Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Rajeev Chandrasekhar at Sabarimala temple | Rajeev Chandrasekhar
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To call the Sabarimala tradition patriarchal is wrong and dangerous.

In 2018, I would have continued my annual tradition of climbing the Sabarimala and offering prayers to Lord Ayyappa for the 25th time – something I started when I was a young boy. It was interrupted by my years in the US, and then restarted in the 90s when I returned to India. So, having completed more than 18, I am a Guruswamy! This year, I was first interrupted by the floods in August-September and now the current agitation by devotees.

Like many temples in Kerala, Sabarimala has its unique mythology, tradition and rituals. One among them is that it is open only for five days in the month – starting with the first day of every Malayalam month. The second is that while men from all ages can worship, the temples traditions place a restriction on women below 50.

All these years as I trudged up the mountain, chanting Swami Ayyappa’s name along with lakhs of other believers – big or small, rich or poor – there has never been any issue. When some years back I could take my mother up to Sabarimala, it was like an immense duty that I had fulfilled.

Also read: Sabarimala temple ruling distances courts from Indians steeped in tradition

But fast forward to now, the Supreme Court judgment along with a state government enjoying the prospects of splitting the Hindu community has caused a major uproar in Kerala. Thousands of people are out protesting, with Hindu women leading the charge against what is perceived as an insensitive interference in their faith and traditions.

So, to most sitting at a distance from Ayyappa and Sabarimala, its traditions are being viewed through the narrow prism of women’s discrimination. Yes, debates on faith vs Constitution are inevitable. Even challenging faiths to reform periodically will and must arise. We have seen that in Triple Talaq and women’s entry into mosques.

The natural question is why not here? The right to religion and right to non-discrimination are both prescribed in the Constitution. My political beliefs are firmly grounded in a vision of equity for women and all Indians. So, why am I opposing this?

The answer is simple – this is not about discrimination at all. This is about faith of both women and men who worship Lord Ayyappa. And while the debate is welcome, we must be careful and do research before wading into it. To start, most Hindu traditions practiced in most Hindu temples are not documented. Unlike Islam and Christianity, which are more recent religions and therefore more codified, Hindu traditions have been transmitted over thousands of years by hearsay and word of mouth.

Also read: At the heart of Sabarimala Temple’s bar on women lies a story of unrequited love

Making things even more complicated is the fact that each Hindu god has his or her unique traditions and rituals. And unlike Christianity and Islam where places of worship are in effect places of prayer, Hindu temples are abodes of that god. So a Muslim goes to a mosque to pray, but in Hinduism, the gods are believed to reside in the temple. This is a fundamental difference between a Hindu place of worship and others. There are many temples that restrict men’s admission periodically and allow only women to pray because of the rituals associated with that particular god.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar at Sabarimala temple | Rajeev Chandrasekhar

To reduce the age-old Sabarimala tradition to one that’s patriarchal or discriminates against women is wrong, unfortunate and dangerous. It will be seen as and is being seen as an assault on Hindu Dharma by lakhs of devotees. That is why the recent the Supreme Court decision is lacking on so many counts. The judgment itself was clearly hurried and seemed more like driven by popular Delhi sentiment than a robust introspection of the issue. It seems to have been built around an objective of creating a false equivalence between its Triple Talaq judgment for Muslims and this for Hindus.

The PIL was filed by a group that clearly did not involve the affected parties – they were not Ayyappa devotees, but a group of lawyers with alleged Leftist links. The government of Kerala and the Devaswom board who were respondents were politically committed to supporting the petitioners, and so almost didn’t defend Sabarimala’s traditions in court. And those who did try and protect the Sabarimala tradition and faith – the Hindu devotee intervenors – found that the issues raised in their petitions were not responded to by the SC majority judgment at all. Justice Indu Malhotra’s dissenting judgment was right in cautioning against this kind of brute force wading into Hindu tradition.

The anger and distress among Kerala Hindus cutting across castes is deep-rooted and real. There is a feeling that their tradition and faith are being messed around with by those who do not have any stake in it or haven’t made the effort to understand it. Those who ignore this are making an unforgivable and dangerous mistake. The Left government with its politics of dividing and appeasing continuously is much to be blamed for the current situation. I hope the chief minister does the right thing, and ensures a judicial review of this judgment.

