Saturday, October 3, 2009
Unfortunately, by then I had misplaced the book! However, during the Navratri of 2009, when cleaning the puja room closet at the time of taking Kolu idols out, my mother chanced upon this book. She was aware of my wish of creating a blog about the Peruvemba temple and handed over the book to me.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the family of Late Sri P.K. Krishna Iyer, including his grand daughter P.K. Premavathi (who has translated the book from Malayalam to English), since their book has played a monumental role in this blog coming into existence.
I also consider it to be Sri Ootukulangara Bhagavati’s grace that I could finish this task successfully. May she continue to extend her saving grace upon all of us all at all times and Bless us all with Her Holy presence in Our Hearts, Homes and Lives—always…now and forever.
Om Sri Mahadevyai Namaha…Om satchidananda Roopinye Namaha
Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Matru Roopena Samsthitha
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha
At the Peruvemba temple, Bhagavati is worshipped in Bhadrakali form. Often, the name Bhadrakali is misinterpreted as being one of the fiercest forms of the Devi. However, this is not true. Bhadrakali literally means, “That Kali who safeguards Her Devotees” and as per Agrala Stotram created by Markandeya, Bhadrakali bestows Happiness and Peace upon her devotees.
The most important service performed at the temple is the Chaandu abhishegam to the Bhagavati Devi. "Pattham Pathayam" is a festival celebrated in the last week of December every year. During that time, there is a day when everyone is allowed to freely enter the inner portals of the temple and reach very near the goddess. The temple has its own Aal maram and temple pond. The dewaswom building is now newly built alongside the kalyana mandapam. This temple is very near the Shiva kshetram and Ganapathy temple of the Gramam.
Bringing the dead back to life
Once, a 5 year old boy in Peruvemba village came in contact with his neighbor who was afflicted with small pox. On the third day after the contact, the boy developed symptoms of the pox. His father, worried vowed that till the time the boy recovered he would stay in the temple premises and eat the Prasad offered to the temple deity and would spend the day in Bhajans. However, the child died on the 11th day. The cremation was scheduled for the next day. Around midnight, the people of the house where the body was kept heard sounds from the attic. It sounded like someone was running and someone was being chased. Even as they were trying to figure out the cause of the noise, one of the women in the house entered into a trance-like state and spoke. She said, “I am Mariamma. Without realizing this child is the son of a great devotee of this village Bhagavati, I attacked him and took his life. Now I am being chased and punished by your Bhagavati.” Saying so, she showed her arms, which were now bleeding mysteriously. Further, She said, “I have promised your Bhagavati that I shall bring the boy to life tomorrow after sunrise, but before 8 a.m. So, please do not take the body for cremation. This is my promise.”
Next day, the entire village was waiting to see if what was told by the woman the previous day would come true. Many of them scoffed at the incident saying the dead never come back to life. But, a couple of hours after sunrise, and before 8 a.m., it is said that the boy woke up! When asked what happened, he replied, “An unknown woman left me in the river and walked off. Then a beautiful lady wearing a red sari took me from the river and brought me home. Then she said she is going to the Bhagavati temple.”
Saving a devotee from yakshi
Once, a devotee was accosted by a yakshi. However, she was in the form of a woman and he failed to recognize her for what she really was. Acting like a poor woman, she begged him to giver her some money. The devotee only had a quarter with him which he was not in a position to give away. So, instinctively reached for his money purse and tightened the string around it. As he did that, the yakshi woman started screaming that she was being choked and fled. It was only later when he discussed this incident with the villagers that he came to know the truth. It is said that it was the intervention of the Bhagavati at the right time that saved the devotee.
Extending Her saving grace to all
Once, a 28 year old man was possessed and the spirit announced that it would kill him at 9 p.m. on a particular day. His family tried various methods to cure him, but to no avail. Finally, they approached a devotee of the Bhagavati who was adept at mantras and Vedic rituals. This devotee performed a ritual, and applied Bhagavati’s holy ash on the sick man’s forehead and requested the Bhagavati to protect the possessed man. On the said day, at 9 p.m., it was noticed that a calf tied up in the backyard of the possessed man’s home died mysteriously, but he was safe. The next morning he recovered completely.
