Our group started our Viradham on various days , and i started on 1 st Sep ( felt 18 resonates padinettam padi) - abstaining from Non-Veg food & partying , remain celebal and started wearing dhotis and pray 2 times after bath everyday , sleep on a Mat , hear devotional songs , generally trying to add large portion of faith into your regular life.. As we were constrained to wear shoes to office , we could not keep up the rituals entirely..
As the days went by , you get the unmistakable feeling of Faith growing within the occasional devotee and to the amusement of my daughter , who could not believe/ comprehend the apparent changes in their Daddy's sudden religious leanings.
Had our Thread ceremony ( Maalai ) at Chennai Rangarajapuram Ayyappan temple on the Sep 13 th. Saturday is supposed to be an auspicious day for Ayyappan . We bought the Maalai ( Thulasi) from the temple and after the wash , the priest performed the puja before the Ayyappan Deity and handed over to us . We need to take it to other priest , who after chanting some holy verses put it on us . Although the holy immersion experience was good , one cannot get things done without money these days . Only if the priest see at least Rs.10 rupee note in your hand , he would hand over the Prasad , Maalai or anything .. This is completely code based , he scans your hand for a micro second , confirms the booty is present, transfers his and efficiently collecting the service charges with swiss precision . Who is to be blamed , just Blame it on inflation ! ..
We are supposed to be pure in our mind , actions and body once you start wearing the Maalai .. I tried my best and am sure Ayyappan would forgive some tantalizing thoughts that crept in spite of strict vigil and chased them away ..
I think this might be only pilgrimage , where the God and the Devotee are both called 'Saamy'. With the growing white beard ( almost 90%) and with saffron dhoti , we present an unmistakable picture of ardent Saamy and able to gain a bit of instant respect ..
We had to do a lot of planning on what to wear , what to carry , how to manage without the rest of paraphernalia .. 3 sets of devotee attire , 2 bed sheets , Air pillow , some cash and the inevitable mobile were all we carried in shoulder bag ( ஜோல்னா பை). I started collecting CDs of Yesudas and Veeramani and of-course from Internet and create a MP3 CD for our journey to get us enchanted with Religious numbers . It took almost 2 days to get the CDs done and spent several hours in prepatory planning