By allowing non-interested parties to file PILs on faith and religion, the former Chief Justice has dangerously erred. If Muslim women petition the court for constitutional right of non-discrimination then the court must go into it. Similarly, if women Ayyappa bhakts petitioned the court, then it should have looked into it.

Also read: As women block women, there’s no #MeToo solidarity on the way to Sabarimala

Imagine the tinderbox that this judgment has created. Imagine Christian or Hindu petitioners approaching the Supreme Court on bigamy, hijab and other facets of Islam that Hindus or Christians do not like. Imagine Hindus approaching courts to scrutinise constitutionality of an aspect of Christianity that they do not like. There is no doubt in my mind that this issue requires a revisit by the Supreme Court. That is what the Hindus of Kerala and indeed all Ayyappa devotees deserve.

Swami Sharanam.

The author has been going on a Sabarimala annual darshan for 25 years, is a BJP MP and tech entrepreneur.

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  1. Throughout your article you go to great lengths to distract from a question you pose yourself. So why exactly are women not allowed into Sabarimala? Would you like to venture into your research to come up with a convincing answer other than ‘this is how it has always been’ or ‘ (human-made) rituals prevent women from entering to worship ‘ or ‘ oh, we dont question christianity or islam’?

    The motive is not as important as the consequence. In this case there are atleast a few households that don’t throw menstruating women out of their homes because of the popularity of the uproar. And there are a few temples who don’t stop dalit children from entering places of worship on the outskirts of Bangalore.

  2. Dear Chief Justice, India.

    This letter is to highlight some important law principles need to be considered while dealing with the cases related to religious beliefs & faith. More particularly “SABARIMALA TEMPLE” Case. ( FOR REVIEW PETITION)

    It is well settled principle of law that “ equal things need to be treated upon equal grounds” or “equal among equals”.It could be noted & there may not be any dispute that in our society there are two types of people- 1) who do believe in religion, also known as (Aastik) & 2) who don’t believe in religion, also known as (Nastik). If any person who is willing to exercise his religious belief or faith he must be religious. Hence, it could be noted that as far as religion is concerned there are two types of the people & not all persons or citizens are completely religious or completely non religious.

    It is absolutely impossible to recognize who is religious or non religious by any test, certificate or scientific test. even the person who is “non religious” may say “I am religious” and nobody can prove either he or she is religious or non religious. the person who is non religious may have intention to destroy the religious belief & faith, which is extremely harmful for religious person. There is nothing to lose for “Non religious person” because he is non believer of the religion but the person who is religious may suffer irreparable loss.

    Since, “ equal things need to be treated upon equal grounds” or “equal among equals”. it is not possible to prove who is religious or non religious & in order to avail religious beliefs & faith, person must be religious & therefore, “EQUALITY RIGHT MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE” for religious belief & faith.” OTHERWISE IT WOULD BE HARMFUL.

    Therefore, No person can be restricted to enter into the temple because, it is not possible to identify who is religious, every person who wishes to enter in temple becomes religious belief follower, even he may not be religious BUT, same test would be applicable for who want to change beliefs, they can’t change the beliefs because no one can identify who is religious hence, to sum up no one can restrict the entrance but at the same time no person can change the beliefs as well.

    However, as Hon’ble justice Indu Malhotra observed in “Sabarimala Temple Case” court may indulge in “SOCIAL EVIL” case or as per my understanding things which directly affect the regular life of people such as Marriage related cases or arbitrary practices which are not unique from very inception which is the test for “Essential religious practice” principle.

    Hence, without prejudice to the merits of the cases or observations made by Hon’ble court, I Humbly request to consider these facts before dealing with REVIEW PETITION filed by any aggrieved Party.

    With kind Regards,

    Girish Sarjerao Potdar,

  3. Anyone who is not a born Hindu, is denied entry in the Temple of Lord Jagannatha (the Nath of the Jagat).

    Can anybody enter the sanctum santorum at the Vatican, or, Mecca?

