DOES THE LAND BENEFIT FROM THIS FARMER’S PRAYERS?
This clip begins with Kolatta remembering the Chola king’s words. He will indeed worship the local goddess of who cares for Ponnivala’s lands, Celatta, three times each day. We see the couple involved in this together. The two greet the goddess respectfully. Then Kolatta’s wife sweeps and clears the area in front of the temple. Finally Kolatta himself waves an auspicious tray in front of the goddess. It holds a small camphor flame that is believed to carry the “essence” of the offerings placed below up to the goddess above. Their actual gift of fruits are placed at her feet along with a vessel of water (used to bathe her statue) and a bell (to help focus her attention on this couple’s act of praise). Another tray bearing a coconut-water pot combo and some incense sticks sits beside the fruits and is given the closest and most central position. What it holds is a traditional sacred symbol that (if I understand the symbolism correctly) makes reference to the on-going mystery and energy of life in the cosmos as a whole. This is a short but lovely ritual called a “puja” and the couple’s execution of the rite is modest but heartfelt. The goddess’ spirit and energy are just beginning to come back to the area after a long hiatus, that three-generation-period of non worship mentioned in my previous blog. This is why the temple as well as her personal icon still have a greyish (somewhat lifeless) look. This will change as Kolatta and his wife continue their worship of Celatta, on a daily basis, over the years to come.
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