Significance of the patta tying both feet together of Lord Ayyappa and the reason for sitting with Mudra position of right hand:
The pattam is called Yoga Pattam. You can find a similar yoga pattam with Yoga Narasimmar or Dhakshinamoorthy. The reason is Bhagawan Sastha is a Yogeeshwara by nature. Though His other Attributes like Veera, Gambeera etc are established in all other Kshetrams like Achankovil, Aryankavu etc. Bhagawan’s Yogic attribute is predominant at Sabarimalai because it’s Mahayoga Peetam. (Cover image courtesy: hindugallery.com)
Bhagawan is sitting there doing Meditation. Thats the reason the yoga pattam is tied to his body and His pose is called “Harivarasanam” —Keeping both his legs and back well pressed on the ground, at the same time the spinal cord is at right angle to the ground, (A human being will generally find it difficult to sit in this posture comfortably) in order to hold the body in this particular yogic posture, the yoga pattam is used. (Most of the temples – other than Sabarimala Sastha is seen in Veerasanam and the pattam used to tie one leg with the waist and it is called veerapattam).
The mudra on the right hand is Chinmudra. Our Sanathana Dharma uses symbols to remind us consistently our original goal. Chin mudra too indicates this.
Most of us mistake the Mudra to on the knee, but it is on the thigh – close to the heart.. This is the way of linking the subtle body to the entire cosmos.
The three open fingers denotes, Ahankaram,Maya and Karma – the three binding factors of our life of Samsara.
The index finger stands for the individual atman (YOU – Jeevathma) and the thumb represents the Brahman (Paramathma). The gentle touch of these two fingers indicates the coming together the micro with the macro cosmos.
So chinmudra is eliminating the Ahankara, Maya and Karma; merging the jeevathma into Paramathma; Chinmudra denotes the ultimate mantra So-Hum, which can be translated as “That-I”,meaning the Universe and I are the same. i.e., Thathwamasi. Ego, illusion and karma are the three impurities that a seeker is trying to remove from his life in order to unite their Individual Soul with the Supreme Soul and experience that divine, blissful state of union they strive for. Doing chinmudra is a physical representation and reminder of this goal and serves to refocus and re-energize the seeker.
Lord Ayyappa’s historical story is so interesting. He is also named as Hari Hara Sutha –Lord Shiva and Vishnu’s son. He inherits the powers of these two gods in him. Having incarnated in a princely family on this earth, Lord Ayyappan became a prey to an evil plot that had been innovated by some in the royal family who did not want Ayyappan to become the legal heir to the throne.
Ayyappan was asked to go to the forest in a significant turn of the story and get a tiger’s milk to cure his mother’s disease. Ayyappan, bound to his mother by his duty as a son, headed to the thick woods. The powers of Ayyappan have been indescribable. With so much love flowing from him to all beings, he was so captivating. He was attracted by the deadly animals in the forest and approached him with reverence and love.
Ayyappan was seated on a Tiger and leaving for the palace. Those who saw the little kid riding on a tiger ran in panic here and there, and the people who plotted against him realized his divine powers. Nonetheless, he didn’t want to stay back in the kingdom until Ayyappan made himself known to all.
In the thick woods, Ayyappan left for the hills and began a deep meditation. The ruler of the kingdom of Pandala confronted the Lord and begged him to return to the palace that the Lord had never agreed to. He said in all his mercy that he would stay in the forest forever to be consecrated in a temple and bless the devotees who come to him during Kali’s age. He was seen sitting in the yogic pose mentioned above, which is a long-standing contact posture.
Pandala’s king brought a golden belt and tied it around the Lord’s legs so that the Lord felt comfortable to sit in the position and remained in the temple to bless the devotees forever. That’s why we find the golden belt tied to the legs of Ayyappan.
Bhagawan is in the form of a Guru at Sabarimala doing Tapas – contemplating on Self.
The word “Guru” is combination of two words.’ Gu’ meaning Darkness and’ Ru’ meaning Light. So literally, Guru means “The Light that dispels darkness”. That Light is Jyothi Swaroopam.
Let us pray our Maha Guru Lord Ayyappa to shower His grace on us to enlighten us and give us the inner refinement.