    So, what’s wrong in Sabarimala temple, having a similar rule about denying entry to women of a particular age group?

    These women couldn’t visit the TEMPLE for 1000s of years, like 1000s of other temples. What have they lost? Would their lives become more glorious if they were allowed entry?

    These are #diversions from the #real #issues in life & #society!

  4. The two major mistakes that liberals have made is this issue are – First, they have not understood the basis of the restriction of women at the temple & Second, they are not comparing like and like. For example, I do not know why they are comparing Sabarimala tradition with Sati or untouchability. First, Sati is not a tradition from Hindu scriptures as far as I am aware. Can anyone show me a reference? Second, untouchability also does not have a basis in original Hindu scripture but is a result of corruption of original Hindu thought by vested interested, whether caste based or politics based to manipulate it to suit their own needs. Although the Vedas or the Gita do mention the 4 varnas, those who truly understand them very well know that it is about talent & skill sets of individuals that are mentioned, not about hereditary caste or about which caste is greater. All 4 varnas are equally important for the smooth running of society and hence, individuals should choose their calling as per their talents or skill sets. Thus, as they follow what they are talented in and what makes them happy i.e their dharma, they will remain content in life. Third, Sati is forced and asymmetrical resulting in loss of life. Triple Talaq as practised in Indian Muslim Personal law is not given anywhere in Quran, is forced, arbitrary & asymmetrical and even leads to a vile tradition (again not mentioned in Quran or followed in other Islamic countries) called NIKAH HALALA. How can you compare the Sabarimala restrictions to Sati or triple talaq? I myself am an agnostic Hindu. It is very well accepted within Hindu dharma philosophies. There are even atheist philosophies. Hence, I do not visit temples and being a physician, I can have complete confidence in science as well as my dharma since there is no conflict when I am an agnostic. But, if I do choose to visit a temple like Tirupati and the temple tradition states that I should only go in a pancha (or Veshti, I think, it is called in Malayalam), I will respect it and give up my wish since it is the rule of the temple. This rule is very much similar to the rule that you have to maintain silence if you are to study in a library or you have to be patient and quiet when you are in a hospital. It is basic civic sense if not religion ordained tradition.

  5. Well done for your views Sir. However could you please forward this to Republic TV of which you are one of the Founders. So that they also understand the background of the case in a better way. This is so because Republic TV and Asianet News and many other Media channels are taking a very one sided view of the equality of women in a fanatic way. They are also sending Female journalists to cover the ground reality when the situation is explosive, and adding fuel to the fire. Thank you.

  6. There is no doubt in views of Guruswami. Court cannot decide the faith of people forcing them to obey their order. Even no ruler can decide it. It comes from the the flow of the soul and prosperity and customs. Justice Chandrachud wrongly observed that “the founding faith on which the Constitution is based is the belief that it is in the dignity of each individual that pursuit of happiness is founded” Religious faith cannot be controlled by the law and constitution because the God and the people’s faith is over the constitution. For a pleasureness or happyness you cannot change the faith of the people in their God.

  7. The idea of Shabarimala and the faith followed by millions of Aiyappa Devotees isn’t something that a devotee or a faithful cannot explain and need not be explained to every sinha Sharma or umang for seeking their approval . How can one expect these ignorant agnostics appreciate matters of religion or faith developed over several 100 of years in an obscure corner of the globe practically not even visible on the Google earth . For the information of all this practice is enforced by the mother of the household who also ensures that the visit to the Shabarimala is the exclusive privilege of the male member (all matters of faith have no logical explanation and one need not search for it). A practice zealously guarded by Adivasis /tribals of the hills .For the same reasons this practice isn’t something which cannot be hurriedly called in for a quick discussion over tea and overturned by some homo-sapien (who has his own limitations )by peering into the fine text called the constitution which also leaves plenty of scope for interpretation and misinterpretation in equal measure. The only dissenting judges views are really laudable under the circumstances . As for the Author he has tried to explain in a very subtle way the same very experience to the best possible way .It’s interesting to that this unwritten code is older than the constitution. Today there is an urgent need to protect the Rights of those whose has been trampled with. Need to protect #sabarimala

  8. The pressing question is: Why are women not allowed? Where exactly is the centuries-old tradition documented? The argument revolves around the fact that menstruating women are impure. This forms the basis of opposition of Supreme Court’s judgement. Secondly, Bhagavad gita preached about respecting women. The age old traditions are conveniently rubbed on women, with a tinge of patriarchy.

