Shri Mariamman, the prominent Goddess, is celebrated as Goddess of rain and adorned as the consort of Lord Shiva in Hinduism. This Goddess is cordially and humbly worshipped by the majority of people of Tamil Nadu in India. Since She is Goddess of poor and village people, her prime temples are situated in many parts of the state of the country. The Hindu people are having great interest on worshipping Goddesses like Shri Mariamman and it is believed that Shri Mariamman is the symbol of sacrifice and motherhood, and She will offer abundant wealth and good health to her faithful devotees. Those days She was also worshipped as the Goddess one who will save her people from viral diseases like smallpox, measles and chickenpox. Margosa tree and leaves, turmeric powder and rain are the things associated with the Goddess Mariamman.
The Story of Goddess Mariamman
In legend it is told that She is the other incarnation of Goddess Shakthi, the consort of Lord Shiva. There is an interesting story about this Goddess. Once Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakthi took the incarnation of saint Jamadhakni and RenukaDevi on the earth. They had five sons namely Visu, Viswas, Viswaruban, Paranjothi, and Parasuraman. Shri RenukaDevi did all the favors to her husband saint Jamadhakni. She had great spiritual power as she was able to make a pot out of fresh mud in which he used to carry water for pooja activities at their home. One day she happened to see a kandarv on the sky and stunned on his beauty for a while. Though she was Goddess Shakthi in previous birth, she behaved as ordinary human on seeing kandarv. Because of her misdeed, she happened to lose her spiritual power and was unable to make instant mud pot. She reported her husband that she was disturbed by an animal and so she could not bring water to home. But the saint knew the truth by his Gnan and became furious. He asked his first four sons to cut off the head of their mother. But, they refused to do that. The saint cursed them and called out his youngest son Parasu Raman who used to obey the words of his father. Once his father told to chop off the head of his mother, he immediately rushed to chase RenukaDevi.
The pity RenukaDevi ran for life seeking others help. On her way she met an Arundathi girl and stood behind her. On seeing the merciless activity of ParasuRaman, Arundathi girl refused to leave RenukaDevi despite the warning of ParasuRaman. At the end ParasuRaman chopped off the heads of both of them and brought them to his father with grieve. Seeing this the saint appreciated his son and blessed him with boon. Parasu Raman fell on the foot of his father to give life back to his brothers, mother and arundathi girl. He gave his son holy water which would be powerful to fix the heads of women. After getting the holy water he saved his brothers and rushed to the spot where he killed his mother and poor girl. But, he got confusion and changed the heads and bodies and fixed his mother's head on the body of arundathi girl. From that day RenukaDevi, the incarnation of Goddess Shakthi got the body of arundathi girl and began to be humbly worshipped as Shri Mariamman.
Various Ritual Activities Performed by The Devotees of Mariamman
In some places of Tamil Nadu where the prime temples of this Goddess is situated, people used to undertake some ritual activities like Agni pot, Fire Walk and Kavadi. These kind of ritual activities will be performed every year during the festival time. Before performing these ritual activities everyone would follow strict viradam for the period of 30 days. On those days, people will avoid non-vegetarian foods, sex and other bad habits including smoking and drinking liquors. It is believed that Shri Mariamman will offer good wealth and health to her devotees who will undertake these ritual activities.
Agni Pot (TheeChatty)
This is a small semi-spherical pot made out of mud which is painted with different colors. The pot will be partially filled with rice husk and some margosa wooden pieces to make fire in the pot. To ignite fire inside the pot, camphor will be used. The mixture of oils like gingeli and castor will be added to the burnning margosa sticks to get constant fire. The Agni Pots will be carried by the devotees on their hands from their home to the prime temple of Shri Mariamman and the same will be left at the corner of shrine after reaching there. Traditional music like nadhaswaram and melam will be accompanied with this ritual activity. It is amazingly true that smoke which will come out of the fire pot will have pleasant smell and it'll never give irritation to our eyes and nose.
This is containing two semicircular pieces of wood or steel and both attached by a horizontal bar at the bottom. This is usually decorated with colorful shining papers and cloths. Sometimes both ends of kavadi will be provided with small vessels containing holy water or milk. The devotees will carry the kavadies on their shoulder and dance with it until they reach the prime temple of Shri Mariamman. This is also accompanied with the traditional music of nadhaswaram and melam.
