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This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayyavazhi

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Ayyavazhi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Ayyavazhi (IPA: [aia:vərɪ])(Tamil:அய்யாவழி Ayyavaḻi -"Path of the father"), is a monistic religion, originated in South India in the mid 19th century,[1]. The faith is centered on Ayya Vaikundar and his life and teachings as presented in the religion's scriptures. Ayyavazhi has yet to received official recognition as an independent religion from the Indian government, but its followers consider it an autonomous religion.[2] Since Ayyavazhi is not recognised as a separate religion, its followers are counted as Hindus by the Census in India.[3] [4]

Apart from the Ayyavazhi followers some social[5] as well as religious [6][7] faculties too recognise Ayyavazhi as a separate religion. Though Ayyavazhi is practised throughout South India by a large mass,[8] the number of followers of Ayyavazhi is very high in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu such as Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin.[9] Ayyavazhi's fast growth in its first century has been noted by Christian missionaries in the mid-19th century.[10] The activities of Vaikundar and the growth of this religion created a reformation and revolution in the 19th century Travancore[11] and Tamil Society[12] and gave a rude shock to the feudal based social set up of South India.[13]

The ideas and philosophy of the religion are based on the teachings of Ayya Vaikundar and the religious texts, Akilattirattu Ammanai and Arul Nool. Accordingly, Ayya Vaikundar was the Manu avatar of Trimurthi. Although Ayyavazhi shares many ideas with Hinduism in its mythology and practice, it differs in many aspects, especially in its concepts of "Good vs Evil", Dharma etc. [14]

Ayyavazhi began in the 19th century as a Hindu sect.[15] It on one hand shares many ideas and on the other hand regenerates several concepts which were found in Hinduism. Ayyavazhi is classified as a Dharmic religion because of its centrality on Dharma,[16] though the ultimate aim of Ayyavazhi dharma lies on an ideal Dharma Yukam which seems similar to Abrahamic ideas on heaven.[17]

Etymology

The exact origins of the name Ayyavazhi are not known, though there are many views on the subject. the different implications of the phrase do not move far away from each other. The various theories include:

  • Ayya's path - from the direct synonymous derivation, which takes Ayya as a noun (naming word) of Ayya Vaikundar.[18]
  • Path of Father - from the local spoken-tamil language Ayya (father) + vazhi (path). This meaning, derived from Tamil, is most commonly used as 'ayya', and means 'dear father'[19].
The Palliyarai of Swamithoppe pathi.
The Palliyarai of Swamithoppe pathi.
  • The ultimate truth of Master[20] - from Tamil Ayya (Master) + vazhi (the ultimate truth) is derived from the literary usage of the words.
  • Religious system of Guru - from Tamil Ayya as (Guru) + vazhi (religious system - vazhibadu in Tamil).
  • Way of attaining the sacred feet of God - Ayya as (God) + vazhi (way to unify)[21]

The synonymous versions of the phrase are virtually unlimited, because the usage of the word 'Ayya' in tamil varies widely. It's used to describe: father, guru, the superior, a person of dignity, respectable one, master, the king, the teacher, preceptor, etc. The word 'vazhi' in tamil varies as: the way, a course of conduct, manner, method, mode, cause, antiquity, succession, religious system, reason, and so on.

History

Main article: History of Ayyavazhi

Ayyavazhi began to be noticed initially by the large number of people gathering to worship Ayya Vaikundar at Swamithoppe, the then poovandanthoppe. The majority of the followers of Ayyavazhi were from the marginalised and poor sections of the society.[22] For the Christian missionaries it posed a great challenge in their proselytising mission from its inception.[23] Although the majority of these followers were from the Chanar cast, some external sources too states that a large number of people from other castes also followed this religion.[24]

By the middle of nineteenth century, Ayyavazhi had come to be recognised as a separate religion, deep rooted in the region of South Travancore and South Tirunelveli.[25] The growth in its number of followers had increased significantly from 1840s.[26] After the death of Vaikundar, the religion was spread on the basis of his teachings and the religious books Akilattirattu Ammanai and Arul Nool. The five Citars, who were the disciples of Ayya Vaikundar, and their descendants travelled to several parts of the country and carried the mission of Ayyavazhi.[27] Meanwhile the Payyan dynasty started administration of Swamithoppe pathi,[28] while other Pathis came under the administration of the followers of Ayya.[29] Hundreds of Nizhal Thangals (places of worship) were built across the country. [30]

Swamithoppe Pathi, headquarters of Ayyavazhi.
Swamithoppe Pathi, headquarters of Ayyavazhi.

In addition as a religion, Ayyavazhi served initially also as a reformatory system in the social history of Travancore, which was noted unlike any other part of India,[31] for the firmly entrenched tyrannical rule of discriminative caste order,[32] where in addition to the evil of untouchability, other inhumanities like unapproachability and unseeability[33] had developed and deep rooted. In the midst of such a social contest, the intermingling brought up in Ayyavazhi centres is the initial transformation felt in 19th century Travancore[34] by the advent of Ayyavazhi.

Currently Bala Prajapathi Adikalar, one of descendant of Payyan dynasty is considered as the leader of Ayyavazhi.[35] He has laid foundations for a large number of Nizhal Thangals through out South India.[36] And now considering the growth of the religion the day of incarnation of Vaikundar, Ayya Vaikunda Avataram was declared as a holiday by the government for the districts of Tirunelveli [37] and Tuticorin from this year while the district of Kanyakumari was announced as a holiday earlier. [38]

See also: Timeline of Ayyavazhi history

Scriptures and holy places

The holy books of Ayyavazhi are the Akilattirattu Ammanai and the Arul Nool, and they are the source of the religion's mythology. The internal evidence states that the Akilattirattu Ammanai was written down by Hari Gopalan Citar[39] by hearing the contents of Akilam told by Narayana to his consort Lakshmi.[40] There was no definite history about the origin of Arul Nool; but the followers believe that it was written by Citars and Arulalarkal (one who get possessed by divine power).[41] It contains the prayers, hymns and instructions for the way of worship in Ayyavazhi, rituals, prophesies and also many acts.

The Kappu viewed from a eleventh impression Akilattirattu Ammanai.
The Kappu viewed from a eleventh impression Akilattirattu Ammanai.

