At the onset of my blog itself, wishing all my Kutchhi brothers and sisters a very Happy New Year
असां जे कच्छी माडुओ के नव वर्ष की लख लख वधाई।
मेठो पांजो कच्छडो, मेठा पांजा माडु,
मेठी पांजी गालीयुं, ने मेठी पांजी प्रीत,
हलो हलो रे… आवई अषाढी बीज ।
The 2nd day of the month of Asaadh is a day celebrated as the onset of monsoons in Gujarat and Kutchh. The monsoons bring a smile on everyone’s face and people rejoice and celebrate as if it’s a new year.This day is celebrated all over India, especially Odisha, as the Rathyatra, “the procession of Chariots”. Lord Jagannath alongwith his elder brother Balbhadra and sister Devi Subhadra moves in their chariots around the Odia town of Jagannath Puri. This annual rath yatra attracts tourists from around the world. People get to touch their Lord and pull his chariot which is a one in a lifetime experience.
Jagannath Swami rides in the rath which is majorly decorated in yellow and called the “Nandi Ghosh.” Lord Balbhadra rides in “Tala dhwaj” decorated in green. And Devi Subhadra rides in her “Padma Dhwaj” black chariot. It’s the time when the siblings move out of their temples to meet the people, common folk, of their town. From their temple, they go to Gundicha temple, 3km away. Hence this yatra is also called as the Gundicha Yatra.
The names of the chariots and the colours too have their own significance. The chariots have their own charioteers. Daruka is on the Nandighosh, Matali on Taladhwaj and Arjun on Padmadwaj.
First the Deities are brought out from the temple in a very typical way. The deities do not have full body, but just a the face. So they need to be lifted and got out. This ritual is called the “Pahandi“. When one sees the deities being taken out, it seems as if they are being dragged. The multitudes of people try to catch a glimpse of the Lord and touch Him.
As soon as the Lord settles on His rath with His siblings (note that each deity has His or Her own individual rath), the erstwhile King of the Gajapati clan, arrives in a dress of a sweeper and cleans the rath and the roads with a broom in hand. This ritual is called “Chera Pahara“. It signifies that in the presence of the Lord, everyone is equal. The Kings, too through the years, have been very humble andgrateful to the Lord, to let them serve Him.
Then begins the journey.
The journey of the Lord to see His own people
The journey where the people can see their Lord
The journey of life to eternity.
The common man gets an opportunity to pull the three Raths and carry their Lord to His destination. The millions who have assembled, all, just try to touch the ropes attached to the Rath and feel grateful. The idea of a mere Human pulling the Rath of the Lord is in itself such a beautiful thought. It is He who pulls our lives throughout, but this day we get an opportunity not only to see Him, but pull his Rath as well.
Being elder, Balbhadra leads the triad. Followed by Subhadra and lastly comes Lord Jagannath himself. The idea of the brothers taking care of their sister is so divine. At the same time, it also signifies that Strength (Balbhadra) and Power (Jagannath), need to be balanced in Life. It would be possible only when one has the “bhadra” outlook (Subhadra).
Once the deities reach the Gundicha temple, they stay there for 10 days and will return back to their house after that, in the same manner as today. These 10 days are of Nagar Yatra and Darshan. The people get to see their Lords amongst themselves. The Lord too through this Yatra demonstrates that people in power need to keep their feet firmly on the ground and also keep in touch with the masses living in his or her kingdom.
The Yatra lasts for 6-7 hours and sometimes even takes 15-16 hours depending upon the wish of the deity. It is truly a very divine atmosphere in itself to be witnessed. I would request my readers to atleast visit Jagannath Puri once in a life time and if possible during the Yatra time.
A stotra written by Jagadguru Shankaracharya called Jagannathashtak is worth reciting. Quoting a shlok from it for Lord Jagannath. रथारूढो गच्छन् पथि मिलित भूदेव पटलैः स्तुति प्रादुर्भावम् प्रतिपदमुपाकर्ण्य सदयः । दया सिन्धुर्बन्धुः सकल जगतां सिन्धु सुतया जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन पथ गामी भवतु मे ॥५॥(“When Lord Jagannatha is on His Ratha-yatra cart and is moving along the road, at every step there is a loud presentation of prayers and songs chanted by large assemblies of brahmanas. Hearing their hymns Lord Jagannatha is very favorably disposed towards them. He is the ocean of mercy and the true friend of all the worlds. May that Jagannatha Swami, along with His consort Lakshmi, who was born from the ocean of nectar, be the object of my vision.”)