This is indeed the toughest activity performed by the true devotees of Shri Mariamman. During festival time fire pit will be prepared by burnning the wooden pieces at a place nearby the prime temple. The burnt wooden pieces will be broken into small pieces in order to get a layer of embers. The devotees carrying fire pots and kavavadi will dare to run over the embers. This will be performed only by very few devotees having good will power and confidence.
The Most Popular Mariamman Temples In Tamil Nadu, India
There are many temples of Goddess Mariamman situated in different parts of Tamil Nadu in India. Every shrine has its own story and importance. Shri Karumariamman Temple at Thiruverkkadu in Chennai, Shri Samayapuram Mariamman Temple at Samayapuram near Trichy, Shri Gowmariamman Temples located at Veerapandi and Cumbum in Theni District, Shri Kottai Mariamman Temple at Dindigul and Vandiyur Mariamman Temple at Madurai are some of the important temples of this Goddess in the state.
ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on October 11, 2011:
Thank you so much for coming here and leaving your nice comments onlyhinduism!
onlyhinduism on October 11, 2011:
Very informative article about Mariamman Devi...Om
damien wolf on April 08, 2011:
i truly have a great honour to know about the goddess mariamman,thank u 4 sharing..
Donna Suthard on April 08, 2011:
thank you for sharing this very interesting story!
Sammy on March 18, 2011:
Thanks for the hub page. Mariamman is the most loved of all forms for her motherly love towards all her devotees.
A good look at her smiling face makes one so relieved of all their sorrows 'Om Sakthi Potri'
ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on December 20, 2010:
Dear Friend nabita, Thank you very much for visiting this Hub and adding your valuable comments. Shri Mariamman is my favorite and She will help all living beings in this great world.
nabita on December 20, 2010:
i m really grateful to read ur story abt mariamman n knw alots regrding her she has blessed me recently which is no words to say hail mother mariamman
Sri Maha Mariamman Kovil on December 02, 2010:
Amma Mariamman's Mantra:
Aum Seethalayai Cha Vidmahe,
Supha Hastayai Dheemahi,
Tanno Mari Prachodayat.
Pidari,Kateri,Pechai ammas are Kaval Deivams or guardian angels.
karen on November 22, 2010:
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I AM A GREAT BELEVIER OF MOTHER SHRI KARUMARIAMMAN SHE HAS BLESSED ME IN SO MANY WAYS I LOVE HER
ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on July 14, 2010:
Dear C.V.Rajan, Thank you very much for coming here and your valuable comments. I haven't heard before about the Lordess 'Pidahari'. I think she may be another consort of Lordess Shakthi.
Disillusioned from Kerala, India on July 14, 2010:
This is the first time I hear about the story of heads of Renuka Devi and the Arundathi girl getting changed and it's quite interesting. Are there any puranic or historic references as to how Mariamman is specifically associated with curing of Smallpox?
I have seen in some villages people worshiping "Pidahari" amman. Is she same as Mariamman or is she a consort of Shakti?
sachida nand on March 30, 2010:
Tatjana-Mihaela from Zadar, CROATIA on March 18, 2010:
Om Shakti Om? OK, thank you very much, I know this mantra.
Thumbs up for your interesting Hub again.
ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on March 18, 2010:
Dear Tatjana-Mihaela, Thank you very much for visiting this Hub and very happy to learn about your interest on Hinduism. Yes! She is Goddess of Rain and sacrifice. 'Om Shakthi Om' is mantra of this Goddess as She is also adorned as one of the incarnations of Lordess Shakthi, the consort of Lord Shiva. Thanks again for your great interest on Hinduism.
Tatjana-Mihaela from Zadar, CROATIA on March 18, 2010:
Thank you for writing this Hub, Ratnavera. I deeply respect Hinduistic religion. And love Hinduistic mantras...
Is there any mantra of Goddess Mariamman - I understood she is Goddess of Rain?
ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on March 17, 2010:
Dear artrush73, Thank you for reading this Hub and leaving your nice comments!
artrush73 on March 17, 2010:
Very interesting hub. Thanks you for sharing :)