By P. Shanmuganandan, National Administration Secretary, SASS

Every year millions of Indians, irrespective of caste, creed or religion throng the tiny complex to have darshan of Lord Ayyappa. True to the Hindu philosophy of ‘Tatwamasi’ (that thou art), at Sabarimala, Lord and his devotee commune directly, sans intermediaries. Then why only young women are denied entry at the temple? Is it patriarchal? Is it misogyny? Is it gender discrimination? Is it an anachronism in this modern age when men and women are constitutionally equal? This article examines the biological, scientific and tantrik reasons behind this restriction.

Legend has it that the temple at Sabarimala was built by Sage Parasurama, the warrior-sage who reclaimed the Land of Kerala from the sea. Sabarimala is one of the five Ayyappa – ‘panchashastha’ temples erected by the powerful yogi to protect Kerala from destructive elements, the others being Kulathuppuzha, Aryankavu, Achankovil and Erumeli. At Kulathuppuzha, the Lord is worshipped as an infant boy, at Aryankavu as an adolescent on the verge of matrimony and at Achankovil, he is depicted as a family man -‘grihasthashrami’ with his wives – Poorna and Pushkala and at Sabarimala as a Brahmachary in Yogic posture.  These temples resemble natural stages of human life namely balya (childhood) student (adolescent) Gruhasta & vanaprasta.

However, at Sabarimala Lord Ayyappan/Dharmashastha is a brahmachari in a state of eternal bliss or Samadhi, holding ‘chinmudra’. It is said that the lord sought this solitary abode to meditate soon after vanquishing the demon, Mahishi in a ferocious battle. The Sabarimala Sannidhanam (temple precincts) is open to devotees only during Mandala Puja & Makara Vilakku (15 November to 20 January) , Vishu and the beginning of each month in the Malayalam calendar.

  1. “Brahmacharya literally means Achara or conduct that leads to the realization of Brahman or one’s own self. It means the control of semen, the study of the Vedas (scriptures) and contemplation on God. The technical meaning of Brahmacharya is self-restraint, particularly mastery of perfect control over the sexual organ or freedom from lust in thought, word and deed.” – Swami Sivananda.

The deity in sanctum sanatorium of Sabarimala is in chinmudra – “Naisthika Brahmachary”. It means the one in whom there is constant inner intent of devotion and sincerity towards celibacy (brahmacharya).

It may be noted  that to have a darshan at sabarimala temple a devotee should undergo/perform a penance of 41 days (Mandala vratham- pious observances such as fasting and pilgrimage,  keeping body and mind clean, pure, practicing Brahmacharyam, abstaining from non-vegetarian food, alcohols etc. keeping mind in peace, devotion, avoiding anger, ego etc.)  to make the body and mind of the devotee clean and suitable to receive/get the divine blessings of the Lord Ayyappa, by transforming himself as Lord Ayyappa.    But completion of the said 41 days vratham is not possible for women who are pre – menopause.  As per their biological phenomena, this cycle of menstruation occurs at every 28th day and is continued up to 4 days. There will be an obstruction for them to continue 41 days uninterrupted vratham.  That is the reason for restriction for women entry at Sabarimala during the menstrual age, say 10 to 50 years.

“Tantra” substantiates its techniques of spiritual development on the control and channelizing of sexual energy. Brahmacharya is the state of transforming sexual energy with the intention of directing it upwards for spiritual enlightenment. It is different from the western understanding of celibacy which talks about mere abstinence from sexual activity.

While in men, semen is the fluid containing the sexual energy, in women it is the menstrual blood. Both these have life giving properties and are considered potent. Practices which involve Brahmacharya and attainment of spiritual upliftment, transform the sexual fluids into subtle energies which Ayurveda calls Ojas and Tejas. So if women followed Brahmacharya or came in contact with energies which helped to transform their sexual fluid into subtle energies, what could happen? If women took to practices which transformed their sexual energy, the menstrual flow would reduce and ovulation might eventually stop. Obviously, this would affect their ability to reproduce.

  1. How temples affect menstruation:-

Ayurveda is based on the tri–doshas (bio-energies) that govern the functions of the human body. Of the three types of doshas namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha, it is the Vata dosha that needs a closer look to explain menstruation. Or more precisely, the sub-type of  Vata dosha called Apana Vayu.

Apana Vayu is responsible for the downward movement of materials out of the body, including excretory processes. The downward movement of Apana Vayu is what causes menstrual flow also. Any disruption in this natural downward flow of Apana will also affect the motions that it controls.

All spiritual activities are aimed at uplifting our energy upwards. It is one of the reasons why we are told,   not to eat anything before a pooja or a visit to the temple. The process of digesting food and dispelling it outwards necessitates the downward flow of Apana. If we interfere with this through spiritual activity on a full stomach, both our excretory movement downwards and the upliftment of energy upwards will be affected. In some cases, people who engage in continuously chanting for 5-6 hours, experience difficulty in passing motions as the Apana is turned upward. Those pursuing the spiritual path are therefore recommended to have light and raw diet of fruits so that there is minimal interference with Apana.

So how can spiritual activity interfere with the process of menstruation?

If Apana Vayu is forced upwards through spiritual activity in menstruating women, they could experience physical pain and their flow could even stop. This is why menstruating women are told to abstain from all activities where the energies would reverse the downward Apana. If menstruating women visited ancient temples (which are known to be powerful energy centres) repeatedly or performed certain types of  Yogasanas (such as inverted postures) during their period, they will most likely observe a change and discomfort in their cycle.

  1. Whether Menstruation of Women amounts impurity

What is Menstruation?

*Usually, in the body of woman, one egg is released from an ovary every month. Before the egg is released, the lining of the uterus becomes thick and spongy to prepare for a fertilized egg. It is full of tiny blood vessels, ready to supply the embryo with food and oxygen if it should arrive.

*If the egg is not fertilized, it is dead by the time it reaches the uterus.

*It does not sink into the spongy wall, but continues downwards through the vagina.

*As the spongy lining is not needed now, it gradually disintegrates and is slowly lost through the vagina.