Today, in these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lord will come out to bless us all and the world . Wishing you all a very divine and spiritual Yatra (journey).
A day when Bhagwaan Rishabhdev broke His year long fast by drinking sugarcane juice through his cupped hands (Varshi Tap Paarna)…
A day when Maa Ganga descended on Mother Earth…
A day when Bhagwaan Vyas started dictating Mahabharat to Bhagwaan Ganesha…
A day when farmers in India start the farming work for the monsoon season by decorating their cattle and worshipping their fields (Bhoomi Pujan)…
At the beginning, I mentioned that its is one of the 3 and half mahurats, auspicious time to begin anything new. Akshay Tritaya alongwith Dusshara, Gudhi Padwa and Kartik Poornima (half day) are considered as the most auspicious days to begin a new venture. Akshay Tritiya day falls on the 3rd day of the bright half (shukla paksha) of Vaishakha of the lunar month. (It falls in later half of April or first half of may according to western calendar). The whole day is a day to acquire wisdom, think and begin anew.
“Akshay’ means one which never diminishes. Tritiya means the third day. So it is believed that anything that we acquire or begin on this day, will never be diminished.
Bhagwaan Rishabhdev, the first Tirthankar of the Jains, broke his fast on this day. A year long fast! I always wondered how they could do it. But this is “Tap”, ( the readiness to bear both pain and happiness, not to be delighted in one’s happiness and not to be bogged down in distress). Also, they (24 Tirthankara’s) in their pursuit of finding the truth about oneself, sometimes got lost in themselves and forgot to partake food. The fire within, for this pursuit was so hot that it engulfed all other worldly desires. Today many a people emulate them. My namaskaars to all of them, first. At the same time, my question is that are we in the same pursuit? With same intensity to find the truth? I do not doubt the intentions of anyone, but at the same time, I want to gently remind my readers at least, the facts about our ancestors, the way they thought and lived.
Mother Ganga descending upon the earth is one of the most beautiful glacial phenomenon, an human can envisage and see happening in his own lifetime. Bhagirath, the great King, was able to do this. It’s an engineering marvel. Even today, people go upto ‘Gomukh’, the caves from where Ganga appears, but the exact place of Her beginning is still unknown. The flow of Ganga is continuous and divine. The divinity within Her waters is something which will never be diminished “Akshay”.
Mahabharat, the great epic, was started to be written today. It has covered all relations and all topics under the Sun. There is an episode before the Mahabharata was started to be written. When Bhagwaan Vyas asked Ganesha, the God of wisdom, to write his dictation, Ganesha said that it would be possible only on one condition that Vyas would not stop once he starts dictating. Bhagwaan Vyas readily agreed and put forth his condition that Ganesha will understand what is being told and then write it down. And so it is said that Vyas would speak a few sentences which were difficult to interpret for Ganesha and would take a break. The truthulness behind the episode is difficult to be adjudged, but this conveys to us the greatness of Bhagwaan Vyas. The Mahabharat in it’s true sense is a book of undiminished “akshay” wisdom.
The farmers all over India consider this day as an auspicious day to begin their farming work. With monsoons just a few weeks away, the tilling of the soil has to be done. They worship the soil as well as the cattle which is going to be useful for his work. It is an expression of gratefulness towards both of them, due to whom the humans get food. We, Indias have always seen God everywhere. For us, He is omnipresent. So we bow down to the soil too. With all the pain that She (Mother Earth) will bear, She will return good fruits to Her children in form of crops. And that is a undiminished “akshay” blessing to Humanity as a whole.
On this most auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya, I wish all my readers a very Happy Akshay Tritiya.
May Bhagwaan Rishabhdev bless us with understanding about penance and help us move away from the fruits of our action.
May the ever flowing Ganga cleanse our bodies and minds and fill them with divine thoughts.
