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Oh, My Goddess!

by Vidya Sury April 22, 2012 31 comments
That’s what Vidur always says. Not “Oh my God!” but “Oh my Goddess”.  Why? Because he thinks women and men are equal. So gratifying. And even though I do love temples, thanks to him, I get to see a lot more, through his special interest and his goal to write a book about the Mother Goddess, Shakti and the temples dedicated to her.

So today, on Earth Day, I share photos of a temple near our house. It is called “Circle Maramma”. Circle, because the temple is located across a circle on the road, a landmark junction. Maramma is Mariamma, a form of the mother Goddess. This is a temple where the deity is believed to have special powers. Oh Faith is such a lovely thing. There was a time when I used to go there every Sunday and light lemon lamps. Fond memories.

Over to the photos!

The sight of the temple, as we approach that part of the road is quite breathtaking.  Vidur freaks out when he sees it -and always wants to stop and visit. She has a sweet and serene face. And it is so colorful.

This part is to the left of the picture on top. I am yet to learn to take panoramic views.

Another side – the right side of the first picture.
Yet another panel of the front view. It is very beautiful. I always imagine the patience of the people who built it – and then painted it so colorfully. They refresh it every five years or so.
One of the deities in the prayer hall at the side of the temple. This is Goddess Annapurna Devi the Goddess of Nourishment. That is Lord Shiva, her partner, at her right. The story goes that Shiva once told her that the world and everything in it is an illusion. The Divine Mother, Parvati, worshipped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became angry.  She decided to teach Shiva a lesson and disappeared. This brought everything to a halt and the earth became barren. Living beings suffered without food. Seeing this, she softened and returned to earth, in Kasi in Varanasi, India and set up a kitchen. Shiva heard about this and went to her, holding out his bowl of alms. He realized his foolishness. And all was forgiven. Parvati fed him with her own hands. And  from then on  Parvati is worshipped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment. Legend has it that she does not eat until her devotees are fed. And that Shiva goes there every morning to be fed.
This is “Ardhanaarishvar” Ardha = Half Nari = woman Ishwar = Shiva/Man
Ardhanarishvar represents the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe and illustrates how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from  or the same as,   Shiva, the male principle of God. Shiva is a dude to treat Parvati as his equal, no? I like.

So that’s it for this week. Let us head to Unknown Mami’s and wish her a Happy Earth Day and see what’s happening with the rest of the world. Our world.

Earth Day is a day for action -an opportunity to appreciate the environment and uniting voices around the globe – and working towards a healthy planet.  This year for Earth Day 2012, the theme is Mobilize the Earth™ and demand a sustainable future. Here’s the history of Earth Day and how the “celebration” came about. You can pledge an act of green.

Earth Day should be every day, don’t you think? 

Read Vidur Sury’s post about how our universe began

Have a great week ahead!

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Molly April 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Such beautiful images. I love the vivid colours.


Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 7:56 am

Thanks Molly. It is lovely to see those men at work, painting the statues intricately!

Wayne W Smith April 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I the history that goes with the pictures. I look forward to your post every week.

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thank you, Wayne! I look forward to coming over to Touristic too!

BLOGitse April 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I agree with Tara.
And the colors…
Happy Sunday!

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 7:58 am

Thank you, BLOGitse! Happy Week to you! Hope Mr BLOGitse’s birthday was fun!

Terri Sonoda April 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Ah, Vidya, what a lovely way to begin my Sunday! A nice cup of coffee and your breathtaking photos. Such detail and color! And your narrative just adds the cream, ya know? LOVE it. I’m happy to hear that Vidur believes in men and women being equal. Just lovely! You are blessed my dear.
Have a beautiful Sunday, my friend.

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

Oh, Terri, you write the most beautiful comments! Hugs! I am visualizing you sitting with your coffee – I hope one day we’ll do that together! Thank you!

Tara R. April 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm

These temples are absolutely breathtaking.

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 7:57 am

Yes, Tara. And these photos are just the tip of the…em…structure!

Betsy at Zen-Mama April 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm

This is just beautiful! I love the stories and I, too, love the colors. I think people had a different concept of time back then. And of what a job should be. I can’t wait to come visit you sometime in the future. I just know Oliver and Vidur would get along so well!

