Template:Ayyavazhi Ayyavazhi (Tamil: அய்யாவழி Malayalam: അയ്യാവഴി Ayyavali, Template:IPA2[1] -"Path of the father") is a dharmic belief system[2] that originated in South India in the 19th century.[3] It is cited as an independent monistic[4] religion by several newspapers,[5][6] government reports [7][8] and academic researchers.[9][10][11][12] In Indian censuses, however, the majority of its followers declare themselves as Hindus. Therefore, Ayyavazhi is also considered a Hindu sect.[13][14][15] Ayyavazhi is centered on the life and preachings of Ayya Vaikundar; its ideas and philosophy are based on the holy texts Akilattirattu Ammanai and Arul Nool. Accordingly, Vaikundar was the Purna avatar of Narayana. Ayyavazhi shares many ideas with Hinduism in its mythology and practice, but differs considerably in its concepts of good and evil and dharma.[16] Ayyavazhi is classified as a dharmic belief because of its central focus on dharma.[17]

Ayyavazhi first came to public attention in the 19th century as a Hindu sect.[18] Vaikundar's activities and the growing number of followers caused a reformation and revolution in 19th century Travancorean[19] and Tamil society,[20] surprising the feudal social system of South India.[21] It also triggers a number of reform movements including those of Narayana Guru,[22] Vallalar[23] etc.

Though Ayyavazhi followers are spread across India,[24][25] they are primarily present in South India,[26] especially concentrated in Tamil Nadu[27] and Kerala.[28] The number of practitioners is estimated to be between 700,000[29] and 8,000,000,[30] although the exact number is unknown, since Ayyavazhis are reported as Hindus during censuses.[31][32]

Etymology and historyEdit

Main article: History of Ayyavazhi
File:Swamithope Pathi West view.jpg

Ayya in Tamil means 'Father'[33] and vazhi, 'the pathway' ; The simple derivative in the sense is 'The Pathway of (or) towards Father' . Apart, due to the diverse synonymous versions for the phrase in Tamil, it also leads to various other theories.[2][34][35]

Ayyavazhi began to be noticed initially by the large number of people gathering to worship Vaikundar (known historically as "Mudisoodum Perumal")[36] (1809 CE – 1851 CE)[37] at Poovandanthoppe.[38] The Thuvayal thavasu (washing penance) of 1840 is the origin of Ayyavazhi as an alternative religio-cultural phenomena.[39] The majority of its participants were from marginalised and poor sections of society.[36] They began to function as a distinct and autonomous society, and gradually, they identified their path with the phrase 'Ayya vazhi'.[40] Although the majority of these followers were from the Chanar cast, a large number of people from other castes also followed it.[41] Ayyavazhi's rapid growth throughout its first century of existence was noted by Christian missionary reports from the mid-19th century.[42]

By the middle of 19th century, Ayyavazhi had come to be recognised as a separate religion with deep roots in the regions of South Travancore and South Tirunelveli.[43] The numbers of faithful increased significantly from the 1840s.[36] By the close of the 19th century, Swamithope was considered the religio-cultural epi-center of Ayyavazhi.[44] After the time of Vaikundar, Ayyavazhi was spread through his teachings. The five Seedars, disciples of Vaikundar and their descendants, traveled to several parts of the country bearing the mission of Ayyavazhi.[45] Meanwhile, the Payyan dynasty started administrating the Swamithoppe pathi,[46] while other Pathis came under the administration of the followers of Ayya.[47] Following the instructions of Akilattirattu Ammanai (Akilam), the Nizhal Thangals (small pagodas) have been established across the country for worship and the study of scripture.[48]

File:Ayya's Holy Perambu and Surai koodu.jpg

Arul Nool, the first Ayyavazhi work in print was released in 1927, followed by the Akilam in 1933,[49] almost a century after it had been written down.[50] As a result, Ayyavazhi abandoned active oral traditions in favor of literary scriptures. Ayyavazhi headquarter reports that Ayyavazhi spread more rapidly after Indian Independence (1940s) and still more rapidly through the 1990s.[51] Many Ayyavazhi-based social welfare organisations were established in the late 20th century.[52] Several alternative versions of Akilam, including some controversial versions, were released during the same period.[53] The Anbukkodimakkal Thirucchabai, a democratic bureau, was established by the religious headquarters in the early 1990s to organize and govern the religion. Organisational conferences are held in various cities in South India including Mumbai,[54] Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.[51]

Considering the growth of Ayyavazhi, Ayya Vaikunda Avataram, the day of Vaikundar's incarnation, was declared a holiday by the state administration for the district of Kanyakumari in 1994, followed by the districts of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin in 2006.[55][56] Currently, Bala Prajapathi Adikalar, heir to the Payyan dynasty, is considered the leader of Ayyavazhi.[57][58]

Scriptures and holy placesEdit

Main article: Ayyavazhi scriptures
File:Akila Thirattu Ammanai.JPG

The holy books of Ayyavazhi are the Akilattirattu Ammanai (commonly referred to as Akilam)[59] and the Arul Nool, and they are the source of the religion's mythology. The Akilattirattu Ammanai was written by Hari Gopalan Seedar in 1841,[60] as if hearing the contents of Akilam told by Narayana to his consort Lakshmi.[61] In addition to the mythological events Akilam also provides an extensive quantity of historical facts,[62] especially that of mid and late 2nd millennium CE. While the original text is damaged, the daughter versions such as the Swamithope version, the Kottangadu version as well as the Panchalankurichi versions, are the earliest existing palm-leaf versions of Akilam.[63] Other released versions includes the Sentrathisai Ventraperumal, the Kalai Ilakkiya Peravai, the Vivekanandan, the highly criticised VTV[63] and the earliest and commonly accepted Palaramachandran version.[63] Akilam contains more than 15,000 verses in seventeen sections. It is written in poetic Tamil in a ballad form, and is composed with a unique literal-style with two sub-genres, Viruttam and Natai throughout.

The secondary scripture, Arul Nool, includes various books that are believed to be written by Arulalarkal (one possessed by divine power).[64] It contains prayers, hymns and instructions for the way of worship in Ayyavazhi, as well as rituals prophesy and many acts.[64] It also contains many events found in the Akilam pertaining to the life of Vaikundar.[65] Unlike Akilam, there is no definitive history for Arul Nool. All these texts are compiled in Tamil language.[66]

File:Location of Pancha Pathi.png

To the Ayyavazhi devotees, there are seven holy places, called Pathis,[67] with the Pancha pathis being the most important.[68] The temple of the Swamithope pathi is the headquarters of the Ayyavazhi.[69][70][71]

The five Pancha pathi are: 1. the Swamithope Pathi, the venue of the great Tavam and the religion's headquarters. 2. Ambala Pathi, where Vaikundar joined six of the Seven Deities unto himself. 3. Mutta Pathi, the venue of the Second and Third Vinchais. 4. Thamaraikulam Pathi, where the Akilattirattu Ammanai was written down. 5. Poo Pathi, where Ayya unified the Earth goddess Poomadanthai to himself by symbolic marriage.

Vakaippathi, though not included in the Pancha pathis by the headquarters, is still considered as a Pathi but with lesser importance.[72][73] There is disagreement among followers of Ayyavazhi regarding the holiness of some other Pathis, such as Vaikunda Pathi and Avathara Pathi. The list of Pathis announced by the headquarters of Ayyavazhi does not include these Pathis.[74]


Main article: Ayyavazhi symbolism
File:Ayyavazhi Sahasrara.jpg

The symbol of Ayyavazhi is a lotus carrying a flame-shaped white Namam.[75] The lotus represents the 1,008-petalled Sahasrara (in Tamil, Ladam), while the Namam represents the Aanma Jyothi or atman.[75] Both of the Ayyavazhi scriptures[76][77] refer to Thirunamam (the "flame shaped symbol" present in the top of the Lotus in the Ayyavazhi symbol), but not to the lotus directly. The symbol is the ideological summary of Akilam-based philosophy. This symbol has been in use since the mid-20th century.[78]

The mythical narration in akilam about the eight yugas is often viewed philosophically as a reference to eight chakras.[79] The first Neetiya Yukam, is Bindu and the final state, Dharma Yukam, is Sahasrara, or absolute bliss. In this series, the energy of consciousness (Namam) of oneself is invoked, rising from Bindu (Neetiya Yukam) to the final Sahasrara (Dharma Yukam). This lotus, the highest spiritual center of enlightenment is for experiencing the absolute "bliss".[80] The reigning power in the final Dharma Yukam (Sahasrara) is Ekam, which is a part of Vaikundar a Trinity conception, or a manifestation of the supreme absolute.[75] Thus Ayyavazhi's symbol is derived from Akilam. The symbol, "Lotus with Thirunamam", shows "Vaikundar's experienced in Sahasrara."