*This is called menstruation, or period and it last for about 5 days.

It may be noted that when the egg is not fertilized it will die and as per the sacred Hindu religious custom the death of the said egg amounts to impurity (dead material) which will continue for a period of 5 days.

  1. Poison: Excretion is a regular process in living things/human being to get off materials such as solid waste or urine or sweat. Most toxins from human body are removed by this process. This excreted waste materials contain toxins/ poisons which will badly affect the body and mind if the body continues to be in touch with the same and hence normally immediately after  excretion we clean that part of the body by washing/using tissue paper/cloth or the whole body by bathing to remove even minute particles of the waste matter. Further the positive energy created in the atmosphere by doing any spiritual activity will be reduced by the presence of such waste matters/excretions which contain toxins/poisons. It is a practice that men after excretion of any solid waste take bath to clean his body before commencement / continuation of any holy/divine/spiritual activity.

In the case of women, the menstrual blood – mucosal tissue is the excreted waste matter, dead egg and the spongy lining of uterus, contains impurities, which are not required in her body and hence excreted and may be harmful. Unlike other excretions, menstrual flow is a continuous process for 2 to 5 days resulting in the waste matter remaining in the body of the women till the flow is stopped. The body of a woman can’t be kept clean by washing or bathing during this period. Hence the with the presence of this excretion, menstrual blood in the body of a woman, she can’t do a holy/divine/spiritual activity, including observance of 41 days vratham.

  1. Energy Vibration: The prana prathistha, which is the process of consecrating a Murthi (Idol) was how the priests (Thanthri) infused life and energy into the Murthi. The architecture of the temples further ensured that this energy could be stored and directed towards devotees.

The devotee while entering the temple automatically tunes himself to that field of vibration and as a result all the negative elements are eliminated from his being. The aim of the daily pooja is to keep that field of vibration constant and that of the special pooja is to strengthen it. ‘Kalashabhishekam’ is a very important special pooja usually performed in Kerala for the strengthening of the ‘chaithanya’ – energy of the deity.

Here at Sabarimala the Sankalpa was Naisthika Brahmacharyam at the time of consecration of Lord Ayyappan and based on Tat Tvam Asi,   mainly making efforts for self realization. Every Ayyappa devotee is treated as Ayyappa himself so Raga and Anuraga applies to him who is on flush and blood. So the Nystika Brahma charya vratham shall be disturbed in case they mingle with female, and thus their Vratham basing on Tat Tvam Asi got disturbed.

As a fact the deity of Malikapuram is not in the temple of Lord Ayyappa (Usually the women deity of a particular God is installed besides the deity i.e God in where their idol installed). Here the temple of women deity Devi Malikapurathamma is sitting beyond the temple premises of the Lord Ayyappa.

  1. Different Ritutals: The prana prathistha, which is the process of consecrating a Murthi (Idol) was how the priests (Thanthri) infused life and energy into the Murthi. Every temple could have a different energy, even if the worshipped diety is the same. So only the Thantri or chief priest who was involved in consecrating the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala would fully know what exactly he put in there.

The Sankalpa, or the intention that is put into each Murthi is what decides the rituals to be performed for each temple. And simplied versions of explanations would be passed on to devotees so that the rituals performed would upkeep the energy intended.

If we look at the Sabarimala temple rituals, it is all about getting Men to renounce worldly existence by maintaining celebacy (among other practices) and attaining spiritual enlightenment through this process. Perhaps, the entire temple at Sabarimala is consecrated to support this intention.

  1. Perspective of the Thantri’s family: Thazhamon Madomis the traditional priest family who has powers over the religious matters to be decided in Sabarimala Temple. Thantri is the highest priest and is the head of the temple. It’s the privilege of the family to decide on religious matters relating to Sabarimala shrine.

Smt. Devika Devi, aged around 80 years, mother of the current Thantri (chief priest) in Sabarimala said “Many women don’t realize that their health will be negatively impacted if they went to Sabarimala. Besides, if menstruating women went to the temple, the energy of the place will be reduced.”

  1. Legal: As per the Kerala Places of Public Worship (Authorization of Entry) Rules, 1965 (Rules) under the Act. The Impugned Rule 3 is reproduced below: “3. The classes of persons mentioned here under shall not be entitled to offer worship in any place of public worship or bath in or use of water of any sacred tank, well, spring or water course appurtenant to a place of public worship whether situate within or outside outside precincts thereof, or any sacred place including a hill or hill lock, or a road, street or pathways which is requisite for obtaining access to place of public worship…. 12 (a)Persons who are not Hindus. 12(b) Women at such time during which they are not by custom and usage allowed to enter a place of public worship. 12 (c) Persons under pollution arising out of birth or death in their families. (d)Drunken or disorderly person


  1. Tourist Place: In the present scenario, if women of all ages are allowed or if anybody can come to sabarimala without any restriction on vratham, allowing vehicular traffic till sannidhanam, open all 365 days etc. the sanctity of the Sabarimala will be lost. Sabarimala also will be become a mere tourist place, a place for mere material enjoyment sans spirituality/divinity. The very purpose of the peculiar system of Sabarimala pilgrimage to get darshan of Lord Ayyappa, the process of vratham through which Man transforms himself as God, Ayyappa devotee rising to the status of Lord Ayyappa himself, will become a history. The real devotees will not get concentration of mind, will not be able to keep their vratham intact, in the commercialized crowded atmosphere, thus loosing the sanctity of sabarimala, where crores are devotees are having firm belief in the Lord Ayyappa from times immemorial.
  2. Modification in the present rituals, if needed, can be changed. There are many occasions in the history for major change are made by the Hindu society. However, who should change these? It definitely is not the secular government. It should be the thantris, the veda experts and the devotees who come to Sabarimala and in particular, the women devotees of Swami Ayyappa who all have to sit together to deliberate on the issue.

Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple High Court Judgement and its implications

By S.J.R. Kumar, National Vice Chairman, SASS

Sri Chithira Thirunal BalaramaVarma, the erstwhile ruler of Travancore, signed an agreement with the Government of India known as the Covenant, during May 1949, which led to the formation of a joint state of Travancore and Kochi as part of the annexation of the princely states to India. Under this vast and historic agreement which covers many issues, the ownership and management of the SreePadmanabhaSwamy Temple were fully vested in the royal family. After the death of Sri ChithiraThirunal Balarama Varma on 19.07.1991, his younger brother Sri UthradamThirunal Marthanda Varma became the heir to the royal family according to the customs and rules of the royal family.

The State of Thiru-kochi, formed under the Covenant, passed a law on temples in 1950 called the “Travancore-Kochi Hindu Religious Institutions Act”, which stated that, among other things, the ownership and administration of the Sreepadmanabha Swamy Temple would be vested in the royal family of Travancore. It was later approved by the newly formed Kerala State Legislative Assembly. In the case of the SreePadmanabha Swamy Temple and the Pandaram (related to God) properties, the rights of the King of Travancore before the Covenant came into force under this Act were retained and given legal protection beyond question even from challenging it in the Supreme Court.

However, in 2007, with the backing of some political organizations, few individuals filed a complaint in the lower court in Thiruvananthapuram seeking an injunction restraining the temple authorities from opening the six vaults, supposed to contain valuable materials, located inside the temple premises. Later in 2009, a temple employee and an organization of temple employees approached the lower court in the same year, raising various issues relating to the temple administration.

Subsequently in 2009, one Shri T.P. Sundararajan, a lawyer, questioned the authority of the temple’s executive officer and filed a petition before the Hon. High Court of Kerala, pleading that the Kerala government should take over the administration of the temple like the Guruvayur temple administration.

Later in 2010, Sri Marthanda Varma, the heir apparent to the Travancore royal family, filed a petition in the Kerala High Court requesting to transfer all cases in the lower court to the High Court and also seeking the establishment of the royal family’s ownership and right to administer the temple as per the Covenant.

After examining these petitions and the incidents that led to them and also various laws pertaining to the temple and the existing constitution of the country, a bench comprising of Justice C. N. Ramachandran Nair and Justice K. Surendra Mohan delivered the verdict during 2011.

The major aspects of the Kerala High Court Judgement were as follows:

(1) The State Government was directed to take immediate action to set up a corporate body or trust or any other legal body to take control of the SreePadmanabha Swamy Temple and its assets and to arrange for the traditional management of the temple, within a period of three months.

(2) Prohibited the opening of the vaults or removal of any materials from the vaults except for the purpose of rituals of the temple.

(3) An administrative Committee to be set up by the Government may open the vaults and make an accurate account of the properties within them, and may set up a museum to display the valuable items in the vault and to admit the public, devotees and tourists to the museum on collection of a fee. The complainant and the heirs of the royal family may be allowed to continue their worship and to take part in the rituals, such as the Arat festival, for the symbolic presence of the Royal family as Padmanabha Dasas.

(4) In view of the valuables and treasures kept in the temple, the government should hand over the security of the temple to a police team or at least provide security assistance to the existing security personnel of the temple.

(5) The Government shall ensure that those who are appointed to inspect and assess the treasures in the vaults are honest and responsible people. The vaults should be opened and inspected in the presence of the complainant or his representative.

Following the High Court judgment, the Travancore royal family lost its rights, authority and control over the temple and the temple came under the control of the state government. It was also suggested that a museum be set up to display the temple’s treasures and turn the temple into an object of exhibition for the public. The royal family approached the Supreme Court against this.

After the formation of the state of Kerala, successive state governments which took over the administration of the state as part of the democratic system have a long history of abusing temples and allied systems as a source of income. In addition, the Communist Marxist party has been trying for years to implement a policy to destroy temples and spiritual values, so as to create insecurity in the Hindu community and enslave them to their ideology by using covert tactics. Devotees were shocked to hear the Kerala High Court’s decision which would eventually speed up the process. The High Court’s verdict was a major blow to the desires of devotees and Hindu organizations that temple governance should be politically neutral.

It was with the realization that all the treasures of the Lord, that were kept for worship as part of the ritual plan of the temple that have existed since prehistoric times, were kept in the highly secured vaults. But the decision to turn it into an exhibition object with only it’s measured and weighed value as a mere archaeological or commercial object has left deep scars in the minds of the royal family and the devotees. Moreover, such court orders will only help in accelerating the ill will of the so called pseudo-secular politicians to turn the shrines and spiritual centers into commercial hubs.

Corruption and mismanagement by the Devaswom Boards who are entrusted with the duty of managing temples is a hotly debated subject. Even though there is a misconception that the Devaswom Board is an independent body, it is in fact a fully government controlled and politically motivated body. There are many examples before us about the Devaswom Board President and members acting solely on the orders of the Government and trying to implement policies of political parties. Taking over of privately managed temples for political reasons is a daily occurrence in Kerala. The Malleeswaran Koil in Attappady, the only temple that was under the complete control of the tribals, is a prime example of this. The deplorable condition of the dilapidated temple known as the “Kuzhichappam Kittiya Kshetram” taken over by the Devaswom Board near the Vizhinjam fishing harbour in Thiruvananthapuram is a classic example of the Devaswom Board’s mismanagement. It is a fact that after the temple got dysfunctional and dilapidated due to the unpardonable neglect by the Devaswom Board the social and religious balance of the area was disturbed which resulted in conversion of almost all Hindus in the vicinity.

It goes without saying that it was unfortunate that the Hon. High Court did not recognize the tragedy that would follow if the devotees, the real protectors of the temples, were shunted out and the administration of temples were handed over to the government which is controlled by pseudo-secular political leadership.

The judgement pronounced in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple case, on July 13, 2020 by Hon. Justice U.Y. Lalith and Hon. Justice Indu Malhotra is of great historical significance and leads to far-reaching implications.

The main issue in this case was about some of the provisions of an agreement, known as Covenant, reached between the Government of India and Sri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, an independent ruler of Travancore, as part of the amalgamation of Travancore with the Union of India. In addition, the constitution that came into force when independent India became a republic and later amendments to that constitution and court rulings on similar issues were also the subject of consideration of this case.

