Namaskar brothers and sisters. Today’s article was previously published on caribbeanmadrasi.com but the author, Devi, was on a hiatus and gave up her site, and has come on board to Road To Shakti to share what she can when she can. Please welcome Devi, known as Caribbean Devi on Facebook, and enjoy this article from her about Kateri Ma. -Sati
“Do you have any questions my child?”
Of course I did. But I was in awe. Left speechless.
Before me, within the vessel of a man I had never met before, was a Goddess who knew everything about me. A goddess who referred to me as her child and offered to give me the happiness I’ve wished for so long, if only I promised to not forget her.
“Do you have any questions my child? Do not say no. Mother wants to clarify all for you, so you will not be lost. But you must ask this Mother what you want to know.”
The Goddess Kateri Ma, also referred to as Lil Mother or Small Mother, is a mother like any true mother. She is very loving, always wanting to care for her children and make them happy but also very strict to guide them towards the top of the mountain. Just as I would want the very best for my children, so does Mother. Just as I would discipline my child for hurting another, so will the Mother Kateri.
She has been known to say “I can be very good or I can be very bad, but I am always a fair mother.”
It is sad to say, but many devotees have prayed to Ma to do harm to others. And Ma will carry out their wishes once the required offerings are provided. But Lil Mother will also, out of disappointment, punish these same people for sending her to do harm. Kateri Ma wants to see all of her children live together in harmony and be happy and has no problem disciplining children who have been bad.
You may be wondering, if she is a Goddess, why does she accept these offerings, why does she carry out these requests to harm others…
From my own personal experiences and understanding, the only insight I can share is this: God gave us free will. Free will to choose our paths. Who we are, what we are, are based on the actions we take, the paths we choose. It is not God’s nor Goddess’s “job” to tell us what to do, it is for them to guide us on the path we choose. If you’re going to choose to do good, then do good and know that good will be done onto you. If you’re going to choose to do bad, then so be it, but know that one day bad will be done upon you.
Origins of Kateri Ma
It is said that Mariamma takes the form of lil Mother to accompany Her children anywhere regardless of the cleanliness of the environment. This form of Mother is also capable of entering the bodies of Her children to remove any illness or impurities whether it may be medical or supernatural. She enters the body of sick people and helps them bear pain and cures them. Whenever there is a disease or problems within any person, and there appears to be no known reason we turn to the mother of Kateri. Women also pray to Lil Mother when they are unable to conceive and to protect their unborn child.
Origins of India’s Kateri Ma
In Southern India where Dravidian religion originated, Kateri Amman is a village deity (Gramadevathai) or guardian deity (Kaaval Deivam) worshiped in remote villages of Tamil Nadu. Her temples are quite rare.
She is considered an incarnation of Goddess Bhadrakali/Bathirakali in Namakkal, Tamil Nadu and Lindula, and Sri Lanka. A ‘Kateri Festival’ is celebrated in her honour, to show how she drove away demons who tried to destruct her temple.
The famous folk legend of Goddess Kateri is as follows:
Once Lord Shiva, the destructor God and his wife Goddess Parvati were sleeping. As always, Lord Shiva slept early while Goddess Parvati did not sleep, and went away for a stroll. But that day, Shiva woke up suddenly and looked for Parvati, and when he could not find her, searched for her, and slept again. The next morning, he asked her where she had gone, Parvati tried to evade his question and Shiva questioned her angrily again. She then told him that she went for a stroll because she did not get sleep. The next night, Shiva did not get sleep, and as Parvati went for a stroll again, Shiva followed her secretly. He then saw that she headed for a cremation ground, and taking a terrible appearance, ate the corpses menacingly. Shiva was stunned and thinking that this was her usual habit, went back. The next day he behaved normally with her. Later, Shiva went before Parvati and dug a huge pit between their house and the cremation ground and filled it with hay and leaves. That night, when Parvati went to the cremation ground, unaware of the trap pit, she fell into it. Lord Shiva came behind her. Parvati said nervously, “I am very sorry, I have taken a liking for corpse flesh. I shall stop this habit now.” Shiva said, “I cannot accept you so easily. I will only if you leave behind this horrid habit”. Parvati replied, “I shall leave behind my terrible form in this very pit and come with you”, and doing the same, they covered the pit and went back. That terrible form of Parvati is known to be Kateri Amman.
Origins of Guyana’s Kateri Ma
The great Goddess Kateri Maa of Guyanese Madrasi Rituals is sometimes iconographically identified with a fair complexion Gujarati Goddess, shown in a northern and northwestern Indian style black Sari, carrying a sword and being seated on a horse.
But in many Guyanese Kovils in NYC, you will find her murti to be of a dark complexioned Goddess, with a trident, sword, a cain with neem branches tied to it and wearing a black sari. This form’s true origins are attributed to the Dravidian Kateri Amman.
Neem, limes and dye water play a special role in the healing ointments and drinks mother will bless for the sick.
Mother always appreciates having neem leaves and a lime added to her malas (galand of flowers).
Known story of Kateri Ma…
It is said that while Mother Kali was on the battlefields fighting demons, there were children of Her’s who were sick and wounded. Maha Kali could not fight demons and fix her children so she created a form known as Kateri to help all her children who are sick, diseased and wounded.
