The Ayyavazhi religion is considered as a Hindu sect which is in fact a dharmic belief system that originated in south India in the 19th century. It is a monotheistic religion and is based on the life and teachings of Ayya Vaikundar.
The religion shares many ideas with Hinduism but differs in it’s concepts of good and evil and dharma.
It is thought that there may be as many as 8,000,000 adherents and most come from the more poor sections of the population. It had such a great rise in popularity that it became a great concern to Christian missionaries.
Arul Nool was the text which contained the written word of the Ayyavazhi beliefs and was released in 1927, and followed by the Akilum in 1933, almost a century after it had been written.
It is believed that there are seven holy places called Pathis and they are located throughout southern India.
The symbol of the Ayyavazhi is a lotus carrying a flame-shaped white Naman.
The key teachings can be found in the book Akilattirattu Ammanai and other as found in the Arul Nool. The teachings 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 or dear father, to strengthen their intimacy and affection towards God.
Ayyavazhi condemns the caste system as based on it’s inate inequalities and is a source of reform in Indian society.
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