How to worship Lord Ayyappa Swamy
The Kaliyug god Lord Ayyappa Swamy is worshipped by millions of devotees throughout India with great dedication and devotion. It is believed that by worshipping Ayyappa Swamy gets relief from facing troubles of visible and invisible and other obstacles. The austerities of Ayyappa Swamy is a difficult one compared with others. During the period of Vrutham utmost care should be taken by each devotee to keep their mind and body clean, pure and balance.
For worshipping Ayyappa Swamy females are eligible only at the age between 1 to 9 and after 50 years of age. Males at any age can worship Ayyappa Swamy.
The devotee should lead a life of sadhu for 41days. The devotee should avoid all worldly pleasure and avoid taking alcohol and non-vegetarian food, should not cut hair and nails a shave and his actions, thoughts should not hurt the feelings of others at any circumstances. Complete Bramacharya during this period is essential without which no devotee should go to Sabarimala Temple.
The Ayyappa swamy devotee starts worshipping from the first day of the Malayalam month Vrichikam in the month of November. The Ayyya Swamy pooja starts from the day of wearing of Thulasi Mala or Rudraksha Mala with the locket of Lord Ayyappa. The mala is to be accepted from Guru Swami who has visited the Sabarimala Temple several times and who can guide the other devotees in all matters. The Ayyappa devotees have to wear black or dark blue dhoti and shirt according to the rituals. These devotees are called as Ayyappa or Swamy till the completion of their pilgrimage and removal of Mala thereafter.
During Ayyappa Swamy pooja devotees have to wake up early in the morning and should worship lord Ayyappa both in the morning and evening after taking bath and has to strictly follow the rules to attain the blessing of Swamy Ayyappa. While performing pooja at home or in a common place, three vertical lamps are required representing the Guru, Lord Ayyappa and Goddess Shakti respectively.
First Lord Vigneswara is worshipped and seek his blessings, then kalasa pooja has to be performed in the Pancha Patra and the sacred water from it has to be sprinkled over the pooja materials for purification. Finally, the poojas is performed to the Lamp representing the Lord Ayyappa with 108 or 1008 names with flowers. After completion of the pooja rituals, Sri Sasta Ashtakam is being chanted to mark the end of worship.
Before each meal devotee should pray and take the meal as Prasadam of Lord Ayyappa. The body has to be hardened and hence he has to sleep on the floor without any comforts and should wear black dress and walk without any footwear.
Makara Sankranti day is the most auspicious day at Sabarimala and Mandala Pooja day is considered as second most auspicious day. Ayyappa lrumudi is the only traveling kit which a pilgrim carries on his head during the Shabarimala pilgrimage. Without the Irumudi one is not allowed to step onto the holy 18 steps at the Sannidhanam. This bag is in two compartments – the Munmudi (the front part) and the Pinmudi (the back part) and the opening at centre. The front portion is reserved for keeping all the puja articles and offerings to the deity while the rear part is meant to hold the pilgrims personal requirements for the journey.
After filling the holy coconut with ghee and packing the essentials for offering Lord Ayyappa in the Irumudi (called ketunira), the Guru places the sacred Irumudi on head of the pilgrims chanting Saranam. The pilgrims leave the place without looking at anyone and bidding goodbye to family or friends. Walking barefoot the pilgrims proceed to
Proper worship of lord Ayyappa Swamy vrutham gives mental satisfaction of the pilgrimage to Sabarimala for the attainment of salvation of the soul.