KULA DEVATHA OR TUTELARY/FAMILY DEITIES:
ORIGIN AND CONCEPT
DIVINES IN PARABRAHMA LOGA
On the appearance and nature of divines worshipped in India let us understand how the appearances of divines were formed? It is generally believed by the pundits that the divines emerged from Parabrahman Loga. According to mythology, Para Shiva is the single incarnation of all souls and deities. In Shaktism, Adi Parasakthi, is considered to be the Para Brahman both with and without qualities, and also Brahman in its energetic state, the ultimate reality. According to Devi Suktham and Sri Suktham in Rigveda she is the womb of all creation. Though it is unclear as to how the divines whom we see today received specific appearances and shapes, the broader opinion is that they received their features and appearances in Parabrahman Loga which may have been the womb of female part of Parabrahman who is embodiment of male-female energy.
97.However the matter for debate is whether the Prime divines like Lords Siva, Maha Vishnu, Brahma and Goddess Parvathi were also shaped in Parabrahman Loga. Which fleet of divines got specific forms and shapes? Were entire fleet of divines who were created and energized inside the Parabrahman Loga sent to earth? Were features of each divine already pre-determined? These are some of the most difficult queries that remain unanswered.
98. The spiritual masters explain that even before the Cosmic was created by Parabrahman, several lakhs of invisible divines and deva ganas existed as divine energy rays within Parabrahman with certain characteristics and appearances. Parabrahman plane was centralized energy center called Parabrahman Loga- in which lakhs of divine energy rays of Parabrahman were stored. Remember that the Earth and Ocean were also lying inactive inside Paramatman till he released them.
99. In the opinion of several Pundits, prior to converting his energy rays in different forms and appearances, Parabrahman created principle architect of the universe –Deva Shilpi- to shape their appearances within him (Parabrahman). It is believed that the divine architect sitting inside the body of Parabrahman gave shape and appearances to entire fleet of divines that included Prime divines like Lords Siva, Vishnu, Brahma and Goddess Parvathi. The Rig Veda mentions about the role of Deva Shilpi Viswakarma and so are few more Upanishads. Accordingly Deva Shilpi Viswakarma brought out several images from his nave and used them as models for shaping the divine appearances. In the historical Vedic religion, the role of Viswakarma as the builder of gods is attributed to Tvastar who was vedic artisan god or fashioner. Vedic Viswakarma is identified with Prajapati rather than Tvastar. In later mythology, Viswakarma is sometimes identified with Tvastar and is a craftsman deity.
100.The divines thus created remained invisible inside Parabrahman, waiting for call to manifest. Once every form and appearances were finalized inside his body, the invisible cosmic was made visible and it was left to Lord Brahma to chalk out the destination for the manifestation of the divines created, and time of appearance as Lord Brahma was exclusively authorized to do so.
101. This secret was revealed by Lord Brahma to the first sets of Maharishis. Sriman Narayana (Lord Vishnu) too revealed the said secret to Narada Muni by way of sermon called Rahasya Sthuthi. Few pundits also say that the secret was revealed to Goddess Parvathi by none other than Lord Shiva himself when they were sitting alone in a cave in Himalayas. Their conversation was overheard by a divine bird which revealed the secrets to hermits and Rishis who transmitted the contents to the folks of universe by word-of-mouth stories.
102. Why were the divines shaped inside the body of Parabrahman? It is believed that the divine rays which were converted into some form in Parabrahman Loga needed to be energized suitably to play their active role in the cosmic. Unless the power rays possessed some form and energized, it would not be possible for them to absorb or retain the scripts of their role in their body to display them whenever they descended on earth, lest there could be chaos in interaction between divines and humans. Primarily for this reason, divine power rays were given some body and appearance to absorb and retain the scripts to practice and rehearse them in the invisible universe inside Parabrahman.
103. It is interesting to know that during the first half period after the cosmic had been created and invisible energisation process was taking place in Parabrahman Lok, many deva ganas and divines incurred curses for one reason or the other for their flaws during learning process inside Parabrahman Loga. Similarly, some of the Prime deities too accrued certain curses.
104. After the land space was created, when the souls were sent to the universe,many of those divine forces in the form of divine energies in Parabrahman Loka too descended on the land and hid themselves in the spaces allotted to them. Though Sanathana Dharma believe that the features of the divines were known to the mankind only through Maharishi Ved Vyas who is credited to have included the illustrations of Hindu gods and goddesses in the texts compiled by him, what confuses is that in those period of time everything was only transmitted orally which were written on palm leaves. Perhaps those who compiled them in palm leaves might have understood the true features of the divines by constantly contemplating (meditating) on them and left illustrations in palm leaves as they saw for future generation to copy them. When the divines emerged in the universe they were given a human form by few divine artists like famed Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), who gave classical representations of Hindu gods and goddesses basically by understanding the divine features.
