Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kodagu/Coorg Deities:

Kodagu/Coorg Deities:

The people of Coorg have great faith in a certain Kaliatanda Ponnappa, or simply Kaliat Ajjappa, the spirit of a Malayalam man, who came to Coorg many generations ago, was naturalized, married a Coorg woman, and established himself at Nalknad. He was a great magician, and long the dread of the Coorgs. At last he was shot near tha Nalknad taluk courthouse. Since his death, his spirit takes possession of men, who give themselves up to the strange arts that he practised. A similar worship is still possibly maintained in honour of Acha Nayak in Chikka Munduru in Kiggatnad.

Higher even than Kaliat-Ajjappa, in the estimation of all Coorg, stands a certain female devil at Kutta called Karingali (Kari Kali), or the Kuttad-amma. Kutta lies at the borders of Wynad. Kuttadamma has no temple, but she is represented by some stones in an enclosure under a tree in the forest. For bloody sacrifices offered there, only fowls are admissible. Large sums of money are annually sent there by people from all parts of Coorg. Many vows are paid to Kuttadamma on behalf of sick people or of the dead. And whether a sick person recover or die, the sum vowed for his recovery must be paid. Liberal presents are also given to her pujari to engage her services against enemies, who, they say, are distressed or altogether destroyed by the demon in answer to the prayers of her priest. There has been, however, a decrease in the influence of Kuttadamma over the minds of Coorgs since the 20th century.

Another annual sacrifice every house used to offer is to a divinity called Gulika. This is an invisible constellation or star, belonging both to the order of planets and to that of the zodiacal stars. It is, as the people say, a son of Shani or Saturn. No mortal eye sees it. The astrologer only knows the Gulika and its power, especially over the sick. A stone is placed for the Gulika at the foot of some tree possessed of a milky juice. There the Coorgs offer fowls, coconuts and a little brandy, in a dish of plantain leaves. In cases of frequent deaths in a family, a second Gulika, called Mrityu Gulika, the Gulika of death, is worshipped.

According to Coorg lore, the cobra di capella lives a thousand years. When it was passed the meridian of its long life, its body begins to shrink, and to brighten till it shines like silver, and measures three feet or less , at the age of six or seven hundred years. Still later, the reptile shines like gold, and is only one foot in length. At last it shrinks to the size of a finger. Then it will some day fly up high into the air, die and sink down upon the ground, where it disappears altogether. The Natas, or spots on which cobras have finished their course of terrestrial life are the object of solemn ceremonies. Should any human being unawares set foot upon the hallowed spot, incurable disease of the skin will break out upon him and the poor wretch will rot away by degrees. To prevent such disasters, the Nata place is marked by a little stone enclosure. During the month of Scorpio (November—December) a lamp is lighted every evening at the Nata, and coconuts are offered.

Coorgs also believe that each bane (parcel of grass or forest-ground) has a presiding divinity, to which an annual sacrifice of pork should be offered. If this sacrifice is not made, or not properly performed, the Ka-devaru, the tending god, i. e., the god watching over the cattle, will withdraw his favour, and sickness and death among the cattle will ensue.

One can also see many groves set apart in each nad in Coorg for some object of worship (chiefly for Ayyappa-devaru). These are called Devara-Kadu which literally means Sacred Forest and are considered to be the abodes or hunting grounds of heroic ancestors. Some of them are - Iguttappa Devara kadu, Joma-male, Iruli-bane.

As among other Dravidian mountain-tribes, so also in Coorg, tradition relates that human sacrifices were offered in former times to secure the favour of their Grama Devatas - Mariamma, Durga and Bhadra Kali, the tutelary goddesses of the Sakti line, who are supposed to protect the villages or nads from all evil influences.

Legend goes that in Kirindadu and Konincheri-grama in Katiyetnad, once in three years, in December and June, a human sacrifice used to be brought to Bhadra Kali, and during the offering by the Panikas, the people exclaimed 'aan, Amma!' (a man, oh mother!). But once a devotee shouted, 'aan alla Amma, aad!' (not a man, oh mother, a goat!), and since that time a goat without blemish has been sacrificed.

No comments:

Post a Comment