To the Ayyavazhi devotees, there are five holy places, called Pathis, with "Panchappathis" being the most important.[42] The temple of Swamithoppepathi is the headquarters of the Ayyavazhi religion.[43] The Vakaippathi, where 700 families were sent to Thuvayal Thavasu by Vaikundar was accredited as a Pathi in Akilam although this site has no direct association with the activities of Vaikundar.[44]

There is a serious disagreement within the followers of Ayyavazhi as to the holiness of some of the places of worship. The Avatharappathi in Thiruchendur was accepted by the book Akilam as a Pathi, but as some of the followers believe that the place at which the present temple is located is not the exact place where Ayya Vaikundar incarnated from the sea, they disagree with the rest of the devotees. There are also some followers which strongly object Thiruchendur as a Pathi though they accept it as a secondary holy site. The list of Pathis announced by the headquarters of Ayyavazhi does not include Avatharappathi.[45] Also, an attempt is made to kill Vaikundar at Marunthuvazh Malai by adding poison to milk.[46] More over, Ayya Vaikundar is said to be penanced here. So the Marunthuvazh Malai (Vaikunda Pathi) is also considered as a Pathi. [47]

See also: Pancha pathi, Akilattirattu Ammanai, and Arul Nool

Symbolism

The symbol of the Ayyavazhi religion is a 1,008 petalled lotus carrying a flame-shaped white 'Namam'.[48] The lotus represents the 1,008-petalled Sahasrara (in Tamil, Ladam) and the Namam represents the Aanma Jyothi or atman, sometimes translated as "soul" or "self". There are reference for Thirunamam in both primary and secondary scriptures, Akilattirattu Ammanai[49] and Arul Nool.[50] Though the overall consideration of the whole contents of Akilam focus the concept derived from the symbol, 'Lotus carrying Namam' it seems that there is no direct reference for it, there in the scriptures. But according to some legends this symbol was in use in Ayyavazhi from the early forties of the twentieth century.[51]

Scriptural description

The aerial view of Sahasrara, symbolised in Ayyavazhi as 'Lotus carrying Namam'
The aerial view of Sahasrara, symbolised in Ayyavazhi as 'Lotus carrying Namam'

The mythical narration of akilam about the eight yugas is often viewed philosophically as eight chakras. The first Neetiya Yukam as Bindu and the final state of absolute bliss, Sahasrara is said to be the Dharma Yukam. In this series the, energy of consciousness of oneself is to raised from Bindu (Neetiya Yukam) to the final Sahasrara (Dharma Yukam) to experience the absolute bliss. The reigning power(God) in the final Dharma Yukam is Vaikundar. Thus Ayyavazhi's symbol seems to be derived from Akilam. And the symbol of Ayyavazhi, Lotus with Namam' shows it; Vaikundar is been experienced in Sahasrara.

 

1000 or 1008 Petals

As per Hindu legends this Sahasrara chakra has '1000 petals' . But in Ayyavazhi symbolism it was considered as 1008. In Akilam or Arul Nool there are no verse to treat this term '1000' but quiet commonly the number '1008' is mentioned. Also the year of incarnation of Vaikundar is 1008 M.E. On backing these scriptural backgrounds, 1008 petal arrangement is followed in Ayyavazhi symbolism.[52]

See also: Thirunamam

Worship centres

Main article: Worship centers of Ayyavazhi

The followers of Ayyavazhi established Pathis and Nizhal Thangals, which are centres of worship and religious learning in different parts of the country. They served as centres for propagation of the beliefs and practices of Ayyavazhi. There are more than 8000 worship centres throughout South India.[53] Since Ayyavazhi is not an organised religion, Swamithoppepathi serves, religiously as the headquarters of all. Generally speaking, the Pathis earns more importance among the worship centres.

A Nizhal Thangal near Marthandam, Tamil Nadu.
A Nizhal Thangal near Marthandam, Tamil Nadu.

Pathis

Pathis were the important centres of congregational worship, being relatively bigger structures like that of a temple. They obtain their significance from the fact that Ayya Vaikundar and his activities were historically associated with these centres of worship. They are seven in number. Since Ayyavazhi is not an organised religion the Swamithope pathi though considered as religious head-quarters, it officially does not control the rest of the religious centres. All Pathis, except Swamithope pathi are managed by independently formed committees.

Nizhal Thangals

Nizhal Thangals were simple small structures built for the purpose of worship and for learning the teachings of Ayya Vaikundar. They served as centres of education during the early days. Food and shelter were offered to the needy in these centres. Some of them were established when Vaikundar was alive. [54] Even now charity is one of the main activities conducted in these centres.[55] The LMS Reports of the mid-nineteenth century too speaks in abundance about Nizhal Thanagals.

These centres are considered abode of Dharma. The Nizhal Thangals formed an important institution in the socio-religious life of the people of Ayyavazhi.

See also: Pathi and Nizhal Thangal

Religiosity Study circle

It is difficult to give a clear-cut listing to Ayyavazhi concepts because of the relation the Ayyavazhi scriptures maintains with the Hindu scriptures. On one hand Akilam outputs a view that the central themes of the previous scriptures are churned-out and are assembled in it and on the other hand is says that Kaliyan destroy the vedas and Shastras and also performed several additions to the previous scriptures at the beginning of Kali Yuga and hence the Akilam is given to mankind.[56] These both view points give the view of Akilam on Hindu Scriptures, and place them as reasons for rejecting them.

Conceptual delimitations

The Holy Symbol of Ayyavazhi Tradition
The Holy Symbol of Ayyavazhi Tradition

But on undergoing a religious study on Ayyavazhi theology, it is unavoidable to refer Hindu scriptures on finding details for the concepts just quoted in Akilam. Many of the deep-thinkable philosophical concepts are merely mentioned in Akilam and the describtion is left to be found from Hindu Scriptures. [57]

The 96 properties of Human body, Tatvas is just mentioned in Akilam while saying about the qualities and features of Kaliyan. It is essential to understand each and every one of the 96 tatvas to understand about Kaliyan. But since Akilam have no different view in this matter from Hindu scriptures, it was left to be gathered from there.

Generally it was considered that, once a particular concept is not found well-described in Ayyavazhi scriptures such as Akilattirattu Ammanai or Arul Nool, (as detail as in Hindu scriptures) and instead simply have quoted and the rest is left to be found from there, then that particular conception is accepted as in Hindu scriptures for religious studies. But when the idea of a particular notion of Akilam differs very much from Hindu scriptures, that particular thing is deeply described. [58]

Ethics

The ethics of Ayyavazhi are found scattered throughout the primary scripture, Akilattirattu Ammanai. They are also integrated with the meta-narrative mythography. However, regarding ethics, Arul Nool is considered as an accumulation and prophecy of the core concepts found in Akilam. In Akilam, the ethical abstracts are pointed out as "told by God" at several places at different situations to lesser god-heads, devas, saints etc. when asked by them.

Arul Nool constitutes the major role in forming the Ayyavazhi ethics. It gives separately the social as well as divine ethics. It was believed that many portions of Arul Nool are lost.

Neetham

Main article: Neetham

Neetham is the primary virtues of Ayyavazhi religion. This is found in Akilattirattu Ammanai in the midst of meta narrative events of eight yugas. This shows that how the society, it's people, the ruling king etc lived in absolute harmony with nature, placing the power of almighty in all their works deeds and activities, during early ages.

The Akilam points out this as an example, and there by says that how the people should live in the world. The Neethams are split into three. They are,

  1. Manu Neetham: How an individual should personify him or herself.
  2. Raja Neetham: How an individual should be to the society or Nation, and in turn how the Nation should be to a common man.
  3. Deiva Neetham: How an individual should be before God.

This Neetham is found in Akilam as saying how the people of early age lived in detail. It was derived from there as an ethical form that is to be followed.

Vinchai by God

The Flagmast of Swamithoppe with Ayyavazhi symbol at the top
The Flagmast of Swamithoppe with Ayyavazhi symbol at the top
Main article: Vinchai to Vaikundar

Vinchai is the rules and regulations provided by God (Narayana) to Vaikundar. Akilam contains three such Vinchais. One immediately after the incarnation of Vaikundar from the sea and other two of them at Muttappathi after some of the incarnational activities. Though this was found as regulations provided by the Father, Narayana to the Son Vaikundar, many of the acts found there fits also to humans and to be followed by human to improve their moral code.

