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Extracts from the Pattini Texts for the Gara Dance

These are from the Pattini Texts 31 and 32 quoted and translated by Obeysekere p 174-183

The dancer or another Tovil Dancer or Drummer recite from them during this dance and the dancer mimes the actions that relate the legends associated with the demon Gara.

…..For the auspicious wedding overflowing with bounteous blessings

Pattini Devi arrives together with the Tusk Prince

With a mace that shakes the Sakvalas

Pattini arrives for Prince Skanda’s wedding

Dressed beautifully, decked with ornaments and a new waist cloth

She tries on a necklace worth a thousand gold pieces

There will be great dishonour as a result of this wedding

Invite and bring along Dala Rajah, the King

That day the goddess Pattini was all set to depart

Sister said Skanda, there is no strategem I know to stop this calamity

She cast her divine eye to see who would help

Lo! She immediately gave him a guise to arrive.

From the time he was born Gara used to dance thus

A Gara demon arrives and causes illness, among these noble folk

At the time the lovely cattle are being herded

Offerings for the Gara demons are given at eventime.

O Giri maid residing in the East

Descend to Earth at the sound of the five instruments

Giri maid, here is  betel, rice and other food for thee

O Giri maid with sinking body, come into this dance hall.

Her swanlike hair shines with blue black hue

A cobra of noble dynasty, coiled around her body

She causes swellings in the body and in the joints

Banish O Girl of high birth diseases caused by you.

Growling this woman consumes raw flesh

In death’s guise she causes illness through fright

O Death come descend from the South and takes these offerings

O Death heed our words and enter the dance arena.

Decked beautifully in divine garments, scented with sandal

Wantonly she waits craving for those tusks

Accept tasty betel and flowers and also a mirror

Illnesses you caused then, O Giri demoness, send away now…..

To please the mind of Gara demon

We give him demonic offerings to gobble up

Many spans wide in length and breadth

Is this broad food basket made of banana bark…….

He was given the name Tusk Prince

Having obtained permission he roams among humans

Though not divine he has a great army

He obtains from humans offerings of food

As customary from generation to generation……

From time to time great clouds shall pour forth rain

And swirling currents shall flow beneath the waters

By the command of Kasyapa and Gautama Buddhas

The troubles flow from the stream into the river.

To listen to the sermons of the Buddha and his monks

People patiently waited in lines leagues long

All the troubles in the river have churned up

And Manimekhala took the evil troubles to the ocean.

As long as these people live in samsara

May they never suffer from sudden danger

May they always obtain long life and prosperity

The troubles go into Makara’s mouth and burn to ashes.

Go away demoness, stay not at the doorway nor in the house

Go away demoness, not outside either or on the roadway

Not at streams, brooks, and places where we bathe, go away demoness

Go away, we evoke the power of many Buddhas,

The blessings of the Buddha refuge for the doorway and inside the house

The blessings for the Dhamma refuge for the outside and wherever we go

The blessings for the Sangha refuge for this village and for this land

For me and for these people the blessings of these Three Refuges…..s