''When something harms me, I must not do that to others also''
This is the simple way of grasping the word DHARMA.
The energy within every one of us and in universe to follow the path of dharma is DHARMA SASTHA.
This word depicts the powerful deity in South India.
Dharma sastha is common as dharma is omnipresent and no one can avoid that.
Hinduism, Buddism, Jainism all celebrates Dharma sastha.
The laws, rules, regulations of whole cosmos are Dharma sastha. When we observe and follow them we are happy and blessed. But when we move away from the path of dharma we are in trouble.
The above said Dharma sastha has to be understood in historical and mythical aspects. Otherwise we all in great confusion.
The following article will make its best to understand the aspects of Sastha and finally makes you to understand who is Lord Ayyappan.
Hari Hara Sudhan’s THATHVAMASI Fact
The intelligence of the cosmic energy is being depicted as Hari.
The awareness within the intelligence is Hara.
The combined energy pattern of above said with prakruthi – Nature – Female energy is HARI HARA SUDHAN.
Dharma satha Ayyappan is the three in one combination of Hari – Hara and Sakthi.
The cosmic materials created with prakruthi makes obsession for that. The materials are made of light. But they make the illusion of a physical body which is MOHINI. In SriRangam during Vaikunda yekadesi festival Lord Vishnu – Ranganatha wears the Mohini alakaram. Actually the idol is mae but dressed up and gives the exact look of female. The whole universe is BHRAMAM – MALE ENERGY and it is manifested as prakruthi with combination of five elements – space – air – fire – water and earth.
When we understand this secret one can relate the ‘’SELF’’ with the cosmos and he or she will realize the TRUTH of ‘’oneness of all’’ – that is BHRAMAN state. This is ‘’thathvamasi’’ which is the greatest boon – saayujyam given to a true devotee who comes to Sabari malai. After climbing 18 sacred steps we can see this verse in Sanskrith and Malayalam.
‘’I and you are the same’’ – this is thathvamasi.
What we think about us, life will be given and transformed as actions in life. When one extends the thinking to a great level and take maha viratham for Sabari malai his life reaches that peak.
Self-realizing the thathvamasi state is the highest ‘’PARAMA ANANDHAM’’ given by Lord Ayyappan.
History starts….
Vijaya Nagar Empire took over the Tamil kingdom from Delhi sultans. After that Nayak rulers started ruling from Madurai. Meanwhile royal families of Pandiyan kingdom got separated and they settled with tiny areas in down south of Tamil country and Kerala.
One such tiny royal family settled and established the rule in Pandhalam.
It was in later half of 15th century A.D Thirumalai Nayak ruled Madurai.
A looting gang leader called Udhayanan was invading all parts of Madurai reign and Kerala for gold, silver, temple wealth, pepper, cardamon, elephant tusks and sandal from Western Ghats.
His main areas were Kottayam, Idukki, Pandhanam Thitta, Kulumi valley, Kumbum, Theni and Madurai.
He was also supporting the pirates of Arabian sea. 
He was a terrorist and can do anything for money.
Thirumalai Nayak was scared of this looter and he could not do anything. Same situation with Pandhalam rulers also.
Udhayanan planned to loot the Dharama sastha temple in Ponambala medu near Kantha malai in Sabari hills.
Kantha Malai Sastha
Kantha malai is the place where MAKARA JOTHY is being celebrated and observed every year. There is a place for Sastha's yanthra with Sani yanthra. There were hermits of saints in Kantha malai.
Ponambala medu adjacent to Kantha malai had the Dharma sastha temple with rich source of wealth. The tribes of the entire Poongavanam [whole Sabari hills] worshiped this Sastha and their family deities. This Sastha is being noted from Puranam installed by Parasuraman.
Sabari maatha [a tribal woman] served and lived in this area. When SriRam came in search of Sitha Devi, he was fed up and Sabari maatha made him to worship the Kantha malai Sastha and encouraged him to keep up dharama of getting back his wife. She directed him to Sugreeva and Hanuman who lived in those jungles. This area was ancient Kishkintha vanam.
When Udhayanan looted the Sastha temple he took away all wealth from temple treasury. He broke the oldest idol and slayed the priest’s head and rolled down 18 sacred steps. Tribal people living around tried their best to save but all were in vain.
Jayanthan – small boy of head priest observed this fear and somehow ran above to Kantha malai where the saints understood the situation and saved the boy. Days passed away.
