Ever wondered why the sun crosses the sky? Or why most men love tobacco? Let’s see how the traditional tales from various regions of India attempt at answering these questions, with their very own Goddesses being the protagonist of these stories!
In Madhya Pradesh, tribals narrate the story about a young woman named Tambaku who yearned to be loved by a man but nothing of the sort ever happened because she was considered to be extremely ugly by the men around her. Her father was willing to offer everything that he owned as dowry to the man who would marry her but no such man ever came.
Eventually, Tambaku died alone with a sorry and sad heart. The very Gods who had cursed her with her ugliness, felt her plight and made her reincarnate as tobacco, something most men would love for almost their entire lives.
The Dewars of north-east India tell the story of how the wind impregnated an enchanting, virginal Goddess named Astang Devi with twins named Suraj & Chandra (Sun & Moon).
At that time, Earth did not contain much to eat except for twigs. The Goddess wanted to feed her twins with something more nourishing so she gave rise to bamboo, rice and other edible plants.
Sadly, one of the humans became envious of the Goddess’s efforts and decided to burn the crops she had planted. As Astang Devi rushed to contain the fire, sparks flew into the heavens and created stars. She then sent her children, Suraj & Chandra, to the sky to keep them safe from humans.
Usas, the Vedic Goddess of dawn, has many stories told about her, often contradicting. Some say that she lights the way for Surya or the Sun God, as he treks the heavens, minding his own business.
But others talk of how Usas rides her golden chariot across the sky at dawn and goes about minding her own business. Surya follows her relentlessly, just to ravish the gorgeous Usas and ends up lighting the whole sky, every single day.
Manasa is the Goddess of snakes and poison. Those who wish to be protected from snakebites worship her. Regarding her creation, it is believed that Shiva once accidentally ejaculated onto a lotus blossom and his semen dribbled into the underworld. The mother of the King of Snakes took his semen and fashioned it into the beautiful Goddess Manasa.
Shiva tried to make love to Manasa and even took her to his home as a guest. But Manasa convinced him of how ill it would be for him to make love to his own daughter. Also Shiva’s wife, upon learning about Manasa, grew angry and scooped one of her eyes out.
But the story doesn’t end there.
During the Samudra Manthan, in which both Gods and Demons were trying to churn all the precious materials out of the ocean, there also emerged a poison named Halalala. This poison would kill anyone or anything that would come in contact with it. Nobody except Shiva could even consider destroying this poison.
And so Shiva did come and save the day by swallowing the poison. But eventually, the poison started getting the better of even Shiva, resulting in him turning blue. So Manasa, the goddess of poison, was called to save Shiva. She sucked the poison out of his throat and soon Shiva regained his health. Manasa gave half the poison to snakes and scorpions on Earth and kept the other half inside her empty eye socket.