The three-day annual ritual of Madae Snana concluded at the Kukke Subramanya temple near Mangalore on Sunday, even as reformist activists had vowed to stop devotees from performing the ritual, terming it as a violation of human rights.
Sunday being Champa Shashti or Subramanya Shashti, a total of 575 devotees performed the ritual that involves rolling over leftovers of the food consumed by people belonging to a higher caste. Over a lakh devotees visited the temple and security was a concern, said the temple authorities.
dna did a reality check on why the medieval practice of Madae Snana is being practiced even today. The temple authorities said they did not promote Madae Snana in any way. In fact, the temple does not even have a service called Madae Snana and there is no fees charged for the ritual, they said.
“The devotees come on their own accord and take part in the ritual. We do not have to permit anybody nor can we stop them from practicing this ritual,” said one of the authorities.
The practice stems out of a popular notion that the ritual should be performed for getting rid of dermatological problems. Usually these notions are nailed into the minds of the devotees by astrologers, “those who seek solutions to their problems through divine methods do approach astrologers who suggest various ways. Madae Snana is one such (solutions prescribed by astrologers). While most devotees perform Madae Snana and take a bath after the ritual, I have seen many devotees going as far as Mysore or Bangalore with the leftover food particles still glued on to their bodies,” points out Gopal Bhat, a religious worker in Kukke Subramanya.
Rajamani Senthalir, a hotelier from Kanyakumari, traveled over 1,000 kilometres to Kukke Subramanya temple to perform the ritual on Sunday. “I did not know about this ritual, but I had some problems which never used to go away. When I consulted my astrologer, he suggested that my family and I perform Madae Snana at Kukke Subramanya for three years. So I performed the ritual today,” he said.
K Shivarmu of Hindulida Vargagala Jagruta Balaga of Mysore said this is a handiwork of astrologers to keep the Madae Snana concept alive. “We do not know when and who performs Madae Snana, so the government should bring the Anti-superstition Act as quickly as possible to stop this ritual.”