Sri Ayyappa Temple holy 18 steps significance


Sri Ayyappa Temple has 18 Holy Steps from the ground level to the sanctum sanctorum where the deity resides. These steps are considered holy because they are regarded as the extension of sanctum sanctorum. The number 18 itself has great significance in Hindu philosophy. There are18 chapters in Bhagavad Gita; there are 18 Puranas; there are 18 battle techniques; Kurukshethra battle lasted for 18 days; Four Vedas, 6 Sutras, 5 Senses and 3 deities add up to 18. There are different interpretations to the significance of the 18 Holy Steps. In one interpretation, the first seventeen steps symbolize the seventeen Vasanas(human traits) and the eighteenth step, symbolizes the last stage of evolution to the status of a Gnani.(An individual who has achieved the ultimate state of enlightenment. The bad Vasanas have accumulated for generations and have to be eradicated by a slow and steady process. The good Vasanas have to be carefully cultivated. The combination of the elimination of the bad Vasanas and the development of the good Vasanas enables one to attain the level of a Gnani. To achieve the level of Gnani, one should have Internal Purification and External Purification.
• Agnana (Ignorance) or Avidya(Illiteracy). In this stage a person is equivalent to an animal. The only way to evolve from this stage is by association with people better than oneself.
• False Prestige. Every human being is different from the next, and maybe inferior or superior to every other person in one way or another. However no one should have the opinion that one is superior to anybody else. This is a bad vasana, which has to be eliminated in the early stages of a person’s evolution, which is why it represents the second step.
• Dambh (pride). Elimination of this bad vasana is the next stage, symbolizing the third step.
• Spite. Human beings have a tendency to blame others for any and all misfortunes and harbor ill will towards others as a result of this misconception. The sooner a person can get rid of this vasana the better of he will be. …please click here to read more

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