Sunday, February 23, 2014

Goddess Marriamman Touch And Heal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Māri (Tamil: மாரி),Tulu(mAri), also known as Mariamman (Tamil: மாரியம்மன் and Mariaai (Marathi: मरी आई), both meaning "Mother Mari", spelt also Maariamma (Tamil: மாரியம்மா), or simply Amman or Aatha (Tamil: அம்மன், "mother") is the South Indian Hindu goddess of disease and rain. She is the main South Indian mother goddess, predominant in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Māri is also closely associated with the Hindu goddesses Parvati and Durga as well as with her North Indian counterpart Shitala Devi.

Māri likely originated as a village goddess related to fertility and rain. The goddess would have been a local deity, connected to a specific location, close to a certain tree, a rock or a special spot, mostly in rural areas. According to some sources, Mariamman is the same as Renuka or Yellamma and even Sri Chowdeshwari Devi. Sri Thailuramma Devi, Huchamma Devi, Manchamma Devi, Chwodamma Devi or Chowdeshwari are few considered elder sisters of Mariamman.[clarification needed]
One story about the origin of Mariamman is she was the wife of Tirunalluvar, the Tamil poet, who was a pariah, outcaste. She caught smallpox and begged from house to house for food, fanning herself with leaves of the neem or margosa tree to keep the flies off her sores. She recovered and people worshipped her as the goddess of smallpox. To keep smallpox away they hang neem leaves above the doors of their houses.
Another story involves the beautiful virtuous Nagavali, wife of Piruhu, one of the Nine Rishis. One day the Rishi was away and the Trimurti (an image with three heads representing Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) came to see if her famed beauty and virtue was true. Nagavali did not know them and, resenting their intrusion, turned them into little children. The gods were offended and cursed her, so her beauty faded and her face became marked like smallpox. The Rishi returned, found her disfigured, and drove her away, declaring she would be born a demon in the next world and cause the spread of a disease which would make people like herself. She was called Mari, meaning 'changed.' Both stories are reported by Whitehead and he remarks that in Mysore he was told that Mari meant sakti, power.
Mariamman is an ancient goddess, whose worship probably originated in the tribal religion of Dravidian India before the arrival of the Aryans and the brahman religion. According to tradition, among the Dravidian mountain tribes as in Coorg in southern Karnataka, human sacrifices were offered to Mariamman. These were replaced with animals and as we have seen, in some villages no animal sacrifices are offered. Here we can see a historical gradation.
Local goddesses such as Mariamman who protect villages and their lands and represent the different castes of their worshippers have always been an important part of the religious landscape of South India. However, we can note periods of special significance. The eclecticism of the Vijayanagar period (1336–1565) encouraged folk religion, which became more important and influenced the more literate forms of religion. In the last century and a half there has been a rebirth of Tamil self-consciousness (see Devotion to Murukan). In the middle of the present century deities such as Mariamman have become linked to the "great tradition" as the strata of society which worship the goddess has become integrated into the larger social order.
[edit]Iconography

Māri is usually pictured as a beautiful young woman with a red-hued face, wearing a red dress. Sometimes she is portrayed with many arms—representing her many powers—but in most representations she has only two or four.
Māri is generally portrayed in the sitting or standing position, often holding a trident (trisula) in one hand and a bowl (kapala) in the other. One of her hands may display a mudra, usually the abhaya mudra, to ward off fear. She may be represented with two demeanors—one displaying her pleasant nature, and the other her terrifying aspect, with fangs and a wild mane of hair.
[edit]Goddess of Disease

Mariamman was the goddess of smallpox before the disease was eradicated in India. Now she cures all so-called "heat-based" diseases like pox and rashes. During the summer months in South India (March to June), people walk miles carrying pots of water mixed with turmeric and neem leaves to ward off illnesses like the measles and chicken pox.[why?] In this way, goddess Māri is very similar to North Indian goddess Shitala Devi.

Devotees also pray to Mariamman for familial welfare such as fertility, healthy progeny or a good spouse. The most favoured offering is "pongal", a mix of rice and green gram, cooked mostly in the temple complex, or shrine itself, in terracotta pots using firewood.
Some festivals in honor of goddess Māri involve processions carrying lights. In the night, the devotees carry oil lamps in procession.[why?]