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

Betsy, I so look forward to the day you’ll visit. Yes, I think Vidur and Oliver will have a great time together, sharing what they know! 🙂 Just remember you have a standing invitation! Hugs!

Galen Pearl April 23, 2012 at 2:08 am

You already know I LOVE it when you write about your faith and your culture. The fantastic photos are bonuses. You should be a tour guide! I would love to hang out with you for awhile and see your culture through your eyes. Thank you so much for such great posts about your life.

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:01 am

Dear Galen, 🙂 thank you! I was lucky to have a Mom and GrandMa who would regale us with stories and I would be totally fascinated! The wonderful thing is, Vidur is so crazy about temples and their background story – i enjoy hours and hours with him – sharing them with me. I am so glad you enjoyed this!

Kaylen April 23, 2012 at 2:50 am

Wow, breathtaking!! I wish I could see it in person, it looks AMAZING.
Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

Thank you, Kaylen. In spite of being used to temples like this, we still freak out when we travel south and see those huge statues of deities. 🙂 I hope you visit sometime!

vanita April 23, 2012 at 4:43 am

i am so jealous of you! i would love to visit these temples. ya know (well of course you don’t but thats how i start these sentences lol) ya know, i’ve read the shivpurana and i don’t remember ever reading this about parvati ma. the again, it is His purana. lol i’m looking forward to Vidur’s book. ignorance causes fear girl and i can not tell you how many hindu guyanese fear shakti ma. even my own mother taught me when i was growing up not to prey to mother that it could be dangerous. she was raised to think this way. it took me a lot of years on my own to learn for myself and i’m sure Vidur’s book will be a great tool to help teach my children. you HAVE to email me when his book is done. Jai Shakti Mata! thank you vidya. i can’t wait to show my husband these pictures in the morning. you know, when he’s awake 😉

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

Hey Vanita! Good to see you here. I’ll certainly send you a copy of Vidur’s book when he is ready with it!

There is a belief that the ‘angry’ form of Durga must not be worshiped at home – but then, all these are just beliefs. Vidur tells me that it is perfectly okay to do that – and we did. Things are quite cool. His point is – how can a human being expect God to behave like him/her. I am still stunned with that answer, you know. Talk about faith!

I hear you about believing in what we were told – religion is like that. 🙂 But rest assured, God is good and kind 😀

Hugs – am so glad you came by!

Vetrimagal April 23, 2012 at 4:51 am

Is it Mariamman in Tamizhnadu? Devotees believe in her healing touch , for illness.

Lovely pictures.

I am still not used to appreciating Gods painted in colors, all due to conditioning over the years looking at stone sculptures. 🙂

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:07 am

True, Pattu. Mariamman cures all. I used to find it strange to see the colors too – but now I am used to it. I prefer the stone sculptures – somehow they look more authentic 😀 Thank you for visiting!

Michelle April 23, 2012 at 6:40 am

Such great photos and a beautiful story to go with them. It left me wanting more!

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:13 am

Thank you, Michelle! Hope you’ll visit often!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com April 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I feel honored to visit your corner of the world every week. The pictures are indeed breathtaking. Thank you.


Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:14 am

Thank you, Robyn. I just thought of your horse and laughed again. So delightful!

My Inner Chick April 24, 2012 at 2:18 am

—- Vidur always says. Not “Oh my God!” but “Oh my Goddess”. Why? Because he thinks women and men are equal.—-

Sweet Vidya, you raised your son beautifully & boldly. Xxxxx Love it!

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

Kim, You’re just amazing to notice my favorite part of the post 😀 Hugs. I am glad he is like that, especially when we live in a society that often does not treat women as equals. I always look forward to your visit!

Paige | simple mindfulness April 24, 2012 at 5:19 am

This is so beautiful! I wish American culture supported such amazing beauty. Thank you again for sharing your world with us Vidya!

Vidya Sury April 24, 2012 at 8:16 am

Thank you, Paige. I am sending you an email with pictures of temples in the US and other parts of the world. 😀 Hugs!

Unknown Mami April 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I love the parts of your relationship with your son that you reveal to us.

P.S. I’m enjoying the book I won. I’m reading it slowly and taking it in and finding it to be a helpful reminder.

Vidya Sury April 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Ah, thank you Unknown Mami. 🙂 Our children make life worth living.

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