File:Thiru Nizhal Thangal of Attoor.jpg

In certain Hindu texts the Sahasrara chakra has 1000 petals.[81] But in Ayyavazhi symbolism, Saharara has 1008 petals. In Ayyavazhi, there is no scriptural authority indicating the importance of 1000, but the number 1008 is commonly mentioned. Also, the incarnation year of Vaikundar is 1008 M.E (Malayalam Era). Backing these scriptural identities, the 1008-petal lotus is followed in Ayyavazhi symbolism.[79] Sahasrara is symbolised as a lotus without a stem.

Ayyavazhi architecture was developed in constructing Nizhal Thangals, where the inverted lotus flower of Sahasrara is used to cover the roof.[82] The lotus may also represent the heart and the flame shape (Thirunamam), the divinity.[83] Ayyavazhi has used other symbols including Vaishnavite ' Triple Namam '(not used currently), and Conch.

Teachings and impactEdit

Main article: Teachings and impacts of Ayyavazhi

The majority of Ayyavazhi's key teachings can be found in the book Akilattirattu Ammanai and other teachings are collated from various books written by unknown authors, whose works feature in the Arul Nool.[84] Like Dharma, the other teachings of Ayyavazhi are twofold, sociological and mystical. The mystical teachings are devoted to revealing divine knowledge, while social teachings are primarily concerned with eliminating inequality and discrimination in society. The teachings encourage a positive relationship with God, as opposed to one based on fear. Followers are encouraged to refer to God as Ayya, "dear father", to strengthen their intimacy and affection towards God.[85]


Ayyavazhi mystics focus on supreme oneness.[86] Among its variations, the theology always maintains this focus on oneness. The evil of Kali blocks the ultimate or supreme oneness prevailing between individual souls and the universe, creating among them a false sense of individuality and of extreme pride. This erroneous view causes the apparent sense of separation from the oneness and motivates against it.[87] Ekam—the "over-soul" or the supreme soul—is identified as the whole of existence, changeless in nature and ubiquity. This is "one which undergoes different changes with respect to space and time" because of the evil force maya.[88]

All of creation evolved from this Ekam, the supreme consciousness.[89] All the qualities of Ekam are within each soul, and evolve from it. Each and every individual soul is a reflection or mirror of the absolute Supreme, Ekam,[90] which provides the textual basis and metaphor for the mirror's role in Ayyavazhi worship. Human and all other souls are restricted and limited by the evil of Kali. This is why individual souls are not able to attain supreme bliss, and so are secondary to Ekam. Once a soul overcomes the influence of maya, it becomes one with Ekam. Its individuality is gone, and thereby it is Ekam.[91] On the other hand, this supreme consciousness is personified as Paramatma (over-soul) by which, God is the "Husband", while all other souls are his "consorts",[92] symbolised by Thirukkalyana Ekanai, where Vaikundar marries the individual souls.[92] Also, the Ayyavazhi philosophy applies a common formula for the creation of human beings and the rest of the universe. Thus whatever exists externally to human beings exists also internally.[93]

Ayyavazhi clearly and explicitly condemns the caste based inequalities in its social teachings.[94] It heavily criticises the caste discrimination rather than the 'Caste system' itself. From its inception, Ayyavazhi has also served as an engine of social reform, particularly in the area of Travancore, which was previously noted for its unusually strong caste system.[95] In this contest, the mingling of castes in Ayyavazhi centers was a vital element in the transformation of society.[96]

File:The Palliyarai of Swamithope Pathi.jpg

Ayya Vaikundar was the first[97] to succeed as a social reformer[98][99] in launching political struggle,[100] social renaissance[101][102][103] as well as religious reformation[104] in the country.[105] Vaikundar was the pioneer of the social revolutionaries of Tamil Nadu[106] and Kerala.[107] He was also said to be the forerunner of all social reformers of India.[108] Akilam displayed sympathy for the laboring classes, and opposed to the often excessive taxes they were forced to pay.[109] From the beginning the followers, fortified by the teachings, have also taken a strong stand against political oppression. This is most clearly seen in Akilam, where the Thiruvithkanur king is identified as Kalineesan, (one who is a captive of Kali) and the British are identified as Venneesan (the white neesan) in the social sense.[110][111] Ayyavazhi was in the forefront of movements for Human Rights and Social Equality.[108] Ayyavazhi also effected many social changes in southern India,[112] resulting in the emergence of a series of social and self-respect movements such as Upper cloth agitation,[107] Temple entry agitation and other movements including those of Narayana Guru,[22][113] Chattampi Swamikal,[114] Vallalar[23] and Ayyankali.

Worship centersEdit

Main article: Worship centers of Ayyavazhi
File:Nelli Nintra Vilai Thangal.png

The followers of Ayyavazhi established Pathis and Nizhal Thangals, which are centers of worship and religious learning in various parts of the country.[115] They serve as centres for propagation of the beliefs and practices of Ayyavazhi.[115] There are thousands of Nizhal Thangals[116][117] throughout India,[118][119] mostly in South India.[120] A research paper approved by Madurai Kamaraj University reports more than 8000 worship centres in Tamil Nadu and Kerala alone.[121] Reports from the London Missionary Society (LMS) of the mid-19th century also speak of Nizhal Thangals.[122] Since Ayyavazhi is not centrally organised, Swamithope pathi serves as the religious headquarters for all. The Pathis earn more importance among the worship centers.[115]

The seven Pathis,[66] obtain their significance from the fact that Vaikundar and his activities were historically associated with these centers of worship.[115] The Swamithope pathi, though considered the religion's headquarters, does not officially control the rest of the religious centers. All Pathis, except itself, are managed by independent committees.[123] The five Pathis known as Pancha pathi are considered foremost among Pathis.

Nizhal Thangals, compared with Pathis, are simple small structures built for worship and for learning the teachings of Vaikundar. They also served as centers of school education during the early days.[124] Food and shelter are offered to the needy in these centres.[125] Some of them were established when Vaikundar was alive. Among them Arul Nool, specifies seven Thangals,[126] and these are considered primary over the others. Today, charity is one of the main activities conducted in these centers.[127]

These centers emerged as the abode of Dharma.[128] The Nizhal Thangals form an important institution in the socio-religious life of the people of Ayyavazhi. Panividai may be conducted up to three times daily, but all worship centers provide Panividai at least once daily.


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Main article: Ayyavazhi ethics

The ethics of Ayyavazhi, integrated with the meta-narrative mythology, are found throughout the primary scripture, Akilattirattu Ammanai.[129] Regarding ethics, Arul Nool is an accumulation of the core concepts found in Akilam.[130] In Akilam, the ethical abstracts are pointed out as "told by God" at several places at different situations to lesser god-heads, devas, saints, etc. when ever asked by them.

Neetham is the primary virtue of Ayyavazhi. This shows how society, its people, the ruling king, etc., lived in absolute harmony with nature, placing the power of Almighty in all their works, deeds and activities during early ages. In return, nature and the divine beings protect the society which follows the Neetham. Chastity and life in ultimate union with nature form the central theme, an ethical form that is to be followed. As in Akilam, Vinchai is the rules and regulations provided by God (Narayana) to Vaikundar. There are three such Vinchais. Acts found there also fit to humans to improve their moral code. The first Vinchai of Tiruchendur forms the largest ethical accumulation found in Akilam.[129]

To an extent, the Dharmic teachings in Ayyavazhi are also considered as ethics. Charity in social ethics and "attempting to realise the ultimate truth of oneness" in spirituality are the ethical codes under the banner of Ayyavazhi dharma. Akilam also gives separate ethics for Devas also.[131] It is notable that the Ayyavazhi ethics undergo a vast deviation from the incarnation of Vaikundar since a universal change took place then.[131] Over all, as the foremost ethical code, people are advocated to overcome the evil force kalimayai with the weapons of love, forbearance and peace, since Kaliyan as maya rules the minds of people.

Arul Nool constitutes the major role in forming the rules and regulations of Ayyavazhi, including ethics. It gives separately the social as well as divine ethics. The Sivakanda Athikara Pathiram here is the section especially dedicated to teach the ethics. The rituals, especially circumambulations, are to be followed to wash-out the sin committed related to immoral thinking.