Sages in the Kantha malai hermit cared and brought up this child. Years passed away.
Meanwhile Udhayanan had good looting in all across Madurai region and Western Ghats. Thirumalai Nayak Maharaj was scared of him.
Udhayanan wants to plunder in wealthy Madurai city.
Wedding bridge – solution for social issues
Jeyanthan grew as an young man and learned all required education from saints of Kantha malai. He was initiated with Kantha malai Sastha moola manthram from early years of child hood. By this time Pandhalam royal clan made Rajasekara Pandiyan as the ruler and he too got married.
Saints of Kantha malai had close healthy spiritual association with Pandhalam palace. They advised the royal family to accept Jeyanthan as their son-in-law.
Meanwhile the royal princess was taken away by Udhayanan and Jeyanthan secretly went to jungle and got back her. They got married in palace and started their family life in Kantha malai hermitage.
Who is an avathar purusha?
When we resemble our parents physically it is called ‘’jaadai’’.
When we resemble our parents or ancestors at family in attitude and habits it is called ‘’amsam’’
When a man or woman reflects the attitude, nature, functioning behavior of cosmic energy he or she becomes avatharam.
One who transforms the society with their spiritual energy is celebrated as avathara purushan or purushi.
This is the pattern of life of Vedic tradition.
Rama, Krishna, Meenakshi, Aandal, Seetha, Radha, Ayyappa etc all are avatharams as they lived as the manifestation of cosmic energy.
Jeyathan and his wife took proper initiation from saints and observed maha viratham to have a son as the replica of Dharma sastha as Kousalya and Devaki did.
On a Panguni Uthiram day the couple gave birth to a boy baby. Panguni Uthiram is the star of Dharma sastha and in Tamil Nadu that day is celebrated as Sastha’s birth day. In Sabari malai, this day is being observed as a very auspicious day.
Old songs say Pandalam king offered a precious gem pendant to the royal baby and he was named as BHOOTHA NADHAN – One who rowns and governs all five natural elements. As the precious gem [mani] is being offered he was also known as ‘’MANI KANDAN’’.
Meanwhile we must understand that King Rajasekara Pandiyan did not have any child so far.
The boy was brought up with proper spiritual initiation under the guidance of great saints of hermit. He was given basic primary education and by six year old palace invited the child with parents to live there.
Education…and eternal friendship of Miladhan
Bhootha Nathan was taken to an Aasan near Pandhalam and left for gurukulam. On the joining day when he went he saw a poor mal nutritional boy crying at entrance. He was MILADHU.
Miladhu belonged to paanar community. Paanars were very old caste in ancient Tamil country and today’s Kerala. They travel across nations, sing in praise of kings, rich men and warriors and receive gifts and survive. They use the musical instrument ‘’yaazh’’ – pre form of veena. Till they use that and sing in temples of Kerala. Milahu’s father was no more and his mother was a paadini [feminine form of paanan]
Miladhu was refused to get admitted in gurukulam as he cannot pay proper dakshinai [fees]. Tutor was asking his mother to take back him and he was crying. Bhootha Nathan saw this when he got from chariot. He immediately refused to get into the tutor’s home. There was a chaos.
Tutor came out and saw the royal family members. He saw Bhootha natha’s charming glowing face with well-balanced attitude.
‘’Welcome dear son, why use refuse to join here?’’ – Tutor
‘’The most horrible crime is to sell the education – vidhya. Vidhya is universal and common to all people. Everyone have the right to have education’’ – says Bhootha Nathan.
The awareness given to the child from pregnancy by parents, saints of Kantha malai and his avathara mission made him very much aware about life.
Miladhu was accepted by tutor and he became Bhootha nathan’s intimate eternal true friend.
Miladhan’s songs about bhootha Nathan are still being preserved and it helps us to trace and know many historical facts about Ayyapan’s avatharam.
One verse of Miladhu says that even his dothi was given by Bhootha Nathan.
After education got over when everyone gave dakshinai miladhu was directed by Bhootha Nathan to bring something from his home as we need to spend our own energy to attain great wisdom. Miladhu’s mother offered him a cup of ghee and Miladhu placed tat at Bhootha nathan’s sacred feet and says, ‘’Who have their own energy? Everything is God’s. Tis cup of ghee my mother can get is because of Lord’s grace. So I offer this to you.’’
