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God of Smaller Beings
April 01, 2013 by:
Ravikumar Ambadi Points: 12
When the soul keeps its search for God, when the rich try to bribe the gods with cash and kind, here is a god of lesser beings who lived among them and fought against the feudal lords. Muthappan, the vastly worshiped god of Northern Kerala has a communist flavor in his activities. That could be the reason why he is worshiped widely in Northern Parts of Kerala which is a strong ground for leftists.
When you attain the highest spiritual knowledge or Brahmavidya, then you will be eligible for communicating with God. You should lead a well disciplined life and should follow the instructions of Vedas to acquire this knowledge. The people who reached at this stage were called Brahmins or Brahmanas and they were the mediators between us and the almighty for several centuries. They charted out the rituals, they designed our lifestyle and they laid out the boundaries which we are not supposed to cross. The punishment for disobedience was severe. It was not limited to the punishment in our earth, but will continue even in the hell.
The tradition, the beliefs, and the rituals, everything has been made to suit the lifestyle of these upper class people. A slight deviation from that will invite the wrath of God. When the world was moving around the gods of those mighty people, there appeared a God who always loved to live among the poor and downtrodden. A God, who preferred to follow the lifestyle of those illiterate labors, A God, who ate and drank what those poor used to; and that divine incarnation is affectionately called as MTHAPPAN, the Grand Father.
Muthappan who is widely worshiped in the northern parts of Kerala is believed to be a fusion of the powers of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The legend goes like this. A local landlord, Ayyankara Illath Vazhunnor of Present day Kannur District of Kerala was quite upset for not having a child even after several years of marriage. His wife was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and she used to pray every day for a child. Once on her way back from a bath in the nearby river, she found a baby boy lying on a flower bed. She took him home and both she and her husband decided to bring him up as their own child.
When grown up he used to go inside the nearby forest every day with his bow and arrow and used to hunt down animals. He takes all dead animals to the nearby tribal hamlet and cooks it and eats it along with the tribal youths. This was quite objectionable in the then prevailing lifestyles of Brahmins. When such acts have become unbearable, his father scolded him. At that time he revealed his Viswaroopam or the cosmic form in front of his parents. They were astonished to know that their adopted son is none other than Lord Vishnu. After revealing his identity, the young boy told his parents that he could not stay over there for long and left the place.
On his journey Shiva Chaithanyam or the power of Lord Shiva entered him.
Throughout his life he led the life of a gypsy and fond of drinking toddy and eating meat. He fought with many landlords and saved tribes and the people who belong to the so called lower casts as per the system prevailing then. He has always been seen as an old man and people affectionately called him Muthappan or Grand Father. Thus the name Muthappan has been established to the union of two divine powers, those of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Towards the end of his life he went to a small hillock there in the present day district of Kannur called Purulimala and attained Nirvana there.
He has been started worshiping as god by tribes initially as he has fought a good number of battles with the landlords to safeguard their interests. It is believed that the intention of his incarnation was to destroy the feudal lords who were very proud and cruel in their behaviors to their subjects. Since most of the land lords of those days were Brahmins, Muthappan got an image of a crusader in Anti-Brahmin movement.
Apart from Purulimala, where he attained Nirvana, there are many temples in North Malabar area of Kerala state those are dedicated to Muthappan, the most famous one being at Parashinikkadavu in Kannur District. The rituals at any of these temples are being performed by Brahmins and the rituals are quite opposite to the one practiced by Brahmin priests. The mostly accepted offering to god is toddy and fried fishes. The prasada which is being distributed to the devotees also will be the same.
It may be a coincidence that this rebel god has been born and widely worshiped in Kannur District, where the first seeds of communism brought up in Kerala. Even now this district is dominated by leftists and many of them are strong devotees of Muthappan though their guiding philosophy is dialectical materialism.
The cult of Muthappan, the god of downtrodden has come out of Kerala. Though the Muthappan Temples are not as popular as Ayyappa Temples, they exist in almost everywhere where there is malayalis including in Hyderabad. The one at Subhash Nagar in Dairy Farm Road in Secunderabad is also a popular one among the temples outside Kerala.
As mentioned earlier, there is no "satwik" mode of worship being followed here. The main part of worship is an enactment of Muthappan. The chief will do this performance and it is believed that the invisible power of Muthappan will enter in the body of the person who do enacting. The person will make predictions too at this time.
Theyyam, an art form which personifies Gods is another method of worship in these temples. However, this will be conducted only on some specific days. Usually tribal folk perform this art. It is believed that the muthappan will enter into the person who acts in the role of muthappan. All other people, irrespective of cast and social status will bow in front of him and take his blessings. This was the only moment in those days where an upper cast man fells on the feet of a tribal and taking his blessings. Thus the concept of Muthappan is a revolutionary one which used to exist in Kerala centuries before the arrival of Communism to this soil.
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