Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ayyappa Deeksha : RULES, DOs & Don'ts

Ayyappa Deeksha or Ayyappa Vratham is a religious observation done as an offering to Lord Ayyappa following the rules & regulations of utmost celibacy (as practiced by Brahmacharis in good olden days).  It is usually observed for 41 days (or 21 or 11 days).

WHO can do it?
 Males: Any one can do it.
 Females: Who do not have monthly periods. So, it is essentially before puberty or eldlerly people.

It is usually observed during the Mandalam (which usually falls between Nov 2nd week and Sankranthi). Mandalam starts on first day of Kartika Masam (as per Kerala Calendar)

WHERE?Mala Dharana (Mala worn by devotees observing Deeksha) can be done in any temple. It is usually done by Guruswami (who had ben to Sabrimala 18 times) or the priest a the temple. Deeksha is ended by visiting Sabarimala Shrine in Kerala, India. In USA, there are some Ayyappa Sannidhanams which can be visited to end the Deeksha (for ex: Siva Vishnu Temple, Maryland).

WHAT to do?
Ayyappa Deeksha is about following Brahmacharyam strictly which includes Pooja twice a day, strict diet, no enertainment etc. Please read below.
Please try to follow these rules during the Deeksha. Except 2,3 things, most of these rules can be followed even in cold weather here in US.
Some of them may seem to be detailed. But it was done intentionally, to make devotees aware of the rules.
For any concerns or clarifications, contact

Bath & Pooja:
1. Do the bath in early morning with normal water. Yes. You can use Soap & Shampoo. If you can take bath with cold or luke warm water.
2. Do the pooja. Do your regular daily pooja followed by Ashotharam (108 namas) to Ganesh, Subramanyam, Durga & Ayyappan. (If time & health does not permit, do 108
names for Ayyappan and 16 names for others. All the 16 and 108 names are posted in this site.
3. Do the bath in evening with normal water and do the pooja as you did in the morning.
4. Chant Hairivarasanam only after evening Pooja.
5. No need for cooked Prasadam every day. Fruits as Naivedyam for Ayyappan are OK.
6. Do the pooja in the morning (before sun rise) and evening (after sunset).
7. Take bath as soon you come home in the evening from work.

Dress Code:
1. Try wearing black or blue or orange dress.
2. Not supposed to shave your beard or comb your hair (reason being you are not supposed to think abt beauty of the body).
3. Yes. you can apply moisturizing lotion as not doing in winter may not be good for health.
4. To the extent possible, men should wear Dhothi at home. Again, it may not be possible during winter here for us in USA.
5. You should never take the mala out.
6. USe fresh clothes every day. So, have two pairs of black or blue dress and wash them every day.

Food & Diet:
1. No Breakfast.
2. Lunch: Take lunch before noon. Should be freshly cooked. No left overs from previous day.
3. Dinner: Palaharam like chapathi, upma etc. No rice. Rice items like Tamarind rice / coconut rice are OK.
4. No onion, egg or meat products.
5. Eating in restaurants is prohibited.
6. If any one calls you for Annadanam, they should have prepared the meal after taking bath etc.
7. Coffee and juices: you can take any # of times. As you know it is not healthy to take coffee many times a day.
8. When you or your spouse is preparing meal, make sure you clean the stove before cooking.

CELIBACY: Follow celibacy to the core. Idea is to be far from 'kama, krodha, moha, lobha...'
1. Sleep on ground without pillow and bed.
2. NO Entertainment. (means no partying, no watching TV, listening to film music etc, no playing games)
3. Control Anger.
4. Call all women (including wife) as 'Matha' and men as 'Swamy'
5. Brhamacharyam: Can not even touch your spouse.
6. During monthly cycle for women, husban taking Deeksha is not supposed to see the wife at all. (Some say, it is not needed, but lot of people try to follow this rule
too). If it is not possible in the house/apartment you are living, that is OK. But we might see women who are in their monthly cycles outside in shops or may shake
hands with them (at work or shop). That is the reason it is recommended to take bath immediately you reach home from outside)
7. Of course No Smoking, Drinking
8. No footwear. (this is not possible in cold weather in US). So, it is OK, if you do not follow this rule.

Idea is to follow these rules with utmost discipline and dedication, so we can control & overcome inherent human bad qualities one by one like anger, lust etc. By
doing it for 18 years, it is hoped we overcome all our bad qualities and become a SWAMY ourselves (or saints). Some people say that is one of the reason for 18 steps
at Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.
It is also believed by Hindus and many other people that, if we practice any thing for 40 days, we get used to it and continue it. That is the reason most of the
deekshas are for 40 days and so is Ayyappa Deeksha. So, if you can, take Deeksha for 40 days or at least 21 or 11 days. Try not to take for 1 or 2 days.
One thing any Sasthras say is: Follow rules to the best of abilties, considering the environment we are in. So if you can't wear black dress to work or if you can't
sleep without a pillow because of health reasons, that is acceptable. But not following Diet and Celibacy restrictions is NOT ACCEPTABLE.



  1. Do not cut hairs and Nails when you are in Ayyappa Deeksh.

  2. Reasons for rules:
    Lord Ayappa gave promise to Lord Saniswara that below rules will be followed by his devotees and Saiswara should not suffer them later.

    1. Wearing black dresss(black is favourate color for lord saniswar)
    2. sleeping on floor
    3. satwikam aharam tho yeka buktam( eat once(like yogis), though no one follows)
    3. dont cut hair or nails and walk with out sliper
    4. every one is called swami's
    5. bramacharyam to be followed.

    By following above rules lord saniswar will not phunish ayappa dovetees.

    If your mind goes out of control try to pray ayappa to control back.

    Last but not least jyothi is not some thing that to see in sabarimala, it is the enlightenment that you carry when you do diksha.

