Question: I have a small question regarding the Mohini Avatara. In Kerala and Andhra there are many people who worship Lord Ayyappa. They say that Ayyappa was born to Lord Shiva and Vishnu when they both met during the Mohini Avatara. Is this story true? Also in the Ayyappa legends they mention a muslim person by the name Vavarswamy. Islam was started just before 2000 years ago. How can this story be true since the churning of the milk ocean took place in a previous yuga?

Thank you for writing with your questions.

Sri Ayyappa is the mental son (manasa-putra) of Lord Shiva. When Lord Shiva saw Mohini, Ayyappa was born from his mind. There was never any contact between Mohini and Lord Shiva. This story occurs in Skanda Purana. There are many exagerations about this story that say Lord Shiva and Mohini together produced this child. They are not true. Ayyappa lives in Kailasha along with Lord Shiva, Ganesha and Kartikeya (Skanda). The pastimes of Ayyappa and the muslim named Vavar occured when Ayyappa descended to earth, which occurred in recent times (the present yuga). Similarly Skanda also appeared in the recent history in Tamil Nadu.