Religious studiesEdit

Main article: Ayyavazhi religious studies
File:Tamarai-Namam glossy.png

It is difficult to give a clear-cut listing to Ayyavazhi concepts because of the relation the Ayyavazhi scriptures maintains with the Hindu scriptures. Akilam primarily says the central themes of the existing scriptures (that of Hindu) had gone awry by the advent of Vaikundar.[132] It also narrates that Akilam was given to mankind as an alternative because Kaliyan destroyed the original Vedas and Shastras, and at the beginning of Kali Yuga, several additions were given to the previous scriptures by him.[133] Both of these view points give the views of Akilam on Hindu scriptures, and place them as reasons for rejecting them.

The philosophy, terms and mythology of the Ayyavazhi scriptures are the basis of religious study on Ayyavazhi theology.[134] But several terms quoted in Akilam couldn't be understood wholly unless by referring to the descriptive details of those terms in Hindu scriptures.[135] For example, if the 96 tatvas are understood, then the Kaliyan is understood. Therefore theologians and philosophers today turn to Hindu scriptures to further their understanding of the tatvas as properties of the human body, which are not elaborated upon in Akilam.[136] However, to understand Akilam and its philosophy, one should have a basic knowledge over the Hindu ideas and concepts.[135] Since Akilam have no different view in this matter from Hindu scriptures, it was left to be gathered from there.

On mythical studies, Akilam covers almost the entire main mythology of Hinduism, including Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kantha Purana and Vishnu Purana, but with limited details.[137] It includes only the main events that are directly linked to the main-stream story flow. But to undergo a detailed study on each, the appropriate Hindu scriptures that include those events in detail need to be referred. Akilam provides all these collectively in brief with an overall story line, which make it unique.[138] Many philosophical concepts from Hinduism are found in Akilam; some of them are completely accepted,[139] some are regenerated,[132] while others are rejected.[140]

Generally it was considered that once a particular concept is not found well-described in Ayyavazhi scriptures, such as Akilattirattu Ammanai or Arul Nool (as detail as in Hindu scriptures), and instead simply was quoted, then that particular conception is accepted as in Hindu scriptures for religious studies.[141] But once Akilam has different views over something from that of the existing (Hindu) scriptures, then it would be found deeply described in Akilam itself and hence no need for referring other scriptures.[141]


File:The Evolution of Ekam.png
Main article: Ayyavazhi theology

The theology of Ayyavazhi differs considerably from other monistic religions.[142] It speaks of Ekam, the Oneness from which all that exists formed, and also an ultimate oneness that exists behind all differences. The Ekam, which is articulated as the supreme divine power itself, is supposed to remain unaffected by maya deep inside every changeable matters as an absolute constant. In theological terms, God is, in the highest sense, formless, infinite, genderless and beyond time and space. The term Ekam in Tamil language give simply the meanings, "one", "absolute",[143] "the whole which exists"[144] and "the incomparable";[145] all give some sort of direct monistic definition about God from Ayyavazhi theology.

Narrating through mythology, The Sivam and the Sakthi are the first to get evolved from Ekam. The Natham(voice), Trimurthi, other lesser gods and the entire universe further evolved. The Trimurthi are greater among the personified Devas. Siva, one among the Trimurthi, was the supreme power until Kali Yuga. Vishnu is the supreme from the advent of Kali Yuga. Then, from the incarnation of Vaikundar, again the powers of all god-heads, including that of Vishnu, is transformed to Vaikundar. Ekam, the supreme oneness as one among the Trinity takes a place within Vaikundar for the present age. Therefore, Vaikundar is said to be the only worshippable and supreme power. However, a quote from Akilam thirteen says this supreme oneness (Ekam) itself is created by Vaikundar, who is a personified God. In this regard, Ayyavazhi being centered on Vaikundar, is more monotheistic rather than monistic. No other god-heads, even the Father of Vaikundar, Narayana, have gained an equal or greater status than Vaikundar. Vaikundar is a turine power who includes the qualities of the Santror, Narayana and Ekam within himself.

In Ayyavazhi mythology, Kroni, a primordial evil manifestation, was fragmented into six and each fragments took birth and plays an anti-Vishnu roles throughout the successive six yugas. He was finally destroyed by a final judgment which is followed by the god-ruled Dharma Yukam. This narration gives some dualistic dimension to Ayyavazhi theology. But since the focus of Arul Nool, the accumulation of Ayyavazhi teachings is extremely monistic and since the final fragment of Kroni itself is called Kalimayai (a conception rather than a physical or material incarnation), it was commonly accepted that the 'Maya' is symbolised in such a way[146] that contrasts the dualistic view on Ayyavazhi. Apart from all these, there are also separate quotes in Ayyavazhi scriptures which give pantheistic and panentheistic definition to Ayyavazhi theology.

Festivals and ritualsEdit

File:Kodiyetru Thirunal.jpg
Main article: Ayyavazhi festivals

Basically, there are two yearly festivals for Ayyavazhi. The Ayya Vaikunda Avataram is celebrated on the twentieth day of the Tamil month Masi (March – April). This is the only Ayyavazhi festival to be celebrated as per the Solar calendar.[147] The mass procession conducted on this day from Nagercoil to Swamithoppe is a popular one in this part of the country.[148] The Thiru Edu-Vasippu is a festival of seventeen days celebrated in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November–December).[149] This celebration of textual reciting as a festival itself is a unique feature to Ayyavazhi. Apart from this, there is a tri-yearly celebration of Kodiyettru Thirunal in Swamithope. Another unique feature is the celebration of every day as a festival in Swamithope,(exclusive to Swamithope) called as 'Nitham Thirunal' .[150]

In addition to the philosophical concepts and mythology, the rituals of Ayyavazhi evolved in their own way. Most of the rituals have different operational and historical meanings.[151] Historically, the rituals were used or viewed as an attempt to break the caste-based inequalities prevailed in the society of the time, and to strengthen and uplift the sociologically downtrodden and ill-treated. Examples of this include the charity on food as 'Anna Dharmam' , physical as well as spiritual cleanliness through Thuvayal Thavasu,[152] eliminating untouchability through Thottunamam, self-respect and courage through headgear,[153] and unifying various castes through Muthirikkinaru.[154]


But they too reveal, however, high philosophical ideas preached in a ritual language. The Muthirikkinaru and Thirunamam are treated religiously as if the Patham and Namam of them have the power to heal all sorts of mental[155] as well as physical illness.[153][156] Thuvayal thavasu is suggested as a training to reach the ultimate aim of Dharma Yukam.[157] The use of the crown reveals that "all are kings", visualising an ideology similar to advaita. Also, Ayyavazhi scriptures succeeded very much in helping to understand these philosophical ideas to the common mass which is very much unusual. The individual rituals, the ecstatic religiosity and the ritual healing, which are the features of Ayyavazhi worship, contributed to the formation of an idea of emancipation and a social discourse.[158] Rituals attempt to uplift and treat the disenfranchised. Another important thing to be noted is the alternative phrases religiously used in Ayyavazhi universe different from Hinduism, to represent certain practices.

Inclusiveness and exclusivityEdit

Main article: Inclusiveness and exclusivity in Ayyavazhi

The formula of inclusiveness and exclusivity, as applied in the religio-cultural universe of Ayyavazhi, is unique because both the theories are mixed up in Ayyavazhi scriptures. The inclusive theory accepts the views of different religions for a certain period of time, and from then onwards exclusively rejects all of them in its narrative.

File:Ten Incarnation door.jpg

Ayyavazhi accepts different god-heads of several religions, like the concept of Allah and almost all the god-heads of Hinduism.[159] It also says that the one and the same God incarnates in different parts of the world at different time for rescuing the people from sufferings.[159] But due to the advent of Kaliyan and because of the cruel nature of his boons, for the first time, the supreme power Ekam incarnates in the world as Vaikundar, and so all the lesser god-heads and previous scriptures[160] had lost their substances. So after the time of the Vaikunda avatar, Vaikundar was said to be the only worshippable God and hence, the theology of Ayyavazhi was channeled towards exclusivism. The manner in which Akilam treats the scriptures of different religions is complicated. For instance, while there is no direct reference to the terms 'Christ' or 'Bible' anywhere in any of the Ayyavazhi texts, there is an indirect reference in Akilam thirteen which is supposed to be an implication that Christ was an incarnation of Narayana,[159] but it was widely thought that it did not recognise the Bible composition. It seems the view of Akilam on Bible is "it was created with the intention of man and not that of God".[161] In common, creation of religions and shaping individualities for them are heavily criticised. The concepts 'God' and 'Religion' are kept poles apart in Akilam, and it seems to maintain an ideology something like 'Accept God; Reject religion' .[162]

