Mariamman is a very popular Hindu goddess in Tamil Nadu, Indian where village folk believe her to be the avatar of Parvati or Durga. While scholars believe that she is a goddess of the pre-Aryan days, most of the common people believe her as Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva or Durga who arose from her to kill the asuras. Some people believe her to be Renuka, the mother of Lord Parasurama.
Normally the priests in her temples do not belong to the Brahmin Community. The common people pray to her for bringing rain and avoiding epidemics. In her temple festivals, it is common to see people walk barefoot on glowing embers. This prayer is an extremely popular prayer sung in her temples. This is known to be one most popular festivals within the South Indian Hindu community, the Mariamman prayer. However popular this festival may be, it is rather disheartening to note that many do not know the origin and significance of this particular deity and festival. The concept of mother worship has existed since time immemorial. Shakthi, as Divine Mother, is portrayed as cosmic energy in its dynamic form. Being the mother of the universe. She is ever ready to heed the call of Her devotees. As such an instance did this force manifest as Muthu Mari Ammen, Muthu (pearl); Mari (rain); Ammen (Mother), thus being titled as the Mother of Rain, that which is more precious than pearls. In a time of great drought, a time when people were plagued with measles, mumps, etc. did these people seek the help of the Divine Mother. This Mother, ever willing to help Her children manifested in the form of a woman garbed in yellow and carrying a pot of fermented meal and some syringa leaves, descended on the state of Samayapuram. Here she fed the ill with the porridge and nursed them with a mixture syringa leaves and turmeric paste. She continued healing the sick and when her work was done She retired to the forest. The people whom She had cured sought Her and wanted to know the identity of this mysterious Atah (aunt). They found Her seated under a syringa tree. They asked Her to reveal Her identity and wanted to know how She could be thanked for saving the lives of so many. She disclosed Herself as the Mother of the universe and asked only that every year in the time that she appeared, her devotees gather in great numbers, worship Her and distribute holy porridge etc. to everybody, and promised to be a guiding and protecting force. She then disappeared leaving torrents of rain to bathe the earth and aid growth of flora. She then became known as Samayapuram Mariatha and Her scripture being the Mariamman Thalaatu. It is, therefore, in this great month of Aadi (July – August) that the Mother Mariamman is venerated as the protector and curer of all miseries. The Gargum symbolising her crown is carried honouring Her as the Queen of the Universe.
How to prepare the porridge?
The porridge is prepared by taking the required amount of mealie meal and soaking it in a pot of water for a period of 5 or 7 or 9 days for it to ferment. You can find that recipe here
Healing of Measles, Mumps, Small Pox etc.
Another meaning of the Tamil word “Muthu Mari” is small pox. This ailment is considered a divine visitation from the Goddess. When a child has this ailment, one should keep the child in an isolated room, which must be kept clean to honour the presence of Amma. All shoes must be removed; a brass vessel containing turmeric water and syringa leaves is placed at the doorway so that outsiders may sprinkle the water on themselves before entering the room, this is to purify or sanctify them. Syringa berry leaves is also hung at the entrance of the door and it is also placed under the bed sheet of the person having the ailment. As it’s been stated earlier, Mother Mariamman used the very same syringa berry leaves and turmeric powder to heal and cure the sick. The syringa leaves has great medicinal value and it is widely used in ayurvedic tonics. These leaves have antiseptic qualities. The turmeric powder is mixed with water and is given to the person with the ailment to drink daily. It serves as an antibiotic internally.
AdiParaShakthii is the Creator of the universe. Adhi means (Primal), Para means (Supreme), Shakthie is (Energy or Power). Thus, Duruga, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Bhavani, Ambika, Kameshwarie, Rajeshwarie, Maha Mariamman – all these are Her Divine Forms. She is One Supreme Being expanded into a multitude of varied manifestations.
An ode dedicated to the Mother Mariamman
Karpoora Nayagiye, kanaka valli,
Kali makamayi karumari amma,
Porkovil konda Shivakami Amma,
Poovirundavalli deivayanai amma,
Virkola veda valli vishalakshi,
Vizhikkola mamadurai meenakshi,
Chor kovil naan amaithen Ingu Thaye,
Sudaraga Vazhvippai ennai neeye.
Hey Lady of camphor, Hey golden tendril,
Hey Kali, Hey great enchantress, Hey goddess of black rain,
Hey darling of Shiva with a golden temple,
Hey climber with flowers, Hey holy goddess,
Hey damsel of Vedas with a bow, Hey broad eyed one,
And hey Meenakshi of Madhurai with enchanting eyes,
I have made here a temple of words for you,
And so make me live like a flame.
Bhuvanam muzhuvadum aluginra bhuvaneswari,
Puram erithon puram irukkum parameshwari,
Nava navamai vadivakkum maheswari,
Nambinavar Kai Vilakke Sarveswari,
Kavalaigal theerthu vidum Kaleswari,
Kar irulin thee chudare jyotheeswari,
Uvamana param porule jagadeeswari,
Unnadimai chiriyenai Aadhari.
