Sunday, March 3, 2024



Dragging a Ratha

The dragging with ropes of a miniature ratha or  Ther  i..e, ear  tied to hooks planted on the back of the devotee  is a symbol  of physical pain.  People  are prepared to invite on themselves . For miles and miles  the devotee walks, dragging the cart in the hot sun for hours, on mindful of the anguish, uttering all the way the name of the deity. Even his tongue is pulled out and a silver pin is inserted  to hold the tongue in the desired position. The pin is a miniature  vel  or lance, the weapon of Muruga. 

All along the path, onlookers pour  cold water, rose  water   and sandal -paste  on the devotees to alleviate the effects of the burning sun. This ritual testifies to the pronounced  religious  fevour  of devout Hindus. vis-a vis  the silent rituals  observed  by many in their  private  homes. After a long and tiring trip as a finish  to the ritual, fire  walking  awaits  them. Backed in the hot sun, with torturing  pins  oppressing  the tongue, the flesh on the back is literally being pulled out, the limbs carving for rest, the devotees walk  over the fire, treating  the scorching  embers, as soft cotton pieces  spread to soothe  their  feet . After  this, the pot of milk, sandal paste or holy ashes kept in the car are  taken out  and poured over the deity. The devotee stand in front of the idol  in a super eminent  frame, beyond the realm  of bodily pain, perhaps  in the higher reaches of mind, which perceives divinity  at the fountain source.

While playing  the equine  role, the devotees wear  nailed wooden sandals. In spite  of  all the torture, they do not feel any pain. Persons  who wish to take this role undergo very severe ordeals like observing fast for whole month.