Main shrine to Mariamman in the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
[edit]Temples

Most temples to Mariamman are simple village shrines, where non-Brahmins act as lay-priests using non-agamic rituals. In many rural shrines, the goddess is represented by a granite stone with a sharp tip, like a spear head. This stone is often adorned with garlands made of limes and with red flowers. These shrines often have an anthill that could be the resting place of a cobra. Milk and eggs are offered to propitiate the snake.
Some temples have also attained enough popularity that Brahmins officiate at them. For example, the Samayapuram temple near the shore of river Cauvery in the northern outskirts of Trichy, maintains a rich agamic tradition and all rituals are performed by Gurukkal of Brahmins.
Punainallur, near Thanjavur (Tanjore), is the location of another famous Māri temple. Legend says that Mariamman appeared to the King Venkoji Maharaja Chatrapati (1676–1688) of Tanjore in his dreams and told him she was in a forest of Punna trees three miles distant from Tanjore. The King rushed to the spot and recovered an idol from the jungle. Under the king's orders a temple was constructed, the idol installed and the place was called Punnainallur. Hence the deity of this temple is known as Punnainallur Mariamman. Mud replicas of different parts of the human body are placed in the temple as offerings by devotees pleading for cure. It is said that the daughter of Tulaja Raja (1729–35) of Tanjore, who lost her eyesight due to illness, regained it after worshiping at this temple.
Erode Mariamman temple festival is grand one in Tamilnadu. Three mariamman goddess named small, mid and big mariamman in three corners of city combines to a festival at every April month of season. It has ther thiruvilla and all devotions to God which ends in Cauvery river to stack away the kambam(Mariamman's husband) into the flowing river water.
Other important temples of Mariamman in Tamil Nadu are in the towns of Veerapandi, Theni, Anbil (near Trichy), Narthamalai, Thiruverkadu, Salem, Virudhunagar and Sivakasi, Vellore. In Chennai (Madras), a famous Mariamman temple is the Putthu Mariamman—the Putthu (ant hill) is across the road from the temple and is located on the Velachery Main Road.
Another famous Mariamman temple is situated in the state of Karnataka, in the town of Kaup, seven kilometers from the famous temple town of Udipi.
Marubai temple matunga
Mariamman Koil, Pilakool
Mariamman Temple, Ho Chi Minh City
Mariamman Temple, Bangkok
Mariamman temple no 4 veerapandi
Mariamman Temple, Pretoria
Punnainallur Mariamman
Samayapuram Mariamman Temple
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur
Sri Mariamman Temple, Penang
Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore
Mariamman Temple, Pretoria
Sri Mahamariamman Tempel, Sulzbach, Altenwald (Germany)
Sri Mariamman temple, Brazil
The New York Mari-Amman Koil (Tamilian descendants from Guyana)
[edit]Hindu Tradition and Worship

In Hindu tradition, Mariamman is the sister of Lord Vishnu (Sriranganathar) and called Mahamaya[citation needed].
The Samayapuram Mariamman is also worshipped on the first day of the Tamil month of Vaikasi by the Iyengar/Srivaishnava Brahmins of Srirangam. They claim that she is the sister of Lord Renganath (a form of Vishnu) of Srirangam. This is the second most prominent temple in Tamil Nadu, following Palani, on the basis of income.[citation needed]
Another version of the traditions suggests she is the mother of Parasurama, Renukadevi who is appeased for rains. She is also known as Sri Chowdeshwari Devi in most of the parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In Mysore region she is worshipped as both Chowdeshwari Devi and as well as Mariamman. There are many instances where Mariamman has appeared to people in form an old woman wearing red sari with green bangles and three mangalsutras.[clarification needed] She is also regarded as the Gramdevata[clarification needed] of certain villages, thus reducing the incidence of contagious disease in these villages. Another version depicts her as Pattalamma, goddesses of truthfullness and punctuality. She is said to punish any villager failing to practice these virtues.[citation needed]
In reference to Sanskrit stotras, it is also suggested mariamman is not sister of Lord Visnu rather femenine aspect of Lord. The Lord incarnates in this form during Kali yuga, when knowledge is almost void or ignorance at peak. Even few refer or map to other female goddess like Renuka devi,none of them have been proved or validated. The Mariamman represents core aspects of Lord in form of curative aspect to signify direction and awakening of knowledge.She is also referred as MahaLakshmi, Mahasaraswati and MahaKali. Varamahalakshi is dedicated to Mariamman.It also represents finite aspect of infinte qualities.
[edit]Outside India

There are many Mariamman Temples outside of India, in Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Fiji, Guyana, Vietnam, Germany[1] and South Africa, the product of efforts of the Tamil diaspora. Some notable temples include the Sri Mariamman temple in Singapore, a Mariamman temple in Pretoria, South Africa, as well as one in Medan,Sri Mariamman Tempmle Karachi Pakistan, Indonesia.[citation needed]

