‘Corona Devi’ reaches Kerala

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Citing a logic, God is omnipresent and can be seen even in a virus, a temple priest from Kadakkal in the Kollam district has started worshiping Corona Devi (Goddess Corona) and installed her idol in in a makeshift shrine attached to his home to ward off the fear of the deadly virus causing the pandemic.

Anilan sculpted the deity with its red spiky tentacles on a thermocol surface laced with chempattu (red linen cloth) in the sitting posture on a pallival (sacred sword).

He said his worship in front of Corona devi was dedicated to the well -being and longevity of all those who are engaged in the fight against Covid-19. According to him, his venture was also part of a protest against those who are creating confusion and chaos over Covid-19 during these tough days.

Against the criticism that he is making use of the pandemic to exploit innocent devotees and make monetary gain, Anilan claims that he has no intention to claim any money from anyone in the name of puja or prasad (offerings).

“Now days many of the people use temples to suit their political interest. While some people want the temples to be opened for worshipping, some others do not want the temples to be opened as of now. Behind all these controversies there is politics playing a major part” he points out.

“In fact my attempt is to give a message. It’s my prayer for the rulers and general public to stand untied and fight against the pandemic, instead of going out and protest. I know very well that if one gets infected he should be treated for the cure. By the time the scientists invent a vaccine against Covid-19 , we have to continue the fight and stay remaining in prayers to ward off the fears,” he said.

Anilan said he was not allowing anyone to offer worship or darshan at his shrine. “As everyone is struggling to ward off the virus and save their lives, it is not the time to visit temples,” he said.

Asked whether his attempt was to mock certain temple traditions and faiths, he said there was no mockery of the tradition intended.

“My worship of Corona devi is in full devotion. Being a Hindu, I can worship anyone or anything as God. What matters is my faith. I am not asking anyone to follow me,” he said.

Asked whether the Corona devi shrine could become a source for ridiculing and belittling temple traditions and the time honoured Hindu faith of worshipping various forms of nature, Hindu Aikya vedi state chief KP Sasikala told ToI that there was nothing wrong in Anilan worshipping the Corona devi.

“Everybody knows that Corona is a virus and proper treatment is required to cure oneself of the infection. If any one worships anything in the name of his faith there is nothing wrong in it according to Hindu tradition,” Sasikala said.

She pointed out that there were several temples dedicated to animals, ethereal beings and even in the name of certain pandemics like small pox. “There is still an offering called vasoorimala (to appease the Goddess of smallpox) at the famous Devi temple at Kdoungalloor,” she said.

Anilan also said that pooja and worship were not his means of gaining any income. He claimed that he was a columnist in some of the Malayalam newspapers and worked as a proofreader at a publication, besides running a vegetable shop to find a livelihood.