The Flight of Gods
The Lesser Gods
Vetal image from Loliem village – the tallest image of Vetal found so far.
A number of deities of pre-Brahminic times were absorbed by Brahminic synthesis and unabsorbed deities have been converted into cacodemons, known generally as devchar but still worshipped by the lower castes as well as the Gauddes.(D. D. Kosambi)
Ancient wood-carved Vetal image, Savorde, Sattari- Photo by Mohan Pai
The Austric tribes like Gauddes, Kunbis (Kols, Mundas and Ouraons) who settled in Goa were the worshippers of Vetal, Naga and Pishacchas. These demigods haunted battlefields and places of violent death. These tribes also worshipped the evil spirits – Mharu, Joting and Devchar who are supposed to inhabit the tamarind, banyan, pipal and wild trees. The uninhabited and uncultivated land (ran) was seen as the realm of demonic beings (bhutavali), as well as the territory to which the spirits of people were transferred who had died an inauspicious death (Khetri, Alvantin, Samand, etc.).
The Cult of Vetal
The Austric tribes worshipped Vetal from early times even when they were still in the stage of building temporary shelters.
In some temples of Vetal from Sanguem and Sattari taluka, twin images of Vetal are worshipped. Though both the images have similar features, one is called Agio (Agni Jiva) Vetal and the other Gorakh Vetal.
Vetal being the Gramadevata is the guardian of the village and he is supposed to move throughout the village at night and keep vigil over the property of his devotees. And hence his sandals get worn off. The devotees take a vow and make offering of sandals to Vetal. In the Vetal temple of Poinguini village, such sandals offered by the devotees are kept in a row.
Clay horses – votary offerings to Mharu- Photo by Mohan Pai
Bagil Paik, Mallikarjun Temple, Gaondongrem – Photo by Mohan Pai
Dadda is similar to Vetal but its stature is inferior to that of Vetal. Dadda has been given the status of Parivar devata in many shrines of Goa. (V. R. Mitragotri)
Jageshwar – Photo by Mohan Pai
Roadside Shrine of Jageshwar-Photo by Mohan Pai
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