April 24, 2010 - Rajesh Odayanchal
This is a legend of a deprived virgin who was victimized as a result of the oppression and dishonor trusted upon her. When she gained victory through her knowledge, the society scandal mongered her saying she is polluted. Muchilott Bhagavathi is a well educated Brahmin virgin who took the burden of insult, offering her body into the fire.
Among the sixty four villages created by Parashurama the most renowned one is perunchaloor village. Today’s Taliparamb locality. This is the spot center of noble Brahmins famous for their scholarly achievements. Rayamangalathu Mana is a place which gifted the malayala-bhoomi with many famous women geniuses who excelled in vedhashasthras and tharakashasthras. With the grace of the Rajarajeshwara God and also of the immense prayer and dedication, a girl child was born to the king of the mana. This baby child was a treasure for the king who was very unhappy for not having children for many years.
For years Rayamangalathu mana was famous for its scholarship, and it stood a far ahead from other manas, but due to the unavailability of a male descendant, the king was disturbed and he felt that in the absence of a male heir, his mana would get extinct. But the king did not loose hope, he send his girl child to the scriptural school. He decided to give education to the child. Thus she started learning the scriptures and meticulously learned all the lessons. By the age of fifteen she showed her excellence in scriptural learning. During the inactive period too at the mana, she found separate time for grandhaparayana and scriptural learning. Within a short span of time her scholarly achievements reached other different places. She became the darling of naaduvazhis and fellow citizens. She was very kind to the poor so she always had their prayers and love with her. The brim of her youth made her a charming woman, who stood as a beau-ideal. Having the beauteous body with garments and ornaments she became the ignited lamp of perunchaloor village.
But the other Brahmins of perunchaloor village could not approve the scholarly achievements of the king’s daughter who was only a girl. They were eagerly waiting for a chance to disparage her. Some went and fought with her directly. But some tried sending people to measure her knowledge. But they couldn’t win her, not only that they all came back shamefully defeated. In front of the girl’s enlightening questions and logical reasoning the perunchaloor village’s male scholars stood in medley or confusion. The dread defeat within them paved the way to severe repugnance mind. The scholars planned to pettifogger her.
Years passed away, Vedas and vedhashashthras got new illustrious meanings. But these could not be accepted by the patriarchy of the Brahman sabha. In order to deviate her attention towards family life, they reached the mana with marriage proposals. They thought that once she is married and gets a child, she will definitely deviate from her vedantic deeds.
One day Maniyodan thirumeni reached the mana. For his son, he borrowed the horoscope of the Vedanta kaaari and checked it out, whether it is matching with his son’s horoscope. It was really a matching one. She was also the thirumeni’s niece. The beauty God! Thus Thirumeni thought, this is the perfect match for his son and he decided the muhurtham for the marriage. Those days were days of joy and glee for Maaniyaatumana.
After knowing the news about her marriage, dreams sprouted within the mind of vedhanthakaari. Her day dreams were filled with the face of her” would be” which heated her. A ray of smile sprouted on her lips. When she wrote meanings for Veda mantras, shyness spread over her face. Bowing her head she was entangled with bliss.
In both the manas the preparations for the marriage took very speedily. Both the families started inviting their relatives and naatu pramaanees. The marriage granary and feast granary was ready. As the days for the marriage approached near, the work load at the manna increased. The naalukett (quadrangular building) was filled with antharjans and outside nedumpura (a long shed) was filled with male Brahmins. The figure of her fiancé stirred her mind. The hidden meanings of the marriage ceremony and religious rites flowed through her mind flashing and fading. She realized that, the life expanded more than what she expected.
There were only three days remaining for the marriage.
Thinking and Mind full of her beloved lover, Rayamangalath’s darling child with extreme sleepiness entered the naalira.
Who is this … She looked carefully.
Payyanthar, head man of the village “Pachanambhi Thirumeni”…! Along with him no one else is there. What might be the reason for his unexpected arrival? Is it possible that he came here after knowing about the marriage? Many questions arose and flowed through her mind.
Putting a full stop to all her questions, thambhi said. “I have come to request you for a help.
“Tell me what you want?
“I know that a girl who is betrothed, arguing in an assembly is something which is completely against the local customs or conventions. I don’t know for how long this argument will continue. It is not good to quit the argument, before it gets finished. Then it may result in the obstruction of marriage.
Worries swelled within the mind of nambhi. Without knowing what to say next, he stood dumb for sometime then continued…
“Peruncheloor Brahmins have turned into self centered and self conceited people. A solution to this problem could be given only by the progeny of Rayamangalathu mana”.
Women have got the vigour and strength to forgive and to endure than men. The Brahmin virgin was engulfed in thoughts.
So thamburaaan asked her the opinion.
“I will defeat the perunchaloor’s self conceit ness at the “assembly of Udayamangalam scholars”. You can go now peacefully without any worries. Born as a woman, I don’t want to have any kind of privilege in my life”.