Also the first Vinchai of Tiruchendur forms the largest ethical accumulation found in Akilam.

Dharma

The Akilattirattu Ammanai the scripture of Ayyavazhi teaches Dharma on two different perspective. One in sociology as charity and another under spirituality to attain the stage of Oneness, unified into Vaikundar. The sociological way is asked to be followed by every one to attain the spiritual state of Dharma.[59]

Sociological conception

The sociological definition to Dharma is generated as a concrete activity of charity or almsgiving. The principle of Dharma was considered as the mission of "protecting or salvaging the lowly, the oppressed". The disparity among the people is to be reduced and eradicated by this act of charity. A quote in Vinchai reads, "To uplift the lowely is dharmam". In this way, people were specially exhorted to undertake charity on material goods, and do it without discriminating among the beneficiaries. It is interesting to note that the great Indian saint, Swami Vivekananda applied this principle of Ayyavazhi Dharma concept in practice and this may lead support to some followers of Ayyavazhi who claim that he was influenced by the religion.[60]

Spiritual conception

Transposed to the spiritual plane, the concept of Dharma is propounded as 'principle of righteousness'. Ayyavazhi asserts that the prime motive of the avatar of Vaikundar was to establish Dharma in this world by destroying the evil force of Kaliyan. The definition of Kali in Ayyavazhi is focused as the materialized life. So spiritual understanding of Dharma in Ayyavazhi is the life in ultimate hormony with nature or unbounded by space and time. The narration of the concept 'Ekam' , 'the ultimate oneness' in Akilam right from the beginning points out it clearly. And after ending the Kali Yukam, Dharma Yukam, the 'world of righteousness', is said to be ruled over by Vaikundar as an ever lasting King. But on the way, it detached the caste identities by stating that it was not suited for the present Kali Yukam. A quote in Akilam reads,

" Cast away the head-shaking devils and the eighteen castes
in to the sea, mountain and fire."

Beliefs

The three Kumbas mounted above the roof of the Sanctum sanctorium of Swamithope pathi, symbolizing the existence of Trinity within Narayana who incarnated as Vaikundar
The three Kumbas mounted above the roof of the Sanctum sanctorium of Swamithope pathi, symbolizing the existence of Trinity within Narayana who incarnated as Vaikundar

The followers of Ayyavazhi believe in both reincarnation and the Dharma Yukam but condemn the caste system.[61] They also reject the use of murti in worship, but Ayya Vaikundar recognized the human need for an image to focus on and introduced a non-anthropomorphic symbol (see Nizhal Thangal).[62]

This practice is similar to that of other Hindu sects that use non-anthropomorphic symbols. Shaivism, for example, uses the linga as the symbol of God, while Vaishnavism uses the saligrama. Similarly, in Ayyavazhi, the Elunetru, which is placed in the Palliyarai, is considered a seat of God rather than God himself. The same is true of the Elunetru's alternative name, Asanam, which means "seat." Behind this asana, a mirror is installed to reflect the worshipper [63] which implies, "God is yourself (or) God is within you" revealing an idea on God similar to Advaita theology.

Ayyavazhi beliefs are closely related to those of Smartism and Advaita Vedanta, especially in the beliefs related to Trimurthi. Hence, Ayyavazhi's followers believe that Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are different aspects of the same God. (see also Ayyavazhi and Hinduism). While some claim that the beliefs of Akilattirattu are related to Dvaita and Vishishtadvaita, Ayyavazhi endorses the concept of Ultimate Oneness.[64]

Followers of Ayyavazhi differ from other Hindus in that they recognize a Satan-like figure, Kroni, who is the primordial manifestation of evil and who manifests in various forms, (for example, Ravana and Duryodhana) in different ages or yugas. God, as Vishnu, becomes incarnate in his avatars, including Rama, Krishna and eventually Ayya Vaikundar, to destroy the foremost evil.[65]

Kroni, the spirit of Kali Yuga, is said to be omnipresent in this age and this is one of the reasons why the followers of Ayyavazhi, like other Hindus, believe that the current yuga, Kali Yuga, is decadent.[66]

Charity is Ayyavazhi's main mission. One can see Anna Dharmam (offerings of food) in Ayyavazhi centres of worship at least once a month.[67]

Santror - The Subjects

Main article: The Santror
Palmyra, the tree cursed to provide celestial nectar in the form of Palm-juice for Santror untill the closure of Kaliyuga.
Palmyra, the tree cursed to provide celestial nectar in the form of Palm-juice for Santror untill the closure of Kaliyuga.

The Santror are the seven boys who were made to born by using the seven seeds from seven upper worlds, by Thirumal, to the Seven Virgins through their instrumentality, according to Ayyavazhi mythology. They are also the first inhabitants of Kali Yukam. It also represents their descendants. According to Akilattirattu Ammanai, in ideological sense it additionally represents one who lives with dignity. But in turn, the Santror are the subject of the religious vision of Ayyavazhi.[68]

It is both a religious and a social category in its connotation.[69] Today most of the followers emphasise more on the religious dimension of this category than the social.[70] They give it an inclusive character and universal reach to mean anyone who is noble,[71] as the literal meaning of the Tamil word would have it, and anyone who believes in the vision of Ayyavazhi. However, the concept, as it occurs in Akilattirattu Ammanai is more specific, with a considerable importance attached to the social dimension of it, without, however, ruling out a space for universal connotation.[72] In its specific and social reference, it refers Chanar.[73]

Since The Santror was mentioned as the first inhabitants of the Kali Yukam in Akilam, this view rightly fit not to the Nadar, which was one among many castes in present Tamil Nadu. But to the early Chanar who were called by the Arabs as "Al Hind", and known in Biblical times as the "People of Five Rivers", and now scattered with more than 250 branches through-out the world.[74]

The roll of Santror in Kali Yukam is to assist and to follow Vaikundar on destroying the evil force of Kali. It is belived that Kali is being destroyed continiously by the activities of the Santror in the Path of Vaikundar, and so the Dharma Yukam unfolds evantually.

God

Main article: Ayyavazhi theology

The theology of Ayyavazhi differs from other monistic religions.[75] It speaks of Ekam, the ultimate Oneness from which all that which exists formed. It also speaks of a oneness that exists behind all differences. The Ekam itself is remaining unaffected by maya deep inside every changeable matters as an absolute constant. Regarding the theology, Ayyavazhi is more monotheistic than a monistic, because the supreme oneness (Ekam) itself is said to be created by Vaikundar, who is a personified God. But no other god-heads, even the Father of Vaikundar, Narayana hasn't gained an equal or greater status than Ekam in Ayyavazhi.

Vaikundar - Ekam - Other lesser Gods Relation

Evolution of Ekam, through the ages(yugas)
Evolution of Ekam, through the ages(yugas)

Ayyavazhi believes in one God, but recognizes that the one God can appear to humans in a multiplicity of names and forms. The first half of Akilam asserts the existence and power-status of different god-heads and in the second half after the incarnation of Vaikundar though they were puppet reign, they do exists. Especially, though all powers were surrendered to Vaikundar, Narayana acts a double role through out the incarnation of Vaikundar, as the Father of Vaikundar. So Akilam accepts that all god-heads exists. But as Vaikundar only the powerful and the supreme, which channel Ayyavazhi theology towards Henotheism.

