Thursday, November 24, 2011

Odia Manabasa Gurubar on Margasira month Thursdays 2011

Manabasa Gurubar is a popular Odia festival celebrated on the Thursdays in the Odia/Hidusthani month of Margasira. Women of Odisha worship Goddess Laxmi in their houses in this occasion.

The festival is about worshipping Goddess Laxmi. Western Odisha calls it ‘Margasira Gurubar’ or more clearly, ‘Magsir Gurbar’.

Preparation for the festival already begins from the previous night. The houses are made clean and entrances of the house are plastered with either cow-dung paste or red soil.

Beautiful sketches are drawn on it to welcome the Goddess. This is called ‘Jhoti’ in odiya and ‘alpana’ in Hindi. Popular contents of ‘Jhoti’ include ‘Laxmi-Paada’, the footprint of Goddess Laxmi, Lotus, Her favorite flower and other figures.

Women awake early in the morning on the Thursday, further clean the house with a broom-stick takes bathe, wears clean clothes and worship the Goddess offering Her a sacred meal. This offering is later taken as ‘Prasad’ by the family members.

It is a popular belief that ‘Prasad’ of Goddess Laxmi is not shared with outsiders and only consumed by the original family members.

There is also a legend attached to the festival that how Goddess Laxmi, the spouse of Lord Jagannath, visits the house of an untouchable woman ‘Shriyaa Chaandaaluni’ and hence later driven away from the house, but later again accepted with extreme regard. One ritual of the festival includes either reciting or listening to this story called ‘Mahalaxmi Brata kathaa’ or ‘Manabasa Gurubar katha’ scribed in a handy book.

Odia film Director Sabyasachi Mahapatra has presented the story of this festival in his film ‘Jai Jagannath’ released in 13 languages.

‘Manabasa Gurubar’ is celebrated on 17th, 24th of November and 1st and 8th of December, on the four Thursdays in the ‘Margasira’ month of 2011.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drinking water Charity by Jai Mata Di Group Balangir

On the eve of Sharavan Purnima Jai Mata Di Group, Balangir provide the charity of drinking water. The devoted members of the Group have participated in the programme since last few years led by Himanshu Guru. The temporary camp was set at ‘Barapudgia’ bus stop at a distance of 7 kms from Balangir on the way  to Patnagarh. There were also two mobile groups of Jai Mata Di Group members who were providing drinking water to the devotees.

In Balangir District Sharavan Purnima is the auspicious occassion when devotees bring sacred water from the famous tourist place Harishankar to pour it on the Shiva Linga in different Shiva temples of Balangir. They prefer to make the journey on bare foot (without having shoes or chappals) as a vow and come walking all the way. Jai Mata Di Group serves them with drinking water (in Pouches).

Charity of water have been explained of having great importance and highly virtuous in Shiva Puran, one of the great holy texts of Hindus. It is described there that the people who donate drinking water, finally gets to the ‘shiva Lok’, the permanent abode of Lord Shiva.

Again, the month of Shravan is considered as the best month in the Year to worship Lord Shiva. Hence it is a trend in Hinduism that devotees bring sacred water from different places to pour on the Lingam to provide the God a pious bathe, which has been described as much virtuous in Hindu mythology. These devotees are termed ‘Bol Bum’. Bum signifies Lord Shiva and the slogan 'Bol Bum' means – utter the name of Lord Shiva.

Jai Mata Di Group which runs barely with the donations of only some intimate members of the Group is led by Himanshu Guru. This year Nakul Pattanaik, Giris Sahu, Mana Pattanaik, Madhu Pattanaik, Laxmana, Deepak, Mama, Ravi, Kush and some other devotees executed the programme along with Gopal Pradhan, Chhabila Pradhan(Chaetu from Remenda, Bargarh), Bulu Majhi (from Patnagarh) and Himanshu Guru.

Jai Mata Di Group wishes all the best and thanks the few donors named Aditya Kejriwal (Munu), Ashok Sarkar, Bantu Agrawal and Ravi for their assistance for the aforesaid programme.

