‘Karu Haruchodhu’ – Transference of sins to a bull calf
Badaga funeral prayer :
Ever since I became aware of the verses of ‘Karu Harachodhu’ , I felt how nice it would be if these beautiful words could be given in English so that the present day youngsters could understand one of the most important and significant part (prayer) of Badaga funeral rites. In the process of translation, I interacted with a large number of community elders and in some cases, the very people who recited this prayer during funerals.
What surprised me is that NO ONE could give me the exact and complete meaning of these verses. Hence, the difficulty in the translation. May be this is due to the fact every word and sentence could be interpreted in many different ways. That, precisely, is what makes this prayer very special.
But one redeeming factor is that though some of the sequence and the wordings changed from village to village, the broad essence was kept in tact. What gave more satisfaction is the fact that in some villages, it was comparitively young people who conducted this prayer and they had no hesitation to refer and recite from a written source so that they did not leave out any part.
For the original source I have consulted Dr.Rams (given in http://badaga.org) and Nakkubetta Monthly (1979 issue) and my own research.
For more details with photographs go here
Badaga funeral prayer in audio
Ever since I became aware of the verses of ‘Karu Harachodhu’ , I felt how nice it would be if these beautiful words could be given in English [ both in script and as translation] so that the present day youngsters could understand one of the most important and significant part (prayer) of Badaga funeral rites. Read the full article here > http://badaga-funeral.blogspot.com/
In his book, THE GOLDEN BOUGH – A STUDY IN MAGIC AND RELIGION (1922) Sir James George Fraser (1854 – 1941) mentioned in Chapter LV [“The Transference of Evil (To Inanimate Objects)” ] the following :-
” Among the Badagas of the Neilgherry Hills in Southern India, when a death has taken place, the sins of the deceased are laid upon a buffalo calf.For this purpose the people gather round the corpse and carry it outside of the village. There an elder of the tribe, standing at the head of the corpse, recites or chants [known as – “KARU HARUCHODU”] a long list of sins such as any Badaga may commit, and the people repeat the last word of each line after him.
The confession of sins is thrice repeated. By a conventional mode of expression, the sum total of sins a man may do is said to be thirteen hundred. Admitting that the deceased has committed them all, the performer cries aloud, – “Stay not their flight to Gods pure feet”.
As he closes, the whole assembly chants aloud “Stay not their flight.” Again the performer enters into details, and cries, “He killed the crawling snake. It is a sin.”
You can listen to this prayer [rendered by Wg Cdr JP] by clicking the play button below
Proud to be a badaga
I have heard that in the Badaga Funeral pyre people offer a ‘Basket of Grain’ is it true? I am curious what is the cultural significance behind that tradition. If you could reply me, I would be very much grateful to you.
Now-a-days the KARU HARUSUTHU process is chanted only one time in many villages instead of doing it 3 times. It is a sad part.
chanceless community. proud to be a badaga. let our script come out very soon. lets all support them
I am a graduate student and doing researches on different cultural aspect of peoples from south east Asian countries. During my literature review, I came across the Badaga culture where people offer a basket of Amaranth grain to the funeral pyre. I am very curios why people do that? Why do they offer a basket of grain (from Amaranth crop) to the funeral pyre. If somebody could explain me I would be really grateful to him or her.
Wow 🙂 what a feeling. Realy one should be proud to say that he is an Indian.At the same time one can say that I am proud to be a Badaga as we always remember that there is “SATTHIYA KAATHI” to take care of us. 🙂