The agreement was signed by Sri V. P. Menon, as the official representative of the Union of India, and Sri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, as the ruler of Travancore, on 27 May, 1949. (Shri VP Menon was the Constitutional Adviser to the Governor-General of India until 1947 and later was the Secretary to the Government of India for the States Department). As a prelude to the amalgamation of Travancore and Kochi states to the Union of India, it was decided to have a combined state of Travancore and Kochi and therefore the ruler of Kochi also signed this agreement on 29 May, 1949. Thus through this agreement the combined state of Thiru-Kochi was formed as part of the amalgamation of the two princely states into India.

In accordance with the terms of the agreement signed between Sri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma and the Union of India, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its adjoining properties and the management of the temple were entrusted to the Travancore royal family.

There are historical evidences which establishes the fact that the Sreepadmanabhaswamy Temple belonged to the Travancore royal family for centuries.  Not only they safely and securely held the possession of the temple, but all the ceremonial functions of the temple were also carried out in the traditional manner and the temple was properly maintained and protected by them.

During the first half of the 18th century, i.e. from 1729 to 1758, Sri Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma ruled Travancore and during his period he reconstructed the temple which was ruined by a massive fire during 1686. The present day temple, the massive tower known as Gopuram and the idol of Sri Padmanabhan, who is in Anantashayanam posture were all consecrated by him at that time.

Further, on January 20, 1750 (Malayalam Year 925, 5th of Makara month), Maharaja Marthanda Varma surrendered his crown, his kingdom of Travancore from Kanyakumari in the south to Paravur in the north, and his rightful sovereignty over the kingdom through his famous proclamation known as “Thrippadi Danam” to SreePadmanabhaswami, which is said to have resulted in the subsequent prosperity of Travancore and the royal family.

It was during the reign of Marthanda Varma that the country, formerly known as Venad, was renamed as Travancore and became famous for its unprecedented growth in all sectors.

The court analyzed and considered various historical documents dealing with such matters and found that the real heirs of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple were the Travancore royal family itself. Therefore, it was found that the terms of the covenant which admitted and assigned full ownership of the Padmanabha Swamy Temple to the royal family was legitimate.

The next issue was whether the terms of of the treaty made with the king was also applicable to his successors. The High Court ruled that the heirs of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, who signed the agreement, had no right which were specified in the agreement. But the reasons given in the High Court judgment were later refuted by the Supreme Court.

The main argument was that Sri Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, a successor of Sri Chithira Thirunal Balaramavarma, was not entitled to the definition of “ruler of Travancore” mentioned in the treaty because he had never been a ruler of Travancore. But the Supreme Court did not accept this argument.  At the time of signing the treaty, the court observed that Sree Chithira Thirunal Balaramavarma’s assertion of certain rights on behalf of the royal family by ending his reign as the ruler of his country also applied to his successors.

In addition, the White Paper published by the Government of India in 1950 records the treaty with the King of Travancore and the transfer of ownership of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram to the Travancore royal family.

Shri V.P. Menon, who spoke to the royal family on behalf of the Central Government and signed the agreement, in his book, “The Story of the Integration of Indian States”, has mentioned about the history of the Travancore royal family and their rights to the temple, and how it was passed down to future generations through the treaty. At this point it is important to note that the Covenant was drafted after a clear analysis of the past history and future sustenance of the temple.

History of Temples, Birth of Travancore Devaswom Board:

Apart from the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, there were many other temples in Travancore, both large and small. These temples were established by the devotees from time to time and ruled by the she-baits or trustees and the king had the right of supremacy over them.

In 1811, when the British resident Colonel Monroe was the Diwan of Travancore, he took over the administration of the temples using the aforementioned supremacy. Thus 348 major temples and 1123 minor temples and their properties were taken over.  Later, many other temples were also taken over in this manner. There was huge public sentiment against this, especially against the misappropriation of revenue from temples, and many cases came up in this regard. However, the state later took over the management of these temples through a royal proclamation and set aside a special amount of money for its maintenance on an annual basis, ending many pending cases.

Later in 1946, the Maharaja announced in another proclamation that a sum of not less than Rs. 25 lakhs would be set aside for the efficient running of the temples and, if necessary, more funds would be allocated from the State Treasury. But the Hindus were constantly demanding more money for the temples and compensation for the property acquired. Later in 1948, this amount was increased to Rs.50 lakhs and Rs.1 lakh was earmarked for the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

This issue was also raised in the discussions held during the preparation of the Covenant in 1949. There was a general demand for Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crores for temples.  But after discussing the matter with the concerned Ministry of the Government of India, the Union Government delegates reached an agreement with the Maharaja. Following the formation of the state, it was decided to continue to provide Rs.51 lakh from the Government for the operation of the temples, of which Rs.6 lakhs would be provided for Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple alone.

It was on this occasion that discussions took place on the more complex issue of the administration of the temples. After much deliberation, it was finally decided that the administration of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple should be under the control and supervision of the Maharaja through an executive officer appointed by him. It was also decided to appoint a three-member committee nominated by the King to advise him on matters relating to the administration of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, one of which would take the advice of the State Cabinet.

It was also decided to set up a body called the “Travancore Devaswom Board” to administer other temples. It was decided that the Devaswom Board, consisting of three Hindu members, should have one member nominated by the king, one member elected by the Hindu cabinet and the other member elected by the Hindu legislature.

During the discussion on the administration of the temples in Kochi, it was decided to keep the control of the Sri Poornathrayeesa Temple and the Pazhayannur Temple, which were owned by King, with the King and to set up a Devaswom Board on the model of the Travancore Devaswom Board for the control of other temples. Unlike in Travancore, the properties of temples in Kochi were not taken over.  Therefore, the temple property remained a part of the temples themselves.  Therefore, it was decided that the temples in Kochi did not need any special financial assistance from the government.

These matters are included in the Covenant signed in 1949 and later in the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institution Act of 1950. Another point to note is that the Constitution of India undisputedly includes the obligation of the Government to pay the amount due to temples under the agreement.