This makes us to offer pure cow ghee to Lord which is the symbol of pure awareness. Cow ghee is having the most efficient sun light energy.
When Bhootha Nathan left to palace Miladhu was following him and he was asked why. He says, ‘’Lord! You follow the path of Dharama and reflect the nature of Dharma sastha. Let me serve you by singing the deeds as a paanan. Let me inspire all people to follow the path of Dharma through my songs which are being initiated by you.’’
Lord says, ‘’Miladhaa…you can get free from this birth-death cycle and attain the maha moksha – liberation’’
Milahu, ‘’Lord, than that I need to serve this man kind and nature by making them to surrender to almighty and solve their problems. I need to guide and make all true people to reach your path of dharma’’
Miladhu was bestowed with that. Till now his atman serves for a true devotee who wants to see Ayyappan and follow the path of Dharma.
Miladhu sang the live war between the army of Lord and Udhayanan in Erumeli. He holds the udukku and sing.
‘’Miladhu raksha saranam Ayyappa’’
There is lot of incidents in which today Miladhu’s atman has served many devotees to see Ayyapan very clearly and solve many issues. Please add the above said slogan with your sarana gosham.
Ayyappan’s guru dakshinai
Ayyappan made his tutor’s son to talk by giving the moola manthram of Sastha in his tongue and rendered his guru kaanikai.
Education in Madurai
Lord was taken to Madurai where he took essential martial arts especially horse riding and elephant riding and bow art. It is believed that he stayed in KOCHADAI [Near Fennar, Theni main road, Madurai, ask for Kochadai Muthaiyah temple]
Kochadai is the western Vaigai river bank village in Madurai city. The temple is dedicated to Dharma sastha named – Vil aayudham udaiya ayyanar. He resides with Poorna and Pushkala Devi holding bow in his left and. The temple is being installed by Meenakshi’s son Kochadai Maara Verma Jada Veera Pandiyan in 8 B.C. This Ayyanar is being mentioned as ‘’THADHAATHAKAA MANA PREETHAAYAI NAMAHA’’ – ONE WHO MAKES THE MIND OF MEENAKSHI HAPPY in Sastha sahasranamam.
The temple is famous for the shrine of Periya Karuppu Ayya and Siriya Karuppa Ayya who first joined with Lord to attack Udhayanan from Theni. They met Lord here and joined with their whole community to face the battle. Lord has given first preference to them and today it is called ‘’MUTHAIYAAH TEMPLE’’.
The oldest Shenbaga valli Ayyanar idol is installed out of sanctum. The temple has given place for all important Shiva ganas and warriors who helped Lord to face Udhayanan.
The temple is very famous for gigantic stuccos of Periya Karuppu with Lord as entering into Madurai in their horses. There are few very huge Bhootha ganas. The Bhootha ganam near Lord is called PANDI BHOOTHAM. This is the energy Lord installed to protect Madurai.
Near the main sanctum there is room for Ayyappa where he sat and meditated for a while.
Promise to save Madurai
Ayyappan met Thirumalai Nayak king and promised him to safe guard Madurai city and not to support indirectly out of fear to Udhayanan. He also worshiped Meenakshi and Sokkanadhar at Madurai temple as his royal clan has accepted Meenakshi as kula devatha.
Then after discussing with Karuppu brothers he left to Kerala.
A real social study…made
By this time he studied the issues of society, discrimination among people based on caste system and religions. He then focused on poverty. He also studied the root cause for looting, thefts, murdering etc. He decided to gather the people of all sect to unite and face the battle with Udhayanan. Before that he travelled across ghats, villages, tibal places, towns at his reign and had several satsang – meeting with various people and spoke clearly about the path of Dharma.
He accepted all caste people without discrimination of color, food, language and all religions.
Islamic pirate Waawar
He studied that pirate gangs of Arabian sea supports Udhayanan. He came to know a pirate called Waawar from Thirunelveli region settled in Malabar Coast .
He then met Waawar and made him to realize the social damage he is doing which is not accepted in holy Quran in Islam. He made him to realize the TRUTH said in Islam and Vedas. Waawar agreed and transformed himself and joined with Ayyapan with his whole roop. Now the main support for Udhayanan is being brought under the control of Ayyapan.
The meeting held at Erumeli where both army men accepted each other and started planning for war. The spot in Erumeli Sastha temple opposite to Mosque is the place where Waawar placed his sword and joined with Ayyapan.