A Power Called Goddess Marriammen

www.philtar.ac.uk/encyclopedia/hindu/ascetic/mariam.html

Devotion to Mariamman

India has always been a land of villages and in the context of village life the most important and powerful divine presence is the gramadevata, a deity identified with the village. A village may have several gramadevatas, each with its own function. Village deities are more numerous than Indian villages, though some are known throughout a region and one of these is the goddess Mariamman (Also called Mari, Mariamma, Maryamman. In the Puranas she is known as Marika.) who has devotees all over South India.
The village belongs to the goddess. Theologically she was there before the village and in fact she created it. Sometimes she is represented only by a head on the soil, indicating her body is the village and she is rooted in the soil of the village. The villagers live inside or upon the body of the goddess. The goddess protects the village and is the guardian of the village boundaries. Outside the village there is no protection from the goddess. The village is a complete cosmos and the central divine power of the village is the goddess. The relationship between the village and the goddess is primarily for the village as a whole and not for individuals. Mari can mean sakti, power, and amman is mother, so she is the mother-power of the village.
However, this relationship is not a simple one. In some places, Mariamman is invoked three times a year to regenerate village soil and protect the community against disease and death. Other places may have an important Mariamman festival. Mariamman is not a peaceful and benign goddess. She can be vindictive, inexorable, and difficult to propitiate. Essentially she is a personification of the world's natural forces, but specifically she is a goddess of smallpox, chickenpox, and other diseases. Her role is ambivalent for she both inflicts the diseases and protects the village from them. The onset of disease or disaster causes special worship or a festival of the goddess, for they are caused by demons let in because the goddess's defences have broken down or because the goddess is angry at being neglected. Mariamman reminds people that their ordered world can be shattered at any time and worshipping her makes one's view of reality less fragile. When the villagers are afflicted, so is the goddess invaded by demons. The villagers and the goddess are suffering the invasion of the village together and that is why one can say that the goddess causes the epidemic. The goddess suffers most but cannot contain it all and spreads it to the villagers, who help her deal with it. Mariamman is especially favourable at this time to those suffering from the disease, for they are helping her bear the burden of the demonic attack.
Blood offerings of animals are commonly sacrificed at festivals of Mariamman, but this is not invariably the case. Whitehead in his classic study The Village Gods of South India (1921) found at the village of Vandipaliam in Cuddalore district that at an annual festival of ten days to Mariamman no animal sacrifices were ever offered or on any other occasion at the shrine. At Shiyali in Tanjore district during the sacrifices of animals to other gods at the festival (of all the village gods) a curtain is drawn in front of Mariamman.

History One story about the origin of Mariamman is she was the wife of Tirunalluvar, the Tamil poet, who was a pariah, outcaste. She caught smallpox and begged from house to house for food, fanning herself with leaves of the nim or margosa tree to keep the flies off her sores. She recovered and people worshipped her as the goddess of smallpox. To keep smallpox away they hang nim leaves above the doors of their houses.
Another story involves the beautiful virtuous Nagavali, wife of Piruhu, one of the Nine Rishis. One day the Rishi was away and the Trimurti (an image with three heads representing Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) came to see if her famed beauty and virtue was true. Nagavali did not know them and, resenting their intrusion, turned them into little children. The gods were offended and cursed her, so her beauty faded and her face became marked like smallpox. The Rishi returned, found her disfigured, and drove her away, declaring she would be born a demon in the next world and cause the spread of a disease which would make people like herself. She was called Mari, meaning 'changed.' Both stories are reported by Whitehead and he remarks that in Mysore he was told that Mari meant sakti, power.
Mariamman is an ancient goddess, whose worship probably originated in the tribal religion of Dravidian India before the arrival of the Aryans and the brahman religion. According to tradition, among the Dravidian mountain tribes as in Coorg in southern Karnataka, human sacrifices were offered to Mariamman. These were replaced with animals and as we have seen, in some villages no animal sacrifices are offered. Here we can see a historical gradation.
Local goddesses such as Mariamman who protect villages and their lands and represent the different castes of their worshippers have always been an important part of the religious landscape of South India. However, we can note periods of special significance. The eclecticism of the Vijayanagar period (1336-1565) encouraged folk religion, which became more important and influenced the more literate forms of religion. In the last century and a half there has been a rebirth of Tamil self-consciousness (see Devotion to Murukan). In the middle of the present century deities such as Mariamman have become linked to the "great tradition" as the strata of society which worship the goddess has become integrated into the larger social order.