But God is, in the highest sense, one: formless, infinite, and eternal. God is changeless and is the very source of consciousness and on the other hand the consciousness itself. God is beyond time, space, and causation and yet exist within everything and every being. Being formless, God is genderless. The name Ekam is mentioned quiet often in Ayyavazhi scriptures. But beyond the mere mention of the 'term' several times, no long description is provided for the word. But still placing Ekam beyond every powers. But the term Ekam in Tamil gives simply the meaning, "one and the incomparable supreme". This is some sort of monistic definition about god from Ayyavazhi theology.

There are a series of lesser god-heads mentioned in Akilam were lesser in power and within Ekam while Vaikundar is viewed on one hand as the incarnation of Ekam and on the other hand as in equal power to Ekam. But during the encounter of Vaikundar with the King of Travancore, a verse of Akilam states that Ekam itself was created by Vaikundar. So Vaikundar is supreme to all.

Regarding Vaikundar, This Ekam remains one among the three in the Trinity in Vaikundar during the incarnation. So the all qualities of Ekam (changeless attributess etc...) fits also to Vaikundar. Strengthening this view a series of quotes from Arul Nool portraits Vaikundar as eternal and reveals his Universal form.

Mythical Narration

It speaks of Sivam and Sakthi as the next evolved powers from the supreme Ekam. Then the Trimurthi, Three lesser God-heads, Sivan, Vethan and Thirumal as evolved from this Sakthi. It also speaks of several further evolved lesser Gods. But in Kali Yukam, due to the cruel nature of the boons offered to Kaliyan, Thirumal (the then supreme power) cannot destroy the sixth fragment of Kroni directly so all God-heads were unified into the Ekam, and Ekam Incarnated in the world as a Turine god (Ekam, Narayana and Human) in the form of Vaikundar to overcome the boons and to destroy Kali. Since all were unified in Vaikundar, in Kali Yukam Vaikundar was the Supreme Power and he was the only worshipable God. So in this regard Ayyavazhi is also viewed as a monotheistic religion.[76]

Map showing the location of Pancha Pathi in Kanyakumari district
Map showing the location of Pancha Pathi in Kanyakumari district

Akilattirattu Ammanai also speaks of Dharma Yukam in which Vaikundar rules like a king. There Vaikundar will be an undisputed power ruling the fourteen worlds. No such powers, (i.e) a single God to rule the fourteen worlds, still exists. Also no such throne to rule the fourteen worlds do exists. But immediately after the incarnation of Vaikundar, Narayana told Vaikundar in the Muttappathi Vinchai that the uncomparable throne is growing for him. The mythical narration of Ayyavazhi too show Vaikundar as a supreme power.

Dualistic dimension

The Kroni, the primordial manifestation of evil, was fragmented into six. Each was destroyed in successive Yugas; finally, Kaliyan (the last) will be sentenced to hell after the final judgement which led to the consideration of Ayyavazhi towards dualism. Kaliyan is called an evil spirit which came to the world. So it was commonly accepted that the destruction of the maya (evil spirit) was symbolised in such a way.[77] But the scripture is most commonly concerned with Ultimate Oneness right from the beginning to the end. So the dualistic views were contrasted by the monistic narration. Also the contents of Arul Nool, based on the teachings of Vaikundar, which were believed to be written by arulalarkal and Citars, is completely monistic.

Pantheism and panentheism

Though Ayyavazhi is mostly connected with the concept of Ekam, some followers advocates Ayyavazhi as Pantheistic, sticking to the concept Ekan (one who appears as oneness or Ekam in Tamil) which was used to refer God in Akilam seven. In this expression, the Akilam lays the groundwork for viewing Ayyavazhi as a pantheistic faith. In a quote in Kappu, the very first part of Akilam one, the author of Akilam says, "By keeping us inside yourself, please help us".Akilam1:12.

Regarding Panentheism, there are many quotes in Akilam to suggest it, but more which reveal Ayyavazhi as monistic. For example, during the Vinchai, inside the sea, Narayana, seeing Vaikundar, says that "You are Sivan, you are Thirumal, you are Nathan, you are the Tapas, and you are the one who is omnipresent in all which exists". And when Vaikundar is jailed in Thiruvananthapuram he alleviates the Santror by saying "I am the one who created the Ekam and the one who is omnipresent everywhere". -- (Akilam 13:395).

See also: Ayyavazhi Trinity, Ayya Vaikundar, and Ekam

Rituals

Main article: Ayyavazhi religious practices
A  'churul'  kept prepared to be offered for Panividai
A 'churul' kept prepared to be offered for Panividai

In addition to the philosophical concepts and mythology, the rituals of Ayyavazhi evolved on their own way. Most of the rituals have both different operational as well as historical meanings.[78] Historically they were used or viewed as an attempt to strengthen and uplift the sociologically downtroden and illtreated section of the society. On the other hand they reveals high philosophical notions in a religious way.

Also Ayyavazhi scriptures succeeded very much in making understand this commonly unsessible things to the common mass. The individual rituals and symbols, the unique features of worship, the ecstatic mode of religiosity, and the ritual healing - all these elements of the ritual corpus of Ayyavazhi contributed to the formation of an emancipatory ideation and a social discourse. It attempts to uplift and treat the disenfranchised. Examples of this include the physical as well as spiritual cleanliness through Thuvayal Thavasu, eliminating untouchability through Thottunamam, self-respect and courage through headgear, and unifying various castes through Muthirikkinaru.[79] Another important thing to be noted is the alternative phrases religiously used in Ayyavazhi universe different from Hinduism to represent certain practises.

Inclusivistic and exclusivistic ideas

This formula of inclusivism and exclusivism was applied in the religio-cultural universe of Ayyavazhi is one that is not found anywhere else in the world. Though there are separate verses towards inclusivism and exclusivism as central themes in Akilam, the mixture of both is unique. The inclusivistic theory of accepting the views of different religions for a certain period of time and from then onwards exclusivistically rejecting all of them by narrating that all the previous had lost their substances is a mythical as well as religious break-through.

View on gods

A Painting of the mid twentieth century which shows Pattathu Ayya, Payyan Chella Vadivu (then administrator) of Swamithoppe Pathi wearing Thirunamam and Headgear.
A Painting of the mid twentieth century which shows Pattathu Ayya, Payyan Chella Vadivu (then administrator) of Swamithoppe Pathi wearing Thirunamam and Headgear.

Ayyavazhi accepts all God heads of several religions such as the concept of Allah and almost all God-heads in Hinduism. It also says that the one and the same God incarnates in different parts of the world at different time for rescuing the people from sufferings. But due to the advent of Kaliyan and because of the cruel nature of his boons, for the first time the supreme God or the God beyond Conciousness (Ekan) incarnates in the world as Vaikundar and so all the God-heads were surrendered and all the previous scriptures had lost their substances. And so for the Kali Yukam, Vaikundar was said to be the only worshippable God and hence, the theology of Ayyavazhi was channelled towards exclusivism.

