Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa.
There is this question often asked about the Lord of Shabarimala (mountain Shabari), what is the story related to his birth all about.
The story of Ayyappa is, the king of Pantala in south of India, now Kerala (erstwhile Chera kingdom), had no progeny. When he visited the nearby forest for hunting, found a small baby boy, who was left in the wild forest. Finding no one (parents) around, brought the kid home and accepted him as his own adopted son. Soon after this, the queen also became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy.
As would any mother, she wanted all the attention and love of her husband for her son and not the adopted son. Though she had a lot of love for the adopted boy, she and the people around her became the nimitta (instrumental cause) for bringing out the greatness of the adopted boy.
As it is the normal conditioning of the Indian mind, therefore it always wants to see the exalted sage as an Avatar (incarnation) of some or other deity. We find the Lord Ayyappa being associated with both Shiva and Vishnu, and thus was named Harihara-putra.
If it be asked, why as the son of Vishnu and Siva, the only logical answer can be, why not. We have people who are seen as the Avatar of Kartikeya (son of Shiva) etc, and maybe there during the time (and sure it was) due to the constant fight between the Shiva and Vishnu worshippers, it seems logical to have a common god, which is of the form of both.
But still, why as a son, and not as an Amsa (part) of the two Greats, if be asked, it is always easy to accept it in this form than as an Amsa d both, which many will feel as farfetched.
His whole life is full of riddles, like 1. Being the son of harihara 2. Having a friend in Babar, a Muslim 3. Having an attire that suits Siddha (and some feel the buddhistic touch) and preaching “tat tvam asi”, based on the scriptures 4. Slaying the demon Mahishi as it is generally felt to be unworthy of a warrior to kill a woman, 5. Being called Ayyappa, for both Ayya and Appa are synonyms for father etc.
Smart Mauni says, “let us pray the Lord, whose life is full of confusion (riddle) to remove the confusion in our life”.