Sabarimala temple is a famous Ayyapa (Shasta) temple of South India, it was of course burnt to the ground by Christians in the 1950’s as some Christians thought that the Sabarimala temple was one of the main reasons why Hindus from South India refused to convert.
This is a documented fact that till this day there are tens of thousands of villages in India who will fast for 41 days and only then make the pilgrimage to Sabarimala. Even men who are normally toddy inebriated and invertate eaters of non vegetarian food will follow this 41 day rule of sobriety and fasting if they have to travel to Sabarimala…. such is the mahima of the Devata in this place……
This temple is not exclusively for men, although there are temples in Kerala which are exclusively for women, as unlike Abrahamic religion dominated societies, India is primarily a matriarchal society. This particular temple has been in the news though as it excludes women belonging to the menstrual age group.
Recently some women from the lawyers fraternity in N India wanted to show just how inequal this practice was and hence a petition was filed in the Supreme Court of India. This action, howsoever noble in intent signifies a singular disconnect of the petitioners….. with practising Hindu women from Kerala… who are not interested in visiting this shrine as the 41 day ritual for fasting would normally get interrupted by the 28 day menstrual cycle. One feels therefore that the lack of knowledge displayed by the petitioners of Indian customs is therefore quite tremendous:
You see, Tantra is primarily divided into Dakshinachara (right handed) or Vamachar (left handed).
In the Dakshinachara path there is an authority to follow the rules and the rules are such in this case that some women are not permitted to enter the shrine. OTOH, in Vamachara, the Deities are different and the rules are different.
The Sri Vidya tantra states, that a woman is at her most pure when menstruating and all energies, whether in a consecrated idol (moorthi) or in food are instantaneously transferred to her body.
So the tantras view the menstruating woman differently, not inferior to normal but superior and in fact in certain tantric sadhanas, it us incumbent on the person following the ritual to have a menstruating woman actually present at that very place.
Anyways, coming back to the point, the disconnect between ignorant urban Indians and the knowledgeable Indians belonging to urban and rural areas is now a large rift.
There are many educated Indians for whom the keeping of a 41 day austerity is simply nonsensical because they believe themselves to have become enlightened by reading the books of American authors or perhaps because they have a branded Indian pseudo “Guru”.
For all such pseudo enlightened Indians, here is a little test:
Take a small rag soaked with reddish ink and put a little stale egg over it. Then place this rag at an opportune moment on their table when they are in the middle of a nice 6 course meal. Inform them that it is a sanitary napkin freshly bled into. See their reaction… it will show you that enlightenment is not something gained from reading books but requires a hard grind over decades.