View on scriptures

The manner in which Akilattirattu Ammanai treats the scriptures of different religions is complicated. While Kalineesan arrested Vaikundar and proceeded towards Thiruvananthapuram, the situation of Vaikundar was narrated as, "As once on the non-liberative Cross, suffered the beatings of thorns, dead and reanimates for uplifting the poor, for this yuga here, he suffer this for the liberation of the downtrodden."Akilam13:227-231. By this it means that Vaikundar was the one who incarnates as Jesus and so by this verse Akilam accepts Christ. But it did not recognise The Bible. Thus, a quote in Vinchai about Venneesan reads, "He created a Veda (scripture) of his own intention". Also about Kaliyan it says about Bible that ,"There will be a religion of him which tells the world to treat greatly, the Cross." Akilam10:244 Likewise, Akilam accepts that the term 'Allah' and views it in relation to 'Ekam' (the supreme power). But it rejects the religion of Islam and its ideas. A quote reads, "There will be another which make a call to the world to put upon caps." Akilam10:243|

Ayyavazhi accepts the incarnation of Rama and Krishna but seems that it rejects the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as there is no mention of these. It accepts only the four Vedas as the 'Books of Perfection'.[80] However, this view of the Vedas is not inconsistent with Hinduism's views nor is different. In Hinduism, the Vedas are viewed as Śruti, or primary scripture, while other scriptures such as Ramayana are viewed as Smriti or secondary scripture. But later, Kaliyan had bought the Vedas as boon and so the Vedas had lost their substance by the advent of Kaliyan. It also says that he (Kaliyan) had performed several additions and had hidden several contents of them. And hence God incarnated as Vaikundar. So for the present age, Akilattirattu Ammanai is the only 'Book of Perfection'.

Ultimate exclusivism

According to Akilam, the Vedas are the only religious text to be followed and all others were mere incarnations of God and thus, the religion based ideas based on such beliefs were created by the intention of man but not of God.[81] But since now, the Vedas were destroyed by Kaliyan, for the present age, Akilam, which describes the incarnation of the Supreme God, Ekam is the only 'Book of Perfection'. By this Ayyavazhi rejects all other scriptures and follows only Akilattirattu Ammanai.

Shamanism

Some followers of Ayyavazhi perform some shamanic actions in the worship centres.[82] They claim that this practise was on basis of the quote on scriptures, "to convey certain messages to the ordinary folk."[83] Some believe that through the words of these possessed persons one could be able to know what God tells about him or herself or their activities.

A screen shot showing the Elunetru and Vahana decorated with flowers on the first day of Kodiyettru Thirunal in Swamithoppe Pathi.
A screen shot showing the Elunetru and Vahana decorated with flowers on the first day of Kodiyettru Thirunal in Swamithoppe Pathi.

As part of shamanic practice, they exhort the people on various matters, practiced divination (Kanakku) to discern the causes of sickness and misfortunes, and 'foretold future happenings'. Some LMS reports attest to the prevalence of shamans and shamanistic practices in centres of Ayyavazhi.[84] This is now in practice in some worship centres. The Akilattirattu Ammanai seems to have recognizes shamanic acts of worship.[85] A quote in Arul Nool reads, "For imparting knowledge and making things clear, I kept those who practice divination in the temples."[86] Though shamanism was practised in Ayyavazhi, it was accepted by the scriptures only as an ignorant way of worship (beginning stage in worship) or the initial way to teach a beginner the metaphysics.

Criticism

This shamanic actions in the worship centrers of Ayyavazhi is quite often criticised by a large number of followers. Commonly it was believed that in 'Ayyavazhi possessions', the possessed person use to sit in the Padmasana posture and simply utter (speak) to the audience. But in many of the worship centres the 'possed' person use to stand and dance, similar to the possessive activities found in some of the tribal belief systems. This act of 'standing and dancing' is mainly criticised seriously almost universally by Ayyavazhi followers.

Also these types of actions are commonly found in Nizhal Thangals which conduct pujas to Kali and other tribal deities. Since such practices of worshipping other deities are not allowed as per Ayyavazhi theology, the criticism over such possessions are accepted as a standard vision in the Ayyavazhi universe.

False deity

Though the first form of possession in which the person seated in Padmasana posture is commonly accepted among the followers, this is also criticised by some followers.

Akilam says about a false deity which was send to the world by Narayana after Vaikundar attained Vaikundam. It also states that this False deity use to say, "I am Vaikundar, I was the one who married the deities and unified into myself." Also this false deity show many magic practices and also many miracles. Some people use to compare the shamanic actions to that of False deity. They cite several quotes from Ayyavazhi scriptures for their criticism. But with a different point of view the supporters of shamanism give different synonymous outputs for the quotes and strengthen their stands.

Mythology

Main article: Ayyavazhi mythology

The mythology of Ayyavazhi reveal the fact that the essence of this vision is an account of a history - a past, a present and a future - meant by weaving together of empirical facts, historical events as well as mythical accounts.[87] It moves around three axiomatic typologies, namely Santror, Kali Yukam and Dharma Yukam, placing their base on the concepts and events of previous yugas which are associated also with Hindu mythology. The basic concepts give a symbolic vision which is at once religious and social.[88]

It is closely linked to that of Hinduism. Akilam talks about the previous yugas and the advent of Kali, shares some events, mythical characters, and concepts with Hinduism, many of whom were engendered in different form. The number of Yugas and Avatars differs in Ayyavazhi from Hinduism. The personification of the entity of Evil, Kali is unique to Ayyavazhi, and not found in Hinduism. Akilam says that the true concepts were destroyed, so that all previous scriptures had lost their substances due to the advent of Kali.[89]

The book also speaks of God incarnating in the world in the Kali Yukam (the present age) in order to destroy the evil spirit, the final and the most serious manifestation of Kroni. God incarnates as Vaikundar, and since Vaikundar lived recently, he was well known in history. So in the second part of the mythology many mythical as well as historical facts were woven together. Most of the events such as Muthirikkinaru,[90] Wearing of Headgear during worship,[91] Thuvayal Thavasu[92] all were noted in history.

* Chakras :- The yugas assumed as chakras above, is one of the philosophical views and is not mentioned directly so in Akilam.

Though there are quotes in Arul Nool to accredit the ten Avatars of Vishnu, it seems that they are not seen in equal status with these incarnations (as in the table). It was considered secondary to the primary avatars which are associated with the destructions of the fragments of Kroni. This view, is not inconsistent with Hinduism as only Narasimha, Rama and Krishna are considered the primary avatars who are still worshipped. The other avatars are considered secondary avatars who are not worshipped.

See also: Ayyavazhi and Hinduism

The utopian formula

The inner door of Swamithoppe (Palliyarai) with the ten avatars of Vishnu craved on it
The inner door of Swamithoppe (Palliyarai) with the ten avatars of Vishnu craved on it

The Ayyavazhi proposes an emancipatory utopia under the banner of Dharma Yukam.[94] The basis of the belief is that Ayya Vaikundar had come to establish and rule over the Dharma Yukam in the place of Kali Yukam by sentencing Kroni to hell by the final judgement to him.[95] The Dharma was taught 'to uplift the poor' and the result of that will be the Dharma Yukam.

