Lord Muthappan is a local deity worshiped mostly in the Malabar regions of Kerala. Considered a manifestation of the duo of Lord Vishnu and Shiva, he is peculiar for many things not least of which is the fact that he was always a rebel. 

Anybody can enter the famous Parassini kadavu temple, irrespective of caste or religion which is in keeping with the mindset of the God back when he was a child and fought against such oppressive concepts. Toddy (and even fish) are served to both the devotees and the God at the temple premises. You will always find dogs inside the temple even today as Muthappan had a fondness for them. In fact, the first prasadam of the day is served to them.

The ritual Theyyam dance performed at the temple is truly a sight to behold, irrespective of your beliefs. 

One aspect of the daily prayers is that after the Theyyam, the performer is said to be in a trance with the powers of the God within him. During this time, devotees queue up daily and voice their grievances to him. His replies are uniquely rapid-fire speed and punctuated by a trademark loud laugh of his. They are also extremely specific, as most devotees would proclaim.

Hard to believe, eh?
Ya, I can see where the leap of faith is necessary. And I will never force you to believe. But I will tell you a story.
One night, a decade ago, we were woken up at home to the sound of our two dogs barking furiously. Assuming they may have seen a wild cat or some such, we did not mind it initially. When the barking did not stop (which was extremely unusual for the dogs, especially Ruby), we feared it may be a robber and so stepped out of the house. We checked the premises but could not find anyone. 

Before there was the nutty Snoopy, there was the sweetheart Ruby.

Curiously, not even our watchman who usually stayed at home for the night. We checked everywhere for him but he just was not there. We did not think too much of it and went back to sleep.

The next morning, we woke up to the news that shops in the small shopping complex we owned near our house had been robbed. After checking the complex, we realized that the locks had minimal damage to them. Knowing that he had a set of keys, we asked our watchman. He promised us the keys had not left his possession. He also swore that he had been fast asleep in our house all night though. The first lie led to the next when we challenged him on it - with him stating he had slept inside the car which again did not compute since we checked everywhere. Caught by his own words, he eventually admitted that he had left at night to help the others rob us. We dismissed him but as has always been our folly, succumbed to the tears and did not file charges. 

Two months later, my father was there in the midst of a crowd nearing 600-800 watching the Theyyam by Muthappan. He did not get into the queue though to speak to the performer because it had already grown too long. As usual, his eyes were on the antics of the dogs around when suddenly he felt someone tap his shoulder. When he turned, he found dozens of people staring at him. They all were pointing to the front where the deity had singled him out and asked him to step forward, cutting the waiting line. Shocked, my dad obliged and went past the hundreds there and to Muthappan.

"After coming all the way here, you don't plan on meeting Muthappan?" the deity asked, referring to himself in the first person as is his style.
My dad just smiled meekly.
"Do you have any worries to tell Muthappan?"
My dad spoke of a few things troubling him and Muthappan laughed before responding.
"Have faith in Muthappan. Everything will be alright."
 Muthappan continued, once more with that loud laugh in between sentences.
"Didn't Muthappan help you catch the thieves robbing you? Did I not alert you? Have your dogs ever barked like that before or after that night?"

It was only then that my father remembered what had happened at home months ago.
It had not made the papers and we had filed no complaint. Yet, here was this guy surrounded by literally 600 odd devotees and he cherry picked the one devotee probably eight to ten rows back whose attention was elsewhere and brought him forward, bypassing the queue to tell him that his guardians were our guardians. That he knew of a robbery that many in our own family had not been informed of, let alone the part about how we found out the role of the watchman.

How could he have known about the dog that (unlike in the Sherlock Holmes story) did bark on that particular night?
How could he have known a story that not many others knew?
Even if he had heard the story from someone, how could he have known to pick my dad - no celebrity, by any means - out of a crowd in a temple that sees close to probably 10,000 footfalls everyday?
More importantly, why did the dogs bark that night so furiously when they had seen the watchman leave the house every day and even at night for so many years prior to that event?
A series of coincidences or divine doggy intervention?
Sometimes the truth is indeed Stranger Than Fiction

Authors note:
This is my anecdote for the theme "Stranger Than Fiction" for the blogger challenge Blog-A-Thon by Blog-A-Rhythm. You can read other entries for this theme by fellow bloggers here.

