Just when I was thinking that there was only one goddess who was lying supine, out came a story about another goddess who too was lying supine.
Periyayi amman is that Goddess in the small hamlet of Kuyilapalayam, in Vizhupuram district.
Once upon a time in the midst of this hamlet there was a
temple. Once on a Thursday the priest of the temple locked the doors to the shrine and left for his hut. As he entered his hut, he saw a dancing cobra in the living room. He screamed for help and the whole village assembled at his doorstep in no time.
They tried different ways to entice the snake outside but to no avail. Suddenly, a woman in the crowd let out a shriek as some spirit had entered her being.
The possessed woman said “I am Angala amman. I was the presiding deity in the west of this village and was guarding the village from evil spirits and made the village prosperous. But the villagers did not care for me, nor for their own fellow beings. I have left that village. I will let you know in seven days where I want to reside.” The possessed woman fell down in a faint. The snake was now nowhere to be seen.
The villagers waited eagerly for seven days. On the seventh day, the villagers congregated at the priest’s hut and invited the goddess using cymbals and dholaks.
Suddenly the priest began talking and walking like one possesses. The goddess spoke through him. “Follow me, she said. I will show you the place where I want to reside.”
The villagers followed the priest who went to the eastern side of the village. Circumambulating a peepul tree thrice the priest came to a stop and sat beneath the tree.
The villagers built an open top temple for the goddess here. Just outside this hut of a temple lies the Goddess also known as Periyayi amman. The statue of this goddess is 25 feet in length and 13 ft in breadth. At her feet are the idols of Ganesha and Muruga.
Another story doing its rounds here about the idols:
Once there was demon by name Vallala kandan who ruled Melmalayanur near Tiruvannamalai. He was meditating on Lord Shiva. Pleased with his devotion, Shiva appeared before him and asked what he wanted.
Vallalakandan said “I want a son who will be just like you.”
Shiva said that he will take birth as his son from the womb of the demon’s wife Vallalakandi.”
The demon was overjoyed. But Lord Vishnu on hearing this boon was scared. He rushed to talk to Goddess Shakthi, Shiva’s consort. If the demoness gave birth to Shiva, the bloodshed would cause lot of damage to the people and the earth. So both of them discussed what to do. In the end when the demoness went into labor, Lord Vishnu made every human being disappear using his powers. Since there was no one in the village to assist Vallalakandi during her labor Vallalakandan was worried. At the moment Goddess Shakti appeared as a midwife and the demon was happy to see her. He took her to his wife and there the midwife requested him to get her a dustpan, sickle and a pot. The suspicious demon asked her why she needed the above things. The midwife said “the sickle is to cut the umbilical cord, the dustpan would be used to collect the waste adn the pot to clean the place with water.”
Satisfied with her reply the demon went to wait outside the delivery room. Shakthi then took her own form with sixteen hands and killed the demoness and her child. She came out and killed Vallalakandan too. But she still thirsted for blood and wandered around in her ferocious form. Worried at the outcome, the devas decided to pacify Shakti. They built a chariot and made Shakti sit on it. However, this didn’t help, so they magically made the chariot disappear and the Goddess is said to have fallen supine. Just like the Devas had anticipated, the fall made her calm. That is the reason behind the supine idol of the Goddess in this temple.
This temple of Periyayi amman lies 8 kms from Pondicherry on the East Coast road. The temple is situated on the left of this road driving about a km, en route to Auroville, in village of Kuyilapalayam. The Goddess is considered the presiding deity of this village.