[Advaita-l] Ayyappa and Tattwamasi

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Dec 15 11:36:00 CST 2011

On Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 4:45 PM, Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste
> In Ayyappa temples we see 'Tattwamasi'  Upanishadic statement
> prominently displayed but there is no Advaitic statement like that in
> Siva and Vishnu temples. Is Ayyappa teaching Advaita to us? Whom did
> he teach Tattwamasi? If he is teaching Advaita why he is not accepted
> in and worshipped in Sringeri? Many of his Bhaktas are non Brahmins.

It could be that some bhakta addressed Lord Ayyappa and said 'Tattvamasi'
[You are the Tattvam, Truth].

Incidentally the present and the previous Sringeri Acharyas have visited
Sabari Malai in 1980 and the present Acharya composed a hymn on Lord
Ayyappa there.  There is no rule that Ayyappa should be worshiped in
Sringeri which has its own history and methods.

Here is a story :

*Appayya and Ayyappa

Thathacharya an aggressive propagator of Vaishnavism became jealous of the
fame and Royal Patronage of Sri Appaya Dikshitar and gave him lot of
pinpricks and troubles. This story about how the ruler of a small kingdom
in the South India, invited both Shri. Appaya Dikshita and Thathacharya for
the Kumbhabhishekam ( Consecration ) of a Shastha (Lord Ayyappa) temple.
While going round the temple with the great two scholars, the King was
puzzled to note that the Ayyappa’s idol standing with its index finger on
its nose – a posture indicating a mood of serious doubt. The King asked the
priest why it was so. The priest said that he had heard from his
predecessor, that The Shastha would remove his finger, the moment some
great man explained the reason for its doubt. The King looked at
Thathacharya and Thathacharya explained the reason in a verse:
"Vishnosutoham Vidhinaa Somoham Dhanyastatoham Surasevitoham ! Thatapi
Bhutesa Sutohamethair Bhutairrvtas Chintayatee Shastaa.", meaning: "I am
the son of Lord Vishnu and blessed I am, saluted by the Gods. Yet , I am
the son of the Lord of the Demons (Lord Siva) – so thinks Shastha
surrounded by a group of demons." The finger remained on the nose of
Shastha. Then the King turned towards Shri. Appaya Dikshita, who sung in
all humility : “Ambeti Gaureem Aham Aahvayaami Patnaya; Pitur Mataraa Yeva
Sarva Kathannu Lakshmeem Iti Chintayantam Shastaram Ide Sakalarrhasiddhyai
" – meaning : "I call Gowri ( Goddess Parvathi ) mother for all the wives
of the father are mothers. But how am I to call Lakshmi !(Meaning Vishnu
being the mother, and Lakshmi becoming mother’s wife?!!). May Shastha who
is steeped in this thoughts give me all prosperity." (Shastha according to
Puranic version, is the off-spring of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu , in his
manifestation as Mohini.) The King and all those around saw a miracle
happen, the Shastha idol removed its index finger from its nose!.



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