Bhūtārādhane (Anglicized: ‘Bhootaradhane’ ) has been documented extensively starting from mid-19th century. The Basel mission that was setup in Mangalore was a pioneer in this work. Although multimedia documentation of Bhūtārādhane is available, much information about this tradition is textual. Barring a few books and blogs, a large part of this documentation is not openly available to general public. It was indeed a challenge for us to compile all the information during our research and study.
In this age where technology is playing a significant role in storing and broadcasting facts and figures, Ruthumana is committed to one of its prime objectives – that of easy and open access to information. In keeping with this objective, we have decided to present the information regarding Bhūtārādhane, openly on the internet.
Ruthumana has been working extensively since mid-2016 to document Bhūtārādhane, mainly in the visual format. In an ongoing endeavour, we are documenting the practices surrounding the worship of each Bhūta, interviewing experts, recording videos and audio clips of Pāḍdana’s. We are also working towards having a good collection of written articles about this tradition. The entire website will be in Kannada and English languages. Videos will have subtitles .
In recent years, Bhūtārādhane is undergoing a tremendous change. While, in a few instances, the dignity and artistic values of Bhūtārādhane are compromised owing to reformation and glorification, in some other places, the traditional architecture of the temples are altered during rejuvenation. Costumes and accessories used in dressing the deities are being modified unexpectedly. The traditional coconut and areca leaves are slowly receding only to make way for ornaments of fancier and costlier metals like gold and silver. The female deities are dressed in a modern fashion. Face painting has turned more dramatic. The act of a few deities have started resembling Yakshagāna. Popular film music is creeping in. The fundamental ideas of Bhūtārādhane like providing justice, proclaiming unity, religiosity are losing significance. Technical aspects, naming the deities are being influenced by vedic culture. Cash flow has increased from industrialists.
We at Ruthumana , think that the need of the hour is to document Bhūtārādhane, as much as possible in its unadulterated form. That is the urgency with which we started this project. In future, we hope to document in detail, the transformations happening in Bhūtārādhane and their effects.
There are many who have worked for this project. While publishing the documents, each of them will be given credits alongside the document they have worked on. We acknowledge, with deep gratitude, the guidance and insights provided by the scholars Dr.Amrutha Someshawara, Dr.Vivek Rai, Dr.K.Chinnappa Gowda, Dr.Purushottama Bilimale, Dr.Ashok Alwa, Dr.Rajashree, Shashank Nellittaya, Dr.Lakshmi.G.Prasad.
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