Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity of the hill shrine of Sabarimala, is angry at the corruption going on there. And simple atonement for the sins just won't do. The only way to appease him: two-year-long atonement rituals.
A four-day Asta Mangala Devaprasnam (divination ritual based on astrology to know the will of God) that concluded on Tuesday found "unholy practices" in the shrine. And so, 20 astrologers prescribed a two-year atonement ritual led by Parappanangadi Unnikrishnan — former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa's favorite astrologer.
The revelation is that those associated with the temple have a single concern — to mint money. As a result, devotees are being ignored, they aren't even being provided with basic facilities. All this has hurt the Lord immensely, revealed the Devaprasnam.
What's more, a young woman, said to be a Telugu actress, reportedly managed to enter the sanctum sanctorum last year — a big lapse on the part of temple authorities since the Lord is a brahmachari and women in the age group of 10 to 50 aren't allowed inside.
According to the Devaprasnam, the deity is upset over various theft cases, mushrooming construction activities in the surrounding forests, special care to the powerful and poor treatment to devotees and animals. It also found out that many devotees aren't offering obeisance at the shrine of Vavar, a Muslim aide of the Lord. Before entering Sabarimala, the practice is for devotees to worship at the Vavar shrine, which is managed by Muslim clerics.
Accepting the findings of the Devaprasnam, the Travancore Devaswom Board has said it will unconditionally implement remedial measures at the earliest. "Recurring unpleasant incidents forced us to go for an elaborate Devaprasnam. All suggestions will be implemented without delay," said TDB president G. Raman Nair.
Lakhs of pilgrims throng the temple, situated in the Sahyadri mountains, every season from November to January. During the pilgrimage, devotees have to observe certain customs, like abstaining from all cardinal pleasures for a 41-day period.