Ayyappa, also known as Aiyanar, Sastha, and Hariharaputra, who is today the focus of a major devotional tradition, emerged from the fusion of a Dravidian god of tribal provenance with the Puranic story of Shiva’s sexual interaction with Vishnu.1 For the story from the Bbagvata Purana, see p. 69.
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- 1.For a discussion of dating the growth of the Ayyappa legend, see Radhika Sekar, The Sabarimalai Pilgrimage and Ayyappan Cultus (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1992), 19–27. Sekar inclines to placing the historical Ayyappan in the eleventh century but other scholars favor a somewhat later date.Google Scholar
- 2.Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Siva: The Erotic Ascetic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), 253.Google Scholar
- 4.P T. Thomas, Sabarimalai and Its Sastha: An Essay on the Ayyappa Movement (Bangalore: The Christian Literature Society, 1973), 11.Google Scholar
- 5.It is interesting that K. R. Vaidyanathan, Pilgrimage to Sabari (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1978; 1992), 152–53, compares Ayyappa devotees to Arjuna who was chosen by Krishna as his special friend.Google Scholar