He shot an arrow into the forest and it landed at the summit of Sabarimalai(Mount Sabari). The King promised to build a temple there. Ayyapan Dharma Shaasta, (Hariharaputran, Manikanda), then dematerialised. The King built the Holy Pathineddu Padi temple, which faces East and has eighteen steps leading into it. The Number EighteenEighteen has special significance for worshippers of Ayyapan. Being a multiple of 9 it represents perfection.Festivals for Ayyapan worship are in January around the time of Thai Poosam, but in some areas take place in June and November.
THE CASTE SYSTEMHuman beings are ruled by three Gunas(powers of nature)1: 1.Sattva – calmness, the light and harmony of pure intelligence and goodness that lead to happiness and harmony. 2.Rajas – the fire and desire of mental energy and restless passion that leadto action and greed.3.Tamas – the darkness of dullness and inertia that lead to ignorance, negligence and delusion.The gunas combine in different ways in each individual human being and keep her/him earth bound. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says: “There is nothing on earth or in heaven which is free from these three powers of Nature (gunas). An individual who reaches a state in which s/he is detached from gunas, attainsmoksha (liberation from earthly bonds) andbecomes one with Brahman.The way in which gunasintertwine in each individual, gives rise to different personality types:1. a brahmin type – ruled by sattva 2. a kshatriya type– ruled by rajas 3. a vaisya type – ruled by rajas 4. a sudra type – ruled by tamasThese personality types are related to human traits not social classes and refer to the predominanttendency of each human being. We are all part-brahmin,part-kshatriya, part-vaisya, part-sudra, that is, we are all, in different degrees, seekers of knowledge, seekers
3 The Caste System14of power, passionate, active, greedy and lazy. The extent to which we are ruled by one of the gunas,determines whether we are mainly brahmin, kshatriya, vaisya or sudrain characternot occupation. Unfortunately, the association of gunas with Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudraled to these being interpreted as occupations and to the development of social classesbased on work. Religious leaders(Brahmins), political leaders(Kshatriyas), traders and craftsmen (Vaisyas)and workers (Sudras)became designated castes and each caste was associated with one particular guna.Sattvawas associated with Brahmins (Priests) who were set up as the highest caste, Rajaswith Kshatriyas (Rulers), the next in rank, followed by the Vaisyas (Merchants and Traders). Tamas was associated with Sudras (workers) who were regarded as low caste. These four castes were further divided along clan and occupational lines and social interaction between castes was eschewed. The system gave rise to a fifth caste, the Untouchables, people who removed sewage and waste. The caste system, which accords people value in terms of their occupation, is rigid and inhumane and those who are regarded as valueless are subject to cruel and barbarous treatment.