Hey Bhuvaneswari, who rules the entire universe,
Hey Parameshwari, who is a part of Him who burnt the cities,
Hey Maheswari, who assumes newer and newer forms,
Hey Sarveshwari, who is the lamp in the hand of them who trust you,
Hey Kaleeswari, who removes all worries,
Hey Jyotheeswari, who is the flame in darkness,
And hey Jagadeeswari, who is the incomparable eternal thing,
Please encourage this base man who is your slave.
Unnidathil chollamal veru enda,
Uravidathil murai iduven thaye, endan,
Annaiaval nee irukka, ulagil matta,
Anniyarai kenchiduthal murayo amma,
Kanneerai thudaithu vida odi vaa amma,
Kathirukka vaithiduthal sario amma,
Chinnavalin kural kettu un mugam thiruppu,
Chirithapadi ennai dinam vazhi anuppu.
Without telling you my mother,
To which relative shall I complain?
When you as my mother is there,
Is it proper to entreat somebody else?
Please come running to wipe my tears, mother,
Is it proper to make me wait? mother,
Hearing the voice of this inferior one, turn your face to me, oh, mother,
And with happy smile, bid me fare well daily, mother.
Kan irandum un uruve kana vendum,
Kaal irandum uun adiye nada vendum,
Pan amaikkum naa unnai pada vendum,
Bhakthiyodu kai unnaye kooda vendum,
Ennam ellam uun ninaive aaga vendum,
Iruppathellam unnudaiyathu aaga vendum,
Man alakkum samaya pura mariyamma,
Maganudaya kuraigalyum theerum amma.
My two eyes should only see you,
My two legs should only come near you,
My tongue which composes music, should only sing about you,
My two hands should with devotion close only towards you,
All my thought should be filled with your name,
All the things with me should only become yours,
Hey goddess of pestilence who measures countries,
Please also fulfill my wants.
Nettiyil uun kumkumame niraya vendum,
Nenjil uun thirunamam vazhiya vendum,
Kathathellam men melum peruga vendum,
Kavithayil uun namam vazha vendum,
Chutham ellam needuzhi vazha vendum,
Jothiyile nee irundu aala vendum,
Mathadellam naan unakku chollalama,
Madi meedhu pillai ennai thallalama.
Your saffron should fill my forehead,
In my heart your name should fill and drip,
Whatever I have learnt should further get improved forever,
Your names should live in poems,
My relations should all have a very long life,
You should rule by being in the flame,
Is there a need for me to tell others,
Should you push me away who am sitting on your lap.
Annaikku upakaram Cheivathundo?
Arul cheyya inneram avathundo?
Kannukku imayayanri kavalundo?
Kanrukku pasuvanri sondamundo?
Munnaikkum pinnaikkum parpathundo?
Muzhumaikkum nee endan annaiyandro?
Ennaikkum vilakkukkum bedamundo?
Enraikkum nann uun pillaiyandro?
Does one do help to one’s mother?
Does the eye have protection other than eyelids?
For the calf, is there a relation except the cow?
Should one see what is before and what is after?
Are you not to the fullest extent, my mother?
Is there any difference between oil and the lamp?
Am I not your son always and forever?
Anbukku naan adimai Aaka vendum,
Arivukke en kadu ketka vendum,
Vambukke pokamal irukka vendum,
Vanchathai en nencham arukka vendum,
Panpukke uyir vazha aasai vendum,
Parivukke naan endrum paniya vendum,
En pakkam ivai ellam irukka vendum,
I should become a slave to affection,
My ears should open only for wisdom,
I should not interfere in unnecessary affairs,
My mind should cut off hatred,
I should like to live only for good things,
I should become always a slave for pity,
And all these should be on my side.
Kumbidavo kai irandum podavillai,
Koopidavo naa onral mudiyavillai,
Nambidavo meyyadanil shakthi illai,
Nadanthidavo kaal irandil aagavillai,
Sempavazha vaai azhagi uun ezhilo,
Chinna iru kankalukkul adangavillai,
Ambalavu vizhiyale, unnai endrum,
Adi paniyum aasaikor alavum illsi.
To salute you two hands do not suffice,
To call you one tongue does not suffice,
To believe in you, I do not have sufficient strength,
For walking, I am not able to do with two feet,
Your prettiness, beauty with red coral mouth,
Does not limit itself within my two eyes,
Hey Lady who has eyes like a bow,
There is no limit in my desire to become your slave.
Kattagi, kanalagi, kadalaginai,
Karuvagi, uyiragi, udal aginai,
Nethagi, inragi naalaginai,
Nilamagi, payiragi, unavaginai,
Thothalum, jayithalum vaazhvaginai,
Thozhthalum azhuthalum vadivaginai,
Pothada naalillai thaye unnai,
Porulodu pugazhodu vaippi ennai.
You became wind then fire and then sea,
You became fetus, then soul and the body,
You were yesterday, you became today and would become tomorrow,
You became land, then crop and then food,
Whether one loses or wins, you became life,
There is no day when I do not praise you,
Please keep me with wealth and fame.
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