  9. This creature creates own sect to fool others like Rupublic channel. His opinions are nonsence. God is everywhere, a basic hindu concept is being twisted as it is in temple only. This immoral, unethical creature lives for money and sucks people for it.

  10. As Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says it is prescription not discrimination to women devotees. Common People of Kerala worried much more because they believe that the recent rain havoc they have faced may be a divine warning of the more disasters they may face in coming days in the God’s Own Country. The court erred in accepting the PIL from the non affected parties and declaring the effect of the mass religious sentiments & religious practice. State govt. should not have filed the affidavit stating that they are open to the entry of the menstrual age women to the temple rather leave it to the wisdom of the court having said so, now they would have got to a chance to apply for revision petition.

    The other things to observed is not a single women of menstrual age from the state wish to visit temple. But it is outsiders, atheist, pseudo secularists, etc., who wants to grab the eyeball & kill the religious sentiments of the people of Kerala. Once they enter after this they never turn up. Just to mock the religious sentiments of the local people.

    Besides making it to a prestige issue all those involved especially, Devastanam Board & Govt. sit together & find a solution before the situation goes beyond control. Court should also examine & reexamine, sensitive to the facts and consequences before delivering their judgement pertaining to religious practices. It is better Vijayan & gang instead of blaming the political parties find way for filing revision petition or go to jail to save their govt. & party. Let them respect the peoples movement. Let the govt. take a leaf out of their associate Mamta didi how did she went against Durga Mata celebration last year how she this year she acted to sooth the ruffle feathers of the Majority.

    As such now Hindus have got from their somber sleep realizing to fight & how the politics supported by atheist/ arm chair intellectuals with their own agenda is killing their beliefs & sentiments & unharmed practices. Tx.

  11. What next, Kanyapujan for young boys? There is a tradition of Kanyapujan (paying respect to young girls) in many homes and temples. This is prevalent even in the south. Young girls are worshipped at thirthmantapa -immediately in front of the garbagriha, where none other than the priests are allowed. In a temple, I know, the first day one young girl is allowed on the first day of Navaratri, two on the second day etc.. to ninth day. Now, maybe the courts would rule that is discriminatory and make it mandatory for both young boys and girls to be part of Kanyapoojan. The courts had no knowledge at all what they were dealing with when they came out with this ruling. They had no knowledge of pagan plurality. They generally accept all irrationality associated with sematic monotheism, as it has the backing of large numbers. But they find it difficult to comprehend the complexity of polyethism. Just because a faith is followed by a smaller number of people, it does not make it wrong. It is just different, that’s all. The courts have done precisely what Einstein had said when Max Plank introduced probability to quantum physics. It was reported that Einstein had said that – God does not play dice. Now, we are almost sure that probability is very much essential to understand quantum physics. Einstein had confused his belief for truth. This judgement of the courts has lowered its stature.

  12. Is the belief of supporter like you greater than even ‘one’ woman who wants to go. Don’t tell me no woman Ayappa devotee wants to go because many did try and have tried in the past too. You may cloud your discrimination with fallacious justifications, it does not change the fact that it is.

    The RSS and eventually the BJP made the same arguments and the supported the entry of women to the Shani temple 2016. In fact they also supported the entry of women into Sabrimala until they spotted the political mileage of opposing this.

    In a constitutional democracy, your discriminatory beliefs need to make way for the rights of the individual.

