India, the land of Mysticism:

India is a land of spiritual and mystical practices. Thai Poosam is a special festival, celebrated to appease
Lord Muruga. He is the war god and the commander of the Devas. On the day of Thai Poosam, he was bestowed with a “Vel” by his Mother, Goddess Parvati. “Vel” is a mighty weapon to conquer enemies and is one of the greatest weapons ever created. "Vel" is also regarded as a powerful amulet which protects people.

Submitting to the Supreme Being is said to be the highest form of devotion. Anyone with mere superficial knowledge can never understand Hinduism completely. It needs a deep dive into the religion to understand diverse concepts and how rituals operate.

Connecting with the Divine:

Prior to Thai Poosam, devotees will typically hold daily prayer sessions, abstain from sex and stick to a strict vegetarian diet for weeks. The days would be spent on prayers and meditation which prepares their body, soul, and mind for the ordeals ahead. Devotion and endurance of a person are highly stretched, which makes them perform feats that seem impossible for others.

On the day of Thai Poosam, spectators would be amazed to witness the high energy levels caused by the music, dance and the devotional fervor of worshippers. Many go into a trance-like state and for quite some time, they liberate themselves from their earthly conditions.

Rituals of Thai Poosam:

There are many unique rituals involved in the worship of Lord Muruga.

Spiked Kavadis: Kavadi is a decorated piece of wood carried across the shoulders. Some Kavadis are attached to the devotee’s body with hooks, which tear the flesh. Some devotees carry all types of Kavadi at the same time. Others have their chest and back covered by small pots containing milk hooked into their skin, looking like a make-shift armor.

Body or Cheek Piercing: Devotees perform flesh mortification by inserting spikes through their cheeks or inserting “Vel” into their tongue. Often the Vel is inserted in the cheek or tongue, but, occasionally, other parts of the face like eyebrows and ears are also pierced.

Pulling Chariots: Another ritual is pulling a chariot which is often feet fitted with mini wheels and attached to the body with sharp hooks that pierce the flesh. Devotes would pull the chariot all the way to the temple.
Hanging from the Chariot: Many people would attach hooks and suspend themselves from a crane or a chariot, and literally hang from the crane or the chariot. This is an intense ritual, which needs enormous piety and faith. Until the chariot reaches the temple, the devotees would literally be hanging from it.

Walking on Glowing Hot Coals: This is an important ritual, where people would walk on a bed of glowing hot charcoals. The devotees claim that such practices do not hurt them, and scars too, if any, heal quickly.

Faith moves mountains”. People take up such rituals to appease Lord Muruga who protects their families. Rituals like taking “Vrat”, carrying “Milk Pot”, and offering special things for “Abishekam”, or divine bath, are considered very special. Thus, Thai Poosam is a breathtaking festival that everyone should witness during their lifetime.

Author's Bio: - Thai Poosam 2020 is an important festival dedicated to Lord Muruga. AstroVed will be performing special Fire Lab to receive his blessings and to eliminate diseases, debts, and ignorance.