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Lord Ayyappa is mostly shown as sitting in a peculiar posture. Like shown in the images given below:

enter image description here enter image description here

When i checked his Dhyana Sloka in order to find out whether this posture is any particular Yogic posture or not, i found out that he is mentioned as sitting in the regular lotus posture (or the Padmasana).

Jeemoothashyamadhama mani maya viladsad kudalollosivakthro,
Hasthabjam daksha mathrothpalamitharabhujam vama janoo paristham,
Bibrath padmasanastha parikalitha thanuryogapattena jushta,
Sri poornapushkalabhyam puraharamurajith puthrakapathu sastha.||


Let us be protected by god Sastha who is the son of lord Vishnu and Shiva, Who is of the black colour of the clouds, who has a face shining because, Of the gem studded ear drops that he wears, Who has the red lotus in right hand, Who places his left hand on his left knee, who sits in the lotus pose along, With his two wives Poorna and Pushkala in the throne of Yoga.

But his sitting posture is something different, it's definitely not the Padmasana. (May be we need to check other Dhyana slokas)

Question: What is the significance of Lord Ayyappa sitting in that particular posture?

  • The Dhyana Sloka is of Lord Dharma Shasta who has two wives, whereas Ayyappa is his brahmachari incarnation. So I guess there will be variations in the description. – Surya Mar 11 '18 at 15:47
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    If you notice, Yogananada Narasimha sits in the same posture. People meditate on him for siddhis on Yoga. That thread like thing around legs is Yoga patta which shows the tranquility of the Lord. – Sarvabhouma Mar 12 '18 at 3:39
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As @Surya mentioned, the dhyana shoka is for Dharma Sashta and not Ayyappa, considered an avatara of him.

The name for this posture is not clear as it's called by different names like, Arddhasana, Yogapadasana or Yogarudha Siddhasana.

The posture of Ayyappa involves multiple elements of iconography,

  1. When a deity is represented in sitting form, his/her folded thighs indicate whether he/she is giving a seat for his family/consort. For eg. A male deity with his left leg folded, may be considered that he is willing or expecting his consort to sit over it. The left side (vaamabhaga) is considered as for wife. The wife is imagined to be seated on the left side of the husband. If it is the right leg folded it is designated be be for the children. Deities who are imagined as sa-parivara i.e. with family are shown with having spouse and off springs on either side. See iconography of Shiva, for instance.

    Ayyapa's has taken an oath of brahmacharya, which is why he has not left either of his thighs on which anyone can sit, and constricted them in an uncomfortable squatting position.

  2. When deities are shown sitting on a simhasana or a throne, they are shown in a rajasic bhava or bhoga-bhava. Ayyappa in ardhasana portrays tapo-bhava. He's shown as balancing on his feet, and not hips which shows the severity of his tapas.

  3. The band of cloth across Ayyappa's legs are called yogapatta. These are essentially used to immobalize his legs in that particular squatting posture. The belt Ayyappan wears signifies the territory of the observance. So instead of getting in the lying posture (totally inactive) in which we cannot experience anything (samadhi), it is best for experience to be in this conscious and aware state. This is the sitting posture of Ayyappan.

  4. His hands show two mudras, chinmudra (aka jnyanamudra) and abhayamudra. Chinmudra indicate that Ayyappa has attained union with the universal consciousness while abhayamudra is a gesture of reassurance and safety in Kaliyuga. This is indicative of the sharanamantram Ayyappa devotees sing, "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa i.e. (Let's seek) refuge in Lord Ayyappa.

Reference:

  • Which of the 3 sites u linked makes this claim? "Ayyapa's has taken an oath of brahmacharya, which is why he has not left either of his thighs on which anyone can sit, and constricted them in an uncomfortable squatting position." Seems to be right but I am also looking for scriptural sources .. So if u can add those it will be easier for me to accept .. rt now Im only upvoting for ur efforts – Rickross Feb 25 at 6:37
  • The thing about naishita bhramacharya oath is from the khstrapurana of Sabarimala, Bhoothanatha Upakhyam. Other part is from AyyappaSeva.org ref. – Vineet Menon Feb 25 at 8:09
  • Ok, your explanations are satisfactory to me .. also I don't think we can get any scriptural explanations regarding this? – Rickross Feb 25 at 13:57
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Ayappa's idol is very much different from other Hindu idols.

His Pranama-Mantra says :

नमामि धर्मशास्तारं योगपीठस्थितं विभुम् । प्रसन्नं निर्मलं शान्तं सत्यधर्मव्रतं भजे ॥

So, unlike other Gods who sits on flowers or thrones, Ayyappa sits on yoga- pitha (on feet)

Usually three positions are there in which the Hindu idols can be seen erected in the temples - Sitting, Standing or lying.

Ayyappa’s sitting posture is called Yoga asana, which is different from the posture of other idols. Yogasana is meditating.

The lap is not kept free, like other Gods which has the worldly meaning of providing space to the consort.

The left lap is considered to be the seat or place for wife/ consort.

enter image description hereAyyappan is considered as the Brahmachari ( observing celibacy) - Naishtika Brahmachari.So His lap is folded.

Reference : 1. https://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_deities_misc/shAstuHdhyAnAShTakam.html?lang=sa

  1. https://www.devotionalstore.com/blogs/devotional-blog/what-is-the-specialty-of-the-sitting-posture-of-lord-ayyappa

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