During this 7 day challenge, I have written on:
Day 4 - Caught Red Handed - Doggone it! (Dog years)
Day 5 - Robert the Doll (Horror/ Real life)
Day 6 - The Saviour (Short Fiction) 


Shilpa Gupte said…
OMG! That sent shivers down my spine! I was reading as fast as I could, so i could reach the climax and find out what the Lord said to your father! Wow! That memory must still give you the goosebumps isn't it? Superb story, doc!
Vidya Sury said…
Indeed. I've always been fascinated by the accuracy of those who go into the trance. Thanks for sharing Roshan! Must have been some experience!
Shilpa Garg said…
Miracles, divine interventions... yes, they do happen even though they are hard to explain or understand! This made for such a fascinating read!
Rajlakshmi said…
This is indeed strange... Some things on earth are unexplained... we would need higher knowledge to understand things that baffle us
Arpita Sharma said…
Thanks for sharing this experience doctor, reinforcing my belief in the Lord almighty. Sometimes I sway, but incidents like these keep my faith alive. God is great!
Vinodini Iyer said…
The power of psychic abilities! This must have been quite an experience. These instances do turn us into believers of things we question.
Vinodini Iyer said…
The power of psychic abilities! This must have been quite an experience. These instances do turn us into believers of things we question.
Rachna said…
Wow! That is some story! I really wish though that you had taken action that watchman. Who knows if he will go and plan to rob someone else. You know I really don't understand a lot of things and hence I prefer not to either believe or disbelieve. But the incident you mentioned does make us question how much we understand these things.
Jaibala Rao said…
I know my mom believes in this, she says she has experienced it first hand. Me I am not so sure what I believe. I just know I am an extremely spiritual person. Though I must admit, this must have been such an awesome experience for you.

On a side note I love the dance form Theyyam.
Geets said…
My goodness! That truly was stranger than fiction! Believe it or not but such things do exists. That watchman should not have been left!
That was quite an experience, eh?


Nibhz said…
Well that was really very strange!! I am still wondering how!!
Once a priest told me, never try to understand such things with your head or brains just accept it with your heart.
Faith can be a wonderful thing. I've heard tales of the Muthappan from others too. And they are all stranger than fiction, but very true, as I'm given to believe.
sulekkha said…
I was nodding my head as I read because I believe in miracles :) Some things remain a mystery for life, we take what we want to from them it's better to be positive.
Shalini said…
I have been to Parassinikadavu...but then I was a kid and I was so scared. I have heard so many such stories and indeed they are hard to believe. There are many such stories that do not have any explanation. Thanks for sharing,Roshan.
It is something I do recall simply because I have no answer for it myself..
In my life, for better or worse, have seen many go into a trance and tell tales of the past and future. Somehow Muthappan always stands out
I agree. I am skeptical of many a Godman though but this is something that I've seen in person and heard the tales from years.
I wish people would focus more on such things rather than revert to the past and start all the old Babri, beef et al talk. It's time to explore the universe and what lies beyond our normal line of vision.
Oh Arpita. Belive me. I've swayed a lot. I am a contradiction of values when it comes to religion. But I do know what I saw and heard.
True. There is still a lot I question and I remain skeptical until proven otherwise.
We did live to regret letting the watchman go. Once the dust had settled, all signs of repentance went with it from his face and he would antagonise us often in the years to come
My parents are firm believers.life has shaken a lot of faith out of me. But I do keep a relatively open mind to new things when possible.
As I mentioned to Rachna, yes. The watchman should not have been left. We did live to regret it. What can I say? We always err on the wrong side of sympathy.
I'm all ears for any theories :)
I honestly wish I could accept things that easily. I remain skeptical of most things unnatural but then I do recount what I see too
This is one thing that I do learn towardsthe ' believing side' of the debate. If nothing else, because I like the values that this deity promotes.. Alcohol, meat, love for everyone with no bias... Plus dogs :)
Your last line probably defines me best. It's the take away message from it and how we incorporate the positives into our lives.
It's been a long time since I've been there myself though it's my home town. But yes, I can see how it would be scary when you are a small child.
tulika singh said…
I would never have believed something like this. Yet there are unexplained things around us. I think this is what gives birth to faith. After all having faith means to believe without having factual reason to. Amazing anecdote Roshan.
This story is certainly strange to be true. I come from North India thus I have never known the legends of Lord Muthappan and the story does give me goosebumps.
Roshan, I was one of the 1st people to post on your blog last night but I can't see my comment.
Roshan, I was one of the 1st people to post on your blog last night but I can't see my comment.
Unknown said…
I am kinda Agnostic but when I was a kid (11 or 12) my parents took me to Parassini and we went for the early early morning Theyyam. Back then mom and dad were building a house and as is the norm were facing issues towards completion. Me and my parents just stood around and Muthappan was doing his final blessings round. I distinctly remember my dad only bowing and not uttering a word and Muthappan asked - "Bhavanam undakunnundalle? Sheriyavum." that translates to "Making a house ? Everything will be ok" . And yes everything turned out just fine. Out of the hordes with problems ranging from health, wealth, love to infertility .... how he knew we were the one with construction problems , I dunno. Lucky guess ...???
Anyway that was my first and last experience in the presence of a psychic or oracle ...
Sometimes I think we do need to trust and take a leap of faith. I must admit I'm a sceptic but my mum and some other relatives have had similar experiences as you describe. I've seen some things too but I always wonder whether there is a scientific explanation. Cynical me! Nicely written...I was hooked to the end.
Rekha Dhyani said…
My best friend is from Kannur and I have heard lot many such stories from her Mom. Unfortunately I haven't yet been able to meet Muthappan. Thanks for sharing your story, Doc!
I know how weird it sounds... believe me, I do. I don't have any answer to offer either. It just is what happened. :)
You will never know Muthappan if you are from North India as you said. He is very much a local God. But the story behind him and the theyyam are definitely worth noting, if time permits.
Checked the moderation segment and all, could not find it. May have gotten lost somewhere along the way :(
That sounds just like him :)
Short, quick and succinct. And darn accurate to boot!
I am pretty much in the skeptic category myself... this just rubbed me differently. But yes, sometimes we do need to take a leap of faith.
It is definitely worth a visit, especially just before the theyyam performance. Since it is a daily event, it isnt likely you will miss it either.
Anshul Taran said…
I too experienced the same things from my eyes, have certain amount of belief in it. Though I am a Doctor, but I still believes that some supernatural power do exists around us. Awesome description. ��
Reema D'souza said…
This indeed is stranger than fiction! Well we all need that leap of faith to believe in such things.
Mithila Menezes said…
Faith is surely one thing that's stranger than fiction. Any logic or intelligence applied here is an sheer stupidity. One must just believe, and yes, good things do happen, as is mentioned in your real life story.