Judgement of Hon. Justice U.U Lalit and Hon. Justice InduMalhotra dated 13 July 2020:

It is an elaborate judgment which has gone in detail on various aspects of the case regarding the ownership of Sree Padmanabhaswami temple. The following major matters were considered by the Hon. Supreme Court in formulating their final judgment:

  1. The legend behind the establishment of the temple dating back to 6th Century CE
  2. The history of Travancore Rulers, who are the descendants of the Chera rulers
  3. The fire that devastated the temple during 1686
  4. Rebuilding of the temple by Anizham Thirunal MarthandaVarma
  5. Thrippati Danam by Marthanda Varma on 5 Makaram 925 ME, 1750 CE
  6. Decree by Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma on 10 Aug 1947 regarding the right of properties to his descendants.
  7. Covenant signed on 27 May 1949 between Union of India and the Ruler of Travancore
  8. Covenant signed on 29 May 1949 between Union Government and the Ruler of Cochin
  9. White paper on Indian States prepared during 1948 and published during 1950 where Sree Padmanabhaswami temple and Ruler of Travancore are specifically mentioned.
  10. Book written by Sri V.P. Menon on the unification of the Indian States.
  11. 26th amendment of the constitution for stopping special privileges to ex rulers of Indian States which were acceded to the Union of India.
  12. SC Judgment on the stoppage of Privy Purse
  13. Various judgments in various courts regarding the ownership and management of temples.
  14. The rights of She-baits (the one who represents the idol in every aspect) and various court orders regarding that.
  15. Various petitions filed at lower courts in Thiruvananthapuram with respect to the Sree Padmanabhaswami temple.
  16. Petitions filed in Kerala HC and the judgment of the Hon. Kerala HC during 2011
  17. “Sree Padmanabhaswami Temple” a Book written by Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bai.
  18. Civil appeal before the Hon SC by the Marthanda Varma and another one by the Executive Officer of the temple, representing the temple.
  19. Report by Amicus Curie Sr. Adv. Gopal Subramoniyam.
  20. Various affidavits filed by the Kerala Government and the Travancore Palace.

Major points of the judgment:

  1. The temple belongs to the Royal family of Travancore.
  2. There will be an Administrative Committee which will execute the powers of “Ruler of Travancore” as specified in the Covenant and the TC Hindu Charitable Institutions Act.
  3. There will be an advisory committee as specified in TC act.
  4. The constitution of the Administrative committee will be as suggested by the palace, except that the Chairman of the Committee will be the District Judge of Thiruvabharanam. Apart from the (1) District Judge, the other members will be (2) a representative of the Travancore Palace, (3) a representative of the Cultural Ministry of the Union Government, (4) a representative of the State Government, and (5)Chief Thantri.
  5. Should form the committee within a month and till such time the present committee will continue.
  6. The palace should file an affidavit in acceptance of the terms of judgement within a month.
  7. The decision on the B Nilavara, whether to open or not is left to the new Administrative committee.
  8. Should submit a report to SC by end December 2020.
  9. Should submit a final report to SC by end of March 2021.
  10. Should regularly audit the accounts and submit the audited accounts to the Accountant General every year.
  11. Should compensate the expenditure incurred by the State Government from 2012 in managing the Temple.
  12. The security cover should continue, and the expenses should be borne by the temple.
  13. The Chief Tantri will have the right to decide on religious matters.
  14. The utilisation of Temple fund will be done by the Administrative committee, like donations to religious and charitable purposes, investments etc.
  15. The Administrative committee should look after the temple properties including land and buildings in custody and let out to others.

Thus, a long-standing litigation which was widely discussed across the country came to an end. This judgment can be considered as a path breaking judgment so far as the management of Hindu Temples is considered. This has been taken as a great relief by the Hindu community and the devotees in particular that this judgment has not only prevented the State Government from taking over an age old Temple but also has established the right of the Travancore Palace to whom it belonged to. Moreover, this judgment is expected to provide a momentum and direction to the legitimate demand of the Hindu Society to free all temples from the clutches of the Secular Government and their political stooges.

Tatwamasi – What does it signify?

By: Swamy Ayyappadas, National Vice Chairman, SASS

VEDAS are the basis of Sanatan Dharma/ Hindu Dharma. If there is something called ‘Knowledge – GYAN’ in the universe, everything originated from the Vedas. However, even though the whole world is ready to acknowledge this, we Hindus are reluctant to accept the facts. About 5000 year ago, the great sage Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa divided the immortal, invaluable treasure of knowledge, VEDA into four as Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. Later, four Upanishads were written as questions & answers between Master and Disciple for clarification of doubts. The inner meanings of the four Vedas, explained through the four Upanishads came out by churning, these are reflected in the great four truths (phrases). Great sages Adi Sankara, Jesus Christ, Sree Narayana Guru, Chattambi Swamikal, Swami Vivekananda etc. were searching an answer to the ever famous question “Who Am I “ will be revealed, if you understand the inner meaning of these Maha Vakyas !

Rig Veda Yajur Veda Sama Veda Atharva Veda
Aithareya Upanishad Chhandogya Upanishad Bruhadaranyaka Upanishad Mandookya Upanishad
Prjnanam Brahma Tatwamasi Aham Brahmasmi Ayam Atma Brahma
Gyan is Brahma It is You I am Brahma I am Atma, hence I am Brahma

Your effort in search of an answer to the question “Who Am I” will bring you Here, though the route to reach Here is highly complicated, full of thorns.

Modifying the earlier way of life practiced till now with major changes, adhering to the strict rules and advices of a Guruswami (3rd person)- Vrita,  with dedication, devotion and  determination and reaching at the end of the travel towards  divine bliss, enlightenment- is the doctrine of Sanatana Dharama- i.e., Tat-Tvam -Asi.

Strengthening of body and mind through tough rituals of vritha, you will be prepared to face any adversaries in the trekking route to Sabarimala. Passing through dense forest in the midst of wild animals and difficulties, with ‘Irumudi’ containing pooja materials and the most important “Neithenga” (Ghee filled Coconut) on the head  you reached below the holy 18 steps to get a glimpse of the Lord, Swamy Ayyappa, Sree Bhootanatha, the head of Panchabhootas- Prithvi (Earth), Ap (Water), Agni (Fire), Vayu (Air) and Akash (Sky / Ether).

