Sadhu (saint) who cured a Snake bite (Post No.3259)


Picture from New Indian Express

Compiled by London Swaminathan


Date: 16 October 2016


Time uploaded in London: 18-19


Post No.3259


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks. (Picture are used only for representational purpose;no connection with the current article.)



ODDE (Potter’s Caste)


“The Odde is a potters’ caste, and their district is Canara. They make pots by moulding mud on the primitive potter’s wheel, turning the wheel with a stick. They worship at bhuthasthanas (devil shrines.)


Their marriage rites are completed in a day. The contracting fathers exchange betel-nut, and the bridegroom presents the bride’s family with a ring. At the ceremony a bench is placed within the pandal (constructed of the branches of trees, grass, and bamboo, and decorated with bunches of bananas and flowers), on which clothes, brought by the washer man caste, have been spread. The bridegroom is taken to the pandal by the bride’s brother, and after circling the bench three times he squats on the ground. Women follow him, carrying lighted lamps, rice and fruit. The lamps are hung on twigs projecting from the pandal, and the other articles are placed on the ground. The women throw rice, a few grains at a time, over the head of the bridegroom, which is afterwards shaved by the barber with milk instead of water.


A female barber attends to the bride, who has not yet left the house. The bride is shaved on the pelvis and under the arms; and Indian woman, no matter which her caste may be, disliking to have hair on her body. Next, the bride is dressed in a new sari and taken to the pandal, where she squats beside the bridegroom and they hold hands. The ceremony is consummated by the bride’s uncle pouring water, in which cow dung has been mixed, over the couple.


Interesting Pregnancy Rite!

This caste has an interesting her maternal woman is presented with two chickens by her maternal uncle.

The fowls receive great care and if they lay (eggs) abundantly the woman will be very prolific. When an Odde girl reaches puberty, she is confined in a special hut with a piece of metal, some margosa (neem) leaves, and a few sticks. These are to keep the evil spirits from entering the hut. The girl may eat eggs but no flesh and on the seventh day she is given chicken broth which has been mixed with toddy. This is supposed to increase the strength of her generative organs. The chicken which is used for the broth must be black, and it must have laid eggs for the first time. After the period of menstrual pollution, the girl returns home and the hut is burned down.

The Odde death ceremony has its special variations. After the burial an effigy of departed is made out of mud, and is offered cooked rice and fruits.


Snake bite Cure!

A friend living near Coimbatore told me of witnessing a cure for snake-bite made by one of the witch-doctors of this caste. A boy, who had been digging round the root of a tree with his fingers, was bitten by a cobra, and my friend saw the cobra clinging to the boy’s hand. Almost at once the arm became numb, which is the ghastly result of cobra poison. The witch- doctor appeared as if by magic, fetched no doubt by a member of the caste, and proceeded to throw a brown powder on the spot where the snake’s fangs had fastened. He then took a small stick, which evidently he had brought with him, stuck it first in the boy’s mouth and then in his own, and began to draw it up and down the boy’s back. All the while he uttered strange guttural sounds, and the boy’s arm gradually became sensitive and he began to move his fingers. For several minutes the patient’s fingers continued to move, while the witch-doctor moved the stick up and down his back. To terminate the performance, the witch-doctor poured water over the injured hand, the brown powder had evidently been absorbed by the incision, for the water came away quite clear. The boy trotted off as if nothing had happened to him. My friend tried to question the sadhu, but was able to learn nothing. The man simply mumbled something about sap ascending in the trees as the moon waxed, and descending while it waned. These primitive people are often marvellous herbalists, but their knowledge is so mixed up with magic that it is difficult to dissociate the medicinal value of their roots from the rites which accompany it. As the is the than the medicine, nothing ever gleaned from them.”

Source:– The Land of the Lingam by Arthur Miles


(My comments: Snake bite cure, cure for fractured bones, jaundice cure and many more therapies are practised successfully even today. Someone has to document them after doing some scientific study. Whether it is low caste or high caste we see the role of maternal uncle, the use of yellow rice, use of water in Kanya Dhanam (donating the girl), decorating the Pandal with plantain trees, use of lighted lamps and many more in almost all the marriage ceremonies throughout India. This shows that they are all part of one culture but with some regional differences.)





Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. There are many such practices involving the potters and other so called lower castes- which were their traditionally transmitted monopoly. For some types of skin diseases, old potters used to draw something with clay solution on the back of the victims and they would be cured. For that matter, it is said that surgery was reserved for barbers in England, while others practised medicine, before surgery developed as a separate discipline.

    My own grandfather used to cure scorpion stings with mantra. In this case, the pain would be transferred to his own right hand , no matter where the scorpion had stung the other person; he would then get rid of the pain with some gestures and a further mantra!

    As for curing snake bite, there was a person in Tirupparaiturai near Trichy who was a specialist in this. He was known as “Poison King”. No matter where the victim was, a telegram had to be sent to this King; from his own place he would pronounce mantras and cure the victim. This service was totally free. In a mark of recognition of his service and its authenticity and usefulness, the Telegraph dept. used to send any telegram addressed to “Poison King” [which was his telegraph address ] free of charge. He was there into late 70s We have not learned the science of documenting such matters..

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: