In picture, you see two popular Hindu images mocked and ridiculed by no one but Hindu themselves for at least 50 years! Why so?
Two stream of thoughts were popular in last 100 years.
1) So called rational mind due to modern education. This mind never got exposure to subtle aspects of life i.e. Prana and Mind. For them, all Hindu rituals are superstitious. Not needed. I am ok with you being atheist. But who gave you rights uproot others from their belief!
2) So called वेदांती mind (No disrespect for all. But this is the mistake we make, even after studying Vedanta!). For them, rituals and all, not needed when you READ (NOT REALIZE) about आत्मा & परमात्मा! Reading is not realization. But this is difficult to grasp for exclusive readers! And suppose you are advance sadhak and don’t care of rituals, why do you actually uproot mass who is not ready! This angers me most!
Thanks to these two stream of thoughts prevailing in Hindu society, slowly, society was uprooted from Shastra prescribed ways of living. But since they still have Hindu psyche, they got connected to new-age spiritual GURUs. They too prescribed the same (of course, that is how you can increase your reach.)
In this context, it is no surprise for me to see disrespect and insult of Ayappa Swami’s temple rituals and rules.
अमित शर्मा ji wrote very well:
अन्यथा न लीजियेगा परंतु ये रुदन पश्चाताप कम पाखण्ड अधिक लगता हैं।
क्या परम्परा आज प्रथम ही खण्डित हुई हैं?
बंधु! परम्परा माता तो उसी दिन से निरन्तर रुदन कर रही हैं जिस दिन से हिन्दू कहलाने वालों ने स्वेच्छाया अपने मस्तक से तिलक मिटाकर और अपनी शिखा अपने हाथों काटकर फेंक दी थी।
अपनी परम्परा माता के अश्रु रोकने का प्रबन्ध प्रथम करो तिलक-शिखा धारण करो।
इतना करने मात्र से स्वयं में तेज प्रकट होगा, असुर स्वतः पराभूत होंगे।