Compiled by London Swaminathan
Date: 24 October 2016
Time uploaded in London: 18-10
Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks. They are used for representational purpose. They may not have direct connection to the article below.
“In the district round Calicut, when a house is completed it must be handed over to its owner with due ceremony Vastu Purusha, a supreme being lying on its back with its head to the north and its legs to the south, supports the earth. The forests of the earth are this being’s hairs, the oceans its blood, the wind its breath. When the earth is dug, and the trees are felled, the being is bound to be disturbed, wherefore it must be propitiated or it will wreak vengeance on its disturbers.
53 columns of Rice Flour!
A ceremony must be performed immediately a house built, or the owner of the building will have untimely deaths in his family. A square is marked off in the centre room by fifty-three columns made of rice flour, and red and black powders are sprinkled over the columns. Leaves, containing grain and pieces of cocoanut, are placed on the top of each column. The architect and the carpenters perform puja (worship) with flowers, incense and lights. Troublesome demons are propitiated with toddy, and the blood of a fowl is offered to the boy satan (Kutty Satan). Then all the workmen who have been engaged in the building break cocoanuts on the walls, and howl to drive away evil spirits.
The house is handed over to a third person by the chief carpenter, and there are few who are willing to assume the responsibility for the owner, since if a demon should be left in the building it would for ever pursue the person who takes over. A man is sought who is supposed to bring good luck, and who has no trouble in his family. He is frequently a poor man, who cannot resist the bribe of money and rice. He is dressed in new clothes, taken to the centre room where the columns have been erected, and made to stand facing the door with each foot on a banana leaf. The others thereupon all leave him, and stand on the outside. The man opens and shuts the door three times, and the carpenter calls out to him:
“Have you taken charge of the house?”
The man replies “Have all the workmen received their wages?”
The carpenter, without answering, asks again. “Have you taken charge of the house?” There must be no direct answers, or questions, for about ten minutes.
Finally, the man inside says: “I will take charge of the house,” and picking up the two banana leaves on which he has been standing, he runs away as fast as he can, without looking back. The workmen pelt him with bananas and cow-dung as he runs, and sprinkle cow-urine in his path. After this, the workmen are fed with boiled milk and rice which have been prepared in the new house, and the owner may move in.
This is from the book The Land of the Lingam by Arthur Miles; I will give another detailed version from an older book tomorrow.
To be continued………………….