Hindus in South India Erect ‘Corona Goddess’ Temple

In this picture taken on May 5, 2021, relatives grieve as they arrive for the cremation of their loved one who died due to the Covid-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in Moradabad. - People in India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh are fighting not just a raging pandemic but also …
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images

Hindu priests in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state recently erected a temple dedicated to “Corona Devi” (Corona goddess), a Hindu goddess created so that Hindus may pray to the Chinese coronavirus and ask it for forgiveness, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Thursday.

A Hindu monastery known as Kamatchipuri Adheenam built the “Corona Devi” temple on the outskirts of Coimbatore, a city in western Tamil Nadu, amid India’s punishing new wave of infections and deaths from the disease which has swept the country since early April.

“An idol, named ‘Corona Devi’ has … been placed in the temple. The 1.5-foot tall black stone idol has been consecrated at the temple in the mutt [Hindu monastery] area. Daily prayers are being held, seeking blessings to save the people from the deadly disease, for 48 days,” workers at the temple told India’s NDTV news site last week.

“A Mahayagam or special yajna, will be organized on the last day of prayers,” according to NDTV. A yajna is a Hindu ritual carried out in front of a sacred fire that often incorporates mantras.

“The idea of worshipping disease-causing viruses as goddess forms has existed for years [in India], in the belief that prayers will help ease the situation, ” the temple’s manager, Anand Bharathi, told AFP in a report published May 27.

“Different gods and goddesses have been assigned different professions (in Hinduism),” he explained. “For example, Lord Brahma is the creator, Lord Vishnu is protector and Rudran is destroyer [sic].”

“In the same way, when coronavirus is responsible for the spread of the disease, we are worshipping the virus in the form of a goddess and praying to her every day to reduce the impacts of this disease and its spread [sic],” Bharathi added.

“It is not for the first time such a temple has come up,” NDTV noted of Tamil Nadu’s “Corona Devi” shrine.

“When plague spread across Coimbatore killing many people more than a century ago, an idol of Mariamman [a South Indian Hindu mother and rain goddess] was installed and people had started offering prayers. The place had turned into a temple and came to be known as ‘Plague Mariamman Temple,'” the news site recalled.

India’s Chinese coronavirus caseload began surging in early April, pushing the nation’s healthcare system to its brink. The country’s infection rate from the disease is now decreasing, however, according to a Reuters analysis published on May 25.

“COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] infections are decreasing in India, with 217,638 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 56 percent of the peak — the highest daily average reported on May 8,” according to the news agency.

“There have been 27,555,457 infections and 318,895 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began,” Reuters noted.

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