Breaking a coconut symbolizing destruction of your ego, you climb the 18 holy steps, steps to your final goal of Moksha. Human body comprises 96 tatwa /doctrines / principles in which 18 are very important and are to be compulsorily avoided. The essence and purpose of the strict rituals during the Vrita are to prepare your body and mind to overcome these 18 vices.

The first 5 steps represent Panchendriyas- 5 sense organs: eyes, nose, tongue, skin and ears, which always divert a person from his ultimate goal are to be under your control, though difficult in the worldly life, a truth-seeker should be able to acquire that mental power. The next 8 steps represent 8 negative characteristics which prevent man from attaining salvation: kaama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (temptation), mada (pride), maatsarya (envy), ahankara (ego) and dambham (jealousy) which are to be removed from your mind. Next 3 steps represent Tri-gunas: Tamo guna (lowest of the three; selfish, ignorance), Rajo guna (a mixture of both Tamo & Satva gunas) and Satva guna (Rishi like good quality, selflessness, sacrificing for others); One has to come out of all these tri-gunas, which are derived from Panchabhootas. The last 2 steps represent Vidya- wrong knowledge that body is everything and Avidya- ignorance, tamo-guna (bad qualities).

A devotee devoid off or has overcome all these 18 negative characteristics and gradually travelled and raised up from the lower Tamo guna through Rajo guna and attained superior Satva guna will be fit enough to get the divine blessings. When the divine knowledge glitters in you that “I am not this body, not the panchabhoothas, not the mere worldly knowledge…..” and then “Who am I “….“I am Atma:  Jeeva-Atma and is inseparable part of Param-Atma- the Supreme Power. When you reach on top of the 18 steps, Swamy Ayyappa instills in you that whom you were searching till now is within you – That  You Are = Tat-Tvam-Asi.

The divine Ghee-Coconut, represents: Shell – your body and Ghee inside -your Jeeva-Atma, is merged with Paramatma by pouring the Ghee on the Murty in the Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorum), symbolizing your attainment of Moksha-salvation. After taking the ghee from the coconut, the shell part (with flush) representing your body is put in the holy fire symbolizing cremation and the life after Swamy darsan is a new life of Good man devoid of all vices, a true Ayyappa!!!

Onam and Vamana – The Truth

By P. Shanmuganandan, National Administrative Secretary, SASS

As per Sreemad Bhagavatha Purana( Ashtama skanda- 8th chapter), written about 5000 years ago, Lord Mahavishnu, in his 5th avatar/incarnation  as Vamana visited King Mahabali and gave moksham/salvation, blessed him with the boon to rule the world as Indra in the next Manwantharam viz. Savarni Manwanthram/ a very long period of crores of years.  And He was sent to Suthala-loka, one of the 14 lokas in the universe, superior to Earth/Bhoo-loka and Heaven/Swar-loka, to live there till the tenure of present Indra in the present Vaivaswatha Manwantharam is over.  This Vamana avatar took place in Treta Yuga, lacs of years ago, on an auspicious time abhijit muhrut on Sravanam/Thiruvonam star in the month of Bhadrapada.  Vamana Jayanthi is celebrated as Onam every year with special poojas to Vamana Murthy alias Thrikkakkara Appan, especially in Kerala. However, we were taught that Onam is celebrated to commemorate King Mahabali, who is said to visit Kerala once in a year. Let’s try to find out the facts.

King Mahabali & Kerala

The powerful King Mahabali held his Ashwamedha Yagna on the auspicious grounds of the Bhrigu Katchakam, in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and all the Shubh signs to hold a Yagna are seen available there. Bali’s maiden name is Indrasena. Though the rivers there on the surface are salty now, the Indian Army found a mighty underground river with sweet water. The Army has since been pumping out litres of water every year for its own use. Some people say the Yagna was held at Bharuch which is also in Gujarat on the banks of Narmada, and not in Kerala.

All our writings of the time relating to Bali or that period state that after the Western-ghats there was the ocean, there was no land (Kerala) like there is now.  Kerala is said to have risen from the ocean when Parashuram, the next avatar of Mahavishnu threw an axe into the sea. Perhaps there was a seismic occurrence that caused the land mass of Kerala to rise up from the sea and form a new coast line bordering the Sahyadhari mountains. Even today the soil all over Kerala when tested shows huge deposits of calcium carbonate. This is seen in most land masses that have risen from the ocean across the globe.

Bali was the grandson of Prahalada, and son of Virochana. He belonged to the Bhrigu vamsha. He had descended from Maharshi Kashyapa who was a Brahmin and a highly enlightened soul and Diti, who was daughter of Daksha Prajapathi, a very powerful King. Since they were descended from Dithi, they were also called Daityas.

Diti was the sister of Aditi, mother of the Devas. Thus Bali and the Bhrigus were descended from Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, so were the Daityas. They were cousin brothers with the Devas as their mothers were sisters. Since none of their family belonged to tribal clans or what is now referred to as scheduled castes how can Daityas/Asuras be lower castes?

Mahabali, became the King/Chakravarthy of the three worlds including Patala and the false story of Vamana sending Mahabali to Patala is illogic. Further, being the Lord/Bhagawan, Vishnu can never be jealous to anybody.

In Kerala, we place a wooden or clay idol that represents Trikkarappan/Vamana the presiding deity of Thrikkakkara temple, located in Ernakulam district, in the middle or towards the head of the pookalam/flower rangoli. Actually, Onam is the celebration of Bhagawan Vishnu.

Purpose of Vamana Avatar

Prahalada, Bali’s grandfather was one of the greatest devotees of Maha Vishnu, who attained moksha. Prahalada had taught his son Virochana the Veda-Shastras and most importantly the Brahma Sutra. Virochana in turn taught his son Bali the Brahma SutraBrahma is Bodha, means consciousness/real knowledge. Everything that you see and experience in this world is Illusion/Maya. To understand that this is maya and you are here at this particular time, in this particular birth playing a particular role, without getting emotionally attached to anything happening around you, but still actively participating and playing your role gloriously, is bodham. Here Bali, who has acquired brahma sutra is bodham.

