KIRAN ATMA: Aiyappa
Showing posts with label Aiyappa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aiyappa. Show all posts

Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Aiyappa?

Hilltop god from Kerala, India's southernmost state, who is often confused with Aiyanar, the Tamil village deity. 


  • The most significant of Aiyappa's temples is at Shabari Malai in central Kerala's highlands, where a large pilgrimage takes place each winter in December and January. 
  • Because of his strong ties to the hills and hunting, it's probable that Aiyappa was formerly a native god of Kerala's hills, but he's now been incorporated into the broader Hindu pantheon as the son of Shiva and Vishnu. 

Despite the fact that both of these gods are male, Aiyappa is believed to be conceived when Vishnu assumes the guise of the feminine enchantress Mohini in order to seduce the demons into parting with the nectar of immortality. 


  • Aiyappa is also known as Hariharaputra, which means "son (putra) of Hari (Vishnu) and Hara (Shiva)." 
  • Due to his unique conception, Aiyappa is destined to slay Mahishi, a particularly troublesome buffalo demon who has been granted the blessing that no one born from the union of man and female may kill her. 
  • Aiyappa is abandoned by a riverside after his birth and adopted by King Rajashekhara, who calls him Manikanta. 
  • Manikanta's stepmother is envious of her stepson and wants to pave the way for her own kid to ascend to the throne. 
  • When Manikanta is twelve, his stepmother impersonates a sickness that she claims can only be cured by tiger's milk. 
  • Everyone is hesitant to attempt to get the tiger's milk, but Manikanta eventually agrees. 
  • Manikanta is stopped by Shiva's emissaries on his way to collect the tiger's milk, who remind him that his life's ultimate goal is to slay Mahishi. 
  • Manikanta defeats the demon after a lengthy battle, but as he dances on the she-body, buffalo's another female figure emerges. 
  • She introduces herself as Lila and want to marry Manikanta, but he refuses since he is a celibate student. 
  • He appeases Lila by promising to marry her if no celibate pilgrim comes to see him on Shabari Malai that year—a promise that can never be fulfilled since celibacy is the single most essential criterion for the Shabari Malai pilgrimage. 
  • Manikanta then appeases Lila by erecting a shrine on a nearby mountaintop in her honor. 
  • Returning to his original mission of collecting the tiger's milk, Aiyappa commands Shiva to transform into a tiger, which he then rides back to his stepparents, asking them to milk the tiger to their hearts' content. 


One of the most popular Aiyappa pictures is of a little kid returning on the back of a tiger. E. Valentine Daniel, Fluid Signs, 1984; Kunissery Ramakrishnaier Vaidyanathan, Pilgrimage to Sabari, 1978; Lars Kjaerholm, “Myth and Fascination in the Aiyappu Cult: A View from Fieldwork in Tamil Nadu,” in Asko Parpola and Bent Smidt Hansen (eds. ), South Asian Religion and Society, 1986. 


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