Saturday, April 3, 2010

A parallel Hinduism

A parallel Hinduism

Being a member of the higher caste who is religious by upbringing, I was always thinking Of Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva as the greatest Gods and the four Vedas as the only source book of Hinduism.
When I was a child in Kerala I used to watch with interest the worship offered to Kutti Chathan in my home. A cock was cut and toddy was offered to the God. Al people believed that, if this worship was not done our cattle will suffer and die. I understand there is a temple for this God near Kunnamkulam. Later after very many years, when I was working in the Vittal village of South Canara, I saw thousands of sheep and cock being taken to a place outside the village. Due to curiosity I followed them. Then I was witness of the gruesome ritual of their sacrifice before a tiger statue made of wood. Later I came to know that such worship was prevalent in almost all villages of that district. Later when I was reading about temples of Kerala, I came to know about Parasini Kadavu Muthappan. Toddy and meat was offered to propitiate this God. I was also told that there were many more such temples in Kerala. During my study as well as job in Tamil Nadu, I used to see huge statues of men with protruded teeth as well as big horses before entering any village. When I enquired I was told that they were guardian gods of the village. Recently I decided to study about them and brought several books on these guardian Gods. Most of these Gods are non vegetarian and are offered meat and toddy for worship. Some even offer cigars. The people of the village (including Brahmins) have great faith about these Gods. One of the very orthodox families that I know is offering the first cropped hair of the children to one such God in its native village. I also found that there were very interesting human stories behind each such temple. Some of these Gods used to live in those villagers. Some were thieves and some of them were even robbers. Some of these gods were related by story to the famous Hindu Gods. (read about them in http://villagegods.blogspot.com/).
Most probably such a system of parallel religion exists all over India. Most of the religious people are aware and afraid of these Gods, Why then are we not talking about this parallel religion. Why our Madathipathis, seers and sages never utter a word about them? Do they fear that if these are brought out then our main religion will suffer?

3 comments:

Sid said...

The occult has always had a small but loyal following. There are probably millions of cults which still exist. Christianity, in the middle ages, abolished this "parallel religion" and branded it as satan worship. In Hindu tradition, people who practice such rituals and hold such beliefs are called Mleccha,meaning "non-Vedic, barbarian". I remember reading that people from down south were called mleccha. It was maybe because of the prevalence of such cults.

Kerala Brahmin said...

I would not call this occult but a worship. The devotees think that they are Gods. Mlecha is not used to these people. Most of them are Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudhras. Brahmins in these villages also believe in these Gods, Ramachander

Ramanan said...

I agree with Sid. These are traces of pagan religion which are partly assimilated into the Hindu religion.

Interestingly Bhagavan Krishna does discuss them in Gita about the futility in workshiping lesser devatas, bhootha ganas, etc

ye ’py anya-devata-bhakta
yajante shraddhayanvitah
te ’pi mam eva kaunteya
yajanty avidhi-purvakam (BG 9.23)


"Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, O son of Kunti, but they do so in a wrong way."

antavat tu phalam tesam
tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam
devan deva-yajo yanti
mad-bhakta yanti mam api (BG 7.23)

"Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet."

And He goes on to say..

yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino ’pi mam (BG 9.23)

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.