There is practice of walking in fire in temples by devotees. I have a few questions about that:
- Which scripture explains Fire Walking (Themithi) practice in temples?
- Why specifically wood is used and metals are not used?
Fire walking or Theemithi is a ritual enacted to invoke Goddess Draupadi (main character of Mahabharata and wife of Pandavas).
From the epic Mahabharata:
According to the epic, Draupadi, who was gravely humiliated in a public arena by the Kauravas, vowed to leave her hair untied until her perpetrators were duly punished by her husbands. She combed her hair for the first time in 13 years upon seeing the dead bodies of the members of the Kaurava family.The grand finale of the victory was when Draupadi walked on fire, in a ceremony known as Theemithi, to prove her virtuousness and chastity by her adherence to dharma (the path of righteous living according to the codes of conduct stipulated in the Hindu scriptures). Theemithi, which marks the Pandavas’ victory in the war against the Kauravas, is a re-enactment of the event. In present times, the walking of the pandaram (chief priest) across the fire with the karagam (a sacred, decorated pot), is a symbolic depiction of Draupadi being tested anew following her tribulations. Likewise, it is believed that if her devotees, are as virtuous as her, they will cross the coals unharmed.
I couldn't get exact sanskrit verses mentioning Draupadi's firewalking but I am sure it is mentioned in Mahabharata, from which several historians and authors wrote books on Draupadi.
Hiltebeitel, Alf (1991). The Cult Of Draupadi Mythologies:From Gingee To Kuruksetra. 1. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1000-6.
Nonviolence in the Mahabharata: Siva’s Summa on Rishidharma and the Gleaners of Kurukshetra. By Alf Hiltebeitel (https://books.google.co.in/books?id=7abOCwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false)
Babb, L. A. (1974). Walking on flowers in Singapore: A Hindu festival cycle. Singapore: Dept. of Sociology, University of Singapore, p. 19. (Call no.: RCLOS 294.538 BAB-[SEA]); Indian Mirror. (2017). Siginificance of fire walking. Retrieved 2017, February 17 from Indian Mirror website: http://www.indianmirror.com/culture/indian-folklore/Fire-Walking.html