  13. If female activists are keen on worshipping #Ayyappa at #Sabarimalai they may obtain land from Govt & build a female only temple there,run by women priests where all women may be given entry.They may #CrowdFund temple construction.
    SC ruling wuld hve been in order if wonen aged between 10-50 women were disallowed in all #Ayyappa temples. But the restriction is only for #Sabarimalai temple where deity is celibate & he is believed to have instituted a 41 day regimen for his soldiers that his male devotees are still following. There’s no question of any discrimination. Disallowing women aged between 10-50 years in just one #Ayyappa temple doesn’t amount to taking away right to pray. It’s not a evil social practice like Sati/dowry. It has been a male preserve deity for centuries as desired by celibate deity. Why do women activists want to disregard it?
    The emotions & sentiments of people of Kerala of both sexes to protect their age old traditions of #Sabarimalai #Ayyappa worship that some feminists desired to overthrow by approaching #SupremeCourt needs to be appreciated. Hope SC reconsiders the matter.

    • How do you know that the deity wants it? In Karnataka, for centuries, the Devdasi system was practiced, apparently because the deity wished for it. It is very easy to further social and religious discrimination under the guise of “the deity”.

      Which God would truly wish to shun women, given that women are also his or her creation?

  14. Yes I agree many Hindu temples, have age old traditions…How many of those traditions have we done away with… Untouchables should not be allowed inside temples..There were temples dedicated to sati..And many temples carried such practises..And there were temples were devadasi system or temple prostitution was the norm..And a temple in Karnataka where devotees with skin diseases would roll over left over food eaten by Brahmins..There were also temples dedicated to human sacrifices…All the reasoning and logic applied by Rajeev for Ayappa temple could be applied to all these temples also…Shall we now turn the clock back on all our temples and go back to medieval ages or shall we move forward and challenge and change our traditions based on our evolving consciousness

  15. An absolute pissnpoor article. You have just clearly point about that rationality is not part of religion. Just because something is tradition does not make it infallible. If that is the case then caste system should be reinforced and people should follow it because it is part of the religious identity. Triple talaq should be valid form of divorce because it is part of the religious identity.
    You see age old traditions created by holymen with no understanding of science cannot stand the test of time. The arguments against the Sabarimala verdict was not even concrete. One second it is celibacy of the diety, the next it was the safety of women because they wouldn’t be able to ensure the 41 days fast and greulling pilgrimage. Please. Women and men can do many things each other can do, but just provide a few different services for women because of their biological need is the only requirement.
    Rituals that do not have a rational meaning behind them should be outlawed. Just because something is old doesn’t make it right.

  16. Very well explained by the author. I am an atheist but have immense respect for deep rooted culturally diverse rituals of Hinduism. The supreme courts decision was surprising. In effort to look modern and secular and gain popularity and media attention perhaps there was an error of judgement.

  17. In the Sabarimala petition the Court was to examine the constitutionality of the practice of not allowing willing women to enter the temple and worship the God. The respondents failed to establish rationality of the practice. The Court cannot be expected to be guided by sentiments of thousands of people when there is clear violation of the fundamental right of equality. The place of the Constitution is above all religious faiths, beliefs and practices. Every citizen is bound to regard the Constitution as the Supreme authority in India.

  18. India’s British made and christian educated “secular” judiciary must be gloating over their power to instigate atheists and communists to destroy the natives and their religions.

    • Christians were not part in the SC decision. In fact Christians have stood with the protestors . Your venom will be nullified with truth.

  19. Wow. All fluff, no meat. After utilising thousands of words, it still ended as a meaningless story. What a diplomatic reply,, completely failed to answer the question. My views remain unchanged after reading the above BS, this particular tradition is patriarchal and misogynistic as hell!!

    • Sir, if you have taken the time to read this article and found it all fluff, I will request you to please spend a few more minutes and find out what Sabarimala is, who the deity is, what is the vow taken by the deity and then look at the article again.

  20. Well argued, but alas I don’t agree. The matter is black and white. Public places of worship ought to be open to public. Analogies with men entering women’s toilet are specious since identical facilities are available to both men and women. But there is no Sabarimala temple of equal stature available exclusively to women. One way is to make Sabarimala a private venue like a country club, even then it will be challenged if the only ticket for entry is gender. So tough luck, you just have to grin and bear it just like the journey up that hill.

    • Sabarimala is not a public place. It is the abode, the house of Ayyappa, a Brahmachari. All those who respect his vows and follow certain rules prescribed by Him are welcomed with open arms – without discrimination on caste, religion, region, language, earthling or alien.