Ayyavazhi accepts various incarnations in Hinduism, but necessarily rejects the so called ' Hindu ' scriptures. It initially accepts Vedas.[163] Later since Kaliyan had bought the Vedas as boon they too lost their substance by the advent of Kaliyan, and so had gone invalid. It also says that he (Kaliyan) had performed several additions and had hidden some of their content. And hence God incarnated as Vaikundar. So for the present age, Akilam is said to be the only 'Book of Perfection' . By this Ayyavazhi rejects all other scriptures and follows only its own. Akilam highly condemns the creation of religions especially exclusivistic religious and theological ideas. It shows them as the foremost Kali mayai (evil of Kali).[164] The scriptures teach sensibly and symbolically that God and his activities are beyond the reach of religions. It also preaches about universal oneness.[2]


File:Ayyavali Vishnu.PNG
Main article: Ayyavazhi mythology

The mythology of Ayyavazhi narrates that the essence of this vision is an account of a history – a past, a present and a future – meant by weaving together of empirical facts, historical events as well as mythical accounts.[165] It moves around three axiomatic typologies, namely Santror, Kali Yukam and Dharma Yukam, placing their base on the concepts and events of previous yugas that are associated also with Hindu mythology. The basic concepts give a symbolic vision which is at once religious and social.[166]

It is closely linked to that of Hinduism. Akilam talks about the previous yugas and the evolution of Kroni through them. Events, mythical characters, and concepts are shared with Hinduism, though they may be engendered in different form. The number of Yugas and Avatars differs in Ayyavazhi from Hinduism.[167] The personification of the entity of Evil for the current yuga, Kaliyan, is unique to Ayyavazhi. Akilam says that the true concepts were destroyed, so that all previous scriptures had lost their substances due to the advent of Kali.[168]

The book also speaks of God incarnating in the world in the Kali Yukam (the present age) to destroy the evil spirit, the final and the most serious manifestation of Kroni. God incarnates as Vaikundar, and since Vaikundar lived recently, he was well-known in history. So in the second part of the mythology many mythical as well as historical facts were woven together. Most of the events such as Muthirikkinaru,[169] Wearing of Headgear during worship,[170] Thuvayal Thavasu[171] all were noted in history. uffh

1 Neetiya Yuga Bindu Kroni Narayana
2 Chathura Yukam Muladhara Kundomasali Mayon
3 Netu Yukam Swadhisthana Thillai mallalan and Mallosivahanan Thirumal
4 Kretha Yuga Manipura Surapadman and Iraniyan Muruga and Narasimha
5 Tretha Yuga Anahata Ravana Rama
6 Dwapara Yuga Vishuddha Duryodhana Krishna
7 Kali Yuga Ajna Kaliyan Trinity
8 Dharma Yuga Sahasrara none Ayya Vaikundar
* Chakras: The yugas assumed as chakras above, is one of the philosophical views and is not mentioned directly so in Akilam.

Though there are quotes in Arul Nool to accredit the ten Avatars of Vishnu, it seems that they are not seen in equal status with these incarnations (as in the table). It was considered secondary to the primary avatars, who are associated with the destructions of the fragments of Kroni. This view is not inconsistent with Hinduism, as only Narasimha, Rama and Krishna are considered the primary avatars who are still worshipped. The other avatars are considered secondary avatars who are not worshipped.

Santror and Dharma yukamEdit

File:Borassus shape.jpg
Main article: The Santror

The Santror is the subject of the religious vision of Ayyavazhi.[172] There is both a religious and a social category in its connotation.[173] In the social sense, it is believed that the term Santror fits rightly to the early "Chanars", who were called by the Arabs as "Al Hind", and known in biblical times as the "People of Five Rivers"; they are now scattered with more than 250 branches throughout the world.[174] But in turn, in ideological sense and from the literary meaning of the term "Santror" in Tamil, it represents one who is noble and lives with dignity[175] and supreme knowledge,[176] giving an inclusive character and universal reach. Historians account that in ancient dravidian cultures, zealous devotees of God were called as 'Chanars'.[177] A quote from Akilam too reads, "Chanars (Santror) are those who have the ability to see 'the invisible' constantly."[173]

The Santror are given a historical background in Ayyavazhi mythology as seven boys who were made to born in the mythical garden Ayodha Amirtha Vanam (supposed to be between present-day Srirangam, Tamil Nadu and Triconamalee, Srilanka) by using the seven seeds from seven upper worlds, by Thirumal, to the seven virgins. Theologians interpret that these 'Seven boys' refer to the ancestors of the whole human race, and hence the term "Santror" refers to the entire human race.[178] Their lineage started at the end phase of Dvapara Yukam and continued through the Kali Yukam into the Dharma Yukam. It is believed that Kali is being destroyed continuously by the activities of the Santror in the Path of Vaikundar, and so the Dharma Yukam unfolds eventually. In this sense they have a considerable roll in the destruction of Kali, the foremost evil.

The Ayyavazhi proposes an emancipatory utopia under the banner of Dharma Yukam.[179] The basis of the belief is that Ayya Vaikundar had come to establish and rule as the everlasting king[180] over the Dharma Yukam in the place of Kali Yukam[181] after sentencing Kroni to hell by a final judgment from the Lion-throne of Dwaraka pathi, the rising mythical landmass (which was sunken at the end of Dwapara Yuga by Krishna) located south east of present-day Kanyakumari.[182] The Dharma Yukam is narrated as beyond the limits of time and space.[183] It is often related to Moksha—the personal liberation, and to the state of 'Oneness' too.[184][185]

Relation with HinduismEdit

File:Kailash Tibet.jpg
Main article: Ayyavazhi and Hinduism

The Hindu and Ayyavazhi ideologies are closely tied to each other. The place where Ayyavazhi and Hinduism depart from each other is at the advent of Kali Yuga. Akilam says that until Kali Yuga, the Vedas and all other Hindu scriptures remain with divinity. Each of the gods referred to in scriptures (Hindu) also remain with all their powers. But from the beginning of Kali Yuga they and all their virtues collapsed.[186] Kaliyan was a part of the mundane primordial manifestation who spread maya or illusion upon the existing scriptures and Devas.[187] In Kali Yuga, all true scriptures are bound to maya and are unhelpful.

The reason, as stated in Akilam for the disintegration of the entire system is that, towards the end of Dwapara Yuga there in Kailash, Siva believing the words of devas, created Kaliyan without discussing to Vishnu, he who had the responsibility to destroy the Kaliyan as per the previous deeds.[188] So Vishnu refused to take birth in the world to destroy Kaliyan.[189] So Siva and Brahma surrendered all their powers to Vishnu.[190] Until this event, Siva was the supreme power as per Akilam. It is notable that this is a theological idea something similar to Shaivism, where Siva is supreme to all. Now onwards, however, Vishnu is the supreme power.[191] Here the ideology changes similar to that of Vaishnavism. This supremacy of Vishnu remains like this from the beginning of Kali Yuga until the incarnation of Vaikundar, from where it changes further.

File:Kumbas is Swamithope.PNG

During the incarnation, Vishnu himself can not incarnate directly in the world to destroy Kaliyan, since he had bought as boon the power of Devas, including Vishnu's, and spread it all over the world as maya. So God needs to be incarnated with a new set of rules and with unique importance. A total universal transformation of the power relation of god-heads, the rules of scriptures, the dharma, etc., took place, and Vaikundar was given birth by taking in the power of Ekam, by Lakshmi and Vishnu conjoining together inside the sea.[192]

And from now onwards all the powers were handled over from Vishnu to Vaikundar inside the sea. Siva, Vishnu and Brahma therefore form a part within Vaikundar.[193] This ideology about Trimurthi (three are equal in power) is similar to that of Smartism. Vishnu alone forms a double role; one, within Vaikundar, and the other, as the father of him, remain inside the sea and regulating Vaikundar through Vinchais.[193] After Vaikundar was given birth to, by assuming the Power of Ekam, Vaikundar was supreme to Vishnu and all other God-heads, though Narayana playing the role of Father to Vaikundar. However, Vaikundar had to obey the order of Vishnu, since Vaikundar was given birth to perform the duties of Vishnu, which he could not do. Vaikundar (and scriptures given by him) is the manifestation of the supreme Ekam so, in Ayyavazhi spirituality, he is the only worshippable universal power[194]

Regarding scriptures, the first part of Akilam is summed-up events of the previous yugas, which are present in Hindu scriptures.[195] The second part says about the universal transformation and the uniqueness of Vaikundar and his incarnational activities.[195] So as a summary, till the beginning of Kali yuga, what is Hinduism, that is Ayyavazhi. From then onwards for a series of reasons, Akilam says that 'Hindu' scriptures and its ideology had lost its purity and was destroyed,[196] and so the Dharma was re-configured in the name of Akilam and Vaikundar and the 'Hindu' ideas were re-formed.


