Getting Rid of Kalukumara Distiya
Angela was in her fifties, happily married and settled down comfortably in a middle class family in Moratuwa. Hailing from a pedigree of a well-known entrepreneurial family, she had three sons. The eldest graduated and became a high-ranking government official, second worked as an architect and the youngest known as the 'full stop' of the family was studying for O/ Levels.
Angela's youngest sister Silvia had been very pious and led completely a different lifestyle being pregnant with celestial fire. She was a vegan and occupied herself always by reading Buddhist scriptures. It was no surprise to anyone in the family when she suddenly decided to leave the sensuous life and become a Bikkuni.
For a long time she maintained her holy life until evil forces came upon her. All humans are born with subtle tendencies brought from previous lives and they also acquire new penchants in their present life while evil thoughts and acts become a wedge in one's spiritual progress. When she mentioned her mind was ‘restless’, she did not refer to ordinary restlessness and unhappiness but her inner obstacles were standing in her way obstructing any further advances in her chosen path.
Finally she gave up the robes, got married and transformed completely into a different person by becoming carnivorous too which, the family thought due to retribution, her health deteriorated and finally faced an 'untimely' death!
Angela always thought Sylvia's 'premature' death was due to a bad karma or curse for having changed her venerated life and becoming victimized to temptation. Three months after Sylvia's death Angela began to get disturbed by horrific nightmares.
With the passage of time such dreams became a routine where Angela began to scream in an ear-piercing echo, which was audible for the whole neighbourhood. Immediately afterwards, her jaws, teeth and the mouth got firmly locked. Then someone had to use a tablespoon handle to open her mouth! After regaining consciousness she always talked about a 'huge black dog chasing after' her. This was interpreted by Kattadiyas as Kalu Kumara distiya!
After a while such nightmares became part and parcel of her life but everyone treated it as normal. With the passage of time her elder son's wedding took place in a grand scale and Angela was busy ensuring that everything went according to plan. After the wedding the new couple went on their honeymoon and three days later 'home coming' reception was held at home where hundreds of guests were invited. However, immediately after the wedding Angela complained of a headache and was confined to bed being unable to raise her head. She had to remain three days in that manner even when the home coming party was in progress.
When all the visitors dispersed, Angela's immediate family members gathered round her bed including the new bride. She listened to everyone with enthusiasm smiling, although she still could not raise her head above the pillow.
Suddenly her second son burst out in anger." Me Amma novei, Aryane! Peenne neadda balannako muna diha. Me magula hariyanne neha meyawa allala muhude danna oné” (This is not mother, look at her face, this is that one. This has become beyond a joke; we must get hold of her and dump her in the deep sea.) At that very moment Angela, who could not raise her head, rose up and stood up on the bed rapidly and cried: " Ane puthe ekanam Karanna epa." (Please do not do that son)!
Angela's son took control of the situation and spoke firmly. "Thamuseta monawada karanna oné ammawa athaharinna?"(What do you want us to do, for you to release our mother ?)
"Mata pin denna puthe, akkata adre hindai mama inne."(Help me son, I love my sister.)
The son did not take any of those as an excuse but arranged a powerful exorcist from Matara to get rid of his aunt's spirit out of his mother. On the day of exorcism Kattadiya prepared everything in advance - A cockerel, bits and pieces of food into folded jack leaves, stand (Thattuwa) made out of coconut leaves (Gok Kola).
He blocked his area of activity with a white sheet; Angela sat outside the screen while the Kattadiya chanted and did all the devil dancing to a rhythmic drumbeat played by a drummer. He whistled and invited all the spirits (Boothayas) to the Thattuwa, held a fire torch (Pandama) and flashed incensed power (Katta Kumanjal) at the fire, on and off, to create a fireball.
At midnight he went into an absolute trance, seemed to be in the company of 'devils and spirits.' During the dance in a mesmerized mood he pierced the cockerel's red wattle and placed drops of blood in each 'leaf container' on the Thattuwa.
At the climax he grabbed the cockerel with both hands, held it up in the air, twisted its neck, sucked the blood out of the wattle and questioned the spirit in Angela's body in a commanding way:
"Denkiyapan keeyatada umba yanne methanin?" (Tell me now when are you going to leave this place?) Angela replied in a feeble voice ‘at 5.30 a.m.’
"Deepan mata ingiyak." (Give me a sign).
"Mama kos atta kadagana yanawa." (I will break a branch of the jack tree.)
Sharp at 5.30 a.m. while the exorcist kept on performing his rituals non-stop, a branch of the jack tree in the garden fell to the ground with a thundering noise.
The exorcist returned to his normal self-looking quite tired and said, "Nona, den okkoma ivaryi"(Madam, everything is OK now.)
Angela never had to suffer from any possessions or nightmares or 'Kalu Kumara distiya' again, yet she offered merit to her dead sister by performing charity in her sister's name so that Sylvia's spirit could uplift to a better destination.
Tilak S. Fernando