Sabarimala temple priest clarifies holy light event

May 27th, 2008 - 11:56 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, May 27 (IANS) A day after doubts were raised on the authenticity of the Makar Jyothi, the holy light that is seen in the sky in January every year at the Sabarimala temple, the chief priest of the famed Kerala temple said Tuesday that he was pained over the controversy. Kantaru Maheswararu, in a letter through his grandson, clarified that the Makar Jyothi and Makar Villaku, another name used by devotees to describe the light, are two different events.

Addressing a press conference here, Rahul Eashwar, the grandson of the priest said that his grandfather was pained over the controversy that has arisen on the issue.

According to the chief priest, the Makar Jyothi is a star that appears in the sky above the temple around dusk on the first day of the month of Makaram and is visible for around an hour.

“This is different from the Makar Villaku, which means a light which is lit as soon as the star appears in the sky. The light is artificially created on top of a hill (Ponnambalamedu) away from the Sabarimala temple. I do not know who does this, but this is seen by all those who come to the temple on that day,” said Eashwar.

He added that the reason why the Makar Villaku appears thrice on the horizon is because it is lit three times.

As soon as the light flickers on the sky, the Sabari hills reverberate with chants of “Sarana Mantram” by thousands of devotees.

The three-month pilgrim festival ends in the middle of January every year.

A controversy broke out Monday when Cheriyan Phillip, a former close aide of Defense Minister A.K. Antony came out against the Left government for encouraging the Makar Jyothi in Sabarimala.

“The authorities are lighting a furnace at Ponnambalamedu and fooling the devotees. Steps should be taken to stop this immediately,” said Phillip, who is chairman of the state-owned Kerala State Tourism Development Corporation.

Eashwar said: “In this new age of communication and technology it is very easy for television cameras to catch this artificial lighting, which mythology says was first lighted by Parasuram. Later, it was being done by adivasis and now I do not know who does this.”

“When I met the Minister for Devasom G. Sudhakaran, he also asked me who is doing this, I said I do not know,” added Eashwar.

With Eashwar going public on the issue, it is certain to create more controversies. The Rationalist Organisation has for long been saying that the celestial light is a hoax and meant to fool pilgrims.

The Sabarimala temple, situated on the Western Ghat ranges in Pathanamthitta district, is one of the most famous Hindu pilgrim centers in India.

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