Śītalā

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Sitalā Almost every village in India houses a folk-goddess, generally at the entrance to it. This goddess will be a protectress if appeased and a scourge if displeased. One such is Śītalā (a minor form of Devī) who is common in North India, especially in Bengal. She is the deity of smallpox. She is generally worshipped in a crude stone with a painted human face. She can cure smallpox if pleased or bring it on if displeased.

Sometimes transliterated as: Sitala, ZItalA, shitalaa


Sitala.jpg

Tāntrik works describe her as black- complexioned, two-armed and naked, rid¬ing on a donkey. She wears a winnowing basket on her head and holds in her two hands a broom and a pot of water. A variant form of hers is described as red-complexioned, three-eyed and four¬armed. In these four arms, she carries a skull-cup, hand-drum, spear and sword. Her hair resembles a blazing fire and she is seated on a lotus. In South India, she is worshipped as Māriyamma. Other forms are Ā-i of Assam and Thākurānī in Orissa.