Unlike in Hinduism, Ayyavazhi scriptures says about eight Yugas, and the final Dharma Yukam is said to be ruled over by Vaikundar as the everlasting king.[96] There were no signs of circular conception with this eight yugas as in Hinduism.[97] It presents a linear conception of time in Ayyavazhi by narrating Dharma Yukam beyond time and space..[98]The circular conception of time was an essential ingredient of the theories of karma and rebirth. But Ayyavazhi seems to approve this karma and rebirth but place Dharma Yukam after completing or beyond all these. About Dharma Yukam, it was said that, "a reign ruled without the discriminations of caste creed and race". Ayya Vaikundar was said to rule along with the Santror and Seven Virgins as one.[99]

Phenomenology

Akilam points out its basis as an ideological regeneration of Hinduism in the form of an entirely new religion.[100] But today most of the followers of Ayyavazhi address Vaikundar merely as the incarnation of Vishnu, suggesting their religion is not outside of Hinduism. Likewise most of the Nizhal Thangals were called as Narayana Swami Pathi similar to Hindu, Vaishnavism. Most of the follwers also worship Kali and folk deities not included the ideas based in Ayyavazhi scripture.[101]

Some followers of Ayyavazhi include Ayya Vaikundar as part of the ten avatars of Vishnu as Kalki, and some denominations strongly advocate moksha, the personal liberation though it is not stated in Akilam. Some even reject the Ayyavazhi Trinity conception in Ayyavazhi and believe Narayana to be the supreme Universal power.[102] The unique monotheistic belief which is the central theme of Ayyavazhi is completely unknown among most of the followers today.

Bala Prajapathi Adikalar, the present Pattathu Ayya of Swamithope pathi.
Bala Prajapathi Adikalar, the present Pattathu Ayya of Swamithope pathi.

The Ayyavazhi's spread among the common people was mainly due to the practice of Shamanism. The only sign to distinguish the practitioners of Ayyavazhi is they wore Thirunamam (the sign on their forehead).The Nizhal Thangals is identified by the presence of Mirror in the Palliyarai. All the rest are the same as Hinduism, deviating from the original theme of Ayyavazhi. Only the recitations of a handful of scholars educated in the Ayyavazhi scriptures point out the real facts and concepts of Akilam and the philosophical and ideological deviation of Ayyavazhi from Hinduism.[103]All these philosophical, ideological and religious variations in the society of Ayyavazhi makes them hard to be identified as a religion and instead mistook them as an offshoot of Hindu tradition.

Ayyavazhi as a religion The Identity and Controversies

Ayyavazhi worship was marked by its simplicity. The prayers, conducted in Tamil, brought home the religious sentiment in a direct and simple manner. The community aspect was another feature that distinguishes Ayyavazhi worship. The absence of idol worship and priestly mediation, and inclusion of alternate type of centres of worship, the Pathis and Nizhal Thangals, were other characterised Ayyavazhi worship. The concepts of Panividai (ritual service) and Panividaiyalar (one who performs Panividai) as alternate forms of ritual service and ritual servant respectively added to the uniqueness of Ayyavazhi worship.[104]

The penetration of Ayyavazhi is high in south Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala. In Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts it's very hard to find a village without a worship centre of Ayyavazhi.[105]

Autonomous structure

The religious structure evolved in the path of Ayyavazhi scriptures and as a result it transfigured itself as an alternative religio-cultural system in the social category. The Ayyavazhi's addressed their religion as "Path of God" with the phrase "Ayya Vazhi". On one hand they believe that their tradition had come to replace all old traditions (religions), but on the other hand as the synopsis of the whole of world's religious knowledges. On one hand they believe, that Ayya had unified all deities of the world and so all the so called deities within him. But on the other hand as, all previous had gone awry by the advent of Vaikundar. [106]

'The Great Masi Procession' from Nagercoil to Swamithope.
'The Great Masi Procession' from Nagercoil to Swamithope.

Though the ritual practices of Ayyavazhi seems as a reform or revolutionary activity highly focusing social-equality deviating from hinduism, it was also characterised and bound by religious beliefs which give it an alternative spiritual meaning. [107] Both synonyms for the rituals highlights the singularity of Ayyavazhi on social and religious grounds respectively. The Ayyavazhi scriptures covers almost all basic elements and ideas through-out Hinduism. It refers to Shastras, Agamas, Vedas and Puranas. [108] It too refers to Jesus and the Islamic concept of 'Allah'.[109] But address them all to be gone awry by the Advent of Vaikundar, [110] from where Ayyavazhi scriptures forms negative ideas over all other traditions. Though Ayyavazhi shares many god-heads with Hinduism, it weaves unique ideology and power asumption for them. Apart from this, Ayyavazhi have seperate theology, mythology, holy places, worship centres, and ethics of its own.

Akilam also pour hatred on religion based variations and points it as the foremost Kali mayai (evil of Kali), mainly for the partition of mankind which leads to social enmity. So on this degree it highly condemns exclusivistic religious and theological ideas. The scriptures also teaches that God and his activities are beyond the reach of religions. It also preaches about universal oneness.[111]

Controversies

Although the non-Ayyavazhis assert that this is an independent religion, it has not received official recognition as a separate religion in India. There is evidence that some of the followers are even of the opinion that this is but a Hindu sect rather than an autonomous religion.[112] They indulge in the mystic practices of possessions and divinations similar to the tribal religions of Tamil Nadu.

Since there is no official recognition, there are no chances for official figures for the number of followers of Ayyavazhi and the followers are considered Hindus in the census. Ayyavazhis assert that many core beliefs are similar to some Hindu sects such as Advaita and Smartism.