Main article: Ayyavazhi phenomenology
File:Prajapathi Adikalar.jpg

Akilam points out its basis as a regeneration of Dharma in the form of an entirely new ideology.[198] But today, most of the followers of Ayyavazhi address Vaikundar merely as the incarnation of Vishnu. Likewise, most of the Nizhal Thangals were called Narayana Swami Pathi or Narayana Swami Temple, similar to Hindu Vaishnavism. Most of the followers also worship Hindu deities such as Kali, Hanuman and other folk deities in spite of the anti-polytheistic ideas based on Ayyavazhi scripture.[199]

Some followers of Ayyavazhi include Vaikundar as part of the ten avatars of Vishnu as Kalki, while some denominations strongly advocate moksha, the personal liberation, though it is not stated directly in Akilam. Some even reject the Trinity conception in Ayyavazhi and believe Narayana to be the supreme universal power.[200] The unique monotheistic belief which is the central theme of Akilam is completely unknown among most of the followers today.[199] Deviating far away from the strict monotheistic teachings of Akilam, some thangals provides panividais for other lesser gods too.[199]

The spread of Ayyavazhi among the common people was mainly due to the practice of Shamanism. Being similar to Hindus in almost all aspects Ayyavazhi followers are hard to be identified. The only sign to distinguish the practitioners of Ayyavazhi is the fact that they wore the Thirunamam (a sign on their forehead).[201] The Nizhal Thangals are identified among the other temples by the fact that idols are replaced by mirrors in the Palliyarai.[201] Only the recitations of a handful of scholars educated in the Ayyavazhi scriptures point out the real facts and concepts of Akilam and the philosophical and ideological deviation of Ayyavazhi from Hinduism.[202] Not even the Payyans from the headquarters able to portray the Akilam-based ideology clearly.[203] All these philosophical, ideological and religious variations in the society of Ayyavazhi make them hard to be identified and differentiated as a separate belief and instead taken as a Hindu sect.

Social structureEdit

Main article: Structure of Ayyavazhi

Ayyavazhi worship was marked by its simplicity. The absence of idol worship and priestly mediation, and inclusion of alternate type of centres of worship, the Pathis and Nizhal Thangals, were other characteristics of Ayyavazhi worship. Rituals of Ayyavazhi are a reform or revolutionary activity, focusing upon social equality, deviating from Hinduism. The rituals are also characterised and bound by religious beliefs that give them an alternative spiritual meaning.[204] Its scriptures cover basic elements and ideas throughout Hinduism. They refer to Shastras, Agamas, Vedas and Puranas.[205] But address them all to be gone awry by the Advent of Vaikundar,[206] from where Ayyavazhi scriptures forms negative ideas over all other traditions. Though Ayyavazhi shares many god-heads with Hinduism, it weaves unique ideology and power assumption for them. Ayyavazhi can be portrayed as a Hindu renaissance.[207] Ayyavazhi is viewed as a reform movement too,[208] as it brought many social changes there in the Tamil and keralite society during the 19th century.

The religious structure evolved in the path of Ayyavazhi scriptures and, as a result, it transfigured itself as an alternative religio-cultural system in the social category. The Ayyavazhis addressed their system as "Path of God" with the phrase "Ayya Vazhi". On one hand, they believe that their tradition had come to replace all old traditions (religions), but on the other hand, they believe that Ayyavazhi is the synopsis of the world's religious knowledge. On one hand, they believe that Vaikundar unified all deities within him; on the other, as all the previous had gone awry by the advent of Vaikundar.[206] Apart from this, Ayyavazhi has separate theology, mythology, holy places, worship centres, and ethics of its own.
File:Avatara oorvalam.jpg

Though many new papers, academic researchers [11] and some of its followers consider it as a separate religion, many of the followers are even of the opinion that this is but a Hindu sect rather than an autonomous religion.[209] They indulge in the mystic practices of possessions and divinations similar to the tribal religions of Tamil Nadu. Also, many of its core beliefs are similar to some Hindu sects such as Advaita and Smartism.

Regarding demographics, Ayyavazhi followers are highly concentrated in South India though found across India, comparatively in less numbers. In Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu, it is very hard to find a village without a worship centre of Ayyavazhi.[120] Apart from the listings from the religious headquarters (though it is evident that Ayyavazhi followers are spread across the India from university papers)[25][120] there are no official figures for the number of followers of Ayyavazhi because they are considered Hindus in the census.

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  • G. Patrick (2003), Religion and Subaltern Agency, Department of Christian Studies, University of Madras, Chennai.
  • T. Krishnanathan (2000), Ayya Vaikundarin Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, Madurai Kamaraj University, Thinai Publications, Nagercoil.
  • Dr. C. Paulose (2002), Advaita Philosophy of Brahmasri Chattampi Swamikal, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Ayya Vaikunta Nather Sidhasramam, Pothaiyadi.
  • Dr. R. Ponnu (2000), Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and Struggle for Social Equality in South India, Madurai Kamaraj University, Ram Publishers, Madurai.
  • R. Ponnu (2002), Vaikunda Swamikal Ore Avataram, Ram Publishers, Madurai.
  • N. Vivekanandan (2003), Akilathirattu Ammanai Moolamum Uraiyum (Part 1&2), Vivekananda Publications, Nagercoil.
  • A. Arisundara Mani (2002), Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Ayya Vaikundar Thirukkudumbam Publications, Nagercoil.
  • R. Shunmugam (2001), Nadar Kulathil Narayanar Avataram, Nadar Kuladeepam Publications, Karankadu.
  • A. Manibharathi (2003), Akilathirattu Vilakka urai, Thirunamappukazh Publications, Chennai.
  • Samuel Mateer (1871), The Land of charity: a descriptive account of Travancore and its people, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 81-206-0319-2
  • Akilathirattu ammanai Arappadanool (First grade), Vaikundar Seva Sangam (Organisation), Attoor.
  • N. Elango and Vijaya Shanthi Elango (1997), Ayya Vaikuntar – The Light of the World, (Published by the authors).
  • V.T. Chellam (2002), Thamizaka Varalarum Panpadum (The History and Culture of Tamil Nadu), Manickavasakar Publications, Chennai.
  • N. Vivekanandan (2001), Arul Nool Moolamum Uraiyum, Vivekananda Publications, Nagercoil.
  • Thechanathu Thuvaraga pathi, Akilathirattu Akakkorvai, Published by Thechanathu Thuvaraga pathi.
  • Madanjeet Singh (2005), The Sasia Story, France, ISBN 92-3-103992-X.
  • P. Sundaram Swamigal and K. Ponnumani (2000), Ucchippadippu, Ayyavaikunta Nather Sidhasramam, Pothaiyadi.
  • P. Sundaram Swamigal and K. Ponnumani (2001), Ayyavaikundanathar Jeevacharithram (Biography of Ayya Vaikunta Nathar), Ayyavaikuntanathar Siddasramam Publications, Pothaiyadi.
  • V. Nagam Aiya (1989), The Travancore State Manual, Volume-2, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 81-85499-33-0.
  • Cf. Ward and Conner (1860), Geographical and Statistical Memoir of the Survey of Travancore and Cochin States, Travancore Sircar Press, Trivandrum.
  • Cf. Ponneelan's, Vaikunta Cuvamiyum Avar Kalamum, Mimeograph note
  • Akilattirattu Ammanai (1989), (published by T. Palaramachandran Nadar), 9th impression.
  • P. Sarvesvaran, Sri Vaikunda Swamikal – A Forgotten Social Reformer.
  • V. T. Ramasupramaniyam (2001), Thirumagal Thamizhagarathi, Thirumagal Nilayam, Chennai.
  • N. Amalan (2000), Ayya Vaikundar Punitha Varalaru, Akilam Publications, Swamithoppu.
  • Samuel Zecharia (1897), The London Missionary Society in South Travancore 1805–1855, LMS Press, Nagercoil.
  • M. S. S. Pandiyan (1992) Meanings of 'colonialism' and 'nationalism': an essay on Vaikunda Swamy cult, Sage Publications
  • Vaikundar Seva Sangam (2002), (An organisation) Ayya Vaikundar 170th Avathar-Special Edition, Attoor.
  • N. Vivekanandan (1988), Akilathirattu Ammanaiyil Vaikunda Suvami Sampooranathevana?, Vivekananda Pathippakam, Nagercoil.
  • M. Ilanchezhiyan (1999), Pandiyarkula Nadrakal Kulamurai Kilathal, Chezhiyar Publications, Virudhunagar.
  • A. Sreedhara Menon (1967), A Survey of Kerala History, D.C. Books, Kottayam, ISBN 81-264-1578-9
  • Pon. T. Dharmarasan (1996), Akilathirattu, Pon Publications, Chennai.
  • Dr. M. Immanuel (2007), Kanniyakumari: Aspects and Architects, Historical Research & Publications Trust, Nagercoil, ISBN 978-81-901506-2-0
  • Sm. Ramasamy (2006), Geomatics in Tsunami, Centre for Remote Sensing, Bharathidasan University, India – Department of Science and Technology, New India Publishing, ISBN 81-89422-31-6