Erumeli Hunter Sastha temple
Erumeli Hunter Sastha is a very ancient Dharma sastha temple where Lord is in the form of a hunter with bow and arrows. He is worshiped as a hunter tto hunt the unwanted attitudes – animals in human mind – a jungle.
Improving the army
Ayyappan then learned wrestling under a great tutor near Azhapuzha and there he made Ram and Krishnan – two brothers to join in his army. There he met his guru’s daughter who expressed her real true dedicated love. She understood the divine status of Lord and expressed her true compassion to his atman.
Lord gave his bracelet and blessed her to serve the people and left. She is considered to me Poorna Devi’s incarnation.
Political issues at palace….
Then slowly people realized the need for unity and joined wwith Ayyapan. Meanwhile Pandhalam queen gave birth to a boy child. Rajasekara Pandiyan wanted Lord to take over the responsibility to care the clan and people and planned to coronate him as prince.
Battle at Erumeli
Finally Ayyappan and Udhayanan face the battle in Erumeli and the looter was killed. People felt happy to see the united social task being fulfilled by Lord’s plans and grace.
When celebrations happened the troops in success danced and sang which is being observed as VAYTTAI THULLAI – Pettai thullai. When we do that in Erumeli we must pray that hunter Sastha must assist us to kill all the animal behavior in our mind.
Maaligai purathu Manjam Devi – Mahishi vadham
It is said that Maaligai puram was a rich royal settlement in Erumeli. The princess was Manjammal. She was so beautiful and educated. But she was very egoistic in nature. She thought that anything can be done with power, money, position and order. She met Ayyappan in her palace when he was met by her royal family after war. She was mesmerized by the handsome look of Ayyappan and his deeds. She gave up her mind and compassion to Lord. But Lord explained his mission and made her to realize the need to serve.
In Erumeli sastha temple she met Lord in person where he gave the lessons of truth, dharma and made her get free from her ego. She transformed herself and surrendered to lord. Lord accepted her compassion and left further to meet people.
The above said event is defined and symbolized as ‘’Mahishi vadham’’ – mahisham buffalo the symbol of ego – adamant nature of mind. The self-transformation Manjamma had through Lord’s lessons is real Mahishi vadham.
Rehab plan for looters and poor people
Lord arranged for rehab and occupation for many army men who were looters and poor who joined with him to attack Udhayanan. He allowed for spices cultivation in POONGAVANAM MOUNTAIN AREAS belonging to Pandalam kingdom. Theni, Cumbum valley were also allotted for this.
Tiger milk….is possible?
Rajasekara Pandiyan was very much eager in making Ayyapan to become the Pandhalam prince. But queen did not liked that. In one occasion when Lord went to meet her she was irritated and frustrated with this political issue and expressed in her gestures.
‘’Mother! Are you unwell?’’ – Lord
‘’Nothing….i need to rest’’ – Queen
‘’Sorry she is unwell’’ says doctor
‘’Then why cannot we medicate her?’’ – Lord
With irritating voice, ‘’mmmm the medication can be done with mixture of tigress milk’’ – queen
Lord understood the situation and truth behind all these and left that place. Meanwhile lord’s parents left and served in Kantha malai hermitages.Rajasekara Pandiyan was directed by Lord to reconstruct the demolished Dharma sastha temple. He said that he can show the exact spot where it has to be and aimed the arrow to the spot where Sabari maatha lived and took moksham.
All tribal communities were happy to get back the temple and wanted to enshrine all their family and forest deities.
Tigress milk and Kamban kudi
Lord from Poongavanam Mountains brought a tigress to Pandhalam palace and he was riding upon it. While he crossed Kamban kudi village he was served with a bowl of porridge and still that family maintains that bowl.
When queen, royal family members and doctor saw the tigress with Lord they were shocked. Lord says, ‘’When compassion is true, any living being can be our friend and they serve us. I am the compassion of whole universe and whole universe is under the control of Dharma – TRUTH – PARAMA ATMAN which is selftual – within us. So ‘’I’’ the eternal is the king of universe under which this Pandhalam is also ruled. There is no need for me to rule…please be happy and peaceful.. .’’
Emerald Dharma sastha from Madurai
The temple of Dharama sastha was erected and Agasthya ashram from Kutralam hills guided. Madurai Meenakshi amman temple Shiva shrine has a spot called ‘’PORPAIYAAN’’ near to Nataraja in outer circumbalant – prakaram.
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