May Bhagwan Vyas and Ganeshji bless everyone with undiminishing wisdom.
May Goddess Annapurna bless every field with lots of crops and every kitchen with unlimited, but delicious meals.
PS. : I have written this just now out of gratefulness to my Elder sister (Didiji), of whose Parivaar (family), She considers me a part of it. And I too consider it a blessing.Her love, Her attention, Her care, Her teachings, Her words are always an inspiration for me personally.Today I tell you all that the inspiration for me to write is only Her.
Wishing all my friends, students, fellow bloggers and their families a very Happy New Year on occasion of Gudhi Padwa, Ugadi, Yugadi, Navreh (Kashmir) and Cheti Chaand.
The day, when :
Brahma (The Creator) created the world. It is believed that after the deluge, Brahma, recreated the world. The time restarted.
Rama returned to Ayodhya, from exile, alongwith Seeta and Laxmana, and people hoisted Gudhi’s outside their houses to welcome them.
Shalivahan defeated the Huns and returned to Paithan, his capital.
As it is considered an auspicious day, (one mauhurat amongst the 3 and a half auspicious mahurats), it is said thatShivaji along with his Mavlas began his conquest for a Hindavi Swaraj.
Today, I want to talk about Shalivahan, the great Satvahan King. A few thousand years back, after Gazni had invaded and looted and plundered India, the Huns entered India. They were just interested in two things. Women and Gold. They were considered amongst the most uncivilized people, then. They faced no or little resistance when they entered India and so entered deeper and deeper and reached Central India.Here they faced the first big resistance. It was from none other than the Satvahan King Shalivahan. He invigorated his soldiers and forced the Huns back to their country. He emerged victorious and returned back to Paithan. People welcomed him by hoisting Gudi’s outside their houses.
(There is another version of historical events, wherein it is said that Shalivahan defeated the mighty Vikramaditya and returned to Paithan. I leave upto my reader to decide his/her own version)
But the question which comes to everyone’s mind is that every king, to expand his kingdom attacks another kingdom, and one of them would surely emerge victorious. So what is so big that an entire calendar was started in Shalivahan’s name?
As I said above, that Shalivahan defeated the Huns. The folklore says that the people of his kingdom had heard about the exploits of the Huns and were not ready to fight them, fearing their ferocity. Shalivahan, then made these mud doll soldiers (mud dolls made into soldiers) and brought them to life and led them into the war to defeat the Huns.
Now this sounds mythological and against scientific temperament. And I agree.We need to understand our history with a right perspective. The people were not ready to fight. They were mentally not prepared to fight. They had become doll like, just did their routine work and tried to live happily. They didn’t want any problems in their lives. Shalivahan toured his Kingdom, talked to his people and motivated them to lift up arms to defend their motherland. The people trusted their King and his will to defeat the enemies. So they with this new found vigour fought against the Huns and emerged victorious. The citizens of Paithan welcomed their brave King by hoisting Gudhi’s outside their houses.
The Gudhi signifies Brahmadwaj. Sometimes it is also referred to as Indradhwaj. Gudhi is a bright colorful silk scarf-like cloth tied at the top of a long bamboo. On top of it, one or more boughs ofneemleaves and mango leaves are attached along with a garland of flowers. This arrangement is capped with a silver, bronze or copper pot (handiorkalash) signifying victory or achievement. The whole arrangement is hoisted outside each household, typically to the right, or through a window or terrace and will be visible to everyone passing by. Gudhi is believed to ward off evil, invite prosperity and good luck into the house.
The delicacies cooked at home on this day is just the one which blends with the season of Spring. And we all wait to just get back him to nourish them.
Today is a day when the lockdown has begun. On the New Year Day, we are all at home.
Let’s plan to do something which is good for everyone of us in the family.
Let us decide one thing that we all will sit together in the evening and pray to God for the well being of Mankind. Ram Navmi is coming up, if we all know, we can chant Ram Raksha Stotram together.
Let us study our history, culture and Sanskruti.
Let us understand the importance of values and try to imbibe them in our lives. It is said that it takes 21 days to inculcate an habit. We have 21 days. Let’s decide and try to get one good valuable habit into our lives.
Again wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a Happy Chaitri Navratri.