Lord Ayappa, the God to whom the temple is devoted was actually celibate. Celibacy is the state of being unmarried with abstinence from any kind of sexual activity and is considered a form of asceticism. The whole hubbub about Jaymala entering Sabarimala took place because women between the ages of 10-50 are not allowed in the temple complex as according to the temple board and devotees (male, off course); women arouse men, and hence deviate men from their motive of visiting the shrine, i.e. offering their prayers to the almighty.
This entire ruckus about women not allowed in temples, offer NAMAZ in mosques or given consent to do Seva in Gurudwaras (namely Harminder Sahib) is a derogatory blot on the standing on women in Indian social order. A member of The Muslim Board of India once made a statement that- Women not allowed to offer Namaz while those unsafe days, is like a compensation given to free them of the physical exertion. But the question that really comes up is; why give women this respite of taking rest in those three days, when she does not crave for it and is ready to pray even when she is having her periods.
One thing that has come up from these debates is that the real reason why women are being discriminated in our ritual system is basically because of the biological system of a woman. Most of the religions still very much consider a woman tainted while she is having her periods. Menarche, puberty and periods are still a very cloak-and-dagger affair for many people. Not only the biology but the physical appearance of a woman too has landed her in all the trouble she is facing. But it’s not always the prostitutes that get all the attention from men. Irrespective of what a woman is wearing, a housewife clad in a sari, businesswoman wearing a power suit, little girl wearing a frock, there seems to be something in men’s intellect, which gets stimulated or aroused every time they see a female. Then why in the world women have to forfeit the penalty for something they have not even done. Why?
It has been ages since women have faced a lot of hardships and now it’s time they stand up to what is wrong. And it can only be done when they are attentive of the rights they have. They should be aware of the mores that have been around from primordial epoch and not just blindly follow it because they do have some kind of a logical and rational reason as for why they were practiced.
But what is still a very debatable issue is that, had there been a goddess instead of lord Ayappa, who was celibate and sabarimala was a temple exclusively for women and a man had entered the complex; would there have been the same hullabaloo about it too? Had anyone raised a finger against that man for stimulating women in the temple? No, because we being a patriarchal society, are in a habit of blaming women for everything.
So, the Indian ritual arrangement still shows the bitter facade of the grade of women in the social order.