Reference

  1. ^ The 'zhi' (ழி) in the word, 'Ayyavazhi', is a retroflex, and it is correctly transliterated according to the National Library at Calcutta romanization as ayyavali.
  2. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, Page 120,121.
  3. ^ Dr.R.Ponnu's, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Social Equality in South India, Ram Publishers, 2000, Page 64, Birth of a New Sect. (This book says that Ayyavazhi was a sect of Hinduism, Officially which indirectly states that Ayyavazhi followers are counted with Hinduism during Census)
  4. ^ Madurai News Letter, Thozhamai Illam, Kanyakumari, Page 9. This site (News letter) tells about a discussion in swamithoppe, and Ayyavazhi as an important sect of Hinduism See this Pdf
  5. ^ V.T. Chellam's Thamizhaka Varalarum Panpadum Chapter 12, Page 493 Heading "Vaikunda Samikal (1810 - 1851) " Line 11: "அய்யா வழி சமயம் உதயமாகியது", (Ayyavazhi religion gets originated).
  6. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, Page 91 "By the middle of nineteenth century, AV had come to be a recognisable religious phenomenon, making it's presence felt in South Tiruvitankur and in the southern parts of Tirunelveli."
  7. ^ Samuel Mateer, The Land of Charity, [1] page 222 - 223, "this singular people display considerable zeal in the defence and propagation"
  8. ^ Dr. R.Ponnu's, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and Struggle for Social Equality in South India, 2000, Page 100, "At present thousands of Pathis (Nizhal Thangals) are seen throughout South India."
  9. ^ V.T. Chellam's, Thamizhaka Varalarum Panpadum Chapter 12, Page 494 "The refined religious system by Vaikunda Samikal spread in the Southern districts of Thiruvithancore and Tamil Nadu."
  10. ^ See the LMS Reports gathered in the article Ayyavazhi in reports by Christian missionaries from the book Religion and Subaltern Agency.
  11. ^ Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and Struggle for Social Equality in South India, Page 63, "The religious reform of Sri Vaikunda Swamigal left an everlasting influence on South Travancorean society."
  12. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, Page 90-91.
  13. ^ Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and Struggle for Social Equality in South India, Page 86.
  14. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, The Religious Phenomenon of Ayya Vali, Page 111-113,
  15. ^ Dr. R.Ponnu's, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Social Equality in South India, Ram Publishers, Page 98.
  16. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, 2003, The Social Discourse of Ayyavali, Page:160-161.
  17. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, A Sequential Narration Of The Salient Episodes From The Mythography of Ayya Vali, Page 220
  18. ^ R.Shanmugam's, Narayana Kulatthil Narayanar Avataram, Page:188
  19. ^ Dr.R.Ponnu's, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Social Equality in South India, Ram Publishers, 2000, Page 68, Sub heading: "Reverence as Ayya"
  20. ^ Akilathirattu ammanai Arappadanool, Fisrt Stage, page 27, published by Vaikundar Seva Sangam
  21. ^ Arisundara Mani's Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai Chapter 1, Page 4.
  22. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 90
  23. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 91
  24. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 91 "How ever, people from other 'casts' too formed part of the gathering"
  25. ^ G.Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency published by Department of Christian Studies, University of Madras, Chapter 5, page 91: "By the middle of nineteenth century, AV (abbreviation of Ayyavazhi) had come to be a recognisable religious phenomenon, making it's presence felt in South Tiruvitankur (Travancore) and in the southern parts of Tirunelveli. From the LMS reports, one gathers the information that AV was spreading with certain 'extraordinary' speed."
  26. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 92
  27. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 120 "Vaikunda cami seems to have chosen these disciples to be his close associates and to propagate his teachings and ideas to the people"
  28. ^ N. Elango & Vijaya Shanthi Elango 1997 Ayya this is a reVaikuntar - The Light of the World Chapter 4, Page 21 "The temple is managed by the Gurus of Lord Vaikuntar's gurukulam. The Gurus are the descendants of Guru Podukutti."
  29. ^ N. Elango & Vijaya Shanathi Elango 1997, Ayya Vaikuntar - The Light of The World Chapter 8, Page - 41 to 44 (sources).
  30. ^ V.T. Chellam's, Thamizaka Varalarum Panpadum(The History and Culture of Tamil Nadu), Chapter 12, Page - 493
  31. ^ Cf. Ward & Conner, Geographical and Statistical Memoir, page 133; V. Nagam Aiya, The Travancore State Manual, Volume-2, Madras:AES, 1989 (1906), page 72.
  32. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, Page 24.
  33. ^ Cf. A. Sreedhara Menon's, A Survey of Kerala History, page 277.
  34. ^ Cf. Ponneelan's, Vaikunta Cuvamiyum Avar Kalamum, Mimeograph note, page 6.
  35. ^ N. Elango & Vijaya Shanthi Elango 1997 Ayya Vaikuntar - The Light of the World Chapter 4, Page 21-22 "The Gurus are Payyan Chella Raj, Bala Prajapathi, Bala Janathipathi, Balalokathipathi, Payyan Sami, Thangapandian and Sekar to name a few. Bala Prajapathi is the most popular personality of all of them."
  36. ^ There is no records for the exact number of worship centres. N. Elango & Vijaya Shanathi Elango 1997, Ayya Vaikuntar - The Light of The World Chapter 4, Page - 22, "He has laid foundation stones for more than one thousand nizhal thangals."
  37. ^ See the report on the news paper The Hindu- The report on declaration
  38. ^ The Daily Thanthi report on declaration of Holiday from Tamil wikipedia article. The Daily Thanthi, Nagercoil Edition, 4-3-2006, page 17.
  39. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 118-119 "The author claims that God woke him up during sleep and commissioned him to write it by 'telling' him what to write"
  40. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 119 "It is presented as if Vishnu is narrating the whole story to his consort Leksmi"
  41. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 119 "Arulnul, considered to be a supplementary (tunainul) to Akilattirattu, is a collection of a few short literatures composed by different arulalarkal (person who had the ability to 'get divinised') whose names are unknown. "
  42. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 117 " Five such patikal are believed to have emerged during the time of Vaikuntacami. "
  43. ^ N. Elango & Vijaya Shanthi Elango 1997 Ayya Vaikuntar - The Light of the World Chapter 8, Page 41 " The first Pathi is Swamithoppu itself. It is the head quarters of Ayyavazhi. "
  44. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 117 " However, there is also another list which includes Vakaipati where tuvaiyal tavacu took place "
  45. ^ N. Elango & Vijaya Shanthi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar the light of the world, Chapter 8, Page 41 (Panchappathi)
  46. ^ C.Umai Thaanu & P.Kasi Udhayam, Bhahavan Vaikunda Swamikal Punitha Varalaru, Page 77.
  47. ^ P.Sundaram Swamigal & K.Ponnu Mani, Ayya Vaikunta Nathar Jeevacharithram (Biography of Ayya Vaikunta Nathar), Page 82.
  48. ^ Arisundara Mani's Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai (Additional) Page XII " Athara thana vilakka attavanai "
  49. ^ Akilam15:39 "Petti ceelai Uduthu Periya Thirunama Pottumittu"
  50. ^ Sivakanda Athikara Pathiram, First Act. (source: N.Vivekanandan's Arul Nool - Moolamum Uraiyum, page 62
  51. ^ There is no written references to this but there is a painting at the residence of Bala Prajapathi Adikalar which was considered older not less than 50 years. There are also oral traditions which suggests the same age for this symbolism.
  52. ^ A. Arisundara Mani's Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai (Additional) Page XII " Athara thana vilakka attavanai " .
  53. ^ Tha.Krishna Nathan's, Ayyaa vaikuNdarin vaazvum sinthanaiyum (Tamil), Chapter - 4, page 83. (This citation was included here from Tamil wikipedia article)
  54. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency Chapter 5, Page - 118. Vaikuntacami is said to have established seven of these nilaltankalkal at Chettykudiyirrupu, Agastisvaram, Palur, Chundavilai, Vadalivilai, Kadampankulam and Pampankulam.
  55. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency Chapter 5, Page - 118. Even now charity is one of the main activities conducted in these centres.
  56. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, The Religious Phenomenon of Ayyavazhi, Page:120-121.
  57. ^ Arisundara Mani's, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Preface, page(additional):iv
  58. ^ Arisundara Mani's, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Preface, page(additional):v
  59. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, The Religious phenomenon of Ayyavazhi, Page:112-113
