Worship of a deity without a devotional darshan is rather
rare in India. The deity of Sri Sri Ma Paudi, enshrined
at Porahat first and then at Seraikella in Bihar, is
a deity of that category. Seraikella was the head quarters
of a feudatory State and now it is the headquarters
of the Seraikella Sub- division of Singhbhum district.
Nobody is permitted to see Ma Paudi except the Ruler,
the Heir Apparent, the Heir Pre- sumptive and their
consorts and the main Dehuri or Pujari (priest) of the
Formerly everyone could have darshan but,Since the
beginning of the19th century, a decision was taken in
a convention of the people of Seraikella that none except
those mentioned above would be allowed to have darshan
of the deity on ordinary days. The members of the Ruler's
family, the Singha Dynasty, could now have the darshan
of Ma Paudi only on the Nuakhia and Jesht Jantal days.
The taboo still continues even after the termination
of the ruler-ship. The story of how the taboo came into
vogue is indicated later.
shta Devatas or presiding deities for families are
quite well known. So also is Ishta Devatas for many
of the erst-while ruling houses in India. A presiding
deity for a particular part of the country is also not
unknown. Pauri Devi or Paudi Devi or Ma Paudi is the
presiding deity of the Singh- bhum district in Chotanagpur,
a division of the State of Bihar.
According to the Vamsa Prava Lekhana, Paudi Devi originally
came from Ceylon. Vamsa Prava Lekhana is a chronicle
which has been faithfully recorded in palm leaves by
a family of Dogras, who have followed the Simha Dynasty
of Rathors from Rameswaram to Singhbhum, Kanjo, Rajputana
and back to Singbhum through all the vicissitudes of
history and have recorded the chief events in each reign
from generation to generation.
The present palm leaf manu- script was copied out from
the original in the year 1700 of the Samvat (1643 A.D.),
during the reign of Kashiram Singh 11, the 41st king
of the Singh dynasty. Maguni Rout Dogra, son of Chitra
Rout copied it, and the dates of events are given in
the Vikram Samvat or the Gajapati Era. The language
and the script are in Oriya. According to this important
chronicle, when the Simhas were installed by Lord Sri
Ramachandra to keep guard over Rameswaram, this deity
(Ma Paudi) appeared before them in a dream saying that
she had come to sustain them in their efforts to keep
-watch over the 14,000 Hara lingas.