All the best for the #BarAThon :)
Ramya Rao said…
This is fascinating. I being from Mangalore where such things happen can understand. Indeed stranger than fiction.
Kala Ravi said…
Strange indeed are the ways of clairvoyants. These are the times when you have to bow to the higher powers. This was such an interesting narration Roshan.....I am wondering what you are cooking up for the remaining 6 days ;)
My views are conflicted. I am open to new ideas... but I have seen a lot that is fake too and puts me off.
True.. leap of faith is indeed the answer here :)
Thanks... ya, I can't find an answer via logic myself. Probably why I remember it even now.
Love Mangalore... studied there for some of the best years of my life.
Oh, I have few twists up my sleeve for sure :) Very varied genres :D
Parul said…
Wow! that was very interesting and there are so many things unexplained around us that no one knows any reason. I loved your post and that piece of information about the God.
Vinay Leo R. said…
Reminds me of the Velichapadu, actually.

Did you get the possessions back from the guard after he was apprehended? Really, truth is stranger than fiction in this instance.
mahathi ramya A said…
Interesting! Thanks for sharing Roshan. I think, many Indian temples are of great significance and miracles do happen. I love reading about the temples and age old traditions. I beleive, there are many like these which cannot be explained by science and we don't have enough knowledge to prove or disprove.
Anita said…
Strange indeed. But, that's truth.
There's a lot that we don't know :)
sridevi datta said…
This was powerful. And questioning. Provoking us to introspect. BTW loved your narration. Always loved the Theyyam art form. Never knew it held stories of faith in it.
Anonymous said…
World still beholds enough mystery which is beyond answers....
Thanks. You should read up on Muthappan. You will love how unconventional he is compared to what we see in all other temples.
No. We didn't. We are dumb that way.
I usually am a skeptic to most things that defy an explanation. This though happened to me and my family so can only narrate it as it happened.
Yes, I have to agree to the last one though I want so badly to have a logical answer :)
If you ever stay for a duration in Kannur, do make it a point to visit Parassini, especially during the Theyyam ritual. Who knows? You can get to chat with Muthappan yourself :)
I wish we would investigate them further instead of sticking to the past
Anonymous said…
There were certain incidents which were investigated like Hindu Idols drinking milk on 21 sept 1995. They said it was capillary action. I still doubt not that I believe in all these supreme powers that rule the world and the games played by the Gods but because I myself tried to know were the milk went. I made sure that the spoon was not tilted and it was sucked in by the marble statue...
Thank you so much for sharing this one! I have always been intrigued by the story and persona of the God Muthappan which is different from other Gods but did not have the opportunity to visit Parassini kadavu temple.Must visit one of these days.
Voltaire said…
Awesome expereince your dad had. And indeed a blessed human being he is . I myself have experienced some truly unexplainable things with this diety.I would rather not share here because it will be too good to believe. thank you for sharing. Its great to know that am not alone and I was not being delusional. Good writing