Worship

Nagaradhane

All of us aware that Bunts are basically worship spirits. They began to worship the gods and goddesses like Shiva, Krishna, Rama, Janardana depicted in Puranas, much later. When the Brahmins began to exert their influence on them. It is belived that Bunts were Nagaradhakas first and gradually switched over to Bhuta worship. They bow their head to nagas as they were frightened and attracted by them. They began to offer prayers to these cobras (Nagas) by erecting beautiful carved naga sculptures amidst the thick bushes. Gradually this became way of worship in bunts community. As the time passed the brahmins came down to the coastal region and began to worship the Vedic Gods reciting Vedic mantras and following Vedic techniques. Long back this region was known as 'Nagarakhanda', This shows that Nagaradhana was deep-rooted all over Tulunadu.

NagamandalaWe can see that even today the rural folk in tulunadu are being attached to the original Nagaradhana system. 'Which is your Alade?' the people in rural areas ask. Alade is the place where they 'pour milk' on Nagas. Thus alade is basically a family attached to a naga bana. Today, even the educated people go in search of alade and worship. In many places, the people set up their own nagabana far away from their native places, if they are forced to settle down there.

Later we moved on to bhootaradhana. Still we can notice that the 'daivas' utter and appreciate nagas. We find 'nagabemmara'(nagabrihma, brihmara) very close to the temples. Nagabemmara is worshipped prior to daiva worship. They are called bemmara gudi. Nagar panchami, thingala panchami or 'shashti' worship is being celebrated in anagbana whereas the Brahmins offers the pooja at the places of bemmere (nagabrihma).

NagamandalaIn the later stage Brahmins who followed vedic rituals came to tulunadu. The worship of their gods got wide publicity. We, the Bunts liked it, accepted it and adjusted to it - and in many places they held the responsibility of administrating the temples. In spite of all these conditions and the strong impact of Brahmins we did not give up nagaradhana and bhootharadhana. Though the gods were worshipped with great pomp and publicity the bhootha worship never relegated to background. More over, it is worth to be noted that the bhootharadhana has had its impact on 'devatharadhana' - the worship of gods. These aspects may inspire to write a separate article about it.

There after many naga worshipping centers were changed into temples. Subrahmanya, Kudupu and other places are the best examples for this. Besides, nagabanas were raised beside the vaishnava temples. Tulunadu was aptly called nagarakhanda. The bunts play an important role in worship of naga in tulunadu. The different dynasties of but like beedu, guttu, balike, parari etc. traditionally worship the naga in different nagabanas. Still the worship continues. The bunts enjoyed worshipping nagas though with some fear. This shows that they are nature living people and faced the difficulties and challenges boldly.

The worship of cobras is found all over the globe, but its depth and vastness is more in tulunadu. From the 'nudigattu' (words) of bhootha, we come to know that we were nagaradhakas first and gradually became bhootharadhakas.