Tracing Gram Devata traditions to Indus Valley

Some scholars feel that the Bhuta Kola practiced in South Canara is a continuation of practices from the Indus valley civilization, of connecting to the world of spirits. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya a renowned freedom fighter and a keen proponents of native arts felt that the Bhuta faith establishes, in the rural community, a stable equilibrium, economically, socially and culturally. The trance and oracle in a Bhuta Kola captures everyone's imagination and thus it provides a psychological security for those affected by domestic problems. The wide spread acceptance of oracle tradition among all sections in a village positions oracles as an agreeable way to resolve disputes involving transgression of a social norm. Bhuta or Gram Devata worship brings a sense of social belonging within a village.

Gram Devata worship is practiced in villages all over India. However, its connection to the Indus Valley civilization is more obvious because of the spirits of animals and supernatural beings invoked in Bhuta Kola. Evolving worship practices in India over five millennium have respected and integrated the basic essence from Indus Valley civilization. For example the the dawn of a vibrant temple building phase (post Bhuddist) in South Asia and the period of Vedantic stalwarts did not push out Gram Devata practices. Today one sees three parallel streams of spirituality in India, namely, (a) Cultivating a spirit of inquiry into the non-dual nature of existence (b) A touch and feel way to connect to the supreme through a personal image of the divine(c) Intuitive connection to the spirit world as an extension of nature.

All the three modes of spirituality were deep rooted in the Indian psyche. A rational minded person often picks on the superstitious aspect of a Gram Devata worship, not seeing the sense of belonging that it cultivates in a village. A college educated likely argues with his mother about her frequenting temples, not appreciating her psychological security needs. Even a academic will not connect fully to non-dual philosophy without having experienced deep states of meditations. Spiritual vacuum resulting from a lack of respect and understanding of native wisdom is a cause of the slide in societal morality. Increased suicides among farmers, rising addiction among men, widespread corruption in politics and constant tension among communities point out to a need to draw more from native spiritual wisdom.