You all must be aware that measles is a communicable infection caused by the measles virus. A red flat rash normally starts on the face which later spreads to the rest of the body.
But Indians believe that measles is a blessing from the Goddess. Among different traditions, the infected individual is likewise called to have had 'Mataji'. And you will be amazed to know that even medication is believed as an offense to the Goddess.
Have you ever wondered why is this so? By what means can a skin contamination be a blessing from God? What is the reason behind this? Well, this is what I have for you.
There are various myths and stories related to this tale, and some of them are listed below.
People still assume that God is the one who has control over the body of a human. In the same form, all the diseases are said to be given by the same divine power in form of anger or punishment.
We all have heard about Sitala Mata, right? She is worshipped as an incarnation of Supreme Goddess Durga and is known for curing poxes, sores, ghouls, pustules, etc.
She carries a silver broomstick in right hand which symbolizes spreading disease, while water pot in the left hand depicts recovering victims with cold water.
As reflected in her name, Sitala Mata appreciates cold and coolness.
It is believed that on the day of Sitala Saptami people do not prepare hot food but consume food which is prepared on the previous day. It is a belief that eating hot food is strictly prohibited on this day.
There is a legend that says when a demon named Jvarasura gave bacterial fever to children, it was Goddess Katyayani who came in the form of Sitala Mata and purified children's blood and destroyed the bacteria that caused fever.
In the Sanskrit language, 'Jwar' means fever and 'Shital' means coolness.
According to some old beliefs, measles is allegedly affected by the anger of Sitala Mata.
It is said that when someone suffers measles, it is actually Goddess herself within her victims, burning them.
The measles victims since having the Goddess within them, are resembled to be in a Godlike state. The infection is suggested not to be treated by any medication as it is believed that the Goddess will herself leave the body in 6-10 days.
It is said that Sitala Mata is among the seven sisters who live in the neem tree. They are also known for bringing epidemic diseases. And this is why often the shrines to Sitala Mata are found near neem trees. Neem is also known for eradicating chicken pox and measles.
Content source: The Speaking Tree