  60. ^ Dr. Poulose in his book Advaita Philosophy of Brahmashri Chattampi Swamikal (Ayyavazhi Publications), says that Atmanada Swamikal was the disciple of Ayya Vaikundar and Atmanada Swamikal learned the Marmavidya in Sidha vidya and ghecherividya (Chinmudra) from Ayya Vaikundar and Atmanada Swamikal further taught all these vidyas to his disciple, Sri Chattampi Swamikal. The book also says that when Swami Vivekananda arrived in Ernakulam, Sri Chattampi Swamikal taught this Chinmudra to him.
  61. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 114 " Other verse from Akilattirattu like, 'cast away the eighteen castes and the demons into the mountain and the sea', 'do not discriminate between the powerful and powerless', 'the caste would disappear by itself', etc., point to the fact of a considerable indoctrination against the inequalities of Castes."
  62. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 103
  63. ^ The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Madanjeet Singh's, The Sasia Story ISBN 92-3-103992-X, Page:18
  64. ^ Akilam10:664 (Thiruvasakam - 2) .
  65. ^ Akilam10: (Thiruvasakam - 2) Source text: Akilathirattu Ammanai published by P. Thangaiyah Nadar, Page - 225 .
  66. ^ It is the story of God coming to transform the world into tarmayukam and rule over it - Akilam one - 1:108,109
  67. ^ G.Patrck's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 118 "Even now charity on food is one of the main activities conducted in these centres."
  68. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, page 151 "Canror (Santror)is a name that stands for a people who are the subject of the religious vision of AV (Ayyavazhi)
  69. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, page 151
  70. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, page 151 "Today, most of the theologians of AV emphasis more on the religious dimension of this category than the social."
  71. ^ Dr. R.Ponnu's, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Socil Equality in South India, 2000, page 23, line 5.
  72. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, page 152
  73. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, page 152
  74. ^ As noted in the site nadar.kuttyjapan.com Views based on the extracts of early historians including Herodotus.
  75. ^ V.T. Chellam's Thamizaka Varalarum Panpadum, Chapter 12, Page - 493
  76. ^ Akilam 9:667-670 (Narayana call Vaikundar "You are my son who was adored by all mystics"
  77. ^ Arisundara Mani's Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Chapter 1, Page -36, "Kroni is nothing but a subtle revelation of spiritual ignorance."
  78. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, 2003, Page 19
  79. ^ Akilathirattu Page 252: "the eighteen castes gathered in one place and bathed from the same well."
  80. ^ Akilam 12:151 - "Poorana Vetha Purana mun akamangkal"
  81. ^ "He created a Veda (scripture) of his own intention". - Akilam5:571
  82. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 93 "the followers or 'the disciples' of AV too had practised shamanism in different centres of AV."
  83. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, page 93 " A verse in Arulnul (Arul Nool) confirms the existence of shamans in AV centres for the purpose of imparting knowledge to people"
  84. ^ Ebenezer Lewis (ed.) "Report of the Santhapuram District for the year 1858", in Annual Report of the Travancore District Committee in Connection with the LMS for the year 1858, Nagercoil: London Missionary Press, 1859, Page 4-5. " there is a widow living at this place who was a follower of Muthukutty. She was also a fortune-teller and pretended to cure diseases by incantations. She allowed her hair to grow matted like that of Pantaram, abstained from fish on Tuesdays and Fridays, performed her ablutions in the sea, sang for four or five hours together in honour of her swami and was occasionally under the influence of the devil"
  85. ^ Akilam
  86. ^ On other Point Of View this quote refers to "those who teaches the core ideas of Ayyavazhi scriptures."
  87. ^ G. Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern agency Chapter 6, Page 151, "A reading of the mythography of AV makes explicit the fact that the essence of this vision is an account of a history - a past, a present, and a future - constructed by weaving together of empirical facts as well as mythical accounts."
  88. ^ G. Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern agency Chapter 6, Page 151, "It is fitting to analyse and see how these basic concepts have been woven together to give a symbolic vision which is at once religious and social. "
  89. ^ Akilam8:Thiru Nadana Ula -6th&11th Venpaas (a species of verse).
  90. ^ Samuel Zecharia (1826-1906), one of the prominent pastors of the London Mission Society, testifies to the existence of this well in his book titled The London Missionary Society in South Travancore 1805-1855, Nagercoil: LMS Press, 1897, Page-201.
  91. '^ Cf. M.S.S. Pandiyan's Meanings of 'Colonialism and 'Nationalism Page 180.
  92. ^ LMS Report for the year 1838, Page 71 says "About 70 families of this sect, having subsequently established a community of goods, removed under the guidance of a man of some influence to a part of the seashore of Tinnevelly, where they erected huts, performed frequent ablutions, and often assembled to hear the dreams and vision of their leader and to witness the miracles he was said to perform."
  93. ^ Ari Sundara Mani's, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, 2002.
  94. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, Page - 159 says, "AV, having emerged in a context of distress, proposes an emancipatory utopia under the banner of tarmayukam."
  95. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, Page - 159 says, "The core of the proposal was that Vaikuntacami had come to establish and rule over a tarmayukam in the place of the kaliyukam."
  96. ^ . Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, Page - 109 says, "Akilattirattu begins its narration by stating that the account contained in it is the story of God coming into this kaliyukam to transform it into tarmayukam and to rule over it."
  97. ^ G.Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, Page - 161 "This is in contrast to the circular conception of time that eternally with Vaikuntacami ruling over it as the everlasting king."
  98. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, Page - 161 , "Yet another point to be taken note of in the symbolic vision of AV is its conception of time. AV gives a list of seven aeons, and, at the end of it, postulates a tarmayukam that is to exist
  99. ^ Akilam17:1161,
  100. ^ Akilam8:Thiruvasakam - 1 (As per Akilam this Thiruvasakam is written down by Sarasvathi because the previous religious ideas and scripture were destroyed by Kaliyan.)
  101. ^ Ayya Vaikundar Nootti ezhubathavathu Avathara thina Vizha Sirappu Malar Published by Vaikundar Seva Sangham, (T. Ashok Kumar) Page 2, Line 17 "some think that Kali is powerful now. But Kali is jailed in Kayilai which is known as Vannima Mandapam..."
  102. ^ Arisundara Mani's Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Chapter 1, Page 1, Line 1-2, "Sreehari who is known as Athi Narayana is praised as Ayya."
  103. ^ Samithopu Ayya Vaikunda Suvami 172-vathu avathara thina vizha, Thina Malar vazangkum Avathara Thina vizha Sirappu Malar, Page 3, " ...but it is questionable that how many people know that. Every one who came to know newly about Ayya wonders and... " Bala Prajapathi Adikalar writes about Vaikundar.
  104. ^ G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter - 5, Page 106
  105. ^ Dr. R.Ponnu's, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for social Equality in South India, Page 100.
  106. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, The Religious Phenomenon of Ayya Vali, "Ayya Vali - A New and Singular Religious Phenomenon" , Page 120.
  107. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, The Religious Phenomenon of Ayya Vali, "Rituals" , Page 98.
  108. ^ Akilattirattu Ammanai published by T.Palaramachandran Nadar, 9th impression, 1989, Page 180.
  109. ^ Akilattirattu Ammanai published by T.Palaramachandran Nadar, 9th impression, 1989, Page 280 -281.
  110. ^ G.Patrick's, Religion and Subaltern Agency, University of Madras, The Religious Phenomenon of Ayya Vali, "Ayya Vali - A New and Singular Religious Phenomenon" , Page 120.
  111. ^ Ari Sundara Mani's, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayan Urai, Ayya Vaikundar Thirukkudumbam, 2002, page 4.
  112. ^ See http://www.vaikunt.org/AyyaVaikuntar/index.htm

See also

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  • List of Ayyavazhi-related articles
  • Hindu reform movements
  • Hindu Renaissance
  • Ayya Vaikundar
  • Ayyavazhi mythology
  • Ayyavazhi Trinity

External links

  • www.vaikunt.org - Ayyavazhi
  • www.ayyavaigundar.org - Avatar
  • www.nairs.org - Views on Vaikundar as a saint
  • www.ayyavaikundar.com
  • www.nandhi.com - Ayya Narayana
  • www.ayyavazhi.org - Ayya Vaikundar The Spiritual light


 

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