HOW TO OBSERVE MANDALA VRATHAM ?
Devotees initiate the vratham by wearing a Thulasi or a Rudraksha mala. After this ceremony, the male pilgrim and the female pilgrim (aged 1-12 and after 55) are addressed as Ayyapan/Swamy and Maalikapuram respectively, until their completion of the pilgrimage. The devotees will wear only BLACK colored clothings.
- Devotees are expected to undergo practices of simple living, and absolute cleanliness.
2.Total abstinence from all vices like alcohol, tobacco, chewing betel leaves and non-vegetarian food is stipulated.
- Devotees shall not trim or cut their hair on any parts of their body and shall not cut their fingernail or toenail
- He shall bathe twice, if possible thrice, daily and perform pooja by at least chanting 108 Ayyappan Saranam. He shall continuously chant Saranam Ayyappa in mind, both at work and at home.
- He shall not hurt anybody verbally or physically.
- He shall treat all co-devotees as Lord Ayyappan himself and serve them in all the ways.
- He shall not feel proud of the respect and privileges he gets when he is wearing the holy mala. When others prostrate themselves on his feet he shall not feel proud but dedicate the same to Lord Ayyappan and say aloud ‘Lord Save everybody for their faith in you’.
- He shall not cause inconvenience to his family members on account on observing the vritham.
- As he starts his vritham every year, he shall think that he is doing the same for first time and follow all the rules of the vritham strictly.
- He shall strictly follow brahmacharya (continence), refrain from sex, thinking of sex, develop passion against all women including his wife, and treat all women with motherly feeling.
- He shall not apply oil to his hair and shall not take bath with oil smeared over his body.
- He shall not attend any social function like birthdays, engagement, and wedding, etc. and shall feast in anyone’s home who have not undertaken the vritham.
- He shall avoid being in the proximity of dead body and shall not eat anything till he bathes if he accidentally sees one.
- He shall always carry a tulsi leaf with him to prevent him from evil feeling and from Thitu.
- He shall not sleep on bed but on floor, he shall not use pillow but wooden block, he shall not use footwear but walk with bare feet and not use an umbrella.
- He shall totally surrender himself to Lord Ayyappa.