      Just as meditation practice requires the practitioner to avoid wayward thoughts and concentrate his mind, one of the tenets of Brahmacharya vrata is to avoid women of a certain age group. This is restrictive, not discriminatory. Please try to think
      about this distinction.

  21. Hinduism has world class philosophies.but with no one to teach the Bindu masses.A person with intellect can understand the type of. Celibacy of ayyappa.The celibacy has to be practised by avoiding temptation.If hinduism can teach these concepts to Hindu masses India will move forward.

    • This is not philosophy. It is only obscurantist patriarchy which dictates the very presence of women as a distraction from celibacy. This practice at Sabarimala is thought to be not more than half a century old. Certainly not the undress of years that some people are bandying around.

  22. But sir! Are you still having stake in RTV? If so it does look like a monkey balance because Arnob has made all the damages the SC verdict gave as opening:only consolation is the NATION KNEW the duplicity of the channel and Arno in particular:Its the electronic age in which even carefully cultivated images are shattered in seconds,i meant yours sir!We had high regards on your efforts in parliament as you championed for many a cause.I had been to Sabarimala for more than 23 years continuously through PERUMPATHA and literally wept when RTV went over board with Arnob heckling from the studio.Please give a separate TV interview clarifying your stand Viz Vs RTV = Arnob goaswamy

  23. How Mr. Chandrashekhar conveniently forgot to mention the NDA’s (BJP’s) stand on the verdict and blaming everything on the LDF goverment. It is a known fact that LDF government is an atheist government and that they support the verdict from the day it was announced to till date in spite of all these protest going. Can Mr. Chandrashekar throws some light on Mr. Subramanian Swamy and Mr. T.G. Mohandas opinion on entry of the “Yuvati” in Sabarimala…..

    • Well said. The author is washing off his hands on the influence he has on the issue. He states, “a state government enjoying the prospects of splitting the Hindu community has caused a major uproar in Kerala”. This let’s off the BJP, Asianet & Republic TV. His party is behind the violent part of the agitation and is bringing people from Mangalore to spice up things.

  24. Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa
    Why is your Asianet and Republic TV not understanding this? Or is this writing just fake?

  25. People who have lost understanding of what Hinduism is and the variety of practices in involves depending on local traditions are the ones supporting Sabarimala judgement. The faith of crores of people has its own authority. Supreme Court ventured into an area which previously was avoided. The state government ought to make an ordinance, respecting the people’s sentiments. Laws are for the people, people are not for laws. The private and public distinction is untenable where religion is concerned. Temples are integral to Hindu practice and the rules are local traditions. Law itself has as it’s source customs and traditions. Now it cannot pretend, all law is only positive law. News channels are distorting the ground realities by claiming fringe groups are hindering women. Such falsehood by so called progressive media!

    • OK, so since Sati was also a “tradition”, we should restore it. All Hindus who support Sabarimala because it is “tradition” should also support Sati, because that was also a “tradition”. Before the 1940s, women had to go bare-breasted to Guruvayoor temple in Kerala, as it was the “tradition”. The British abrogated it in the 1940s, because it offended their sensibilities.

      Do modern Malalyali women wish to visit Guruvayoor with their breasts on display? Why not? After all, that was tradition too.

      Of course very few supporters of the Sabarimala protest would agree with the tradition of Sati, or of women going topless to temples. and therein lies the hypocrisy. They want the authority to decide which tradition stays, and which goes.

  26. I completely concur with the writer. This kind of blind, tone deaf feminism, trying to interpret faith through constitutionality and rationality devoid of context, without understanding the cultural nuances and plurality of Hinduism, is a receipe for disaster.

  27. Rajeev ‘s article is correct in every aspect…..Temples are not just prayer halls …God is living there. There are thousands of Ayyappa Temples built over last few decades in almost every city/town/village…There are no restrictions for women ..But Sabarimala tradition is conceived centuries ago based on certain realistic reasons…Why trample …SC should hear the review petition….

