Renuka- The Goddess of Poor
Renuka is a Sanskrit word meaning fine grains of sand. She is also known as Yellamma, MariammanMariamman
One story about the origin of Mariamman... and Ekvira. She is the Goddess of poor and downtrodden people. She sanctifies people who have illnesses and cure them of their pain. She also blesses couples with babies. She is majorly worshipped in the Southern parts of India like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharashtra. Worshippers consider her as their mother and thus use suffix like ‘amma’ and ‘aai’ (both meaning mother) to her name. She is believed to be the source of all energy and creation thus also considered the incarnation of KaliKali
There are several traditions of how Kali came into existence... (Goddess associated with empowerment).
Legend of Birth and Marriage
Renuka was born to RenukaRenuka
Renuka is a Sanskrit word meaning fine grains of sand. She is also known as Yellamma, Mariamman and Ekvira.... Raja (a King) during a Yajna (Hindu sacrifice ritual) he was performing for the good health of his people and prosperity of his kingdom. Renuka was very beautiful and was filled with a glow. Soon she was married off to a sage named JamadagniJamadagni
Saptarishis (seven great sages) are regarded as the patriarchs of the Vedas... living in a forest, leaving all her comforts behind. She was known for her dedication and devotion to her husband. She brought water every day from a river to help her husband perform all the rituals of the day. So great was her devotion that she could make a pot just using sand, and her dedication helped the pot to stay intact.
She was blessed with five sons named Vasu, Viswa Vasu, Brihudyanu, Brutwakanwa and Parashuram. One day she went to the river bank and saw a couple making love. She got influenced and wished for the same life for herself. Just for a second she wished for a younger husband but soon she deviated her mind. That one second corrupted her devotion, and she could no longer make a pot just using sand. She got scared to go home and thought of killing herself. But later realized that her body and her life was Jamadagni’s to take. She went home, and the sage came to known everything from his powers. He asked his sons one by one to behead their mother, but everyone was filled with maternal love. Jamadagni was filled with rage and kept turning every son to ashes who disagreed with him. Finally, ParashuramParashuram
Parashuram was the Great Grandson of Bhrugu... decided to fulfill his father’s wish and went to kill his mother. Scared Renuka rushed inside the house of a lady of low-caste and by mistake Parashuram beheaded her also in the process.
Pleased with his son’s devotion, Jamadagni asked Parashuram to ask for two wishes, and he asked for his mother’s and brothers’ life back. Jamadagni granted the wishes but with a twist. All the brothers were brought back to life, but they all were transgender (Transgender also consider Renuka as their chief Goddess). Also, while replacing the head, Parashuram, by mistake, put the poor woman’s lady’s head on his mother’s body. He created a mixture of Brahmin-untouchable hybrid, (Brahmins It is one of the caste of Hindus. They are known for their knowledge of ancient, sacred scripturesare considered to be the upper most caste in Hindus and are also known as the learned men). Jamadagni accepted his wife as it is, but the head of Renuka was then worshipped by lower caste people as Yellamma, thus subverting the caste issue. She is often worshipped by attaching a pot or basket below her head, giving it the shape of a body.
The most famous temple dedicated to Renuka is in Mahur, Maharashtra. It is considered a religious place and also the birth place of the Goddess. Another temple called Yellamma Devi temple is in a town named Saundatti (Belgaum, Karnataka) and every year there is a gathering of around 200,000 devotees.