Hyderabad: Oracle Swarnalatha, who performed Rangam prediction at the century-old Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad on Monday, created a stir by saying she was responsible for the "Kundabothu varsham" (torrential rains) in Telangana.
"I did it to open your eyes (kumbha varsham). I am sharing my anger on you…it's just a sample," she chuckled while expressing her unhappiness over the performance of puja to Her in the temple.
It is interesting to note that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao while touring the flood-hit areas in Bhadrachallam Town in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district suspected "foreign hand" behind the cloudbursts in some parts of the country, including the Godavari river basin, which led to heavy downpour and river in spate.
"I have gloomy information. I am not sure how far it is true. It's a new method that has come to the fore. Some say it's a conspiracy. Don't know who is correct. Some countries are deliberately creating cloudbursts. It happened in Leh, Uttarakhand, etc. Whatever it is, due to climate changes such natural disaster occurs and it needs to be studied," he alleged.
Swarnalatha, a jogini dedicated to Goddess Mahankali, goes into a trance and reels out predictions for the year at the Rangam ritual standing atop a wet clay pot in the sanctum sanctorum of the Mahankali Temple. She answers to queries put by pujaris and others.
Face covered with turmeric paste, with a red vermillion namam bottu on the forehead, she answered questions put by the pujaris of the temple and others at the annual ritual on the penultimate day of the two-day Ujjaini Mahankali jatra or Ashada jatra at the famed temple in Secunderabad.
Asked whether she was happy with the pujas performed to Her, she quipped, "You are actually a hindrance to me. You say you are doing pujas, but you are doing it for namesake. It's for your happiness but not for me. I am accepting it for your happiness but not for my happiness. You claim you are performing pujas. Keep your hands on your chest and think over what you are doing. Are you really performing pujas to my satisfaction, tell me?"
Minister for animal husbandry T. Srinivas Yadav was present at the Rangam ritual and heard her comments in rapt attention, smiling occasionally.
Expressing regrets, the pujari said henceforth they would perform pujas as per her satisfaction. "Every year you want me to say, but you never change. My pujas are not performed well in my temple. I am keeping it in my heart, but you want me to say it openly," she remarked.
Continuing, the pujari asked her to spell out what was in her mind so that they could follow her. She asserted they should perform pujas in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple as per the traditions. "Not pujas for namesake. I want you to perform pujas as per the rituals. Every year you are doing this, but I have ignored since you are my children. How often you change my face, attire? You keep changing as per your likes," she said.
Asserting she would enter their hearts and see that they don't change, she added, "I want to keep my bhakths happy…accept their pujas, but ensure you don't change me."
The pujari promised to follow her directions and do everything to please Her, including a grand attire, gold, etc. next year.
She countered saying, "What will you do to me? I have brought these things. In fact, you are drinking it away…I will get what I want. Though I am unhappy, I still accept it with a smile. I am trying to keep you people happy. At least, now ensure grand pujas as per tradition to me in the temple."
When the pujari pointed to the heavy rains lashing the state since the last 15 days, creating a turmoil, she laughed and said, "I have done it to open your eyes and showering kumbha varsham. Ask why I have done it? (laughs). In the sanctum sanctorum you are performing pujas for name sake. This is to show my ire. And I have to show my anger in a small way, isn't it?"
When the pujari pleaded to Her to not show her anger anymore and that they are not in a position to face it anymore and need her blessing, she quipped, "Kondantha kakunna gorantha chupiyala kadara bala (Not heavy downpour, but should show at least a small downpour to you to show my anger). I am showing this small rainfall so that you realise what you are doing to me. I accept your flowers and pathris. I am not happy with your pujas. I am showing my ire through rains. My vigraha pratistha has to be done. And do it in a grand manner. I will see that nothing happens to my devotees. Do pujas happily. My blessings are always with you."
To the question on seeking forgiveness for the mistakes, she said she kept it in her heart since they are her children. "Even if you do mistakes, it's my responsibility to take care of you. I take care of all my devotes. Women, pregnant women, children and other devotees," she asserted. Meanwhile, devotees raised "Mahankalamma ki jai" slogans.
Thousands of devotees attended the two-day Ujjaini Mahankali jatra in Secunderabad braving rains and chilly weather. Unlike in the past, there were not many Phalarapu Bandlu, decorated carts.
However, there was a poster, cut-out war between animal husbandry minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav and Deputy Speaker T. Padma Rao Goud and their supporters around the temple and on the main roads. Both the leaders hail from Secunderabad and earlier used to stay close to each other. Mahankali jatra will now be celebrated in the Old City of Hyderabad next Sunday.