Showing posts with label Aiyappa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aiyappa. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is Mohini In The Hindu Pantheon And Hindu Mythology?

 ("bewitching") A rapturously beautiful celestial enchantress in Hindu mythology, viewed as a manifestation of the deity Vishnu.

Vishnu assumes this shape in order to deceive the demons into giving her a part of the amrta, the nectar of immortality, churned from the Ocean of Milk.

Mohini uses her charms to get the amrta from the demons, which she then offers to the gods, robbing the demons of their opportunity for immortality.

The narrative stops here in most accounts, but the charter myth for the southern Indian deity Aiyappa adds a fascinating twist.

According to legend, when Shiva sees Mohini's enticing body, he can't help but fall in love with her.

Aiyappa, considered the son of Shiva and Vishnu, is the result of this marriage.

However, as with most similar legends in Hindu mythology, Aiyappa's strange paternity has a good cause.

Aiyappa is created to slay Mahishi, a demon who has been cursed with the ability to only be slain by someone who was not born from the union of male and female.

This prerequisite is satisfied by Mohini's "real" identity (Vishnu), and when Aiyappa reaches adulthood, he kills the demon.

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Hinduism - Who Is Mahishi In Hindu Mythology And Folklore?


The name of a buffalo-demon slain by the deity Aiyappa in Hindu mythology.

Mahishi is granted the ability to be killed only by someone who was not born from the union of male and female.

Aiyappa is born of a marriage of the gods Shiva and Vishnu, when the latter adopts the guise of the enchantress Mohini, to evade this curse.

Lila, a feminine form, comes from Mahishi's corpse after she is slain.

Lila want to marry Aiyappa, and he promises to marry her in the year when no celibate pilgrim visits him at Shabari Malai.

Lila is still waiting for this commitment to be fulfilled since women of reproductive age are banned to visit Shabari Malai, and those who do must remain celibate.

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Hinduism - Where Is Kerala In India?


One of four southern Indian states whose people speak a Dravidian language, Malayalam in this instance.

Kerala is located on a short sliver of land between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, in what was formerly known as the Malabar coast.

Kerala is one of the "linguistic" states established after India's independence in 1947 to bring people who spoke the same language and had a same culture under one government.

It was formed from the princely republics of Travancore and Cochin, as well as the Malayalam-speaking portions of the former Madras state.

Kerala has traditionally been a significant commercial hub.

For thousands of years, traders from the Middle East have come to buy its spices and sandalwood.

It is the only Indian state with 100% adult literacy and has had India's first elected communist administration in modern times.

The temple of Aiyappa in Shabari Malai is Kerala's most renowned religious place.

The yearly trip to the place is customarily limited to men and women above the age of childbearing.

See Christine Nivin et al., India. 8th ed., Lonely Planet, 1998, for general information about Kerala and other Indian states.


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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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