Glory of Goddess Kathayee
Goddess Kathayee who manifested in Siththadi in difference to the wishes of Lord Shiva is none but Goddess Valli in a different form and appearance. However before we read the history of this temple, it is important to know why Goddess Valli had to manifest as human and continue to stay in Bhoologa (earth) in different places. Pundits say that she manifested to strengthen the function of Lord Muruga who had also manifested for some specific reason. Few others suggest that Goddess Valli had to stay in bhoologa as punishment for mocking her sister Deivaanai. The assumption is completely wrong and unfounded. The Valli malai thava peedam Swamigal explained once ” when Lord Muruga after his marriage with Goddess Valli took her to Skandagiri, they were accorded warm welcome by Goddess Deivanai who was waiting there to receive them. She hugged her sister Goddess Valli in ecstasy and requested Lord Muruga to narrate her the story of her sister Goddess Valli. Responding to her sister’s warmth and love, Goddess Valli on her part requested Goddess Deivanai to be always with her. Thus all three divine energies, namely Gnana Sakthi, Kriya Sakthi and Iccha Sakthi merged together on that spot.” When such were the facts how could there be enmity between sisters to cause curse fall on Goddess Valli? Pundits say that manifestation of Goddess Valli was nothing but the philosophy of union of Jeevathma (who is Goddess Valli) with Paramathma (who is Lord Muruga) the combined energy of which will illumine the wisdom of humans and liberate them from ignorance during Kaliyuga.
Though Goddess Valli is indeed manifestation from Goddess Parasakthi herself, Goddess Valli’s manifestation has to happen only through another divine to conform to the inner aspects of the boon accorded by Lord Brahma to Asura Soorasimman. Hence Goddess Valli along with her sister manifested through the tears of Lord Mahavishnu and quickly took rebirth again to marry and strengthen the divine energies of Lord Muruga who had also manifested from Goddess Parvathi for specific reason in accordance with the norms of Lord Brahma’s boon. Had Goddess Valli manifested directly from the energies of Goddess Parvathi along with Lord Muruga then it would not have been possible for Goddess Valli to marry Lord Muruga, being she becomes his own sister. Therefore this circuitous path had to be adapted by Parasakthi to ensure that all three energies merge together to annihilate asura Soorasimman. The manifestation of all three are thus complicated but linked to a common purpose.
In fact there is belief amongst some scholars in Hinduism that Lord Muruga is not embodiment of two divine female forces both his two wives, but he is also insulated with the power of invisible third female energies who was released by Parasakthi herself in order to give Lord Muruga the ultimate power to annihilate Sooran, the demon asura awaiting death at his hands. The third invisible female energy released by Goddess Parvathi immediately got converted into energized weapon called Gnana Vel to further enhance the energy of Lord Muruga. In this manner Lord Muruga remains the embodiment of three female energies- the first with the energies of invisible Goddess Jyothi, his own sister in the form of a weapon Vel and secondly with the energies from his two wives- Goddess Deivanai as Kriya Sakthi and Goddess Valli as Ichcha Sakthi (The aspect and antecedents of Goddess Jyothi has been explained in a researched article “Swarupa Vel: Skanda’s sister Jyothi” submitted by Dr Alagappa Alagappan in the First International Conference Seminar on Skanda Muruga at the Institute of Asian Studies, held in Chennai in the year 1998 which can be seen in the following link : http://murugan.org/jyoti.htm).
Further interesting aspect in the whole episode has been that the divines are free of caste and creed and each and every human on earth were dear to them equally. This is revealed by the act of Parasakthi who opted to keep one of the three divine energies in the form of Goddess Valli who in earth belonged to Fowler /hunter community to marry Lord Muruga who was manifestation from divines Lord Shiva-Goddess Parvathi. It is no wonder that the same Goddess Valli seated as Goddess Kathayee in Siththadi remains the tutelary deity of several families belonging to different sects including that of Brahmins. This itself speaks volumes on how Goddess Valli has been accorded special status in the divine world.
