Pray in the morning and in the evening.
- Should adorn the forehead with Sandal Paste (Santhenam) symbolizing the concept that whatever you come into contact with will leave a lasting impression on you, similar to the manner by which sandal paste imparts its fragrance.
- Should attend Bhajan at least once weekly, preferably on a Saturday and learns the Vazhi Paada (Vazhi = Path or Route: Paada = Chants) meaning “the song of the path followed”.
- Should speak sweetly, truthfully, pleasantly and inspiringly to others.
- Should listen to elevating discourses,
- Should read educating and inspiring literature.
- Should think thoughts of tranquillity, purity and calmness.
- Should practice celibacy and all thoughts/actions should be free from any sexual connotation.
- Should greet fellow devotees with the Greeting “Swaamiyeh Saranam Ayyappaa” which means that Lord Ayyappaa is our only refuge and we should surrender to His will.
- Should take part in a Poojaa called Petthai Thullal on Tuesday evening 10th January 2017, in which devotees dance around a fire and are smeared with powder of different colours in order to destroy the devotee’s ego and arrogance .
- Should carry an Irumudi, on the head to the Ayyappan temple from Laudium, accompanied by fellow devotees on Saturday morning(preparation 03h00 and procession 06h00) the 14th January 2017
- Should remove the Rosary or Maalaa on the last day of the Fast symbolizing the end of the fast.
The fast represents a transition from ignorance and distress to enlightenment and joy through physical effort, mindful sacrifice and intentional spiritual experience.
Swaamiyeh Saranam Ayyappaa!!!
Important dates to remember:
|Saturday 3rd December 2016 at 09h00||Maalaatharan Poojaa – Beginning of the fast|
|Saturday 10th,17th, 24th, 31st at 09h00||Ayyappaa Abheshegam, Bhajan, Lunch|
|Saturday 7th January – 09h00||Ayyappaa Abheshegam, Bhajan, Lunch|
|Sunday 8th Jan. to Saturday 14th Jan.2017||Ayyappaa Utsav different daily programs|
|Tuesday 10th January 2017 at 19h00||Petthai Thullal – part of Ayyappaa Utsav|
|Saturday 14th January 2017 starting 03h00||Carrying Irumudi to SAK-Ayyappan Yaatra|