A couple of lawyers who are also members ofIndian Young Lawyers’ Association (IYLA) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court that women should be allowed to visit Sabarimala Temple, a famous Shrine of Hindu God Swamy Ayyappa. Sabarimala is one of those few temples in India that welcomes the devotees and visitors from all over the world and there is almost no difference in terms of treatment to all of them. The devotees of Swamy Ayyappa will be seen in Black attire while going for Darshan. All the visitors are supposed to make a not-so-easy 40 KM trek through the jungles to the Main Temple, which is on top of the Hill. As we said before irrespective of the religion, caste, nationality and worship, people are allowed to visit this temple equally along with the pilgrims. When there is no caste or religion based differentiation in this place, why gender based restrictions? Why the women between 10 to 50 ages are not allowed to visit the temple? There is a small storyfrom ancient history according to the believers.
The legend Swamy Ayyappa is the prince of Panthalam, an ancient local kingdom of Kerala. They say he spent all his childhood in the palace and you can still see the traces of history in the palace. On the other hand, epics say that Ayyappa is the union force of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. He is not a result of natural physical relationship of a man and woman. That is why Ayyappa is very special for his devotees and they treat and worship him with so much religious respect. It was said in the epics that Ayyappa was created for a cause. He was a potent deity created to kill a female demon who was troubling the mankind. As soon as he killed the monster, there was a beautiful lady emerged and told her story and how a curse turned her into a demon. She thanked him for getting her back to her normal form and asked him to marry her. Swamy Ayyappa rejected her proposal and said his duty was only to destroy the demon and now he has to go and take care of his devotees. As she doesn’t stop requesting, he said he would marry her the year when Kanne Swamis (A devotee who takes Deeksha and visits the temple for the first time in his life) so the lady is been waiting since then in a shrine near the main temple. So, according to the mythological stories, it is a volunteer decision by the Hindu women not to enter into the temple premises as an empathy for Malikapurathamma, who is waiting for Ayyappa and paying regards to his celibacy for his devotees.
Naushad Ahmed Khan and Ravi Prakash Gupta, who filed the petition to let the women enter into the temple have seem to open a jar of warms. They are facing mixed reactions from the society. Both the lawyers are already receiving a lot of phone calls, emails and even whatsapp messages opposing their petition and asking them to withdraw the same. They have even tried doing the withdrawal but the Supreme Court didn’t approve the withdrawal request and the next hearing of this case is on 18th of January.
Not only the devotees, but also the Kerala government has opposed the idea of neglecting the traditional values and going against the temple rituals. The Chief Minister of kerala has submitted his opinion to the Supreme Court already that it will be against the believers to make any such practice and they will not be supporting this petition. What will happen to this issue, we will have to wait and watch!
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