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Jay @jvmenon
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Beyond the Veil - The #Ayyappan Sankalpa — A Long Thread !
The #SabarimalaTemple is many centuries-old and hosts an ancient deity, Sastha — #Ayyappan the main Vigraha (idol) of the temple, the deity is worshipped in the form of a Naishtika Brahmachari
This temple is not a prayer hall but is an energy centre; the Vigraha of #Ayyappan is not the representation of a God who is omnipresent, but as a source of energy (Chaithanya) from a mystical dimension.
The Vigraha Sankalpa (the core concept of the idol) of #Sabarimala is not exactly something that can be judged by a court of law or interpreted from the pages of the country’s founding constitution.

#Ayyappan is a Sankalpa - a concept meant to harness the will.
The #Ayyappan Vigraha at Sabarimala is a bit cryptic, the deity is seated in a peculiar pose with a band around his knees/legs as if the band is to prevent him from falling off his pedestal, his right hand seems to be sending out a veiled gesture at something mystical
As much as #Ayyapan Vigraha is veiled behind many myths, his parentage is also allegorically mystical — Ayyapan is also known as Hari Hara Putra (The Son of Hari and Hara) — He is also referred to as Hariharasuta, the Son of #Vishnu (Mohini Avatar) and #Shiva
As per mythology, the child of #Shiva & #Vishnu was placed under the foster care of Shiva's ardent devotee - the King Rajashekara of #Pandalam
Weird as it may sound, among the many million pantheons of deities that exist and are worshipped, there are only TWO other Vigraha Sankalpa (Idol Concepts) that are worshipped with the deity sitting in exactly the same posture.
— ONE is Yoga #Dakshinamoorthy and the OTHER is Yoga #Narasimha Seated in a pose called #Yogapattasana - where the knees and back are bound together with a band; a sort of tight cloth. Featured in Yogapattasana are Yoga Dakshinamoorthy, #Ayyappan and Yoga Narasimhan
#Ayyappan, Yoga #Dakshinamoorthy and Yoga #Narasimhan are the only THREE known Vigraha Sankalpas where the deity is seated in this peculiar position - a band around the knee/thigh is common to all three idols ....
... the subtle message to be interpreted from the three is the core concept that the THREE are said to be signalling to — pointing towards the way to the ancient #Yoga Shastra.
The sitting position with a band around the knees, thigh is a #yoga #asana called Yogapattasan. An asana that helps a yoga practitioner to ensure stillness with a straight back in a sitting posture while embarking on a long and arduous duration of penance.
Once we comprehend that the direction of thought the Vigraha Sankalpa of #Ayyappan is pointing towards it is then that we can see the clarity in meaning that the Ayyappan Sankalpa is alluding to - namely embarking on the path of #Yoga.
According to #Yoga Shastra there is a vast network of energy channels that makes each individual an integrated, conscious, and vital whole while being in the physical body - As per Yoga #Shastra there are 72,000 energy pathways called Nadis.
The sanskrit word #Nadi derives from the root nad, which means "flow" "motion" or “vibration” — The word itself suggests a fundamental nature of a nadi; to flow like water, finding the path of least resistance, nourishing everything in its path.
#Nadis — like the #Chakras (psychoenergy power centers), Prana/Jeeva, and other aspects of the subtle body don't show up under a microscope or in an X-Ray image, the science of today has relegated them to the realm of being merely metaphorical.
Of these 72,000 #Nadis in the body, the THREE most important Nadis are called — #Ida, #Pingala and #Sushumna
The #Sushumna #Nadi is akin to a river, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, passing through each of the seven #Chakras in its course.
The channel through which the latent #Kundalini #Shakti can rise up from its origin at the #Mooladhara (root) #chakra to its true abode at the #Sahasrara (thousandfold) chakra at the crown of the head.
In #Yoga Shastra — during the process of breathing, The exhalation cycle of breath is through to the #Pingala #Nadi pathway and the process of inhalation cycle is through the #Ida Nadi pathway.
The #Prana is said to originate via the #Pingala Nadi, flowing to the right from the #Mooladhara , crossing the #Ida Nadi at each chakra all the way up to the #Ajna
The #Ida Nadi and #Pingala Nadi spiral around the #Sushumna Nadi like the double helix of our DNA, crossing each other at every #chakra. Eventually, all three meet at the #Ajna (command) chakra, somewhere midway between the eyebrows.
#Yoga #Shastra associates the Pingala #Nadi to the principle of #Shiva and Ida Nadi to #Mahavishnu
The #Ida Nadi begins and ends on the left side of #Sushumna. Ida is regarded as the Lunar #Nadi, cool and nurturing by nature, said to control the mental processes. The association between Ida Nadi and #Vishnu comes from the mechanism involved in the process of inhalation..
..inhalation is a cooling down process, and therefore its allegorical association with the Moon - (a.k.a #Chandra #Nadi. Mythologically, Moon/Chandra’s sister Lakshmi’s consort is Maha #Vishnu and hence the Ida Nadi is associated with to Maha Vishnu)
Likewise #Pingala Nadi is for exhalation, associated with the release of Heat, allegory to the Sun - a.k.a #Surya Nadi and hence associated with the principle of #Shiva.
The #Pingala, or the Solar #Nadi, begins and ends to the right of #Sushumna. The warmth is said to be stimulating in nature, controlling the vital somatic processes.
Why is it that Ida and Pingala are associated with Vishnu and Shiva through such an unusual metaphor in the #Ayyapan Sankalpa ?
There is this saying in #Sanskrit, ‘Paroksha priya hi vai devaha’, which means, ‘Gods love indirect methods’. Like, poetry which is indirect; an exaggeration. The heart exaggerates, while the mind puts the fact forward.
Fact is intellectual. But when it comes from the heart, the fact is decorated. Then it becomes doubly ornate, beautiful and better understood.
Apparently #Gods preferred the technique of #paroksha (indirect cognition) - to revel and reveal the essence of stuff in a rather convoluted manner.
Poets and artists use similar constructs of exaggerated imagery to express subtle concepts through veiled analogies — likewise the learned rishis of that ancient era used similar metaphors to explain #Ida Nadi as Maha #Vishnu & #Pingala Nadi as #Shiva
AND when the #Ida Nadi and the #Pingala Nadi join together - the symbolic union of #Shiva and #Vishnu happens — when the breath we inhale and the breath we exhale become ONE —
that mystical pathway of the #Sushumna Nadi opens up at the base of the spine. As the pathway of Sushumna opens up, the #Prana begins a journey upwards starting from its root — the #Mooladhara
Imagine a stack of books, arranged one on top of the other - similarly are stacked the FIVE tiers of energy centres within us, the #chakras.
The First tier is said to be the Prithvi Tattva, The Second is said to be the Jala Tattva, The Third is said to be the Agni Tattva, The Fourth is said to be the Vayu Tattva and the Fifth is said to be the Aakash Tattva.
Each tier representing a #Tattva (principle), One tier for each Pancha-Tattvas - Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sky/Aether.
There is a beautiful sanskrit word for Nature - Prapanch (प्रपंच). The word means phenomenon. The visible world we experience - is a combination of the Pancha Tattvas in various permutations —that is what is the entire manifested visible world!
AND hence the #sanskrit phrase Prakarshena Panchikrita. Prakarshena means Manifest, Panchikrita meaning the Five constituents making the gross space formed by the combination of the subtle aspects of space, air, fire, water and earth.
Getting back to the stack of books — Each of the FIVE #Tattva Tiers have their corresponding Chakra names - Earth as in #Mooladhara, Water as in #Swadhistana, Fire as in #Manipuraka, Air as in #Anahata & Sky as in #Vishuddi
The origin of the word Ayyappan is said to be from the word Appan (leader) of the 5 — The one who has attained mastery over the 5 Tattva Tiers — hence the name Ayyapan. The one who is able to activate a pathway for the Prana to transcend the 5 tattva tiers christened #Ayyapan
The union of #Shiva and #Vishnu, when #Ida Nadi and #Pingala Nadi join together - when the inhalation and exhalation unites, when the inhaled breath and exhaled breath becomes ONE — the pathway to #Sushumna opens up from the Mooladhara —
The Prana from within can then transcend the 5 Tattva tiers — whosoever thus is in control of the FIVE is Ayyappan.