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. The 'zhi' (ழி) portion of the word, 'Ayyavazhi', is a retroflex, and it is correctly transliterated according to the National Library at Kolkata romanization as ayyavali.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai p. 4
  3. Tha. Krishna Nathan, Ayyaa vaikuNdarin vaazvum sinthanaiyum, p. 62: "அவர் (வைகுண்டர்) மாற்றுப் பிறப்பு பெற்ற நாளே அய்யாவழி சமய மரபு தோற்றம் பெற்ற நாள்(கி.பி.1833) எனக் கூறலாம்." (The day at which Vaikundar is given rebirth could be considered as the date of origin of 'Ayyavazhi religion'.)
  4. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanai moolamum Uraiyum, Volume 2, p. 97
  5. The following morning and evening dailies calls Ayyavazhi as a separate religion:
    • Malai Malar (leading evening Tamil daily), Nagercoil Edition, 4-3-2007, p. 5, "சுவாமி ஊர்வலத்தை அய்யாவழி பக்தர்கள் சமய தலைவர் பால பிரஜாபதி அடிகளார்..." (this report calls Ayyavazhi ('அய்யாவழி சமயம்') "a separate religion");
    • Dinakaran (Tamil Daily), Nagercoil Edition, 1-3-2007, p. 3: "அய்யாவழி சமய தலைவர் பால பிரஜாபதி அடிகளார் அடிக்கல் நாட்டினார்"("Bala Prajapathi Adikalar the head of Ayyavazhi religion laid foundation stone for the ...");
    • Dina Thanthi, Nagercoil Edition, 2/3/2007, p. 5. "மாநாட்டுக்கு அய்யாவழி சமய தலைவர் பால பிரஜாபதி அடிகளார் தலைமை தாங்குகிறார்." Translation – "The religious conference is led by Bala Prajapathi Adikalar, the head of Ayyavazhi religion." This news from a leading news paper in India, on reporting the 175th Ayya Vaikunda Avataram, calls Ayyavazhi a religion, and Bala Prajapathi Adikalar the head of Ayyavazhi religion;
    • Tamil Murasu (4/3/2006), p. 3:"இதையொட்டி குமரி மாவட்டம் சாமி தோப்பில் 'அய்யா வழி சமய' மாநாடு (the conference of 'Ayyavazhi religion') உள்பட..."
  6. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, pp. 120–121. '"it may be concluded that, AV emerged as a 'new and singular' religious phenomenon in that context"
  7. (Samuel Mateer) The Land of Charity.,+The+Land+of+Charity&ots=yyUQ78KIQY&sig=7ZfAdI3aGuMZhqWNEffHA_7aYTM&prev=,%20The%20Land%20of%20Charity&pgis=1. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  8. 11.0 11.1 Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis, (2007), Historical Dictionary of Shamanism, ISBN 0-8108-5798-7, Scarecrow Press, pp. 101
  9. M.C. Raj (2001), Dalitology: The Book of the Dalit People, Ambedkar Resource Centre, Tumkūr, India, p. 422, "The Shanans also started a non-Brahminic religion called Ayya Vazhi." ISBN 81-87367-04-0
  10. Dr. R. Ponnu, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Social Equality in South India, p. 98
  11. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, pp. 111–113,
  12. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, pp. 160–161.
  13. Dr. R. Ponnu, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Social Equality in South India, p. 98.
  14. Dr. R. Ponnu, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and Struggle for Social Equality in South India, p. 63, "The religious reform of Sri Vaikunda Swamigal left an everlasting influence on South Travancorean society."
  15. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, pp. 90–91.
  16. Dr. R. Ponnu, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and Struggle for Social Equality in South India, p. 86.
  17. 22.0 22.1 Selvister Ponnumuthan, (1996), The spirituality of basic ecclesial communities in the socio-religious context of Trivandrum/Kerala, India, ISBN 8876527214, Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana, pp. 77–78
  18. 23.0 23.1 R. Ponnu, Vaikunda swamigal Ore Avataram, p. 178.
  19. Dina Malar(Leading Tamil News paper), Nagercoil Edition, 4/3/2005 p. 12: "எனேவ இன்று அய்யா வைகுண்டசாமி வழிபாட்டு ஆலயங்கள் இந்தியா முழுவதும் வேராயிரம் பெற்ற விழுதுகளாய் படந்து ஆறாயிரத்துக்கு மேல் தோன்றி வளர்ந்து வருகிறது" Translated to "So today these worship centers of Vaikunda Sami is spread across India and growing with more than 6000 of them"
  20. 25.0 25.1 C. Poulose, Advaita Philosophy of Brahmasri Chattampi Swamikal, p. 24, "To propagate his teachings and ideas he opened upon seven Pathis and seven Tangs (The Primary Nizhal Thangals) in Travancore, hundreds of small pagodas (Nizhal Thangals) throughout India." Accrediting the Worship centers of Ayyavazhi across India and so the Ayyavazhi followers.
  21. Dr. R. Ponnu, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and Struggle for Social Equality in South India, p. 100, '"At present thousands of Pathis (Nizhal Thangals) are seen throughout South India."
  22. Dina Thanthi, (Tamil Daily) Nagercoil Edition, 4-3-2007, p. 23: "The Ayyavazhi followers are highly populated in the districts of Chennai, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari."
  23. Tha. Krishna Nathan, Ayya Vaikundarin Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, Chapter 4, p. 83: "இதற்கு ஆதாரமாக அய்யா வைகுண்டரைத் தெய்வமாக ஏற்றுக்கொண்ட சுமார் 8000 - க்கும் மேற்பட்ட அய்யாவழிப் பதிகள் தமிழ்நாடு மற்றும் கேரளப்பகுதிகளில் இயங்குவதைக் கூறலாம்." (This citation was included here from Tamil wikipedia article)
  24. Dinakaran, Nagercoil edition, p. 15, 25/2/2007.
  25. Pon.T. Dharmarasan, Akilathirattu, p. 146
  26. R. Shanmugam, Narayana Kulatthil Narayanar Avataram, p. 188
  27. Akilathirattu ammanai Arappadanool, First Stage, p. 27, published by Vaikundar Seva Sangam
  28. 36.0 36.1 36.2 G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, pp. 90–91
  29. Vaikundar is a historical as well as mythical figure. The historical Vaikundar (often referred to as 'Vaikunta Swami') refers to a person who lived between 1809 CE – 1851 CE The Akilam myth says that Vaikundar was the God incarnate who incarnates in the body of ' Sampooranathevan ' alias 'Muthukutty' in 1833 CE and lived to 1851 CE So Akilam, Sampooranathevan lived between 1809 CE and 1833 CE and Vaikundar then incarnated in the body of Mudisoodum Perumal (Sampooranathevan), living from 1833 CE to 1851 CE.
  30. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, p. 139.
  31. G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, p. 91 "However, people from other casts also formed part of the gathering"
  32. See the LMS Reports gathered in the article Ayyavazhi in reports by Christian missionaries from the book Religion and Subaltern Agency.
  33. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency Chapter 5, p. 91: "By the middle of the nineteenth century, AV (abbreviation of Ayyavazhi) had expanded into a recognisable religious phenomenon, making its presence felt in South Tiruvitankur (Travancore) and in the southern parts of Tirunelveli. From the LMS reports, one gathers the information that AV was spreading with 'extraordinary' speed."
  34. LMS Report for the year 1872, p. 107.
  35. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, p. 120 "Vaikunda cami chose these disciples as close associates to propagate his teachings and ideas to the people"
  36. N. Elango and Vijaya Shanthi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar – The Light of the World Chapter 4, p. 21 "The temple is managed by the Gurus of Lord Vaikuntar's gurukulam. The Gurus are the descendants of Guru Podukutti."
  37. N. Elango and Vijaya Shanathi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar – The Light of The World Chapter 8, pp. 41–44 (sources).
  38. V.T. Chellam, Thamizaka Varalarum Panpadum, Chapter 12, p. 493
  39. (Another view has Akilam published in 1939 and Arul Nool in 1918. This uncertainty results from the unfortunate absence of publication data in early editions of the Arul Nool. Source: N. Vivekanandan, Arul Nool Moolamum Uraiyum).
  40. N. Vivekanandan, Arul Nool Moolamum Uraiyum.
  41. 51.0 51.1 N. Elango and Vijaya Shanthi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar The light of the world, p. 61
  42. V.T. Chellam,Thamizaka Varalarum Panpadum, Chapter 16, pp. 598–599.
  43. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanai Moolamum Uraiyum, Part 1, pp.(additional) 18–23
  44. Dr. R. Ponnu, Vaikunda Swamigal Ore Avataram, p. 59.
  45. Dina Thanthi, Nagercoil Edition, 2/3/2007, p. 5. "மாநாட்டுக்கு அய்யாவழி சமய தலைவர் பால பிரஜாபதி அடிகளார் தலைமை தாங்குகிறார்." Translation – "The religious conference is led by Bala Prajapathi Adikalar, the head of Ayyavazhi religion."
