The Sunrise….

November 1, 2008

Makarajyothi and Makaravilakku: A hoax or divine miracle??????

Over the years the Indian media especially Malayalam TV channels have been airing the live visuals of Makaravilakku with commentary, but most of them stood far off from the truth. That has prompted me write this blog.

General conception: A celestial light appears around Jan 14 every year at Ponnambalamedu in the Sahyadri ranges of the Western Ghats in Kerala, India. This is called Makarajyothi/Makaravilakku. It is believed that Swami Ayyappan/Dharmasaasta/Hariharaputra reveals himself as this celestial light to bless his devotees. Millions of pilgrims travel from far and wide to witness this spectacle. This is what at least 80-90% Hindus believe about the spectacle.

Skeptics’ version: The skeptics say this is a stage-managed show by the Travancore Devasom Board, and Govt. of Kerala.They say the authorities lit the huge pile of camphor and produce this light. Infact in 1981,The Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham climbed Ponnambalamedu and lighted a number of fires confusing the devotees with many Makaravilakkus.

The reality: The reality lies somewhere between the two. If you go through the authentic literatures, the truth is very well explained. Actually Makarajyothy and Makaravilakku are different, not the same as conceived by most. Makarajyothy is a star that appears in the sky during that part of the year. It’s a celestial phenomenon and this can be explained scientifically. Makaravilakku is man-made fire in ponnambalamedu.

What made people believe Makarajyothi and Makaravilakku are same: Makaravilakku actually was the festival of the tribal community (adivasis) who resided Ponnambalamedu forest areas. They used lit fire intermittently 3 times each representing Lord Shiva, Lord Maha- Vishnu and Lord Brahma. Later in early 40s Ponnambalamedu was taken over by KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board).But the tribal community insisted that every year this festival has be continued without failure and this has to be organized by KSEB. Later in 60s and 70s, Travancore devaswam board understood Makaravilaaku is a duck that lays golden eggs and can bring crores of revenue. They along the mainstream Hindu organization started spreading the propaganda that Makarajyothi and Makaravilakku are same. Now people from various parts of India come to see this spectacle.

How the current stage-managed show works: The TDB authorities get themselves ready with huge piles of camphor and wet blankets in Ponnamabalamedu. When Sreekovil of Sabarimala is getting opened they will get the indication through phone (earlier days radio commentary was used). Immediately they will fire the camphor and cover with wet blankets, intermittently, to give the blinking effect.

Its high time the so-called Hindu organizations and the government organizations come in open and lay this fact in front of the public and educate them.

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