India has always been a land of villages and in the context of village life the most important and powerful divine presence is the gramadevata, a deity identified with the village. A village may have several gramadevatas, each with its own function. Village deities are more numerous than Indian villages, though some are known throughout a region and one of these is the goddess Mariamman (Also called Mari, Mariamma, Maryamman. In the Puranas she is known as Marika.) who has devotees all over South India.
The village belongs to the goddess. Theologically she was there before the village and in fact she created it. Sometimes she is represented only by a head on the soil, indicating her body is the village and she is rooted in the soil of the village. The villagers live inside or upon the body of the goddess. The goddess protects the village and is the guardian of the village boundaries. Outside the village there is no protection from the goddess. The village is a complete cosmos and the central divine power of the village is the goddess. The relationship between the village and the goddess is primarily for the village as a whole and not for individuals. Mari can mean sakti, power, and amman is mother, so she is the mother-power of the village.
However, this relationship is not a simple one.
In some places Mariamman is invoked three times a year to regenerate village soil and protect the community against disease and death. Other places may have an important Mariamman festival.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCT
- Mariamman's worship probably originated in pre-Vedic India. She is the main Tamil mother goddess, predominant in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu. In the post-Vedic period, Mari was associated with Hindu goddesses like Parvati, Kali and Durga as well as with her North Indian counterpart Shitala Devi and Eastern Indian counterpart Manasa.The word Mari has a Sangam Tamil origin meaning "Rain" and the Tamil word Amman means "Mother".
- Mariamman cures all so-called "heat-based" diseases like pox and rashes. During the summer months in South India (March to June), people walk miles carrying pots of water mixed with turmeric and neem leaves to ward off illnesses like the measles and chicken pox . In this way the goddess Māri is very similar to the North Indian goddess Shitaladevi.
- Devotees also pray to Mariamman for familial welfare such as fertility, healthy progeny or a good spouse. The most favoured offering is "pongal", a mix of rice and green gram, cooked mostly in the temple complex, or shrine itself, in terracotta pots using firewood.
- Most temples to Mariamman are simple village shrines, where both male and female priests perform sacred rituals. In many rural shrines, the goddess is represented by a granite stone with a sharp tip, like a spear head. This stone is often adorned with garlands made of limes and with red flowers. These shrines often have an anthill that could be the resting place of a cobra. Milk and eggs are offered to propitiate the snake.
- Very easy to maintain, can be easily cleaned using a cotton cloth
- Avoid using harsh chemicals and acids for cleaning
- Regular dusting should be sufficient
- These idols are subjected to lacquering which will never make the idol lose its shining property
- Pithambari, which is very easily available, can be used to clean these idols but not regularly
- Probably once in 2 or 3 years should be sufficient. Ideally, these idols are maintenance-free