I prostrate with folded hands the form of the almighty Sastha, who is the son of Hara and Hari, the elder brother
of Manmatha and Muruka, who bestows us with the holy sight of his divine presence armed with arrows of
flowers and bow, with the elephant in rut as his vehicle, clad in red cloth, served by demons, ghosts, spirits etc.,
one who adorns a moustache under his nose and shines with goddesses Poorna and Pushkala by his side.
This laudation is the description of Sri Dharma Sastha which is the original form apart from Ayyappa of
Sabarimala, who is famed to be a celebate. Ajamukhi, sister of Soorapadmasana, captures Devendra, the king of
the Devas, and his wife Indrani and prepares to take them to her brother. Dharma Sastha, appears the scene at
this juncture on orders from Paramasiva and releases Indrani after chopping off the hands of Ajamukhi.
This episode, described in Skanda Purana, reveals the fact that Sri Dharma Sastha incarnated before Sri Muruka.
Since the mother of both Lord Brahma, who came into being from the naval of Vishnu, and Harihara Suta is the
very same Lord Hari, Sri Dharma Sastha has the rightful status of the brother of Lord Brahma. Sri Dharma
Sastha is also a highly powerful deity who is served by Demons, ghosts, spirits, monsters and the like. In the
great temples like Chottanikkara, Sri Dharma Sastha in his wrathful stature is also enshrined as a sub deity. There are those who consider Sri Dharma Sastha as the protective deity of forest and man and wild animals. Sri
Dharma Sastha is worshipped in Tamil Nadu as the Lord of protection named Ayyanar.
Sri Dharma Sastha is so known since he is considered as the deity who process dharma with sasthra and puts it
into practice in Kali Yuga and also as one who protects people from the illeffects of Kali and Sani. Since the
feminine nature of Hari and the masculine nature of Hara converge in Dharma Sastha, a lovely and attractive
form equivalent to that of Sri Krishna adorns Sri Dharma Sastha. Devas praise him as ‘paraya gopta’ who stands
by one in crucial times. There are 18 Sastha temples consecrated by Parasurama spread across Kerala shining
with various divine powers. In Sabarimala Sri Dharma sastha manifests himself as a mendicant; in
Kulathooppuzha He manifests the image of a boy; in Aryankavau He is a youth, in Achankovil He is a king and
a householder; He is a provider of the divine knowledge in Thiruvullakkavil; He shines as the nullifier of the
illeffects of Shani in Keezhoor; in Arakkulam He revelas himself as Mrutyumjaya (one who conquers death);
He provides bliss in Chakkamkulangara. In Pazhayakavu, Sri Dharma Sastha is enshrined along with his
consorts Poorna and Pushkala.
There exists consecrated idols of Sri Dharma Sastha sitting on divine vehicles like elephant, tiger, horse etc.
Feeding of the poor and grand rituals for appeasing Sri Dharma Sastha are carried out by Tamil Brahmins during
the months of Dhanu and Makaram (15
th Novemver to 15
th January). Loud chanting of ‘saranam’ is a speciality
of Sastha worship also resembling the dharma of the Buddhists. Among the 108 Ayyappan Kavu in Kerala, the
one that takes the first position goes to the Sastha temple at Trikkunnapuzha and the Dharma Sastha temple at
Chamravattom situated at river Bharatapuzha which protects from the dangers of flood. Both these generate a
very high level of wonder in our minds.
Once the kingdom of Travancore was ruled by a king named Pinjakan. The subjects were pious and were people
who liked to take good care of guests. One day, Pinjakan and his retinue went the forest for hunting. They lost
their way and got trapped in the forest. The king who was trapped in the forest came across demons with red
matted hair who were shouting ferociously. The demons who met a human being at their place at night
surrounded the king and started dancing their deadly dance.
The king, who was terrified, started chanting ‘saranam ayyappa’ aloud concentrating on Lord Ayyappa and
surrendering himself to the Lord. Dharma Sastha appeared there fully armed and calmed down the demons. The
handsome figure of Sastha who led the king back to the capital stole the heart of the king. The king gave away
his daughter Poorna, who was well behaved and of golden hue, in marriage to Sastha delightfully. Sastha
disappeared after showering blessings on the king and his subjects. Poorna Devi shines on the right hand side of
Sastha with a crown on her head, brandishing a lotus flower in her left hand and gesture of protection with her
right hand. Her left leg is kept folded and the right leg kept free. Poorna is said to be the goddess of Vanchinadu
A king named Balijnan ruled over the ancient Nepal. Balijnan was a devotee of goddess Kali. He was well
versed in black magic. His kingdom was very prosperous due to the blessings of goddess Kali. With the
intention of blocking the process of getting old, the king decided to give 100 virgin girls as sacrifice to goddess
Kali. He conducted a few sacrifices, too. Once, the virgin girl selected was a devotee of Lord Shiva. The girl, who was sad about her plight, prayed to Lord Shiva to save her and the erring king.