  46. N. Elango and Vijaya Shanthi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar – The Light of the World Chapter 4, pp. 21–22 "The Gurus are Payyan Chella Raj, Bala Prajapathi, Bala Janathipathi, Balalokathipathi, Payyan Sami, Thangapandian, Sekar and others. Bala Prajapathi is the most popular personality among them."
  47. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, pp. 118–119 "The author claims that God woke him up during sleep and commissioned him to write it by 'telling' him what to write"
  48. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, p. 119 "It is presented as if Vishnu is narrating the whole story to his consort Leksmi"
  49. Pon. T. Dharmarasan, Akilathirattu, p. 183.
  50. 63.0 63.1 63.2 N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanai Moolamum Uraiyum, Part-1.
  51. 64.0 64.1 G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, pp. 119–120
  52. R. Ponnu, Vaikunda Swamigal Ore Avataram, Ram Publications, pp. 11–12
  53. 66.0 66.1 Dr. C. Poulose, Advaita Philosophy of Brahmasri Chattampi Swamikal, p. 24.
  54. R.Shanmugam, Nadar Kulatthil Narayanar Avataram, p. 195
  55. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, p. 117 " Five such patikal are believed to have emerged during the time of Vaikuntacami. "
  56. The New Indian Express(English Daily), Madurai Edition, 3/4/2008.
  57. N. Elango and Vijaya Shanthi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar – The Light of the World Chapter 8, p. 41 " The first Pathi is Swamithoppu, the headquarters of Ayyavazhi. "
  58. N. Elango and Vijaya Shanthi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar the light of the world, Chapter 6 (Thuvayal Panthy), p. 31
  59. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, p. 117 " However, there is also another list which includes Vakaipati in tuvaiyal tavacu's place "
  60. N. Elango and Vijaya Shanthi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar the light of the world, Chapter 8, p. 41 (Panchappathi)
  61. 75.0 75.1 75.2 Tha. Krishnanathan, Ayya Vaikundarin Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, p. 108.
  62. Akilam15:39 "Petti ceelai Uduthu Periya Thirunama Pottumittu"
  63. Sivakanda Athikara Pathiram, First Act. (source: N. Vivekanandan's Arul Nool – Moolamum Uraiyum, p. 62
  64. In the abcense of written references, there is a painting at the residence of Bala Prajapathi Adikalar which was considered older, but is not less than 50 years. There are also oral traditions which suggests the same age for this symbol.
  65. 79.0 79.1 79.2 A. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, pp. (Additional) XII–XIII " Athara thana vilakka attavanai ".
  66. A. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, p. 374.
  67. See this ImageImage:Nelli Nintra Vilai Thangal.png, a Nizhal Thangal constructed in this architectural manner near Marthandam, Tamil Nadu.
  68. Pulavar. R. Shanmugam's, (2000), Nadar Kulathil Narayanar Avatharam, Nadar Kulatheebam Publications, p. 207
  69. N. Vivekanandan, Arul Nool Moolamum Uraiyum, p. 8
  70. Dr. R. Ponnu, Ayya Vaikundar Ore Avatharam, pp. 128–129
  71. A. Ari Sundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, p. 384
  72. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanaiyil Vaikunda Suvami Sampooranathevana?, p. 12
  73. A. Ari Sundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, pp. 103–121
  74. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanai Moolamum Uraiyum, p. 97
  75. T. Krishnanathan, Ayya Vaikundarin vazvum Sinthanaiyum, pp. 60–61.
  76. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanaiyil Vaikunda Suvami Sampooranathevana?, p. 14
  77. 92.0 92.1 Ari Sundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayan Urai, p. 534
  78. P. Sundaram Swamigal and K. Ponnumani, Ucchippadippu, pp. 32–33.
  79. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, p. 114 " Other verses from Akilattirattu like, 'throw the eighteen castes and the demons into the mountain and the sea', 'do not discriminate between the powerful and powerless', 'the caste would disappear by itself', etc., point to the fact of a considerable indoctrination against the inequalities of Castes."
  80. Cf. Ward and Conner, Geographical and Statistical Memoir, p. 133; V. Nagam Aiya, The Travancore State Manual, Volume-2, p. 72.
  81. Cf. Ponneelan, Vaikunta Cuvamiyum Avar Kalamum, Mimeograph note, p. 6.
  82. This link about a programme by 'All India Radio' includes Ayya Vaikundar as a Social reformer.
  83. M. Ilanchezhiyan, Pandiyarkula Nadrakal Kulamurai Kilathal, p. 197.
  84. 107.0 107.1 A. Sreedhara Menon, A Survey of Kerala History, p. 314
  85. 108.0 108.1 Immanuel, Kanniyakumari: Aspects and Architects, Chapter 11, pp. 115–116.
  86. Akilattirattu Ammanai, published by T. Palaramachandran Nadar, pp. 214, 266
  87. Akilattirattu Ammanai, published by T. Palaramachandran Nadar, 9th impression, 1989, pp. 119, 120 and 121.
  88. Dr. R. Ponnu, Vaikunda Swamigal Ore Avataram, p. 152
  89. 115.0 115.1 115.2 115.3 G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, pp. 116–117
  90. C. Poulose, Advaita Philosophy of Brahmasri Chattampi Swamikal, p. 24, "To propagate his teachings and ideas he opened up 7 Pathis and 7 Tangs (The Primary Nizhal Thangals) in Travancore as well as hundreds of small pagodas (Nizhal Thangals) throughout India." Accrediting the Worship centers of Ayyavazhi across India and so the Ayyavazhi followers.
  91. R. Shanmugam, Nadar Kulathil Narayanar Avatharam, p. 192, "நாடெங்கும் உள்ள நிழல் தாங்கல்களுக்கெல்லாம் தலைமைப் பதி, குமரி மாவட்டதில் முன்கூறிய சாமிதோப்பு என்ற ஊரில் இருக்கிறது." "(The head quarters of all these Nizhal Thangals which are found across the country, is at the place called Swamithoppe as told earlier.)"
  92. 120.0 120.1 120.2 R. Ponnu, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Social Equality in South India, p. 100.
  93. Tha. Krishna Nathan's, Ayyaa vaikuNdarin vaazvum sinthanaiyum (Tamil), Chapter 4, p. 83: "இதற்கு ஆதாரமாக அய்யா வைகுண்டரைத் தெய்வமாக ஏற்றுக்கொண்ட சுமார் 8000 – க்கும் மேற்பட்ட அய்யாவழிப் பதிகள் தமிழ்நாடு மற்றும் கேரளப்பகுதிகளில் இயங்குவதைக் கூறலாம்." (This citation is from a Tamil wikipedia article)
  94. From the following reports: James Town Mission District for 1863, Neyoor Mission District for 1869, Santhapuram Mission District for 1858, Nagercoil Mission District for 1864, from the ARTDC for the respective years.
  95. N. Elango and Vijaya Shanthi Elango, Ayya Vaikuntar – The Light of the World, pp. 41–44
  96. R. Ponnu, Vaikundacuvamikal Valvum Valikattalum, p. 71.
  97. P. Sarvesvaran, Sri Vaikunda Swamikal – A Forgotten Social Reformer, p. 8.
  98. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency Chapter 5, p. 118. Vaikuntacami is said to have established seven of these nilaltankalkal at Chettykudiyirrupu, Agastisvaram, Palur, Chundavilai, Vadalivilai, Kadampankulam and Pampankulam.
  99. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency Chapter 5, p. 118.
  100. Journal of Dharma (1985), Published by 'Center for the Study of World Religions', Dharmaram College, Bangalore.
  101. 129.0 129.1 T. Krishnanathan, Ayya Vaikundarin Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, p. 112.
  102. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern agency, Chapter 5, p. 120
  103. 131.0 131.1 Mani Bharathi, Akilathirattu Ammanai Vilakka Urai (Part – 2).
  104. 132.0 132.1 G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern agency, 'The Religious Phenomenon of Ayya Vali', p.119.
  105. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, pp. 120–121.
  106. P. Sundaram Swamigal and K. Ponnu Mani, Ayya Vaikunta Nathar Jeevacharithram, pp. 20–21
  107. 135.0 135.1 N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanaiyil Vaikunda Suvami Sampooranathevana?, pp.10–20.
  108. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanai Moolamum Uraiyum, pp. 190–191.
  109. T. Krishnanathan, Ayya Vaikundarin Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, p.62.
  110. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern agency, 'The Social Discourse of Ayya Vali', pp.151.
  111. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern agency, 'The Social Discourse of Ayya Vali', p.155.
