Swami Ayyappan

The king of Pandalam was a very religious man.He ruled well and the small kingdom of Pandalam was prosperous.He and his Queen lived happily but for one thing – the royal couple were childless.The Queen prayed to Lord Vishnu and the king prayed to Lord Shiva for a heir.One day,while hunting on the banks of the river Pampa,the king heard a small baby’s cry. He found a beautiful baby boy in the middle of the forest,abandoned.He thought the gods have blessed him with a son and took the infant home.The Queen was also very happy to receive the baby boy.He had a chain with a precious gem on his neck.Hence,they named him ‘Manikantan'(the one with a gem on his neck) and brought him up as their own child.

Before long,the queen conceived and a baby boy was born to the royal couple.Manikantan was educated and the king wanted him to succeed him to the throne.But after the birth of their own child,the Queen’s mind changed.She didn’t want Manikantan to inherit the throne of her husband.So,in order to get rid of him,she and the minister thought of a plan,she acted as if she had unbearable stomach pain.The royal physician was called and he ruled the breast milk of leopard as the only cure for her disease.Infact,the physician was also a party to the conspiracy to get rid of  Manikantan.As expected,Manikantan offered to go the forest in search of leopard’s milk.The Queen and her associateds thought the leopard will finish off Manikantan.But Manikantan,who was no ordinary mortal brought back a big she-leopard to get milk for his foster mother’s stomach-ache.People panicked and the Queen herself ran for shelter.The king finally asked Manikantan to send back the ferocious wild animal to the forest.The queen was miraculously cured without the leopard’s milk.Manikantan who understood the situation;told the king that he is leaving the palace.He wanted to live in the forest on top of a hill,meditating.He requested his father to build a temple for him there and disappeared.Before leaving,he told his father that he can see him,if he visits Sabarimala,the place in the forest he selected as his abode.

While he was in search of leopard’s milk,Manikantan came across Mahishi,a ferocious demoness and killed her.She had a boon by which she won’t be killed by none other than the child of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.Manikantan was the child of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu(Vishnu’s incarnation as Mohini,a beautiful maiden).The king of pandalam was very sad that his son was leaving him but he understood that his son was divine.He built a temple on the top of Sabarimala for Manikantan as directed by him.People came to know that Manikantan was a god himself as he was able to kill the powerful demoness,Mahishi.They started worshipping him as Ayyappa,the Lord of the hill shrine,Sabarimala.As Ayyappa was a celibate young boy,only men and women below the age of ten or above the age of fifty can undertake the pilgrimage to Sabarimala.One has to abstain from non-vegetarian food ,be pure in body and mind and observe celibacy for 41 days if he is going on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala.

When Ayyapa killed Mahishi,she turned to a beautiful maiden,she asked Ayyappa,the Lord to marry her.(She was a beautiful maiden changed to a hideous demon as result of a curse.) Lord Ayyappa blessed her and promised to marry her in a year when there are no new pilgrims going to Sabarimala.She was to be known as Malikapurathama and changed to a goddess by Ayyappa.Her temple is on the way to Sabarimala temple .She is awaiting the day Lord Ayyappa marries her.(That is the legend.)  She is also worshipped by all.Every year,thousands of new pilgrims come to Sabarimala. Ayyappa is a very powerful God,blessing his devotees and his devotees are growing in number day by day.

Insult of Amba

Note:This post is taken from my previous site.It was written when I was 12,so there are a lot of grammatical errors.Please bear with me.I will proof-read as soon as I get time.

When Vichitravira was old enough to get married ; Bhishma went to the swayamvara ( a marriage custom in which princesses married the best prince present by placing a garland on his neck) of the princesses of Kasi.Although the other kings initially welcomed Bhishma’s arrival.They soon realized that Bhishma was securing all three princesses for his brother Vichitravira . When Bhishma found out that all the kings opposed his presence; he challenged them all and beat them all including the King of Salva ,whom Amba, one of the princesses ,had accepted as husband by mind.

