, literally washing penance
, was a significant religious event
that took place in the 19th century. It was also called as thuvayal panthi. (panthi means an arrangement of people in a row for meals during feasts). By the late thirties of the nineteenth century, when the religion of Ayyavazhi
had come to exist with certain excitement and euphoria, a group of people, of different age groups and genders, undertook to perform this unique exercise as directed by Ayya Vaikundar
Participants of this exercise seem to have sold out their properties in a manner of renunciation, at half of their value. And, with a bare minimum of means of livelihood, they had gone to a place near the eastern seashore, know presently as Vakaippathi
, situated at about four kilometers to the north of Cape Comorin
. They camped there together and performed the following actions in a manner of a ritual: They took a bath and washed their clothes in the seawater thrice everyday and cooked vegetarian meal with raw rice and green-grams, and ate it only once a day. The manner of eating was that they took it directly with their mouth from the sandy ground where the food had been laid. They drank only the salty water and abstained from fish. Apart from washing, cooking and eating, the remaining hours were spent on spiritual exercises. They recited certain incantations taught by persons among them who had the gift of oracles. These persons instructed the group whatever they had to do. It was one of these persons that taught the group the popular incantation called Ukappatippu
literally meaning ‘song of the aeon’, the recital of which, often an abridged version of it, forms part of the daily rituals of Ayyavazhi to this day. Read more...