  112. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern agency, 'The Social Discourse of Ayya Vali', pp.130–131.
  113. 141.0 141.1 Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, p. (additional) v. (To be noted, Whole contents of this book is written including the heavy details to 'mere noted' Akilam concepts from Hindu scriptures.
  114. V.T. Chellam, Thamizaka Varalarum Panpadum, Chapter 12, p. 493
  115. M. Winslow (1869), A Comprehensive Tamil and English Dictionary, American Mission Press (Madras), ISBN 81-206-0001-0, p. 185
  116. V.T. Ramasupramaniyam, Thirumagal Thamizhagarathi, p. 210
  117. Narmadavin Thamizh Agarathi, p. 173.
  118. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Chapter 1, p. 36, "Kroni is nothing but a subtle revelation of spiritual ignorance."
  119. Tha. Krishna Nathan, Ayyaa vaikundarin vaazvum sinthanaiyum, Chapter 4, p. 74.
  120. Tha. Krishna Nathan, Ayyaa vaikundarin vazhvum sinthanaiyum, Chapter 4, p. 70.
  121. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, p. 19
  122. The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society (1986), Published by 'Mythic Society', Bangalore, India, v.77 (1986).
  123. 153.0 153.1 T. Krishnanathan, Ayya Vaikundarin Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, pp. 93–96.
  124. Akilathirattu p. 252: "the eighteen castes gathered in one place and bathed from the same well."
  125. N. Amalan, Ayya Vaikundar Punitha Varalaru, Akilam Publications, 86–87: "முத்திரிபுகளை (மும்மலம்) போக்க முத்திரிக்கிணற்றில் பதம் விட்டுக்கொள்ள வேண்டும்".
  126. The LMS Report for the year 1847, pp. 88–89: "They take no medicine; but rub ashes on the forehead and drink cold water as the cure for all their diseases."
  127. A. Ari Sundaramani, Akilathirattu Ammani Parayana Urai, p. 485.
  128. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, p. 137.
  129. 159.0 159.1 159.2 T. Krishnanathan, Ayya Vaikundarin Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, pp. 61–65.
  130. Pon. T. Dharmarasan, Akilathirattu, Chapter 3, p. 30.
  131. "He created a Veda (scripture) of his own intention". – Akilam5:571
  132. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai p. 470.
  133. Akilam 12:151 – "Poorana Vetha Purana mun akamangkal"
  134. R. Ponnu, Vaikunda Swamikal Ore Avataram, pp. 114 -116.
  135. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern agency Chapter 6, p. 151, "A reading of the mythography of AV makes explicit the fact that the essence of this vision is an account of a history – a past, a present, and a future – constructed by weaving together of empirical facts as well as mythical accounts."
  136. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern agency Chapter 6, p. 151, "It is fitting to analyse and see how these basic concepts have been woven together to give a symbolic vision which is at once religious and social."
  137. Pon. T. Dharmarasan, Akilathirattu, Introduction, p. 1.
  138. Akilam8:Thiru Nadana Ula -6th&11th Venpaas (a species of verse).
  139. Samuel Zecharia (1826–1906), one of the prominent pastors of the London Mission Society, testifies to the existence of this well in his book titled The London Missionary Society in South Travancore 1805–1855, Nagercoil: LMS Press, 1897, p. 201.
  140. M.S.S. Pandiyan, Meanings of 'Colonialism and 'Nationalism p. 180.
  141. LMS Report for 1838, p. 71 says "About 70 families of this sect, having subsequently established a community of goods, removed under the guidance of a man of some influence to a part of the seashore of Tinnevelly, where they erected huts, performed frequent ablutions, and often assembled to hear the dreams and vision of their leader and to witness the miracles he was said to perform."
  142. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, p. 151 "Canror (Santror) is a name that stands for a people who are the subject of the religious vision of AV (Ayyavazhi)"
  143. 173.0 173.1 G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, pp. 151–152.
  144. R. Ponnu, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Socil Equality in South India, p. 23, line 5.
  145. A. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Chapter 3, p. 92.
  146. Pon. T. Dharmarasan, Akilathirattu, Chapter 3, p. 25.
  147. A. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Chapter 3, p. 90.
  148. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, p. 159 says, "AV, having emerged in a context of distress, proposes an emancipatory utopia under the banner of tarmayukam."
  149. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 5, p. 109 says, "Akilattirattu begins its narration by stating that the account contained in it is the story of God coming into this kaliyukam to transform it into tarmayukam and to rule over it."
  150. G. Patrick's Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, p. 159 says, "The core of the proposal was that Vaikuntacami had come to establish and rule over a tarmayukam in the place of the kaliyukam."
  151. Sm. Ramasamy, Geomatics in Tsunami, p. 04, "Also in Ayyavazhi mythology the 'Akilathirattu Ammanai' tells about a sunken land at about 152 miles sout or south-east to kanyakumari with 16008 streets."
  152. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, Chapter 6, p. 161, "Yet another point to be taken note of in the symbolic vision of AV is its conception of time. AV gives a list of seven aeons, and, at the end of it, postulates a tarmayukam that is to exist eternally ..."
  153. Ari Sundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, pp. 657–658
  154. Mani Bharathi, Akilathirattu Vilakka Urai (Part 2), pp. 300–301
  155. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, p. 214
  156. T. Kirushnanathan, Ayya Vaikundarin Vazvum Sinthanaiyum, p. 63.
  157. T. Krishnanathan, Ayya Vaikundar Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, p. 106
  158. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanai Moolamum Uraiyum, Part 1, p. 315
  159. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanai Moolamum Uraiyum, Part 1, p. 321
  160. Pon. T. Dharmarasan, Akilathirattu, p. 52
  161. A. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammani Parayan Urai, pp. 270–271
  162. 193.0 193.1 A. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammani Parayan Urai, pp. 288–289
  163. A. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammani Parayan Urai, pp. 290–291
  164. 195.0 195.1 G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, p. 119
  165. N. Vivekanandan, Akilathirattu Ammanai Moolamum Uraiyum, Part 1, p. 427
  166. Akilam8:Thiruvasakam – 1 (As per Akilam this Thiruvasakam is written down by Sarasvathi because the previous religious ideas and scripture were destroyed by Kaliyan.)
  167. 199.0 199.1 199.2 Vaikundar Seva Sangham's,Ayya Vaikundar 170th Avathar-Special Edition, The activities of Nizhal Thangals, pp. 2–4.
  168. Arisundara Mani, Akilathirattu Ammanai Parayana Urai, Chapter 1, p. 1, "Sreehari who is known as Athi Narayana is praised as Ayya."
  169. 201.0 201.1 R. Shunmugam, Nadar Kulathi Narayanar Avataram, pp. 189–191
  170. Samithopu Ayya Vaikunda Suvami 172-vathu avathara thina vizha, Thina Malar vazangkum Avathara Thina vizha Sirappu Malar, p. 3, " ... but it is questionable that how many people know that. Every one who came to know newly about Ayya wonders and ..." Bala Prajapathi Adikalar writes about Vaikundar.
  171. Court Judgement, District Court, Nagercoil, Case: O.S. No.80/1110, "The doctrines and the philosophic basis of this cult are not clearly known. Not even the 2nd defendant who is one of the heriditary high priests in the temple (Swamithope Pathi) and who enjoys the Gurusthanam of the community is able to throw much light on the question, whether there are any essential or fundamental differences between the Narayanaswamy margom (Ayyavazhi) and the Popular Hinduism"
  172. G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, "Rituals", p. 98.
  173. Akilattirattu Ammanai (T. Palaramachandran Nadar), p. 180.
  174. 206.0 206.1 G. Patrick, Religion and Subaltern Agency, "Ayya Vali - A New and Singular Religious Phenomenon" , p. 120.
  175. T. Krishnanathan, Ayya Vaikundarin Vazhvum Sinthanaiyum, pp.62–63.
  176. R. Ponnu, Vaikunda Swamikal Ore Avataram, pp.163–178.
  177. See

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