The festivals and temples integrate the people of this great civilization. Even in the days of bullock carts, people had undertaken pilgrimage form north to south and south to north and in all directions. Those who were undertaking the pilgrimage, were taken care of by the people of that area by constructing dwelling shelters, organizing annadhanam and providing facilities for the pilgrims. This has enabled people to understand the diversities of our nation and the principle of oneness in all of us. This has enabled us to cohesively to build oneness through religion. Our dharma helped us to build oneness through diversities. Unfortunately, when missionaries and organised religions came into picture, diversities were used to divide and destroy the oneness of religion and our country. The religions are various paths to know the truth and nature of oneself. Unfortunately, now it has become a tool to divide and destroy.
On the other hand, even today, Sabarimala Pilgrimage is a unique and cementing factor, that brings all communities of Hindus together. This can be seen in during Sabarimala Pilgrimage to Kerala.
Sabarimala is the abode of Lord Ayyappa, who symbolises the oneness of Shivisim and Vaishnavism. This temple is opened for five days of every Malayalam month and opened for almost two months from middle of November to almost end of January every year.
Before going on a pilgrimage, people take deeksha for 48 days. During these forty eight days, people avoid non-vegetarian foods, take bath early in the morning, do prayers, avoid unhealthy food habits, if possible daily go to temples during these forty eight days, neither drink nor smoke. The purpose of deeksha is to avoid negative tendencies and build over a period of time, the healthy habits. Even though it is very difficult to measure the power of deeskha in spiritual sense, but one can see the effect of fasting and disciplined food habits in the physical personality of an individual.
One has to trek nearly five mountains of plains and ups and downs covering nearly 8 Kms and it would take nearly two hours to reach the sannidhanam of the temple. While climbing the mountains pilgrims suffer and chant the holy names of Lord Ayyappa. While climbing, they would say, at least this time one should climb and have darshan. After having reached the sannidhanam and seeing the magnetic deity, one feels that they should come back next year, even though it was tough to climb and reach the abode of Lord Ayyappa.
Perhaps, this indicates that one should undergo pains and sufferings and need to do a lot of tapas, to reach the abode of Lord and have the glimpse of his greatness. To achieve anything, one needs –focus, concentration, devotion, dedication and desire to achieve excellence.
During the 48 days of deeksha, one learn the meaning of opposite pole and learn to accept both sides of coin as one and the same. One should need a thousand eyes to see the ghee abhishekam, flower alankaram and flower abhishekam. We ten of us for the last 25 years and more have been going to Sabarimala every year. Every year is a new experience and at the end of the pilgrimage, we desire again to come back to Sabarimala. That is the power of Lord Ayyappa.
Down below the mountain, the sacred river Pampa flows through silently. And above, the mountains with green cover look majestically and clouds play hide and seek with the sun and mountains. Sometime, the clouds come down so heavily to cover fully your neighborhood.
Every year, the pilgrims come more and more and again and again. This shows the power of Ayyappa, who has fulfilled the desires of his devotees, who come in large numbers. Let us integrate our citizens by undertaking spiritual journey and bring citizen together and see the oneness among various diversities. The spiritual path of Hinduism is the only one path, which see God in everything and see everything as God. We don’t believe in One God. We believe only in ONLY God and nothing else. That is why, we are able to worship stones and pillars and invoke the power of oneness and almighty.