Before the amazed and overwhelmed court, Bhishma asked Vichitravira to marry all three princesses. Suddenly everyone was staring at the princess called Amba, who was now weeping in silence. Then Bheeshma broke the pin-drop silence by asking Amba ,sternly, the reason behind her silent weeping. Amba explained to him that she had accepted Salva as husband before Bhishma fought and defeated Salva and the other kings to secure the three princesses.

At once, Bhishma gave her leave and sent her with proper gifts to Salva since it was considered wrong in those days to forcefully marry a princess who had accepted another king or prince as her husband.

Salva ,who was grudging his defeat against Bhishma, told Amba that Bhishma should marry her since it was he who had justly won her in a battle. So Amba ,although, ashamed went to Bhishma and told him to marry her as Salva had advised. Bhishma although moved replied that he couldn’t since he had taken an oath to not to marry. Then Bhishma went to Vichitravira and asked him to marry her.

Vichitravira replied, ” Even though I wouldn’t refuse your advise; this time there is no choice but to refuse your advise since I will never marry a girl whose mind has already given to another man.”

Amba tried to take revenge against Bhishma and prayed to the almighty Lord Shiva, who granted her a garland which if put on by that person will help in killing his enemy. Even though Amba asked many kings to put on the garland and fight Bheeshma; none were brave enough.

So, Amba dived into a roaring fire and died since she was eager to be born as the daughter-afterwards- son of Drupada. Before commiting suicide she placed the garland around Drupada’s pillar. Due to Lord Shiva’s boon or blessings, Amba then Sikhandin in the next life remebered flung the garland around her neck. Dhrupada was worried, but didn’t react. Because of the blessings of one Deva (gods) Sikhandin( Amba’s reincarnation) became a man.

When everything seemed right in Hastinapura, Vichitraveera fell sick and nothing could save him. Satyavati his mother was worried that there would be no heir to the throne. Satyavati asked Bheeshma, who totally refused, to marry the two young widows.

Then finally she asked Vyasa the writer of this book to marry them. He agreed and Ambika had a blind son since Ambika shut her eyes towards the rishi unable to bear his ugly presence.
However, Ambaalika had a pale but wise son because Ambaalika didn’t shut her eyes but was frightened by the rishi’s presence so she was pale and sickly towards him. And the maid had the wisest son because she served him very well.

Bhishma(Bheeshma)

Note:This post is taken from my previous site.It was written when I was 12,so there are a lot of grammatical errors.Please bear with me.I will proof-read as soon as I get time.

One day after 16 years , Shantanu once again went to the banks of Ganga ,as he often did to remember his wife (Goddess) Ganga. Then to his great surprise there he saw a boy shooting arrows so precisely that actually he was able to control the flow of the largest river in India according to his wish.

Soon after he saw his wife Ganga standing near him smiling at his astonished face. Then she said to him, “Do not be surprised my lord, it is your own son Devarata , who equals Parashurama( a great warrior-god) in archery. He is learned in the Vedas (Ancient Hindu Scriptures). Now it is time for you to take him back to your Kingdom as your successor.” With these words she disappeared.

After four years, Devarata became the Yuvraj or the next king. Then suddenly trouble arouse when King Shantanu fell in love with the daughter of the king of the fishermen.

He asked her father’s permission , who indeed cleverly, told the king that the heir to Shantanu’s kingdom or Hastinapura should be the son of Shantanu and the fisherman’s daughter(Satyavati).

Devarata then realized from his father’s face that something was wrong. So he asked his father’s charioteer what was troubling Shantanu (his father).
The charioteer though unwillingly told Devarata all that happened between the fisherman and Shantanu.

So Devarata setout to the fisherman’s house and told him that the son of Satyavati and Shantanu will be the next king. Yet the power-hungry fisherman told Devarata that he would have to stay as a bachelor so that there was no chance of his desendants ascending to the throne.