The Perunchaloor Brahmins who were trying to disparage her, here comes the chance to fight with them directly. She decided to make them learn a lesson. Everything should have an end, she alleged. Nambhi was happy. Only one person who is born in Perunchalor village can only fight with the Brahmins of pernchaloor, this was what nambhi believed. Thirumeni gave the virgin a present and blessed her. Satisfied he left.
The king of Rayamangalathu was extremely grief stricken when he heard the news of his daughter’s vow. But he did not say a word against this. He knows very well that it would not improve the matter. Her stay at the guru Kula had brought her much dishonour and she was severely put under suffering by the male citizens, and this fact was known to the king. This is the chance to retaliate against them.
At the courtyard of the Udayamangalam temple there arose the argument granary. The scholars who came to attend the assembly bowed before it and took their respective seats. The antharjan and her followers bowed and showed their respect to the people and scholars and stepped on to the stage praying the udayamangalam God. By this time the competition granary and argument granary were filled with people.
The assembly was initiated by the elder scholar of perunchaloor. Filled with conceit and contempt they started presenting their subjects asking questions. To their queries Antharjan and her followers humbly annihilated everything. Finding that they have lost the game, they withrawed from the argument. The next day even though the elderly scholar came to the stage, acquiring more courage, in front of the Brahmin virgin, his fate was again to get whitewashed and withdraw. When she left the stage winning the argument and got gold and bangles, there increased the grudge within the minds of her opponents. They formed a despicable plan to defeat her. Dishonor and self conceit turned those men to animals. The next day the barbarous Brahmins harshly, looking into the enlightening beauty roared.
“Tell me which the greatest pain is? To answer the question, the Brahmin virgin did not take much time. She said:
“Which is the great pleasure…?”
“Sexual pleasure….” Sexual pleasure…! The gurukal was waiting for these words to come out from the virgin’s mouth.
Suddenly the assembly arose into mockery laughter. The pundits significant of what she has said, derived out their eyes. The entire assembly of pundits abused the virgin saying that she doesn’t have the authoritative right to say about the delivery pain and sexual pleasure. She was stamped as a fraud. Insulting and criticizing they said, she might have secretly enjoyed the sexual pleasure. She has caused bad name for the community, so she must be expelled from the community, they decided. There was no one to talk against the upper hand Brahmins.
The Brahmin virgin was abandoned from the house of Brahmins.
They closed the doors, did the refuse, separated the relation, and purified.
The citizens of the locality were shocked after listening to the punishment given to the Brahmin virgin. The whole locality whimpered. The Brahmin virgin begged the upper hand Brahmins to show pity on her. No one heard her sorrowful cry. She was expelled. The disgraced Brahmin virgin walked towards the north reached Karrivellur, prayed deeply before Karivelurappan and Udayamanagalam Bhagavathi and informed her grievance. She tumbled because of hunger and tiredness. She pleaded Payanurappan to give her eternal bliss. And thus she decided to jump into the fire and end her life.
The fire was ready. The flames blazed up. Having embathed, wearing the wet clothes reciting the Veda mantras, she jumped into the fire. Joining her palms in adoration she stood inside the fire. It was at that juncture that Muchiloddan came that way with a pot full of oil. Finding that, the power of the fire is less, the virgin asked Muchiloddan to pour the oil into the fire. He poured the oil into the fire. The flames arose till the sky. That virgin expired inside the fire burning. Through the ordeal by fire she proved her self purification.
Muchilodan in perplexity didn’t know what he has done within a minute. Coming to the reality, he cried for the mistake that he has done. At that time a magnificent light surrounded the environment. That light came directly near to the innocent Muchilodan. It blessed the vaniya. Muchilodan felt that that light symbolized the vedhanthakaaari who was reduced to ashes in the fire. He bowed the light and showed his respect. When he reached his house with the bare pot, he saw the pot full of oil in it. The virgin who has shown her self challenge has now become the Bhagavathi with the blessings of the Karrivellurappan and Udayamangalathu Bhgavathi.Mucilodan realizes this fact and considers the virgin as their guardian deity of the family and worships her. In this way the vedhanathakaaari became the worshipped idol of vaniya people. She became famous by the name Muchilott Bhagavati. In different places there existed the presence of Muchiott Bhagavathi, and there is a belief that she also proved her power. Still the citizens of the locality pay their respect to the vedanthakaari. Muchilott Bhgavathi is also called as Muchilottacchi, Muchilottaamma, and Muchilottpodhi.
Today she is regenerated in Malabar Kerala as the Muchilott Bhagavthi theyyam form. In between the theyyam aattam bringing the marriage badge, arranging the feast all reminisces the observance of the Devi’s interrupted marriage.
From Kasaragod till Panoor, there are 18 important Muchiott holy groves. As “Aaadhi Muchilott” the most important one is Karriveloor Muchilott. During the Kaliyaattam period, at the holy grove of Muchlott, giving of food has got more importance.