  28. I beg to differ. Religion is personal and if it is manifesting in personal domain, like your home, no one has an issue with it. But if it is in public domain, it must be for all and any and the rules must be brought to make it happen. If a 35 year woman – or a man, wishes to practice her/his own constitutional right of religion in a temple, (s)he must me allowed, and cannot be discriminated against.

    Let us take Sati pratha as an example. It too was part of Hindu religion. But it must be stopped because – in addition to being against the constitutional ‘right to life’, it was also asymmetrical and discriminatory: woman will burn herself for the dead husband but the man will not burn himself for dead wife. If you allow the religion’s faith its unfettered run in public domain, where is the limit? What if a group of people say that human sacrifice is part of their core religious beliefs – and, shockingly, we may find volunteers for that ritual. When some religions baptize young girls as Sadhvi and boys as Munis, constitutional rules must be implemented – please do not expect those brain-washed teens to approach the courts against something they cannot even comprehend.

    In a video on the The Print, Shekhar Gupta has taken the same stand as this writer and given the reasoning that how can the courts discuss the issue of, say, existence of God. My humble submission will be the same: true, courts cannot debate that particular matter because it is matter of belief and faith and everyone is free to believe. More so, the beliefs are abstract and their expression is not harmful anyway – only the concrete actions in pursuance of those beliefs cause harm. So, as soon as you translate the beliefs into concrete action, you will have to follow the test of law. You cannot block the practice in a temple of the same belief in God to some people, who believe in the existence of (the same) God – based on their age, dress, food habits, physiology or language. So, to me the solution is simple: please keep the religion in personal domain. Or, submit to law if you jump in public sphere.

    • Hi,

      I request your broad based approach here.

      Sabarimala Pilgrimage has various other positive aspects thats not clearly understood by many. The Pilgrimage is very unique and thousand years ago it has established that devotees practising the vratham ( set of practises before taking the pligrimage ) are not discriminated based on caste, religion, region, gender.
      Men devotees had to additional observe Celibacy until they reach back to their home. The pilgrimage gives more importance to celibacy. Hence the Deity has took vow to ensure HE is first a celibate.
      Men should always respect Women and Women in their homes pray to Lord for their successful Journey.
      Its more about Pilgrimage rather any all day open temple .

      Women devotees are aware and know better than anyone else this Pilgrimage is indeed for their own welfare and has not caused any harm or discrimination.
      This is the only Lord Ayyappa Temple that requires women to complete a particular age but their prayers are already answered when their men folks are completing the Pilgrimage. They are many other Lord Ayyappa temples in the country where there are no age restriction.

      When Women Devotees are not affected, not harmed , then what is the point in Supreme Court discussing this topic in a narrow minded approach.

      Our land has many unique paths to attain Personal Transformation, Spiritual Progress.
      Sabarimala Pilgrimage is one such. In the present world, where women safety is under problem , this Pligrimage will help Men to ensure more safety to women.

      Thanks for your understanding.

    • Your 1st argument -Its a public domain is wrong . As per Indian constitution , deity is a minor citizen of this country, and temple is his private space . So any one who wants to come to his private property needs to follow his rules and regulations.
      So in this case he is a “nishtika bramachari” , he sits in a forest away from young women and all other worldly pleasures , he has no issue with women, lot of children and mothers are visiting the temple.

      Here men visiting the temple also should be like a bramachari for 41 days , he should get get rid of all the worldly pleasures .
      The concept here is of “tat tvam asi ”

      What benefit people are getting, destroying a beautiful , unique harmless culture and tradition ?

    • @ramesh singh: Your ignorance on Hinduism and Hindu issues are pathetically glaring, and sadly, this is why Hindus have always been easy to manipulate. “Sati” was NEVER part of Hinduism. It was never practiced nor heard of in most parts of India. It was a practice that was localized to a very small region of India, that too because of certain historical factors affecting this region. Thus, it was easy to eradicate a practice that had no grounding in Hinduism; many, even in the region where Sati was practiced, supported the effort to abolish it. A similar argument cannot be made for the Sabarimalai issue. There has been enough written on Sabarimalai, that there is no need for me to go over it again. But, unless one is willing to make the effort to read and understand the issue, any amount of explanation is merely going to be wasted on one.


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