Shitala (Sheetala) devi is the goddess of smallpox, diseases, sores, ghouls, pustules, sicknesses and smallpox. She is an aspect of goddess Katayayani, a form of Durga. Her mount is a donkey.
Shitala and Jvarasura
Shitala was created by Brahma deva. Brahma promised her that she will be worshipped on Earth, but she should carry the seeds of lentils. Shitala also asked for a companion. Brahma took her to Shiva. Shiva, out of his sweat created Javarasura- the fever demon. Jvarasura and Shitala decided to stay in the heavens. She took a donkey as a mount. But soon the lentil seeds turned into smallpox germs and the devas started to fall sick. They banished Shitala and Jvarasura from Svarga.
Shitala and Jvarasura decided to stay on Earth in King Birata’s palace. Birata was a strong devotee of Shiva. He agreed to worship her second to Shiva. He also gave her a place in his kingdom. Shitala became angry that she was not going to be worshiped supremely. She demanded supremacy over all other gods, but Birata did not listen. In anger, she started spreading diseases all over Earth. Finally, Birata had to listen to her demands. Soon the diseases were all wiped out.
Shitala devi had red-colored skin. She has four hands in which she carried a silver broom, winnow fan, small bowl and a pitcher with water from river Ganga.
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