In a book composed around 1350 by Kacciyappa, under canto 267 in verse Kanthapuranam, the last Chapter Valli Ammai Tirumana Padalam (meaning marriage of Goddess Valli devi) mentions that Goddess Valli was born in a mountainous region called Valli Verppu (present Velore) and both Goddess Valli and Lord Muruga met, fell in love and spent their lovely times till they got married there itself. There is also belief that Lord Muruga and Goddess Valli got married in places like Kathirgamam in Srilanka and in Siththadi.
During the period when both the divines lived on earth the entire plains of Tamilnadu and Srilanka were one plain land without sea separating them and Lord Muruga and Goddess Valli wandered all over the region freely. Considering the divine powers, one can realize that it was not difficult for them to move from one place to the other in seconds. References are also found on Lord Muruga and Goddess Valli in another Tamil poetic text composed in 2nd-3rd centuries. The Tamil poetic text belonging to Kurinchi sub type of Akam Poetry called Narinnai 82.4 contains references on Lord Muruga and Goddess Valli. All the above point out the fact that both Lord Muruga and Goddess Valli may have lived and moved freely in many places in Tamilnadu during 2nd-3rd century. The similarity of appearance of the Kathayee amman idol of Siththadi temple with that of Goddess Valli of Valli Malai – standing posture with headgear and holding a lotus flower in right hand- certainly indicate that Goddess Valli must have indeed stayed in Sithadi village in the same form and appearance as seen in the Sithadi temple idol before departing to Devaloga leaving behind her human body which had over the years turned into granite stone portraying the appearance in which she lived and submerged inside the river Mudikondan.
Outwardly though Goddess Valli manifested and lived in human form with hunters tribe, undoubtedly she is direct divine energy of Goddess Parvathi only. Goddess Parvathi is one part of Parasakthi who rules the entire universe right from its inception till now and Goddess Kathayee being direct divine energy of Goddess Parvathi, her powers of divinity is also that of Parasakthi only. This thus reveals the true aspects and nature of divine powers enjoined by Sithadi Goddess Kathayee. Then why did she prefer to stay in Bhoologa ? Lord Muruga’s wife Deivanai alias Devasena manifested in Devaloga and natured there. Devasena meant the army for Devas i.e celestial. Therefore she was asked to be in Devaloga to guard the celestial in Devaloga where as Goddess Valli who manifested and brought up in hunters tribe was commanded to stay in Bhoologa to protect the humans on earth.
Look at this fact. In whichever temples Goddess Valli has been enshrined, she can be seen flanked by Lord Muruga in sanctum sanctorum or seated separately with independent authority in separate sanctum sanatoriums of the same temples and worshiped only as Goddess Valli. Contrary to such a general stature, only in Sithadi she is worshiped in the name and form of Goddess Kathayee Amman, which is the only second form exhibited by Goddess Valli on earth. You will not find any other temple where Goddess Valli is seen enshrined in some other form or worshiped in some other name. This fact glorifies Kathayee Amman of Sithadi temple. In each one of the temples spread in Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore including in India, Lord Muruga, his consorts Goddess Valli and Goddess Deivaanai are worshiped only in the same form and appearance of their initial name and manifestation except in Sithadi where Goddess Valli is called Goddess Kathayee which is not synonyms with the name of Valli. Though Lord Muruga is worshiped in different other names such as Senthil Murugan, Sinagara Velan, Palani Murugan, etc, etc all those names directly point out the God to be Lord Muruga.
At the same time neither Goddess Jyothi nor Goddess Deivanai enjoin the same status like Goddess Valli seeing by the fact that they are always worshiped only along with Lord Muruga. Even amongst the two, only Deivanai is seen either flanked by Lord Muruga or seated separately in few of the temple sanctums and worshiped, again as only Deivanai. Though it is true that all the three are splinters of the same energy from Goddess Parasakthi carrying divergent divine energy powers to strengthen the act of Lord Muruga during Kaliyuga and to annihilate Soorasimman, only Goddess Valli amongst them remains the tutelary deity of many families while Goddess Deivaanai enjoins no such status till now as we know. All these facts indicate that Goddess Valli’s manifestation is special, specific and important in the world of divine.