Though these are several forms known as Kateri Ma, they are not Kateri Ma. These forms are all worshipped in different ways for different Reasons.
I know, I know…all mothers are one. My personal belief is, these “forms” are all different aspects of mother that are prayed to with different names and intentions. Names have power.
Kateri Ma Song
Translation of Kateri Ma song above
I asked a religious scholar in Tamil Nadu to translate the video above for me. He did the best he can. As a Poosari in the Kateri Ma facebook group pointed out, our version of the prayers are a fusion of tamil, hindi and probably our guyanese accents. Here is the best the wonderful translator could come up with:
Amma Aachanye Baigalamma Thaye
Mother Aachanye Baigalamma (seem to be synonyms to Katteri)
Wooda Ware(?) Kateri Ma
– unsure of word, maybe: O Re Wah Re (Oh hey, wow hey) Kateri Ma
Where are you(?), Goddess
Goddess of power (in the Hindu concept of the supreme Goddess being power)
Lalalai Lalalai Lalalai Re
(Either Words of rhythm)
La – La – Laayi;
Have – have – have brought
Manjatanni Amma, Sambarani Amma
Turmeric water Mother, incense Mother
Pushpampalo(?) Mala Pehnaoongi Maa –
I shall adorn you with a flower garland, O Mother
Om Jaya Jaya Ankalamma
Victory to Ankalamma (Form of Kali, also known as Goddess Angala Parameswari)
Devi Amma Are Katteri, Meenakshi Are Bhadrakali
Oh Goddess Katteri, Meenakshi, Bhadrakali (forms of the Mother Goddess – forms of Kali or Parvati )
Poosai Savai (Sevai?) Ankalamma Jaya Jaya Parameswari
Worship (Poosai = Pooja) and service, Ankalamma, victory to Parameswari
Aarti Utaroon Phool Chadhaoon, Katteri Amma Aao Maa Aao
I offer you Aarti (lamps of wicks in Ghee or oil lit on a plate/holdable device; part of worship), I offer you flowers, O Mother Katteri, come, come
Aasan Baithao Maa
Sit in your position, Mother
Taayavao = Mother..? Ishwariye = Parvati.
Another Kateri Ma song that I love dearly:
How to pray to Kateri Ma
With love and respect.
It is always nice to offer sambrani, incense, fruits, flowers and water.
When attending Kovil, rum and cigarette are also an offering.
Kateri Ma also accepts life sacrifice, but as far as I know, it’s only in extreme situations.
Kateri Ma Mantra
Om Na-moh Shri Kateri Mata Ai-yay Na-mah.
(Thanks to someone very special in trinidad who supplied this mantra – you know who you are sister!)
What to do if you feel Kateri Ma has been bribed to harm you or is blocking you.
1. Consult a pujari at a Kovil. Do not assume anything because there are many forces in the universe that could mash up you life, it does not mean it’s Kateri Ma. Or it could be. But only a pujari can assist with finding out.
2. Keep in mind that Kateri Ma is very loving and will always be willing to help you. Don’t be afraid to worship her or do her puja, under the guidance of a pujari.
What is Arul Vaaku aka Manifesting for Mother aka Playing Mother
This is a good question that I’m asked often. Arul Vaaku aka Manifesting for Mother aka Playing Mother, these all mean the same thing. It’s “channeling” the consciousness and power of Mother so she may speak with you, answer your questions, use her power to heal you. Everyone carries the ability to “Manifest”. From what I understand, it takes years of “training” for adults to reach this stage. The training consists of meditation and fasting to awaken your Kundalini and move this energy from your root chakra to past the crown chakra, where it is said to then become one with “the source” allowing you to channel the Mother or Master. I am honestly not sure how it is determined which aspect of the Goddess you will channel.
Why assistance from Kateri Ma can cost money.
Mother does not want your money. She does not care for money. She wants your love. But in these modern times, to get anything done, costs money because there are so many expenses.
Most times you’ll find that all is asked is that you make some sweets for Ma or bring her a mala.
Sometimes pujas are required .
If you are in need to speak with Mother, you can visit a Kovil and ask the Pujari. Some kovils have a time set aside after Sunday service when they invoke Mother to take cases – this is when she answers questions and cares for the sick. As far as I know, there is never a “fee”.
If you live in an area where you can not reach a kovil, still contact one. Pujaris are able to assist you long distance and do things on your behalf.
It is customary to cover any costs related to any puja that is done for you (flowers, fruits, prasad… these things are not free to obtain in today’s world) and should be an offering from you to Ma – even if you’re unable to offer it yourself, you provided it, you sweated for the money to buy the offerings, you’ve basically given it youself. It is also customary to offer the kovil a donation to assist in it’s upkeep (rent, electricity, water bill, care of the murtis, ghee for the dias – everything is an expense), in thanks for assisting you. If your finances are tight, do not worry. You can go into a kovil on Sunday, the pujari will help you and no money is required to speak to Ma when she is there to take cases. If Mother (or any deity) say a puja is required of you, remind Mother of your financial situation and ask for help to finance what needs doing.
If you request to speak to Mother at anytime other than during service days, then you’ll want to keep in mind that special arrangements were made to accommodate you and it would be good of you to help offset the costs.
Do you have any insights into the Origins of Kateri Ma, favorite songs or info on the other forms of Mother you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.
Jai Kateri Mata!