Black cloth is usual considered inauspicious and not used especially when visiting a temple. But devotee of Ayyappa wears black clothes when they visit Sabarimala. Is there any reason for this practice. Does this have any related to Shanni ?
Since AyyappA is not a puranic deva, the fables and legends around him are not found in purana and upanishads, rather exclusively in kshetra-puranas or local temple histories.
AyyappA is said to have a conversation with Shani about him (Shani) causing trouble to people, on which Shani replied that it's his dharma to do so. On this, AyyappA asked for Shani to leave his devotees out of his misery for which he laid out certain rules,
- It is believed that one would get relief from Shani dosha by taking the Ayyappa Deeksha. This is because Lord AyyappA commanded Shani not to trouble his devotees.
- Shani affects a person for seven years, but Lord AyyappA said to Shani that his devotees would take the deeksha for 41 days and experience the same difficulties that Shani would have given in a span of seven years by not caring for their appearances (not grooming facial hair etc), eating only once a day, bathing in cold water (generally in sharada RRitu) and sleeping on a floor and practicing brahmAcharya.
- In return, AyyappA assured Shani that his devotees would wear black/blue dress which is the colour associated with Shani.
This is the reason why lord Ayyappa devotees wear black dress.
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