Sunday, May 24, 2009

We all have a Divine Mother

We all have a Divine Mother

Recently, I accompanied my family to a suburb of Coimbatore where my wife's friend had invited us to attend a temple function. I thought it was one of those temples of some small colonies. I came humbled after that visit.

First, what struck me was the scale of the festival. The entire village or rather township was involved in it. The temple was dedicated to Bhadra Kali Amman. The place is a village right inside Coimbatore city called Uppilipalayam. The entire population of the village rever Bhadra Kali. The festival was 'poochhaattu'- a function held once in three years for this Devi.

The temple is a spacious one surrounded by streets on two sides. The festival was made attractive by the stall selling flowers, toys, condiments and pooja items. Look at a street here.

There is a typical custom in Amman and Kali temples in Tamilnadu. That is the offering of a sweet meat (maavilakku) made of rice flour and jaggery (or sugar). The wet paste of the two are made into a cup shape and oil is poured into the sunken area and a lamp is lit with a cotton wick. The entire womanfolk of the village carried the 'Maavilakku' . Look at this cute Tamil girl carrying the maavilakku ! What a tasteful decoration !

I tried to analyze the crowd regarding their particular caste. This village has a mixture of Naidu, Vellala Gounders,brahmins, Thevars, Viswakarmas, Devendra Kula Vellalars, and many shades of harijans. Looking around the temple, I could see huge banners welcoming the visitors on behalf of each community.

A small word here. Each caste mentioned above has their own kula devata. The Naidus are staunch Vaishnavites too. But , here they were, standing shoulder to shoulder honouring their divine mother ! Once the temple flag is hoisted indicating the poochchaattu, no one stays out of the village beyond the evening. No one even attends any condolences like death , visiting the bereaved etc.

I myself has a kuladevata by name Chandamma Devi, who is the presiding Devi in a village near Kolhapur where my ancestors lived. Likewise, whomever I asked, everyone had a kula devata in the form of an Amman . The only exception being the Sri Vaishnavas. But Sri Vaishnavism is just a 1,000 year old tradition and before that every Hindu must have had the divine mother as a kula devata.

And the divine mother sits there in the middle of the village blessing every visitor. I now realize this - That everyone of us has a Divine Mother too.


Prashant Jalasutram said...

Nice article Venkat Sir.


Anonymous said...


This festival is a annual occurance in each and every village of Tamilnadu, (infact, the whole of india).

Recently we had this festival, and every house hold woman will offer their prayers with the mavilakku.

Btw, do you have any reason, why most of the kula devata is amman?

bhattathiri said...

Excellent blog.Indian Vedic contribution is a reservoir of Vibrant Information and Harmonious Creativity. May the Womb of Nature Embrace all with Tranquil Blessings from this day forward. Let this attract one's attention affecting them Positively. It is a Sanctuary of the Self , a Creative Venue which serves as an Enduring Expression of Lightness, where a peaceful Atmosphere with Sunlight Flows and serene atmosphere prevail.

In the storm of life we struggle through myriads of stimuli of pressure, stress, and muti-problems that seek for a solution and answer. We are so suppressed by the routine of this every life style that most of us seem helpless. However, if we look closely to ancient techniques we shall discover the magnificent way to understand and realize the ones around us and mostly ourselves. If only we could stop for a moment and allow this to happen. May all beings be happy (Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu)

The ancient Hindu philosophy of keepiing mind and body for the well being, has entered the managerial, medical and judicial domain of the world. Today it has found its place as an alternative to the theory of modern management and also as a means to bring back the right path of peace and prosperity for the human beings. Let me bow to Indian Maharishi Veda Vysa with folded hands who helped in removing the impurities of the mind through his writings on Vedas, impurities of speech through his writings on puranas, and impurities of body through his writings on other sacred texts.

I.J.SWAMY said...

Srivaishnavites do not have "kula devatas" as they worship Lord Vishnu everywhere. Lakshmi is their Goddess. They have 12 Azwars and one of them is a dalit.
Very good piece of blog. Thanks .

ssubramanian said...

Dear Shri. Venkat,

The festival that you have observed in one village in Tamil Nadu is just a sample. India is such a glorious country that you have hundreds of joyous, colorful festivals across the country. There are regular events like - the Ram Lila in North, the Durga Pooja in Bengal, the Rathotsava in Orissa, the Aruppathumoovar in Chennai, and so on. Y'day, I traveled in an autoriksha through many lanes and bylanes of Bangalore - and almost everywhere I could see "Kolams" in front of the houses. That is the great tradition people follow here irrespective of caste, creed or status. The Divine Mother oversees it with Joy!

Tst12 said...

Very great article..

My sincere respect and give all in the holy feet of Maa Shakti


jaraki said...

It is not correct that vaishnavites don't worship gods other than Vishnu. Most of the vaishnavites around Trichy and Srirangam worship Samayapuram Mariamman and also Anbil Mariamman. Till about 30 years back Samayapuram Mariamman Temple was a sub temple of Sri Ranganathaswami Devasthanam, Srirangam. The tradition is that Sri Mahavishnu being the brother of Sakthi is looking after her properties. In fact, Srirangam Temple in those days use to be maintained out of the income from the lands attached to Mariamman temples. Because of the agitation of local residents of Samayapuram, that temple was delinked from Srirangam Temple. Even now Anbil Mariamman temple is with Sri Ranganathaswami temple and many landlords of Anbil village are vaishnavites who revere Mariamman there. Maavilakku is observed by all communities in Tamil Nadu, particularly in the month of Aadi and Thai. Possibly because Sri Venkat is having his kula Devata in the north and presumably he is more connected with north India, the above facts might not be known to him.