The Goddess And The Buffalo​

The story is about Mahishaasur – the Buffalo headed demon king who created havoc in all the worlds causing great destruction to earth.There are many folk traditions where a buffalo is sacrificed to please the Gram Devi, or the village deity Marikamba temple in Sirsi, Karnataka, had a ritual of raising a he-buffalo and killing it during the  Rathotsava.

The Pokharaaj folktale talks about a Brahmin lady who finds his husband had lied to him about being a brahmin, and kills him out of anger, and becomes the village deity. Villagers followed the ritual of killing a buffalo and spreading it’s blood and flesh over the pastures, to mark the beginning of harvest.

In Kannapuram, Tamil Nadu, the wooden pillar over which the animal is sacrificed is considered her husband. When the pillar is uprooted the Goddess is dressed as widow to signify her husband’s death.

Then there’s the Gadhimai temple of Nepal, where about 3200 buffaloes along with other animals were sacrificed every five years.

Of course all of these have been banned, and the animals has been replaced with a pumpkin.

So, does this mean buffaloes are disgusting? 

Figuratively speaking, you can compare the horns of a buffalo which grow backwards, with the imaginary horns of ego, pride and Haughtiness which man grows when he believes he’s superior to everyone

So, male buffaloes are icky?

Not exactly, we also have Mahishi – Mahishasur’s sister, who ruled after his death causing the same disaster. Eventually, she’s killed at the hands of a child who’s later known as Ayyappan.

Oh, then all dark coloured animals are gross?

Not just buffaloes, we also have a cow!
The one who was as white and pure as her milk. Nandini, the daughter of Kamadhenu the wish fulfilling cow of heaven was cursed to flow as a river on earth. The reason : her pride, ahankaar.

Ahh, so it’s about women killing men.

The earliest description of the Goddess comes from the Harappan seals 4000years ago, where she’s riding tigers and staying in trees. Later , Kings found a source of courage and strength in their local Goddesses. Devi Chamundi ( Mysore),  Mata Bhavani ( Tulzapur) , Hidimba Devi ( Kullu Manali) to name a few. They pleased them with the blood of their enemies.

The story is not exactly about male and female, but the goddess represents Prakruti – All of the nature that you can listen to, see, and feel.
The goddess rides a lion, which is a predator and its prey is the buffalo. In nature there are no rules, the lion has to kill the Buffalo for food or else it’ll die of hunger. The buffalo has to make sure it’s strong enough to protect itself from an attack or else it’ll be killed for food. There’s no good or bad here, these is just how nature works. Buffalo is not hideous and the lion is not the king of the jungle, these are just concepts created by us. Because we humans can think, and decide what’s right and what’s wrong. So I guess the whole story boils down to the point that, if the human race becomes so full of itself that it starts abusing  and destroying nature, Nature Will unleash it’s ferocious form to show him who’s the boss.

Sounds familiar, at the time of covid that you were sitting at home because of a tiny part of Nature?

—  By Manas Shetty


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