S. Harpal Singh
‘Grama devata’ is bathed in steaming ‘varada pasham’ or the ‘flood pudding’
ADILABAD: As the promise of a good monsoon gets closer to the breaking point, rural Adilabad has started looking heaven wards to save the situation. People here are indulging in appeasement of Varuna, the rain god, through colourful traditional rituals.
Olden societies had devised certain rather spiritual ways and means to counter the adverse forces of nature like epidemics, floods and droughts. “The efficacy of the rituals to save grave situations can certainly be questionable but, it is an undeniable fact that these methods helped the common populace get mentally prepared to face hardships that arose out of the calamities,” explains B. Muralidhar, the well known writer.
As the dry spell keeps on extending, people in more and more villages resort to perform ‘abhishekams’ of local deities called ‘grama devatas’ seeking rain. Men in the village fetch water from the nearest stream of river to bathe the deity of ‘grama devatas’ like ‘Pochavva’, ‘Yellavva’ and often Hanuman. A community kitchen is organised for the entire village on the day when the ‘abhishekam’ is performed.
The fisherman community performs the ‘abhishekam’ by bathing the ‘grama devata’ in steaming ‘varada pasham’ or the ‘flood pudding’. It is believed that the vapour from the delicacy will reach skies and stir the rain clouds there.
At a rather higher level in society the ‘Varuna yagnam’ is performed where in the ‘abhishekam’ is done with liquefied butter or ghee. The fumes from the ghee are also believed to reach the skies and stir the rain clouds.
Dance ‘kappa-talli’ is another way of appeasement of Varuna that has its origins in folk tradition.
Two persons shoulder a pole horizontally with a frog tied in its middle go from house to house singing “kappa-talli, kappa-talli kadupu nimpu; jaranta mogulu, cheruvu nimpu”.
The duo collects uncooked rice from households only to use it later to feed the community. The significance of the frog stands out because of the association of the amphibian with rainy season.
As a last resort the rural communities will go in for the ‘meka bali’ or the goat sacrifice in case the dry spells continues much beyond the ‘Arudra karthe’ period of the monsoon that ended on July 3. A spotless black goat will be sacrificed to appease the gods.