Such is the mystical sankalpa — The concept of #Ayyapan
how eloquently have the ancient rishis conceived a splendid Sankalpa into a Vigraha (Idol) — The word Vigraha is a #Sanskrit compound word constructed from the phrase “Visheshena Grahita” — (Visheshena - meaning something special, Grahita - meaning materialised/conceptualised)
The #Ayyappan Vigraha is therefore profound - “Visheshena Grahita"
And something equally profound is what materialises when #Ida Nadi and #Pingala Nadi join together, when the #Prana transcends the 5 Tattva Tiers to reach the #Ajna Chakra — when the bounds of the 5 material Tattvas are crossed...
... the #Prana enters the domain of the mind — when that happens, the symbolism behind Ayyappan’s hand gesture starts to makes sense — the hand in #Chin #Mudra - index finger bent, touching the tip of the thumb. The Chin Mudra represents the union of #Jeevathma and #Paramatma
And when this concept is understood the #Prana transcends even beyond the #Ajna #Chakra to realm of the thousand petaled #Sahasrara Padma.
#Ayyappan Sankalpa is only the encapsulation of a philosophy that ANY human being functioning within the confines of reality, stuck in a mundane routine can also reach the pinnacle of existence...
... by transcending the 5 Tattva Tiers to reach that abode, only to encounter #Ayyappan signalling with the Chin Mudra — a subtle message that #Jeevathma and #Paramatma are not TWO, not separate - but ONE..
Of all the two legged life forms existing in this planet - only in the human form is it possible for the index finger to be flexed to touch the thumb - the #Chin Mudra.
No other two legged mammal or animal with 5 fingers has that ability - neither chimps, nor monkeys, nor apes, only human beings can bend and flex their index finger to touch the thumb.
A subtle message here that only through human form is #Moksha possible.
& how is #Moksha possible, on the path of the Sankalpa that #Ayyappan is pointing towards -in the path of Yoga, uniting the breath pathway between Ida & Pingala — #Vishnu & #Shiva as ONE, with that the #Sushumna Nadi opens up for the #Prana to transcend the 5 #Tattva tiers.
When that mastery of the five happens - the seeker becomes “The Appan (master) of the 5” — gaining mastery of the mind when the real import of the #Chin Mudra is understood..
the Vigraha of #Ayyappan — telling each of us, fear not, #Jeevathma and #Paramatma are not two but one. Fear can exist only in duality, in reality whatever you seek resides within you, the truth is YOU!
Be open to everything yet attached to nothing...
The gentle gesture of these two fingers is symbolic of the coming together of the microcosm (Jeevathma ) with the macrocosm(Paramathma).
The Chin mudra also highlights the core of the mantra So-Hum, which can be loosely and inadequately translated to mean — the Universe and You are the same
And that we are all connected with each other in a circle that never ends, as that classic Disney song in the animated film Pocahontas titled - Colors of the wind.

Connected to everything yet attached to nothing.
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