THE STORY OF LORD AYYAPPAN
In Pandalam about 800 years ago, Rajasekhara was a just and good King.
Being childless, he kept praying to Lord Shiva for an offspring.
At the same time, a demoness ,Mahishi was holding Heaven and Earth in her sway,
Having obtained a boon that only a child born of Hari and Hara could her slay.
Then it transpired that the Lord Vishnu assumed the form of the beautiful Mohini,
And lo! in Divine Union with Lord Shiva, was born a bonnie little male baby.
This wonder child, created for destroying Mahishi and removing the world’s fear,
Was ordained by the Gods in Heaven to grow in Rajasekhara’s tender care.
Thus the lovely baby was discovered in a forest by Rajasekara as per Divine plan,
And since he was found wearing a gold chain, he was named Manikantan .
He grew up with such extraordinary talents that his Guru could soon tell,
That this crown prince of Pandalam was certainly no ordinary mortal.
Meanwhile things in the palace took a bizarre turn
When the queen was suddenly blessed with a son.
The minister of Rajasekhara who nurtured kingly dreams,
Now started poisoning the queen’s mind with evil schemes.
He convinced the weak queen that to crown as king her own,
Manikantan had to be stopped from ascending the throne.
Thus the evil minister persuaded the queen to feign to be ill,
And to announce that saving her would require of tigress’s milk a swill.
As guessed correctly by the devilish minister of Pandalam,
Manikantan came forward boldly to save his ailing mom.
The brave lad set forth alone, the worry-ridden King’s pleas ignoring,
For obtaining tigress’s milk and thereby the queen’s health restoring.
During his adventure, his life’s main purpose soon began to unfold,
When the terrible atrocities of Mahishi he happened to behold.
Outraged he challenged her and after a battle of great fury,
Manikantan slew her as ordained and danced over her body.
Then the worlds breathed in relief and the Gods blessed Manikantan,
But they also gently reminded him of another task to be done.
Thus soon enough, Pandalam folks were in for great fear and surprise
Seeing Manikantan with tigers and tigresses who were Gods in disguise.
Meanwhile, the King having learnt about the queen and the minister’s treachery
Fell at Manikantan’s feet seeking forgiveness, knowing now his foster son’s Divinity.
Stating lovingly that all happened as ordained, Manikantan offered the king a boon
As the Gods’s progeny had to return to his Heavenly abode soon.
And as wished by the King, the immortal and famous Sabarimala Temple was consecrated,
Where the bravest warrior Manikantan - as Lord Ayyappa- is worshipped and venerated ;
Thus , every year millions of devotees irrespective of caste or creed go to Sabarimala,
To seek Manikantan’s Blessings, chanting in chorus, “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.