Sri Parameswara ordered his son Sastha to free the girl and nullify the effects of black magic carried out by
Balijnan. The king was amazed at the work carried out by Sastha. Sastha appeared in front of Balijnan made him
realise his mistake by giving him advices on righteousness. The girl was saved. The king who realised that the
old age is something that cannot be avoided, fell at the feet of Sastha and requested to be pardoned. The king
gave his daughter Pushkala in marriage to Sastha.
Pushkala Devi is of dark complexion and is one who is of great knowledge, compassion and patience. In her
right hand she holds a flower and her left hand she holds in the gesture of protection. Her place is on the left
hand side of Sastha. She keeps her left leg folded and her right leg is kept free. This is the instruction by which
the idols of Sastha accompanied by Poorna and Pushkala should be consecrated. Naradeeya Purana (P.6667)
says that Poorna and Pushkala are the power of the two eyes of the great maharshi Satyapoornan. Since Maha
Vishnu, the Dhanvantari deity is his mother and Parameswara, the Vaidyanathan is his father, there exists in
Sastha a rare the vitality of a doctor. Sri Dharma Sastha is also worshipped as a deity who is a provider of
offsprings. It is also said that Sastha has a son named Sathyakan.
The diverse projections of Shaivavaishnava deity, eradicator of the illeffects of ShaniKali, deity who destroys
enemies, deity who is the provider of offspring, deity who is Dhanvantari, deity who guards and protects etc
converge in Sastha. It is to be noted specially that the devotion and glory of Sabarimala is ascending year after
year and that religioncastecreedloftinessbaseness etc are totally absent here.
Until the time the praise song authored by Kambakkuti Kulaththu Iyer ‘Harivarasanam Visvamohanam’ to put
the Sannidhanam to sleep, the crores and crores of devotees who throng Sabarimala experience a highly exalted
time. The eighteen steps, irumutikkettu, abhishekam with ghee are all stamps of Sabarimala pilgrimage. The
glory of Dharma Sastha is transcendental.
About 400 years ago Picchu Iyer and his three sons came and settled down at Kizhakkambalam to conduct the
business of timber trading. The business went on well. They constructed the temple of Dharma Sastha
accompanied by Poorna and Pushkala. The uniqueness of this idol is that this idol is carved out of one single
stone and that Sastha is depicted as carrying an umbrella of Palmira leaves in His hands with the goddesses
looking at the lord sideways. It is not possible to come across such an idol anywhere else in Kerala.
It is known that a girl in their family died falling into a pond about 150 years back. There were no priests
available in the area to conduct the afterdeath ceremonies of the girl.
Their business was also not going on well. Because of these reasons, they entrusted the temple to
Swarnatthumana with the instructions to carry on with the poojas in the prescribed manner. The members and
relatives of this family conduct poojas and offerings whenever they visit the temple and return in peace.
About 50 years back, those people approached Swarnamanakkal and requested to return the temple to them. They came up with the condition that they will return the temple only if someone from Swarnamanakkal at
Alappuzha gave them written consent. Hence, the devotees went to Alappuzha and obtained the required letter
from the head of the family. With that the temple was restored to the devotees.
In the mean time, a devotee had left an idol of Lord Shiva in the sanctum sanctorium of Lord Ayyappa. As per
the request of Picchumani Iyer of the Brahmin family at Alappuzha, the temple got ready for renovation. The
main priest and the astrologer made their astrological calculations and decided to carry out a consecration of
Lord Shiva as an important deity. Brahmarakshas and Nagar should also be consecrated duly. This temple has a
connection with a Bhagavati temple situated about 1 kilometer away.
In 1985 the idols were consecrated in a temporary shelter (balalayam) under the guidance of Narayanan
Nampoodiri. On the anniversary day of consecration of the Dharma Sastha temple, poojas will commence only
after the poojas in this temple of the goddess is completed. After the renovations were over, the first anniversary
of consecration was conducted on 27.11.1987. After that, on 27.11.2000, the first Kumbhabhishekam was
conducted exceedingly well. Now the anniversary day of consecration is conducted every year along with the
various poojas and Sapthaha Yajnam. Sice the past 3 years the anniversary day of consecration is celebrated
under the able leadership of Chennas Girisan Nampoothiri. As per the opinion of the main priest and the
astrologers, it is conducted on star Avittam in the month of Vricchikam (November 15
th – December 15
The route to this temple: About 15 Km from Aluva. On AluvaTrippuniththura road. OR. Coming
fromErnakulam, on the way to Moovattupizha via kalloor via Megaland, one can reach the temple. Kizhakkambalam is the nearest bus stand.