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Why Ayyappa has 18 steps?

The 18 steps that lead to the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple are believed to be an inalienable part of the darshan. The steps are believed to be special for other reasons too. For one, Ayyappa was a master of 18 weapons — each step is dedicated to each of those weapons, which Ayyappa is believed to have finally surrendered at the “pathinettam padi” or the eighteenth step.

Symbolism of 18 steps

The first five steps symbolise Panchendriyas Visual (Eye), Auditory (Ears)and, Olfactory (Nose), Gustatory (Tongue), Tactile (Skin).

The next eight steps Ashtaragas Kama (Love), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Avarice), Moha (Lust), Madha (Pride), Maltsarya (Unhealthy Competition), Asooya (Jealous), Dhumb (Boastfulness).

The next three steps stand for Thrigunas Satva (Perspicuity, Discernment), Rajas (Activity, Enjoyment), Thamas (Inactivity, Stupor).

The last two steps represent Vidya, Avidya (Knowledge & Ignorance)

Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa

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