Grama Devatas
  • Seems Ganga is worshipped as independent amman :

    Elsewhere I saw Renuka devi - mother of parasurama - being worshipped
    as a village goddes (in uttaramerur !!)

    Learned can share their opinion
  • > Elsewhere I saw Renuka devi - mother of parasurama - being
    > as a village goddes (in uttaramerur !!)

    above the shiva shrine entrance in pazhuvur I remember seeing renuka
    and parasuraama
  • Panchali amman alayams are very common around chennai....
  • >
    > Panchali amman alayams are very common around chennai....

    Good info.

    My whole question is : why are they worshiping these devis ? In
    scriptures and epics they have not been personified as gods so who
    instigated this worship and why ?

    Any thoughts will be most welcome
  • To my understand, they are lived on a particular village and died on some special
    reason, our lost thier life of a village, we can find a lot of seperate Grama Devatas, in almost all village, and behind all that we can find a interesting story.

    Its a Big subject

    for example even Nallathamgal is been workshiped, i have seen that places

  • Hindus have a custom of worshipping the dead.

    Everyone worships thier dead forefathers. So, for one the
    forefathers in the family becomes the soul to be worshipped, this is
    a fact and had been thier since time immemorial.

    Even SriKrishna, is belived to have worshipped his forefather and
    his Pitrs has helped him in many ways. Not to mention SriRama
    performing tharpanam to King Dasaratha. It is belived he has
    performed tharpanam at Pamba river near Sabarimala. And even today
    performing Tharpanam at Pamba is very auspicious.

    If a religious sait or a King or chief dies, the entire community or
    followers revers his/her departure. As dead souls are belived to be
    equivalent to God, they are power to grant few boons to thier
    worshippers. This lead a way to worship of dead and thus evantually
    thier godship.

    King Rama, is also belived to be a normal human being, who was
    brought to south india by Sage Agathya to fight Ravana, a Tamil King
    in Srilanka. There are text in Lanka, 'Yazhpana Vaipava Malai'
    and 'Agathiya Lankai' on this. And the vanara army is belived to be
    a tribe based out of Hampi (Previously Kishkintha). So it was rather
    a very human fight between Rama and Ravana in which the former won
    the battle. Similarly Krishna's human nature can also be zero'ed

    This does not mean they are not incarnations, they can be but, every
    soul who as born in earth, strived to excel.

    Shridi Saibaba, now is a god, but he may have been just a human four
    generations back.

    So, this is my humble theory of Grama Dhevatas or any Dhevatas.

    Awaiting your opinion.

    Rajendhra Cholan!
  • > So, this is my humble theory of Grama Dhevatas or any Dhevatas.

    You have taken the topic to another deeper level :-))
  • hey,

    Where is pazhuvur located? Sorry I am still a newbie in this world.

    Also is there any site visits planned in the near future?
  • Kannadasan's Arthamulla hindu matham talks a lot of such grama devatas and nachiyars.. I read a particular excerpt in some of the hindu religious mags like Aalayam.
  • Hi,

    My family deity is "Arunchunai Katta Ayyanar." It is
    near Tiruchendur on the road to Tirunelveli.

    The temple must be quite old. But in recent times they
    have renovated it like anything. In my child hood, we
    used to cross two big lakes in a "thoni" to reach this
    picturesque spot.

    Last month I was there and asked the "poojaris" about
    the antiquity of the temple and they dont remember.
    According to them this temple flourished only after
    their family took over ( late 70's .) Prioir to that
    it was inside a little accessible jungle and very few
    people visited it hence. They said that there supposed
    to be some palm leaves, but they dont know who has it.
    To my knowledege there are no inscriptions etc.,

    Does anyone know how old is "ayyanar" worship in TN?
    How old are these temples? Is this worship specific to
    selected communities ? How did it evolve ?
  • Hello everyone --

    Its been ages since I wrote a mail to our group. lack of time.
    Couldnt resist this one.

    Most of these Grama Devatas, have a strong story behind them. I
    feel, it stems from the belief that the dead watch over their
    family. Right from my childhood, I have been made to belive, that if
    I am clean and good on the days, shradams happen, then the pitr or
    the dead one for whom we are performing that shardam will be happy
    and will bless you with all success. So much so you are not supposed
    to make any noise that day. Everyone around will be talking so
    softly. My granny used to say, nadakkum podhu paadham adhira
    koodadhu. Thats the kind of reverence they had and want us to have
    for the dead. Dont you see a resemblence to the way we worship god

    I dont know how far its true. But from my recent experiences in life
    of having lost my loved ones.. I would like to believe that they
    always are around me gaurding me and clearing up my obstacles. Its
    like, what they always did for me when they were alive. Whether its
    true or not, I like to believe it.
    Might sound funny. but this is what I guess is happening in these
    Grama Devatas. My guess is that this is the reason, these people
    must have become gods over a period of time. Whoever initially
    started worshipping must have had their obstacles taken care of or
    they must have had their successes. That must have made them believe
    strongly that these people must have some strong capabilities. Dont
    forget, that when they were alive, they must have done some thing
    great and unusal. As in the case of Kannagi and Nallathangal.

    If you look as the stories of these poeple you will always see
    something unusual. Be it love or anger or righteousness. I remember
    the kind of stories my parents and grand mom used to tell me about
    our Grama Devata. Its like these people believed that since your
    roots are in that Gramam, its like your grama devata will take care
    of that clan wherever they are in this wide world. Again, after
    observing the pattern of our worship I feel, its basically, our
    people those days relied upon nature more than today for their
    livelihood. They needed some kinda strength to rely upon and been
    taken care of.

    Even today, inspite of the volcano in Indonesia being active, there
    are so many people worshiping the active volcano saying its god and
    they believe that mother nature will take care of them. Indonesia
    predominantly is a muslim community. How do u think, they believe in
    such things. Dont u see the concept of Grama devata there... If you
    go back, they have our roots. and I guess that answers this

    lemme know if I am making any sense... I can go on and on.. but must
    make some sense...

  • >
    > Does anyone know how old is "ayyanar" worship in TN?

    As old as silappadhikaaram ! Saathanaar is a pulavar name. Saathan
    derives from saastha who is aiyanar:-)
  • i agree with srividya_nrs on the benefits of ancestor worship. I started
    family deity worship (nothing elaborate but made her my single
    point-of-contact for the other world ;-) ). I observed that my prayers are
    answered faster and also it is easy to offer your prayers at her temple - I
    get a feeling that I am part of the temple and not someone who stands
    outside the ring just like in a cricket match. Similar experiences have been
    recounted by two of my close family members too.

    There must be something (like what srividya_nrs says) that is at work. When
    I went there recently, an old man said he was around 10 when my
    great-grand-father had camped in this village for 3 months to get the temple
    constructed. Felt good to know that there was a mini-Rajaraja in my family
    who also built a temple :-)
  • hi all

    anscestor worship is very organised in chettinad from where i hail.

    jewels and clothing of the anscestor is tied in a cloth (pelai)and
    hung from the ceiling beam of the puja room. its taken down only on
    the day of the " padaippu" which is usually on the occasiion od a
    marriage or so.

    its said even the special meal made that day has many food items
    reportedly the favourite of that particular anscestor.

    regarding grama devathai. that particular god is supposed to control
    the energies of that area. for example kolavizhi amman is the grama
    devatha for mylapore. every festival at kapali temple has to commence
    with a puja here.


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