Creation of three powers (Sakthi)
After the universe was created by Lord Brahma, both Devas (Celestials) and Asuras lived together serving divines in Devaloga and humans in universe. However as time passed, the relation and harmony between Devas and asuras got strained. While the Devas generally lived in Devaloga in space above universe, on occasions they travelled to earth or even took birth as human to redeem some of the curses. Asuras with evil mind greatly migrated to earth but those with good spirit kept up their own space in Devaloga and lived in harmony with Celestials.
The evil asuras began to slowly terrorize and humiliate people on earth and also troubled Celestials in Devaloga. The atrocities of Asuras reached such a stage that they claimed themselves to be superior to Celestials because they migrated from the divine world. Few of their commanders compelled the rishis and saints penancing on earth to worship them instead of offering prayers to divines. One amongst the asuras who troubled everyone was Soorasimman who initially possessed good aspects when he was in Devaloga, but migrating to earth, he became the most cruel and wicket person. Those who resisted him were subjected to brutality and no one could fight or perish him because of a special boon that he had carried from Lord Brahma.
What was the nature of the boon that he possessed? Lord Brahma while granting the boon promised Soorasimman ‘Sooran means unconquerable and simman means the most fearsome. Therefore your soul will remain eternal. Your soul will take several births and in each one of the birth, you can embrace death only if and when you wish to take rebirth as your death cannot be caused by anyone else. Further, in each of your birth, your original soul will migrate into the new body carrying the same aspects of you and eternity of your soul can come to an end only at the hands of one of the unique female-male divine energy combination which should manifest in human form for a shorter and wider cause. Such manifestation should be manifestation of two females directly from a male and then the two to take rebirth before marrying a third male which will directly manifest in human form from the energies of male-female. But it is necessary that all three manifestations in human form will have to emerge without staying in the womb of a mother’. Why such a confusing rider in the boon and who can manifest in such a manner in human form to end the eternity of the soul?
Since the aspects and contents of the boon was so mysterious and complicated and cannot be understood by anyone, Soorasimman felt elated without realizing the mystery rider embedded in the boon. He wondered what would be shorter and wider cause, how would a male release two females and a male-female release another male all in human form without causing them to stay in womb of a mother? How will all three join together? He brushed aside the inner aspects of the boon feeling that such manifestations can not emerge and therefore death was next to impossible to him.
On hearing the news of the boon, worried Celestials ran to Lord Brahma to express their concern. Lord Brahma smilingly consoled them ‘Eternity itself is not eternal. However I had to grant him the boon he desired due to certain compulsions. Wait in patience, everything will turn to good for a shorter and wider cause if destiny desired. The clarification ‘eternity itself is not eternal and if destiny desired for a shorter and wider cause’ further confused the Celestials who could neither understand the impact, nor the mystery contents of the boon. None even imagined that three aspects of energies from Parasakthi were to incarnate in complicated manner as humans and combine together to achieve the end intent. The three energies to emerge were to be Goddess Deivaanai as Kriya Sakthi, Lord Muruga as Gnana Sakthi and Goddess Valli as Iccha Sakthi. Goddess Valli was to stay in Bhoologa in various temples as Goddess Valli barring Sithadi where she would be in the form of Goddess Kathayee to assist in the mission of Lord Muruga. Secondly in the same temple where she was to be enshrined, Goddess Parvathi would also stay in different other form.
While incarnations Gnana Sakthi (Power of Wisdom), Kriya Sakthi (Power of Action for the path of emotions & passion) and Iccha Sakthi (Power of Will for the path of spirituality) were meant not only for the shorter cause of annihilating Soorasimman, but also for the wider cause which was powerful intervention of divine in the universe to guard humans from the disastrous effects and the atrocities expected in Kaliyuga. If the Gnana Sakthi in the form of Lord Muruga after manifesting confined itself in the path of liberating the wisdom seekers forgetting annihilation of Soorasimman which was the immediate shorter cause, the basic purpose of the manifestation would be lost. Therefore the Gnana Sakthi may need supportive energies such as Iccha and Kriya Sakthi to drag the Gnana Sakthi into the act of annihilation of Soorasimman and later to liberate and protect the suffering humans in Kali Yuga. Hence Parasakthi decided to create Lord Muruga as Gnana sakthi and Goddess Valli and Goddess Deivaanai as Kriya and Iccha sakthi in one stretch in circuitous and complicated manner.