Blames it on lack of knowledge
The Nair Service Society (NSS) has taken serious exception to the move on the part of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to change the official name of the Sabarimala temple from Sree Ayyappa Temple to Sree Dharma Sastha Temple.
In a statement issued at Perunna on Thursday, NSS general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair said as per legends the temple was consecrated by Sree Parasurama and is considered among the four major Sastha temples along with the ones at Achencoil, Kulathupuzha and Aryankavu.
Legends also have it that Lord Ayyappa, after the subjugation of Mahishi, had arrived at Sabarimala and immerged into Sree Sastha. As such, Sabarimala temple is both a Dharma Sastha temple and an Ayyappa temple.
Following this, the traditions and pujas have been arranged viewing the deity as Ayyappa, a solemn celibate (Naishtika Brahmachari) who had immerged in Dharma Sastha, Mr. Nair said. “From the day he undergoes ‘mudra dharanam’ the devotee would be on a vow for 41 days and would be known as ‘Ayyappa’. The strict vow enables the devotee to identify with Lord Ayyappa as Ayyappa had immerged with Sastha,” he said. According to him, this transformation is symbolised by the ‘neyyabhishekom’ ceremony.
The NSS chief said the Sabarimala temple used to be engulfed in controversies for the past many years. “It is lack of knowledge on the tradition, the rites and practices of the religion that leads to such unnecessary controversies. The former TDB administration had officially declared the name of Sabarimala temple as Sree Ayyappa temple,” he said.