  3. I have done the ayyappa deeksha last year and i feel some rules are just followed blindly. For eg: coffee is a mild psychoactive drug and is also addictive. How can it be ok to consume coffee while in deeksha. You say rice si not allowed but coconut rice is ok ? Are u saying constitution of rice changes once coconut or pulihora is added ? Even chapati si a grain based product. The whole concept of alpa aharam at night is to eat sth light at night for easy digestion.

    Also found many blind beliefs swamys and guruswamys. I think all rules should be followed in the spirit of ayyappa and not just blind and superstitious beliefs.

    Swamiye sharanam ayyappa!

    1. we have been doing ayyappa deeksha since last no. of years we do think spiritually, scientifically but some rules shud be taken as it is, like bare foot is must cause u are wearing mala (that means u r always carrying god with you, another reason, u r feet need to get accustomed to before climbing the mountain. rice is surely to be taken once other times only alpahar (no rice even if it is tamarind etc.,) except if its given in a temple as a prasad in a very small qty. coffee tea we in our grp consider as "not allowed" as its not essentials, for children who dont like milk without additives like choclate etc., shud go with adding a pinch of turmeric inplace of any outside additives, so changes the taste of milk, gud for health and still abiding by the rules. ITS SIMPLE IF U FOLLOW STRICTLY END OF THE DAY U FEEL U DID SOMETHING WHERE U CAN CALL IT AS PENANCE. i have seen sages taking cold water baths in himaiayan ranges ( i dont compare us with them ) but if u think u can do it, ayyappa mala also improves your will power apart from spiritual gain. so do it meticulosly,

    2. cold water boosts immunity, even in russia people jump in freezing lakes, so ayyappa devotees can easily do this. walking barefoot activates accupuncture pressure points on foot soles so its a great benefit, also as you pointed out its great for getting used to climbing the hill, more so while climbing down as I found it more tiring on feet to climb down on rocky terrain, Everything done in hindu tradition has a basis in scientific reasoning, UNFORTUNATELY SOME SWAMIS ARE DOING NAKKA VINAYAM AND MOODACHARAM AND TRYING TO CONFUSE REAL BHAKTAS. My advise is to do as much as we can with sincerity and devotion and even Lord Ayyappa will see and judge accordingly.

  4. Replies
    1. even i hav the same doubt sir..lets c if some one could reply us!!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. swamy, soap is not to be used as previously soaps were made from animal fats and hence it was against the essence of deeksha to observe satvika lifestyle (aahara includes all kinds of sensory inputs, from eyes ears nose tongue and skin, thus we must observe diksha not just in food but in every sensory activity) Please use a herbal powder or a soap made from vegetable oils.
      Everything in our traditoons is very scientific but unfortunately some swamis showing nakka vinayam and moodacharams and trying to confuse and scare away real bhaktas. Ayyappa deeksha should be taken as a new experience to be relished and not something to punish oneself - I know many swamys who want to finish the forty days and go to sabari and come back ASAP so they can start to do their nonsense again, please understand a deeksha is for a satvika lifestyle which is recommended for everyone at all times and hence the restrictions.

      Swamiye sharanam Ayyappa!

  5. powdered channa is the best thing u can use to repLace soap fo bathing, and brushing ur teeth with mango r cashew tree Leaf.

    1. wow, even big guruswamys use toothpaste but you keep spreading superstitions swamy. just brilliant

  6. Swami Saranam !! Hi, I am a first time Sabarimala devotee ( KanniSwamy ). Do we have to take bath before sunrise and after sunset as advised by many devotees ?

  7. Swamy saranam...
    Can swamy sleep after morning pooja? I mean at 8-9am?

  8. swamy i took deeksha for 11days but i feel guilt for not doing it for 41days can i extend my deeksha also i'm using medimix soap is ti ok to use?

  9. swamy i fineshed 21 days can i remove malla now for some problems

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  11. Swamy I finished 21 day I can I remove malla some problem i

  12. Swamy yesterday my mind got out of control and I saw some bad prohibited stuff on the internet. Now i feel very guilty. What should I do.this is my first time deeksha.

    1. its ok swamy. what you did was unintentional. Please continue the good work

  13. Swamy yesterday my mind got out of control and I saw some bad prohibited stuff on the internet. Now i feel very guilty. What should I do.this is my first time deeksha.

  14. Swamy Saranam. That is why chanting Sarana Ghosham as much as possible always and interacting with other swamys help. I do not watch TV nor do I go to internet for news. Most of the news paper sites do have advertisements which we do not want to see during deeksha

  15. Can i take Deeksha for 21 days is it ok

  16. can we perform ayyappa deeksha for more than 41 days

  17. Yes Govatdhsna Swamy, you can as long as you keep yourself to all the rituals n keep all systems in place you mY continue the deeksha, you will be the most blessed by Lord Ayyappa.....

    Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa....

  18. Om Swamiye Saranam Ayappa.
    Hi Swamiji Iam planning to go sabarimala on 8th of Dec-2017 and Darshan on 9Th of Dec-2017. On which day should I wear Mala from now.

  19. Are you going to take mandala deeksha or 21 days deeksha? For mandala deeksha the maaladhaarana time has passed, As per your query about going on Dec 9th you only have 20 days. There is no time for manadala deeksha for specified date.

  20. If we take the deeksha for ayyappa swamy for 7 days for beginners

  21. Swamy can we sleep after pooja in morning i.e.8:30 AM... ?
    Can we take bath with luke hot water

  22. I mean mala more than 21 days below 41 days

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  24. I want to wear mala for 1 day or two because of my work environment. Am I permissible to do that

  25. Swami...i want to take mala with in couple of days from it possible to take mala???

  26. Swami...i want to take mala with in couple of days from it possible to take mala???