Lord Ayyappa’s ‘SAB’rimala

(Disclaimer: The article does not intend to contempt the Honourable court’ s decision or encourage it’s contempt. Reader’s discretion is highly recommended. Views expressed are author’s own.)

Gopal Batra| Editor-in-Chief|

L. Ayyappa says NO to women at his vicinity. No Means No. How difficult it is to understand Ayyappa’s consent? You want to go there to WORSHIP Him, by disobeying Him! Where’s the logic?

Okay, since you have chosen to read this article despite all warnings, it means that this Male vs Female, Religion vs Religion interests you a lot! Isn’t it? Now, let me directly jump to Sabrimala without any further ado.

Without going into the History in detail, I’ll straightaway come to the reason why women aged 10-50 were not allowed in the temple. Sabrimala Temple is a pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. It is said that the revered Hindu deity practices celibacy there. According to FirstPost’s research, when asked upon, “Who placed the restrictions on women entering the temple?” The short answer we get is, Ayyappa himself! According to legend, Ayyappa is celibate so that he can focus on answering the prayers of his devotees. And he will remain celibate till the day kanni swamis (first-time devotees) stop coming to Sabarimala.

In the contemporary times, there have been wars between the sexes to achieve alleged equal and equity levels. The years of unreasoned oppression towards a particular sex has triggered this war. But remember, in a war no one wins!

There are a lot of Lord Ayyappa’s temples in India which are open to all. They are a lot of temples where only women are allowed. There are temples where men are required to remove clothes before entering the temple. Can equality be reasoned for them! In an interview, esteemed spiritual leader Sadhguru talked about this. He discussed how women were not allowed in some temples during their menstrual period because the pilgrimages were up the hill. Climbing hills, during that period would adversely affect their health. Also, they were more prone to attacks by wild animals as they could be sniffed by carnivores much easily than men, especially during the aforesaid period. Now, such rules have become obsolete and require a change due to better infrastructural facilities, urbanization and better health care facilities. But this doesn’t open ground to change every tradition. The reasoning for Sabrimala is entirely different from such temples.

Religion is all about faith. Limitless faith. By barring women to enter the temple, there hasn’t been any oppression! As I said, all lot of Ayyappa temples are open to all. So, those who want to worship Him, can visit the other places.

This article may invite a lot of criticism because it is coming from me, a member of the society that has not allegedly benefited from the ruling. But, one can decipher the sentiment when the only dissenting judge in the ruling is the only woman in the panel. Justice Indu Malhotra remarked, “Present judgment won’t be limited to Sabarimala, it will have wide ramifications. Issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn’t be ordinarily interfered into,”.

And the wise woman’s proclamation came true as reports emerge that Kerala Muslim women forum to move SC seeking right to pray in mosques. However, I’ll restrain to comment on that to avoid deviation from the main topic.

I sincerely disagree with the ruling by the honorable Supreme Court. And, it is not the first time I have felt, it has erred. Even the most democratic institutions sometimes take such calls that are not widely welcomed, such as recriminalization of homosexuality in 2013.

I’ll just conclude by penning down, that it’s not ‘SAB’rimala! It’s Ayyappa’s place. He and only He can decide who should be allowed in there. We should respect everyone’s religious sentiments. In the growing intolerant world, we have stopped respecting each other’s opinion. Let this war between sexes stop and if it can’t end, should be wisely played atleast.


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