Once, a devotee’s wife forbade him from visiting the temple during its festive season citing monetary expense as a reason. Soon after this, she took ill. When the devotee prayed to the Bhagavati to cure her, he heard a voice saying this was a punishment since she forbade him from visiting Her. When he asked for pardon, the Bhagavati told him to ask his wife to keep a sovereign as an offering for Her. As soon as this measure was implemented, the devotee’s wife recovered.
Bhadrakali to Kali
Many years ago, in west Peruvemba there was a famous sorcerer who by his strength had managed to enslave the deity of the village. He used to make that Bhagavati carry his Betel Box and walk ahead of him, as if She were his assistant. It is said that one day this Bhagavati informed Ootukulangara Bhagavati of her misery of being bound by this sorcerer. This enraged Ootukulangara Bhagavati and She decided to teach him a lesson. That night when the magician called his Bhagavati, she requested him to call Kazhagi (Ootukulangara Bhagavati). At that moment Sri. Kazhagi came and took his betel box and walked ahead of him like his assistant. Mid-way at the temple, the sorcerer demanded that the Bhagavati put the box down so that he could chew upon a betel leaf. Once he was done, he ordered Bhagavati to carry it again. At this, She said, “I am not your servant to carry your betel box whenever you want or to put it down s you like. You carry it yourself.” At this, she grew into a gigantic form of Kali and as the sorcerer tried to escape, she slew him with her sword. It is said that his body fell into the tank nearby and his head fell into another tank that was 200 yards away, and the blood that was splashed fell into another tank that was being used by the villagers to bathe their horses. The legend has it, that even today, if the mud at these three tanks’ bottom is red in color due to the magician’s blood.
Before the temple underwent its first renovation, the Village Oracle said that the Swayambhu Bimba rock of the Devi should be left untouched. However, at the time of renovation, one worker was curious to know the stone that the Bimba was made of. So, he put his chisel to it to slice off a piece. At this, it is said that the chisel flew out of control and tore his chest and he died on the third day.
Not to take what is Hers
Once a village youth plucked a bunch of flowers from the Sthala Vriksha at the temple and kept it in his bedroom. It is said that he started behaving strangely after that—almost like a mad man. Worried at this, his family approached the village Oracle for help, who immediately recognized the bunch of flowers. He told them to return the flowers back to the temple and offer something to the deity as compensation for them. The family threw the flowers into the temple tank and made an offering of Rs.10/- in the hundi with sincere prayers to the Bhagavati to pardon him for the mistake. It is said that the youth recovered soon after this.
It is said that Ootukulangara Bhagavati is strictly against occultism. Once, a devotee teamed up with a sorcerer so that he could get the vision of the Bhagavati. As the sorcerer called upon the Bhagavati, the devotee asked questions about Her appearance. The Bhagavati was described as being red complexion—the color of a shoe-flower. She was wearing ivory ear-rings. Before he could describe her further, the sorcerer fainted. However, the devotee realized his mistake immediately and prayed to the Bhagavati to forgive him for indulging in occultism and also prayed to Her to heal the sorcerer. Immediately, the sorcerer recovered and left the village for good.
Bhagavati often intimates her devotees of any danger that they or their families may be facing. It is said that once the Bhagavati informed a devotee that his wife would die in a train accident. Even though he managed to warn his wife in time, she failed to pay heed to his warning and died.
A devotee who was very close to his grandfather was warned of his grandfather’s impending death. He wasted no time in booking tickets and visiting this grandfather. During his visit, his grandfather breathed his last.
Once, my mother and I had been to a puja at my uncle’s place. There we met an astrologer who, just by looking at us, told my mom that we were not worshipping our family deity. He said that you should move Her to you puja room and offer at least, a flower a day. What is surprising is that, this astrologer had never been to our home, but it was true that the photo of the Bhagavati was hung in the bedroom and not in the puja room and so was never worshipped. That very day, we moved the photograph to our puja room and started worshipping the Bhagavati. Soon after, our lives took a turn for the better.
As for me, the Bhagavati first appeared in my dreams when I was staying in the US. My family had moved into a new apartment and She said that the apartment had some un-holy elements existing in it and that she would come and drive them out. Such an experience being the first one for me, I dismissed it as being the work of an over imaginative mind. However a month later some weird incidents took place in the apartment, which is when I shared this dream with my parents. Upon this, they consulted our family astrologer in Kerala, who confirmed that the apartment housed a spirit and performed some puja back in Kerala for us and sent us the talismans and Prasad. After that, the problems subsided to a great extent.