Bali having understood that he is placed here as the King of the Asuras to play a certain role, goes to war with the Devas and does all that is expected of an Asura King. However this does not touch him personally because he is conscious that all that he sees is just illusion/maya. However, as thousands of years went by Bali began losing his bodham slowly.  Bali has done more than a hundred Ashwamedha Yagnas as advised by his Kula Guru Sukracharya. His power and fame increased many manifold. He began to think of himself as the greatest and most generous person ever, his bodham began to slip.

Bali holds a massive Yagna called Viswa Jith Yajna on the banks of river Narmada. By now he has become arrogant, he thinks that it is he who is conducting this Yagna and it is he who is giving out alms. So he declares that he will give anything that anyone asks for, as charity during the Yagna. At this time, Lord Vishnu appears as Vamana to bring his most loved devotee back on track.

To purify Bali, and to bring him back to his senses, Vamana asks for 3 feet of land as alms. Though Sukracharya advises Bali not to give in because this is Maha Vishnu in disguise, Bali does not heed him. In fact he is deliriously overjoyed at the very fact that Lord Himself has come to his Yagna in person. And agrees to give Vamana the 3 feet of land he has asked for.

Vamana then grows into titanic proportions and covers the earth and the other worlds with 2 steps. He then asks where he is to place the third step. Bali by now realized everything, his arrogance disappears and he becomes fully conscious of the reality, his bodham returns. Bali kneels before Vamana, humbly asks Vamana/Maha Vishnu to place his feet on his head.

This is a highly esteemed deeksha called the Pada Deeksha, where the Guru/Master places his feet on the head of the Shishya/Disciple with all blessings. Here Maha Vishnu, the ultimate Guru is giving his most beloved Devotee Bali one of the most desired of deekshas, blesses and says: “I take everything away from my most devoted devotee so that I may give him everything. You have always yearned to be Indra, so in the next manvantra, when the term of present Indra is over, you will be the Indra. Until then kindly live in Suthala. There I grant you the vision to see me at all times. I will also be there serving you and guarding you.”

The ithihasa (iti-ha-asa in Sanskrit means that which happened – History and not mythology) of Vamana and Mahabali is seen in the Bhagavatham and nowhere in the Bhagavatham or any of our Puranas or writings it is seen that Bali was pushed into Patala by Maha Vishnu. This is another missionary story created by the Abrahamics in connivance with the British plot of eradication of Indian culture through English education system, and with the support of Leftist –historians, like the fraudulent theory of Aryan invasion and a separate people called the Dravidians was created here.

How Mahabali is connected with Kerala

There is no evidence or logical support to connect Mahabali with Kerala. However, some conclusions may be made based on some assumptions and historical books/documents.

As per legend, after the creation of Kerala by Rishi Parasurama, 6th avatar/incarnation of Mahavishnu, people from nearby places, north of Sahyadri Mountains, including Mahabali’s place (present Gujarat and surrounding areas) were brought to the new land area. Apart from physical assets/articles, they brought their culture also and continued to perform their rituals, traditions according to their faith, beliefs. They continued their poojas, yajnas etc. started new temples, worship places etc. They might have installed a temple at the present Thrikkakkara for Vamana murthy and celebrated Vamana jayanthy every year on the Sravana/Thiruvonam star in the month of Bhadrapada month in continuation of their age old traditions.  As explained above this might have been distorted and false story created by vested interests to suit their requirements.

It is a common practice of making our own places as the most revered places and finding pride in it. The place Kottiyur near Thalassery is claimed as the sacred place where Daksha yagam was performed, however, as per puranas, Dakshayagam was performed at Kangalam in Uttarakhand State. People of Wayanad consider that Sita devi gave birth to Lava and Kusha and lived in Wayanad area, whereas Vathmeeki Ashram is believed to have existed in the present Uttarpradesh, as per Ramayanam. In the same way, people in Kerala felt pride in believing and telling that Mahabali ruled Kerala, Yajna was conducted at Thrikkakkara where Vamana gave him moksham etc., but without supporting evidences.

There is a mention about the origin of Onam in the novel named “Keralam” written by the great poet of Kerala Mahakavi Kodungallur Kujukuttan Thampuran (poet, scholar in many fields, translator of the great ithihasa Mahabharatham from Sanskrit to Malayalam). About 1000 years ago King Ittiravi, Venad Raja, conquered Kochi state, once visited Thrikkakkara temple, conducted meetings with dignitaries. He stayed there for some days and dignitaries/Rajas of smaller village-countries/Naduvaazhees along with their followers visited King Ittiravi daily with many valuable gifts and reached there in colorful processions. As per this book, this program was repeated every year and this may be the origin of present Onam festival.

Famous Historian of Kerala Prof. Sreedhara Menon referring to the above, has opined that It was Venad Raja Kulashekhara Perumal, who visited the Thrikkakara temple and received other Rajas and followers, gradually became rituals related to Onam. He has categorically recorded that Onam has no relation with Mahabali, as we are forced to learn wrongly.

We will be wondering, how these stories were distorted, even though devout Hindus were regularly practicing these with traditional rituals. Another example of such distortion is the false story about Malikappurathamma, who is considered as Madurai Meenakshy and Mother of Manikantan/Ayyappa. Even today, special poojas and rituals are performed at Sabarimala for 7 days immediately after Makara-samkramam to Malikappurathamma as mother. But, some pseudo historians/poets distorted this making Malikappurathamma as girl-friend of Ayyappan, eagerly waiting to marry naishtika brahmachari Ayyappa!!! In the name of secularism, Vapuran, who was a dacoit and thief, who later became a friend of Manikantan, is now portrayed as a Muslim, changing his name as Vavar.

