© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

Health Ayurveda Plants Mantra Tovil Treatments

The First Edura

The first Edura is believed to have  been a man called Oddissa and to have come from a mountain in Northern India. According to the legend the sister of Mahavishnu was bewitched by an evil spell from which no one could free her. Oddissa, one of the Seven Wise Men, was summoned to the palace.

He arrived on a Tuesday afternoon and ordered that a small “palace” of banana trunks 12 arms lengths square, be constructed. This was decorated with young coconut and areca leaves. He then told the people to collect various herbs, flowers, tuberous fruits and lemons/limes. The bewitched sister was then ordered to bathe and anoint her head with oil and then enter this “palace”. He placed 108 rings made from creepers around her hands, neck and feet. Then he cut them one by one with his huge sword whilst he recited a mantra. When the last one was cut a huge snake came out of her mouth which he killed with one blow from the sword. She then immediately recovered and returned to full health.

His  followers recorded all that he had done during the ceremony in a palm leaf book. They preached about this cure and these teachings are still used today. He started the 7,747 syllables of the curative mantras. According to legend Oddissa and the other 6 Wise Men form the  7 stars of the Great Bear. They are also supposed to be the ancestors of the Indian Brahmins.


Demons are believed to be everywhere, they and the ghosts are a menace to humans and cause a wide range of problems. According to legend the demons (yakku) originated in the North of Sri Lanka and obeyed their king Vesamunu-rajjuruvo. They became so troublesome to humans causing them to fall ill, robbing them and playing tricks on them and even in very olden times killing them and eating their flesh, that the highest Deity Sakra and Lord Buddha commanded that they could only continue to afflict humans if they agreed to release the humans from the afflictions when they were given offerings and foods. This is believed to be one version of the basis of Tovil Dancing  - ceremonies which are held to appease, entertain and make offerings to the disease causing demons so that they release the patient and a cure is effected.

The ghosts

are souls of dead people. After 10 years they go to live in the bush and can assume gigantic size. They can also prey on the living but are easier to propitiate than the demons.

Evil spells

These can also cause great  problems and  the Edura is the one who diagnoses the cause and hence the cure.

The Healers