ONSET OF WORSHIP AND ADVENT OF DIVINES
105. Lord Brahma realized that the folks in Satya Yuga called ‘Yuga of truth’ would remain free of greed, negativity, free of evilness, pure at heart and acts, free of anger and vengeance etc and therefore not much divine forces would be needed to guide and guard them in Satya Yuga, but only subsequent Yugas would require more divines. Therefore he ensured that after the cosmic was created, increased number of divines in various forms and appearances manifested beginning from Thretha Yuga and continued till the end of the fourth Yuga called Kali Yuga.
106. Lord Brahma foreknew that with the dawn of every new Yuga, the mind culture and behavioral attitude and characteristics of humans would gradually fall from purity to darkness, and by the time the Kali Yuga emerge, the morality of the mankind would have reached the lowest ebb.
107. Lord Brahma was aware that yuga after yugas, the initially created souls would keep multiplying into several million souls even as land space would also increase to accommodate them till end of one Manvantara. Their behavioral pattern would also vary from Yuga to Yuga as the characteristics of the land would have its influence over their mind culture. Hence Lord Brahma may have planned for the creation of more and more divine forces particularly Kula Devatha or Tutelary/Family deities to take care of the increased populace in each of the Yugas. Perhaps this is the reason why we could see thousands of divine forces of all nature emerging afresh in different parts of the universe from Thretha Yuga itself compared to what has been mentioned in our puranic texts and epics.
108. After the land was made ready for the souls to settle down the Satya Yuga under the 3195th cycle of Chathur Yuga, Lord Brahma’s creations began to turn into mild knowledgeable creatures. It is believed that the acts like worship of some kind of divine or formless divines began to emerge at a very, very low key and gained momentum somewhere in Thretha Yuga and Dwapara Yuga. As the humans begun to gain knowledge, the folks who lived in each patches of land began to believe that something beyond their thinking, super humans existed and prayed to the unknown to guard them which laid the foundation for worship, later expanded to the adaption of Kula Devatha or Tutelary/Family deities.
109. The historians and archaeologists confirm that the folks of pre-Vedic period worshipped sun, moon, fire, trees, mounts, rocks along with some engraved figures and some forms of nature.
110. Once the feeble belief that someone more powerful than humans exist entered into the mind of folks, the feeling turned into fear for unknown thus ultimately leading to some kind of worship to the unknown in open spaces. Since entire land across the universe in the initial stages were patches of land and bushy forested lands occupied by few humans along with animals, the folks worship to stones, rocks and trees continued to be performed in open spaces for long period of time. The folks feared to go near those specific stones, rocks or even certain trees fearing that something unusual, unknown spirits resided there and therefore stood from a distance and prayed to save them. This was happening to the fine-tuned drama of Lord Brahma who wanted the folks to begin accepting the existence of divine forces out of fear. The divines meant to settle in those places entrenched in them in invisible form and kept on increasing the fear of the folks till they completely surrendered to them.
111. The low lying Maharishis with disciples, Rishis, saints and sages took the opportunity to convert the fear of the folks into some sort of worship pattern by orally transmitting stories to make the folks believe that the mysterious appearances were super humans- called divines – who had come there from space above (heaven) to guide and guard them. Thus, it is fair to believe that the worship of invisible deities may have began sometime before six million years since as per scientific theories the first sight of humans were seen only at that period. Slowly the first set of divines released by the Prime divines too began to appear through mystery lightening, thunders, fearful sounds, ghost images etc in several areas and became group specific deities. This is how the group specific deities slowly turned into Tutelary/Family/Kula Devatha in the later stages.
112.Each part of the land had unknown nos of invisible divine manifest. We need not dwell deep in to different forms of worship as it would be suffice if one understand that the concept of divine worship began before six million years ago even though the first primitive primates in the category of Anthropoidea (the bigger-brained monkeys and apes, including humans) appeared 55 million years ago. No clue on the manifestation of divines before 55 million years is available. Therefore it is safely assumed that the divine worship and appearance of divines have commenced only before six million years from now on.
Part- 7 Continued…….
References:- Some of the information found in the following sites, folk lores, discussions with temple Pundits and elders of yester year generations helped me in compiling the above article.
Acknowledgement: I acknowledge with grateful thanks, Dr. V. Sankarkumar, consultant medical officer in USA, who edited my article with valuable inputs before publishing it. He has been writing articles of spiritual nature in both Tamil and in English and has contributed much in one of the Shirdi Saibaba blogger (https://shirdisaibabatamilstories.blogspot.com/-in which I was one of the two coordinators) by translating the English articles into Tamil. …..N.R. Jayaraman (firstname.lastname@example.org).