Incidentally, a ritual in the famous Badrinath temple in Himalayas is worth mentioning here. The deity in this temple is Badri Vishal/Badri Narayan. Badri Viashal is none other than Lord Vamana, who is the biggest (vishal) God, who measured/covered the whole world with 2 steps. During the same period of Onam in Kerala, the thidampu/replica of deity of Badri Vishal is taken out of the Sreekovil to Mathrudevi temple on the bank of river Alakananda, special poojas are performed, feast given to all devotees, just like onam feast, conducted by military men there.

King MahaBali is definitely Great, very Great, God like; equal to bigger than Lord Indra and because of his greatness he was blessed and promoted as Indra, by Lord Maha Vishnu. Hence He is worthy of worship by all, we can also worship Him. However, we should not be cheated by the pseudo-secularists and anti-hindu, anti-national historians. Let Lord Vamana bless all!!!

Brief History of Panchalimedu, Part of Sabarimala Poonkavanam

Panchalimedu is a hill station and view point near Kuttikkanam in Peerumedu tehsil of Idukki district in the Indian state of Kerala. On the Makara Sankranti day, lots of Ayyappa devotees camp there to witness the sacred Makaravilakku (holy flame) that appears in the Ponnambalamedu near Sabarimala temple.


Panchalimedu is a hill station and view point near Kuttikkanam in Peerumedu tehsil of Idukki district in the Indian state of Kerala. On the Makara Sankranti day, lots of Ayyappa devotees camp there to witness the sacred Makaravilakku (holy flame) that appears in the Ponnambalamedu near Sabarimala temple.Predominantly it is a high altitude region situated at a height of 2,500 ft (760 m) above the mean sea level. The place is surrounded by deep valleys and hills, accompanied by meadows, grasslands and cool refreshing climate. From there, the Koruthodu valley near Mundakkayam with widespread rubber plantations can be seen. Parunthumpara hills and Periyar tiger reserve lies to the east of Panchalimedu. Many tourists arrive there during the summer season for trekking and to get refreshed. When monsoon arrives, the place will be covered by charming mist and thick fog. However, a pleasant climate is experienced here throughout the year. Apart from Pullumedu, Panchalimedu is another spot in the district where lots of pilgrims from the various regions gather to witness the Makaravilakku, a holy flame that is believed to a supernatural phenomenon by the devotees, which appears annually on 14 January in the Ponnambalamedu summit.

Panchalimedu is located on the route to Kanayankavayal in the Azhutha block of Peerumedu tehsil. The place can be accessed from Murinjapuzha (5 km) and Amalagiri (6 km) on the Kottayam – Kumily state highway (K.K road). People from west and south can reach there through Mundakkayam – Thekkemala route. Jeep and auto services are available from Murinjapuzha at fair rates. There are two hills at Panchalimedu, and one has the temple dedicated to Bhuvaneswari Devi. Valliyamkavu Devi Temple is a historic temple lies 10 km (6.2 mi) southeast to Panchalimedu and it is dedicated to Goddess Durga.

According to the myths, Pandavas along with their spouse Panchali had a sojourn there at time of one-year exile. Hence the place got its name Panchalimedu which derived from the words “Panchali” (Draupadi) and “medu” (hill). The local tribes there offered selfless helps to the Kuru princes. Pandavas left the region before the beginning of one year incognito. They rewarded an idol of Goddess Durga to the tribal chief for their helps and instructed them to worship Devi. But, unexpected incidents occurred when the tribes worshipped Devi by following their own uncivilized puja methods. Hence the place became uninhabitable for them. Later, Devi herself moved to the present Valliyamkavu region and presided there. In light of this myth, people still believe that Panchalimedu is the moola sthana or sanctum sanctorum of Devi.

Panchalikulam (the pond of Panchali), believed to be constructed by the Pandavas


At present, there is a small temple dedicated to Goddess Bhuvaneswari, which can be approached by a walkway from the main road. The temple which hadn’t daily poojas in the past is currently under the administration of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), taken over from the tribals after the death of the Chief Priest Kandan Konni in 1993. The Devi was in extremely angry mode – Bhadrakali, poojas were in Saaktheya procedure, with rituals in Kowla method, (later TDB stopped all these). However, later on Devi’s presence was seen in two modes – Bhadra with motherly love and the other Kali in highly furious form, in separate sanctum sanctorums. The granite edicts found there depicts the linkage of the place to ancient history. Several Shivalingas,Trishulas (trident) and Nāga idols are also seen here. A small circular pond known as Panchalikulam is situated there, in which Pandavas and Panchali took their daily bath. It is about 5 dm (20 in) in diameter. Even during hot summers, it will be filled with plenty of water. One cave also exists there named Pandavaguha (cave of Pandavas), in which the footprints of Bhima can be witnessed. Further there are Idols in granite considered as Five Pandavas, God of Tribals called Karimkuttiyan etc.

This temple has close thanthric linkage with Sabarimala Temple, which is evidenced by the age old tradition (still continuing) of putting a stop of the special ritual called “Guruthi” (The ritual includes “tharpana” of “Guruthi” – creamed mixture of Turmeric, slaked lime and other pooja ingredients – on the decorated frame and “Gandhakam” is sprinkled on fire to ward off evil-spirits during the course of puja), during the Manadla –Makaravilakku season, till the “Maha Guruthi” at Malikappurathamma temple on the last day of the season.

This holy place – Panchalimedu and the temple of Bhuvaneswari Devi has a very long history as old as more than 5000 years to ‘Dwapara Yugam”. The anti – Sabarimala activities being continued by the Christian group started with the burning of Sabarimala temple in 1950. Later in 1983 they planted a big Stone Cross at Nilakkal near Mahadeva temple which they had to take away due to the strong opposition of devotees of Ayyappa. Now they have started cultivation of Crosses in the holy place of Hindus – Panchalimedu, part of Sabarimala Poonkavanam, and the present Kerala State Government of lead by Communists gives full support to the invaders. Most of the Hindu organizations, especially devotees of Lord Ayyappa have come out with strong protest and have declared to start ferocious and forceful agitation to thwart the nefarious designs of the anti-Hindu forces.