Symbols At the centre and source of the village is a boddhu-rayee, navel stone, with which the goddess is associated. As mentioned in doctrines, the goddess may be represented by only a head on the ground, as her body is the village. To protect the village, shrines and symbols of the goddess are often placed at the boundaries of the village. These symbols are usually simple, rough, unhewn stones, five or six inches high and blackened with anointing oil, or there may be a stone pillar. If there are shrines these will often be crude simple structures.
Mariamman's colour is yellow and sometimes a stone is adorned with a yellow dress, only a small part of bare stone emerging at the top. Sometimes there is only a spear or trident thrust in the ground in place of the goddess-stones. In larger villages a slab of stone may be carved with a rough figure of a woman, who may have four, six, or eight arms, or none at all, and the arms hold various implements such as a knife, a shield, a drum, a bell, a devil's head, and a three-pronged fork. It is common to have a fixed stone image in the shrine and to use a small portable metal image in processions. Mariamman can be represented as riding naked on an ass with a winnow on her head and a broom and water-pot in her hands. Sometimes there is no image and the goddess is represented by a brass pot of water decorated with nim leaves. The nim tree is sacred to Mariamman. In poor villages an earthenware pot is used.
During the ceremonies of the goddess there is a symbolic marriage. Although the goddess is sometimes said to have a consort, she is really married to the village, so the goddess and village can nourish each other.
A blood sacrifice at her festival can appease the goddess to withdraw her anger symbolised as the heat of disease or it can symbolise the defeat of the invading demon. Traditionally a buffalo was offered. After it was beheaded, its leg was thrust into its mouth, fat from the stomach was smeared in its eyes, and a candle was lit on its head. It was then presented to the goddess. This humiliation of the victim symbolises the defeat of an enemy, the demon who causes the epidemic or disaster.
Village festivals are filled with symbolism. At a festival in Karnataka, the Mariamman image is first painted in bright colours and put in a shelter of nim leaves and a sheep sacrificed to placate the goddess. Then a he-buffalo is sacrificed by untouchables and the head put in a pit before Mariamman. The blood and parts of the buffalo are mixed with rice and put in a large basket. This is caraga and it is carried in procession by untouchables followed by other villagers carrying sickles and weapons to guard it. At other shrines sheep are sacrificed and mixed with the caraga, which is then sprinkled on the fields and along the boundaries of the village, thus regenerating the soil and protecting the village. Even vegetarian farmers believe that the soil needs blood and if it is not given then human lives will be taken.
Festivals without animal sacrifice may offer boiled rice, fruit, flowers, cakes and sugar, and incense and camphor are burnt. There is Abishegam, ceremonial washing of the image twice a day, with water, oil, milk, coconut milk, turmeric, rose water, sandalwood, honey, sugar, limes, and a solution of the bark of certain trees, separately in a regular order. The image of the goddess is carried twice a day on the shoulders of devotees around the village and there may be a car procession one day. Under brahmanical influence, the image can be towed around a tank.
At many festivals an important role is played by a Matangi, a low caste woman who is unmarried and holds the office for life. She is a living symbol of the goddess and becomes possessed by the goddess, dancing wildly, using obscene language, spitting at devotees, and pushing people around with her backside. The festival reverses social norms and the Matangi's behaviour, which would ordinarily be highly polluting, is purifying and people seek out her spit and insults.

Adherents Millions of villagers across South India worship Mariamman, especially in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Mariamman is one of the deities worshipped in almost every Tamil village. Nearly all members of a village participate in the goddess's festival, even brahmans and Muslims. The different castes to some extent mix freely. This is not the case in daily life. The ritual topography of a village in Karnataka, for example, has an inner village inhabited by the purest castes and the rest live outside this. The shrines of the goddess would be in the outside part of the village. The oldest, largest, and most important Hindu temple in Singapore is the Mariamman Temple, which was established early in the nineteenth century.
Pilgrims at a Mariamman festival wear mostly yellow, the colour of the goddess. Some men dress as tigers and other animals. Pilgrims may come because of a specific fear or debt or because one of their family has a disease associated with the goddess or they themselves have recovered from the disease. Particular castes are associated with Mariamman, such as fishermen and builders on the coast of Tamil Nadu. Pilgrims fast before the festival and bring offerings, such as money in a propitious amount, say one hundred and one rupees. Some pilgrims have made vows to Mariamman to walk on fire, carry burning pots on their heads, or perform covadi, when they swing suspended on hooks through their flesh.

Headquarters/
Main Centre There is no one main centre for Mariamman.

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