Hyderabad: Oracle Mathangi Swarnalatha, in the most-awaited prediction of the year at 11 am on Monday, indicated that the torrential rainfall in the state was a consequence of incorrect puja practices being followed.
Speaking at the Rangam procession at the Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad, she cited instances of devotees "looting the Goddess (of Bonalu)", asking them to give her a permanent form as per historical records and scriptures, and not forms that suit their purposes. She also said that "misfortune would not befall the people of the land" and that she would safeguard children and pregnant women from hardships, speaking as a conduit for the deity.
"You are looting me. You are performing puja only for your happiness. Perform puja wholeheartedly with devotion only in my sanctum and according to shastras. How many forms will you change me into? Worship me in my original form," she said.
"Although I am not happy, I am keeping you all happy. Through the torrential rains, she wanted to send a message that there were some mistakes while performing pujas," she said. The priest at the temple told the Oracle that by the next Bonalu, pujas would be performed as ordered by her and sought her blessings. However, devotees who were curious about the Oracle’s predictions, returned disappointed, as the programme ended quickly, unlike the previous instances.
A. Mohan, a shopkeeper near the temple, said, "Goddess has blessed us in spite of our mistakes and has showered her blessings on us." Last year, she had promised bountiful rains and harvests, while expressing disappointment over the Covid-19 pandemic restricting Bonalu celebrations. People, nevertheless, were enthused as she had promised to protect them from all kinds of problems, be it a drought or the disease caused by the pandemic. Also, there was no rebuke last year, as she gave out positive messages of being along with devotees through thick and thin.
Meanwhile, on Monday, an elephant procession followed the Rangam, in which the photo of the deity was ferried in public, led by potharajus dancing to drum beats and accompanied by a large number of devotees.
A Palarambandi procession was also carried out in the evening, which was ongoing at the time of the report and slated to finish after midnight.
GHMC janitors could be seen cleaning the litter and trash from the previous day around the temple premises. The Bata Road was flooded with vendors and hawkers, with devotees engrossed in shopping and exploring the colourful stalls.
The Bonalu festival will continue for the entire Ashadha Masam (monsoon month) and will be celebrated across the city over the next two weeks.