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The fully decorated statue of sudalaimadan in the centre with veriyandi samy in the left and Madathy amman in right. This picture is from the shrine of thamaraikulam sudalaimadan temple, Melakadayanallur,Tenkasi, Thirunelveli.

Sudalai Madan or Madan, is a regional Tamil male deity who is popular in South India, particularly Tamil Nadu. He is considered to be the son of Shiva and Parvati. He seems to have originated in some ancestral guardian spirit of the villages or communities in Tamil Nadu, in a similar manner as Ayyanar.

God of the dispossessed[edit]

Madan's principal role is being a protector and a hero (Veeran). He is the divinity of the dispossessed. Madan is usually considered to be the caste deity of the Konar,Thevar, Naidu, Vishwakarma(caste), Pillai, Paraiyar Senguntha Mudaliyar, Pallar/Mallar, Konar, Nadar, and other castes found in the southernmost Tamil Nadu. This deity is very popular in the southern districts. Large Madan temples are rare. Madan shrines usually consist of simple stone platforms with stone pillars. They are usually located at the outskirts of the villages. Sometimes Madan is painted on the pillar and sometimes he is represented in sculpture form, but frequently those pillars are only white, daubed with red marks. When Madan is represented iconographically, he is usually standing in a threatening position, carrying weapons (Sickle, club, sword, cleaver, whip) in both hands.

Owing to the non-Vedic origin of this deity, rituals in most Madan temples are officiated by non-Brahmin priests.

Each Caste or families will have their own Madan temple in their villages.

Madathy Amman(Goddess Madathy)[edit]

Madathy amman shrines or pillars representing her are common in Madan temples. Goddess madathy is worshipped for good causes, such as for marriage and child birth, for good character in children, for a better society, etc. Madan is considered to be the husband of madathy, so that in Madan shrines, the pillars representing Madan are usually taller than those of the goddess. But madathy is considered to be powerful than madan because she is considered as mother of all and so the requests are placed before her, so that she would recommend her divine consort to resolve the issue.

Iconic representation of Madan in a village shrine in South India

Sudalaimadan history[edit]

He is considered to be the son of Sivan and Parvati.

The story about Mada Samy tells of his birth on Kailasa, the mountain home of Siva and Parvathi. It is said that Devi Parvathi wanted a child, but Lord Siva had sworn celibacy. He had promised to be chaste at the request of the gods, since they had feared that his union with Parvathy would be so powerful it would shatter the universe. Siva suggests another way to have a child. He tells Parvathy to go to Patala, the underworld, and to gather a spark from the sacred lamp that burns there. Parvathi did so, carrying the spark in the hem of her skirt.

When Parvathi Devi returned to Kailasa, she opened the folds of her skirt, and found that the spark had become a shapeless mass of tissue. she was really worried and pleaded shiva to give her a solution. Thus sudalai madan is often called as Mundan which means a person without head and other body parts. Siva asked Brahma to give the baby a shape. shiva gave life to the baby . He named him as sudalai madan because, he came to the world because of a lamp(sudar)and he was shapeless. The boy was blessed by everyone and he was brought up as their son.

Parvathi initially feeds the child on Amrita (the nectar of immortality), instead of on breast milk. So it is said that the child became immortal. However, the child also became desirous for solid food. He went to the cremation grounds ("sudalai") on Kailasa, and began to eat the burning corpses. When he finished those, he began to eat everything around him, the other spirits, the animals, the trees, the ground itself etc. He feasted with a heavy appetite.

Because he ate so much, and since he had such a fondness for meat, it was decided that he ought not remain in Heaven. Siva instructed him to go to Earth, and to care for its people. Siva proclaimed that Mada Samy's protection and kindness would be re-paid with offerings of cooked food and drink, and thus he would always have a meal, as well as people who would pray to him. So Mada Samy came to earth, accompanied by a number of singers and dancers who were sent by Siva to see to his worship. Many of the Paraiyar and Kanniyar drummers who play during the rituals to Mada Samy claim descent from these divine musicians.

Outside India[edit]

Madan is also popular amongst certain segments of the Tamil diaspora in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Réunion and the French overseas territories in the Caribbean sea.


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudalai_Madan — Please support Wikipedia.
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10 news items

The Hindu (blog)

The Hindu (blog)
Sat, 12 Apr 2014 02:59:37 -0700

The reason is simple: the Sudalai Madan in Seevalaperi is considered to be very powerful, and the very sand strewn around the hamlet is supposed to enjoy his grace. After Sudalaimadan, our desperado Pandi possessed the name to evoke fear and respect ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:44:55 -0700

Over the years, temples of all folk deities — including 'Sudalai Madan,' the god of the graveyard, in Kanyakumari district — have “gone up” the social ladder to be on a par with 'Vedic Gods,' and all are housed in temples built as per 'Agamic ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Sat, 18 Jan 2014 13:09:00 -0800

Kaniyaan Koothu, performed by Kaniyaan, a community now listed under Scheduled Tribes, is the main feature of festivals (kodai) of folk deities, especially the annual festival of Sudalai Madan, the graveyard god. According to legend, he is the ...


Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:47:57 -0800

Retelling our past using mythology and folklore never looked better for India's children. Dedicated editors and publishers, a market hankering for new content, and festivals, means increasing visibility for authors and their stories. Preeti Singh reports.

The Hindu

The Hindu
Tue, 25 Mar 2014 22:16:38 -0700

Si who lived on the Sudalai Madan Koil Street. “He gave an identity to the literary movement associated with the Left parties. No one could match him when it comes to encouraging young writers. He would read every literary work published in Tamil and ...

The New Indian Express

The New Indian Express
Mon, 19 Aug 2013 20:10:34 -0700

The same applies for the weddings, which happen in either of the Mariamman, Sudalai madan, Karupu Sami or Ganapathi temples there. “It happens in complete Tamil style with local nadaswaram groups playing a role in it,” he says. “These festivals are not ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Sun, 09 Jan 2011 11:18:03 -0800

“We perform for seven to eight hours continuously during festivals (kodai) at temples of folk deities, primarily Sudalai Madan, in the southern districts. Short performances are unthinkable in our profession,” says V. Muthu Perumal, the 'annavi' or ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Sun, 10 Jan 2010 10:53:10 -0800

If Kaniyan Koothu, normally performed in the temple of Sudalai Madan, the god of graveyard, conjured up images of corpses, 'oppari' brought out the pain in death. Amidst destruction, everyone was waiting for the arrival of a new “Kottravai” or Mahakali ...

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