Devarata vowed never to marry in this life to the fisherman due to his love for his father. The heavens applauded in appreciation and they chanted his new name Bhishma(one who never breaks a promise).

Although, Shantanu was first happy about marrying the beautiful Satyavati ,but afterwards he felt pity and sadness for his dear and devoted son, Devarata. Anyways,the couple spent some enjoyable years together and had two sons : Chitranganda and Vichitravirya.

After few years ,King Shantanu died. Then Bhishma had to rule for Chitranganda since he was too small.

Finally when Chitranganda took the throne ; he was killed by a gandharva. Then again Bhishma had to rule for young Vichitravirya who was much younger than Chitranganda.

Shantanu & Ganga

Note:This post is taken from my previous site.It was written when I was 12,so there are a lot of grammatical errors.Please bear with me.I will proof-read as soon as I get time.

In Ancient times in India, there was a king called Shantanu with his capital named as Hastinapura which is located near the Ganga River (Ganges).This king was hunting one day when he saw a beautiful woman near the banks of the river. He was so overwhelmed by the woman’s beauty that he asked her to be his wife or queen.

The woman replied, “Iam Ganga ( a Goddess) and from the moment I saw you;I knew I had to marry you.”

King Shantanu was filled with joy and they soon got married. The king was very pleased with Ganga since she was loving and caring.

For seven years in a row they had seven children and all of them were drowned by their mother in front of their father, who remembered the promise he had given her about not questioning her about anything she does. But when the eighth son was about to be drowned, King Shantanu asked Ganga how she could drown her own children. And he asked her to leave the eighth son to him.

A sad smile was on Ganga’s face and she told him that he had broken his promise. Then she promised him that the eighth child would be called Devarata and that would live for a long time.

Finally, Ganga explained to King Shantanu that she fell in love with him in the courts of Indira(King of the Gods.) The other gods didn’t approve so she was sent to earth to marry him. Then she told him that their eight children were Eight Vasus (gods) who were cursed to be born on earth.

So she released them from this life by drowning them all. She told him that the eighth Vasu will live a long life and that she will take him to the heavens to train him properly for the King’s throne and status.

With these words she disappeared while King Shantanu was struck with grief thinking about spending rest of his life without her.

Goddess of Chottanikkara

Once Saint Sankaracharya went to Mookambika temple in Kollur.He stayed in meditation for some days and Goddess Sarawathi appeared before him .She asked him what was his wish.He prayed to her to accompany him to Kerala,his homeland. She agreed but on one condition.He has to walk ahead and never look back till they reached Kerala.In case he looked back, she will stop there itself.The saint agreed.So, they started the long journey to Kerala by foot.

Sri Sankara was walking  in front, Devi followed him.He could hear the sound of her anklets from behind.After they covered a long distance,suddenly the sound of anklets stopped. Sankara was puzzled.He waited for some more time but couldn’t hear any sound behind him. At last, he lost his patience and he decided to look back come what may.He turned and looked back.Actually,Devi was testing him,she was still accompanying him but because of her divine power,he was not able to hear the tingling sound of her anklets. He was shocked to see her behind him.She smiled and told him that she won’t come any further. It was a thick forest but it was in Kerala anyway.

She decided to stay there and directed him to build a temple for her there on that particular spot.Thus,duly a temple was built for her there and she stayed there ,protecting and blessing the people of Kerala.That place is called Chottanikara and the deity is said to very powerful.

Even today,Chottanikara temple has the poojas conducted there only after the poojas at Mookambika Temple.The reason is that the Devi is said to be in Mookambika first and when the poojas there is over,she will be present in Chottanikara temple.She is worshipped in two different forms in Chottanikara- one as Saraswathi the Goddess of Learning and the other as the ferocious Kali who killed Darika,the evil and powerful asura(demon).

To know more on the temple click here.