41 days and the month of Vrishchikam
In religious concepts one Mandala is forty one days. The thirty days from the pratipada after the full moon to the next full moon day and eleven days to the Ekadasi is the period of a Mandala.
How the mandala is related to the devotional activities of Sri Ayyappa?
The concept of Ayyappa is Hariharatmaja, i.e. a molecular reunion of Hari and Hara. Among four and one in the 41, four symbolizes Vishnu and the one symbolizes Siva. The morph of Vishnu is having four arms having bodily resemblance of four Vedas, the master of fourteen worlds, having four emblems in hands, the master of the fourth pancabhuta and has spread his powers towards the four directions of the universe. (the number of letters in the mantras related to the Lord Vishnu is also the multiples of four like 8, 12, 16, 32)
The one is the real Sivaswarupa. The lord Siva or Mahadeva is the one who has no transformation, unrelated to any aspects, the God of Gods and dwells in the solitude as the single and unrealized from the time before the creation of the world and after the merger (pralaya). Eka, the one, has the meaning of truth or reality. Iswara and the Aumkara. This is a Sankaravacya (the words of Sri Sankara). The ‘akasa’ the first pancabhuta is also said the form of Siva. Thus 4, 1 – 41 is the union of the Lords and represents their son Hariharasuta Ayyappa.
The 41 is a very important number in the mantrasastras. When we add 4 and 1 get 5, if 1 reduced from 4 get 3. the 3, 4, 5 are the formulae of this universe. The 3 is the form of time (like yesterday, today and tomorrow) the 4 is the form of world (4 directions) and the 5 is the form of pancabhutas used to create this universe.
The universe can be called a Mandala (Akhilanda Mandala) the pujamandala, the vayu mandala and other mandalas are in use. The 41 days of mandala time represents the synthesis of time and universe. It is considered that the mandala time is very important to worship Lord Ayyappa. We will get 10 * 3 + 11 = 41. the 10 represents always Lord Vishnu who incarnated at ten times, the sovereign of ten directions, the custodian of ten pranas. The 3 represents trigunas. The power of Maya. The power of illusion. The 3 has been multiplied here with 10. the Lord Vishnu the puruhsa (10) transformed into a maya damsel (3) the mohini. The 11 is the form of Rudra. There are Ekadasarudras. Rudra is Siva. 10 * 3 = Harimohini +11 + (Sankara) = Hariharanandanan Ayyappan. It cannot be repudiated that, the 41, it has some relations with Ayyappa through numerology, Yogasastra and spirituality.
Let us come to the meaning of Vruscika. Vruscika means scorpion. The pilgrimage period at Sabarimala includes the 30 days of Vruscika and the following 11 days of Dhanu. The Vruscika and Dhanu the scorpion and the bow symbolizes spirituality. The scorpion is a poisonous creature. It has a nature to attack the enemy and to create any damage to the body of the other creature. The Dhanu or bow is also a weapon. To arrow the enemy and to insult and kill him the bow is necessary.
There is an integrated relation between scorpion and bow. The conspiracy in the palace was the reason to compel Ayyappa to go for the milk of leopard. The poison of conspiracy was injected by the minister and the queen like the scorpion injects the poison, therefore, they represent the Vruscika. Ayyappan achieved all his victories with his bow and arrows. It was by sending an arrow he gave evidence of his presence at the top of the hills. The other matter is that the 3 months Vruscika, Dhanu and Makara are the last months of the dakshinayana (the progress of the sun to the south of the equator). The uttarayana (the course of the sun to the north of the equator) begins from the month of Makara. The dakshinayana is considered as inauspicious. Those who die in the dakshinaya period, it is in the sastras, that they will have a rebirth. If there is not a powerful and highly devoted upasana when we come to the end of the dakshinayana the demise at that time will lead the spirit of the dead to a vileness. To escape from this, it has been ordered to go ahead with devoted, hard, tortuous and pure upasana in the ending months of dakshinayana viz. Vruscika, Dhanu and Makara. The Sabarimala and Ayyappa has a meritorious halo of vruta and upasana and that has been made related to this effective period.
Astrologically the vruscika is in the 8th and the Dhanu is in the 9th zodiac. The 8 represents the death. The authority or the master of Vruscika and Meta is Covva (Mars). The Covva is the master of hostility, war, and natural calamities. The period is very dangerous to the mankind. To overcome these problems great upasana is necessary. Therefore Vruscika has become the upasana month. The month Dhanu is the symbol and position of victory and luch. The master of it is Vyazha (Jupiter). From the point of the 8th, the death, the journey to the worldly and spiritual victory and luch elucidates the transfer from Vruscika to Dhanu. The date and time of the birth of Ayyappa wa on the lagna (the oblique ascension on the division of the equator) of Vruscika in Utrata star in the month of Dhanu. These facts are also related to Vruscika and Dhanu and that is why the importance has been given to these months. Covva, the master of the zodiac of Vruscika represents the prana or the jivatma and Vyazha the master of Dhanu represents god the paramatma. The Vedanta says the bow with aumkara and the arrow with jivatma aim at the brahmam (Pranavo Dhanussaropya atma Brahma tallaksyamucyate). From the jivtma as Covva which aim at the devabhava as Vyazha the symbol of this procedure is the transfer from Vruscika to Dhanu. If, why the dates of Dhanu is not taken completely, the answer is whatever culminates into the God, end there cannot crossover it. Therefore, the complete days of Vruscika, in total 41 days, is given to itself and ends there, when using only a part of Dhanu.