Oraons & Sarna Religion (Part-II)

The Sarna people do not have a written code of moral law. Their idea of right and wrong comes from their tradition.
Tradition is their measure of truth. Their way to salvation is the tribe. Oraon tribe is primarily skilled agriculturists, most of the prayers revolved around getting good harvest and well being of their domestic animals. Thus the round of rituals connected with the agricultural cycle, along with life-cycle rituals for birth, marriage and death, it involves offering prayers to the spirits and to the deceased ancestors, with the active assistance of the Pahan.
It is true that the Oraons believe that their lives are greatly influenced by the natural surroundings, gods-goddesses, supernatural forces, spirits and many unknown and mysterious forces, including the souls of their deceased ancestors, who look after their tribe’s interests. Surrounded by the natural world, it is instinctive for adivasi to name their benevolent gods and goddesses on the forests, hills, sun, water, rains, fires, light, etc. The gods and goddess are independent of the material world but he has dominion over the entire universe. They are omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and compassionate; they always try to help out the humanity.The religion of Oraon is based on their belief in nature and its supernatural power. They have Nature Deities and the Spirits, both divided into broad categories of Benevolent and Malevolent. According to the belief of the Oraon community, the world is inhabited by numerous spiritual beings of different kind; and the Oraons consider themselves as living and doing everything in close association with these supernatural beings.
The ancestors’ spirits called Pitar (Benevolent) and the Iatar (Malevolent), who are also worshipped. According to Oraons’ religious belief, their dead – ancestors’ souls (atma or aikh or naad) reside in Patal Lok, below the earth’s surface. Newly deceased persons’ souls do not want to leave their homes and want to stay close to their family members. Therefore, the Oraons pray to their deceased family member’s soul to join the family of Pitar (Pach-Balar) at Patal Lok or else it may unite with the family of Iatar and create troubled for not only the immediate family but also the other denizens of the village.
The highly respected Chandi Devi is only worshipped by unmarried male youngsters for achieving success in hunting expeditions. For married male folks, the worshipping of goddess is strictly prohibitated. Among the nature gods, the important one is the Pahaar Raja (Paat-Naad) is considered to be the lord of all the naad belonging to a village; he keeps all these deceased’s souls under his control. It is believed that he resides in nearest mountain situated near the village and protects all the villagers from the diseases, natural calamities, etc. Another nature god is the tree named ‘Mui-Chitkha’, also known as Hazi-Peepar or Baindaa Peepar. It is generally found in almost all the Oraon villages. According to Oraons’ believe, this tree is directly linked to the clouds in the sky, responsible for the rainfall. The village women folks forming a group perform the special puja as per traditions, praying for the rainfalls; the wish is generally granted within couple of days.

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