Who is Obatala? (long but a MUST read)
What is his position in the order of seniority?
This Pataki tell us that all divinities, including ILE –the mother earth, joined forces to dethrone OBATALA OSEMARAGBO (the ancient of days) and take for them his creative powers. Bitter rivalry emerged amongst the divinities and deities who wanted to share the glory of OBATALA. ORUNMILA was invited to join in the conspiracy but refused. ESU was invited into the evil plot against the ancient of the days OBATALA, but ESU refused. In the end the divinities lost the fight to take the glory of OBATALA. Consequently a universal glory was conceded to him forever according to the IFA stanza below. However, the refusal of ORUNMILA BABA AGBONNIREGUN and ESU LALU OGIRI OKO, to join in the conspiracy against, the illuminated one –OBATALA –was with great benefit and enormous advantages. ORUNMILA and ESU were both promoted to co –exist as equals with OBATALA in the trinity of divinities
Irete Meji says the following:
Orunmila wo suu , o ko won
E e ri i
Awon ojise aye
Awon igangan ife
Awon ni Orunmila maa
Nranse si ELEDUA
Envoy from earth
Town –crier of IFE
Were suddenly seized and slashed by Orunmila
The town crier
Are the emissary
Orunmila always send to GOD the omnipotent
The emissary from the earth and the town crier of IFE were ORUNMILA`S regular messengers to ELEDUMARE, the omnipotent. The message to the omnipotent was: “such being the state of things in IFE today, what sacrifice should I appoint as remedy?”
The reply would come ‘’offer a bush rat’’. Acting on this recommendation ORUNMILA would receive good auspices for the city and all would turn out well, but as time went on things changed. When the Omnipotent indicated the sacrifice of a goat, these messengers reported to ORUNMILA that a Lamb should be offered. The sacrifice would result in failure. What could be responsible for this turn of events wondered Orunmila. Eventually the truth came out but ORUNMILA said nothing, he merely stopped the messengers from bearing further request to the OMNIPOTENT.
One day ORUNMILA seized the messengers and killed them. The people of IFE wondered how ORUNMILA could do such an evil thing, killing his messengers who were always bringing good tidings to the people of IFE. The answer given to them by ORUNMILA was not satisfying, and the people decided to attack ORUNMILA, and without mincing words ORUNMILA hid himself from the anger of the people. They beat one of the disciples of ORUNMILA called IMULEGBE and AKALE – ORUNMILA`s guest was not spared.
ORUNMILA could not hide his emotions and he came out from his hiding and challenged the people. Orunmila left the city in annoyance, IMULEGBE and AKALE went with him. ORUNMILA warned the entire council of IFA priests to stop divining for the people of IFE, so that they may know the implication of their habit and actions.
Orunmila later travelled to the forest with his friends until they got to a place called ‘’THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE’’ and here they built three hut’s, one for AKALE – ESU, one for IMULEGBE – OBATALA, and one for ORUNMILA. Soon, there was a report from IFE that the city was under heavy plague and many problems. Fishes were dying in the river, sickness and illness became the order of the day. The pregnant women would no longer find it easy to have their children, men became infertile and the barren could not conceive. There was total chaos and pandemonium and nobody in the city was able to find a solution to the problem. The chiefs of IFE went out of their domain to seek solution but all to no avail.
One day they met a diviner named CRAB THAT CRAWLS IN HOLES IN THE MARSH AWAY FROM WATER HABITANTS, but he declined to divine for them because of what ORUNMILA the chief diviner had said. He then instructed the people of IFE to look for ORUNMILA so that they might find solutions to their problems. They replied that ORUNMILA could not be found, and he said they should look for an antelope and bring him the animal so that he would help them look for another diviner. They brought the animal and were led to another diviner called GOLDEN –HUED LIKE FRESH PALM OIL who was expected to take them to where ORUNMILA resided.
The diviner then asked the people of IFE to look for an antelope for sacrifice like was given to the first diviner. This request was more laborious than that of the first diviner, but since they did not have alternatives, they prepared to go into the deep bush and look for an antelope. They found an antelope which they pursued up hill and chased the animal into the forest until the people of IFE found themselves in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Here, suddenly the antelope disappeared and they continued searching for the disappeared antelope until they found the three huts built for ORUNMILA, AKALE and IMULEGBE (ORUNMILA, ESU AND OBATALA).