Om Namah Shivaya.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Amla Navami 2011 in Urbashi Goshala

Amla Navami was celebrated in Urbashi Goshala by Jay Mata Di Group, led by Shree Satya Narayan Pandey ji on the Navami day in the Kartika month of 2011.

Urbashi Goshala is 6 kms away from the nearest town Patnagarh (on the route leading to Padampur) in the District of Balangir, Odisha, India. Members of Jay Mata Di Group from all over India and other devotees from the nearby places worshipped the Indian Gooseberry tree with devotion on this occasion.

The festival ‘Amla Navami’ is the worship of Indian gooseberry tree. It is celebrated on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of the Hindustani Kartika Month. It falls in October or November. It is pronounced in the names like - Aanvla Navmi, Awala Navmi, Anla Navmi and Anvla Navmi. As the Indian gooseberry is pronounced differently in different languages, the spelling changes accordingly, meaning being the same.

Basically women perform Amla Navami puja. Being pure with a sacred bathe early in the morning and then wearing new or washed fresh clothes, they get assembled near a Gooseberry tree. In the absence of an Amla tree, a branch of the tree earthed on the ground or in a vase, can also be worshipped. I don’t know the reason but people worship the gooseberry tree facing east.

First a lamp (deepa or deepali, normally fuelled with ghee, the Indian clarified butter) is lighted with a prayer to keep burning till the end of the worship. That is called ‘akhanda’. Then pour water and then milk on the tree. After that, apply rolli, the Indian red sacred powder, on the tree. Also offer a saree and blouse piece then. The next step is to show dhup. And then Moli, the sacred red thread should be tied by all women on the tree, moving seven times circling the tree.

It is followed by a ‘katha’ either read by a woman or a Brahmin, the priest, to be listened by all the devotees there. In some places they skip this step. The final step is ‘Arati’ and then women put sindoor or roli to each other’s forehead to have fun in an auspicious way.

Amla Navami is mostly observed in Odisha. The reason behind worshipping the gooseberry tree may be science. We can mark that science has been pushed into the rites of worship to provide people the benefit of science through religion. In this context, Gooseberry tree is a top medicinal plant with tremendous uses and benefits. Hence to preserve this precious species may be the tradition of worshipping Gooseberry tree has been made. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Begging excuse to Durga Maa - 'Kshyamaprarthana' from Durgāsaptaśatī

‘Kshyamaprarthana’ is a eulogy chanted to please Goddess Durga. During the performance of rites in worship, we commit mistakes like – incorrect pronunciations (of the hymns and chants) or wrong physical procedures etc.

Hence, this hymn is recited in the end to pray for forgiveness and for any mistakes of incomplete offerings. This ‘Devi aparadha kshyama prarthana/stotram’ has been derived from Hindu Holy text ‘Durgāsaptaśatī', which is considered as the prime text in the worship of Goddess Durga, who possesses the epithet ‘Mahisamardini’.

Durga Maa
Aparaadhasahasraani kriyante aharnisham mayaa,
Dasoaayamiti maam matwaa kshyamaswa Parameshwari. //1//

Aavahanam na jaanaami, na jaanaami visarjanam,
Poojaam chaiva na jaanaami, kshyamyataam Parameshwari. //2//

Mantraheenam, kriyaaheenam, Bhaktiheenam, Sureshwari,
Yat poojitam mayaa devi paripoornam tadastu mey. //3//

Aparaadhasatam krutwaa Jagadambeti chochcharet,
Yaam gatim samvaapnote na taam Brahmaadaya suraah. //4//

Saaparaadhoaasmi saranam praaptasthvaam Jagadambike,
Idaaneemanukampyoaaham Yathecchasi tathaa kuru. //5//

Agyaanaadwismruterbhraantyaa yanyoonamadhikam krutam.
Tatsarvam kshyamyataam Devi praseeda Parameshwari. //6//

Kaameshwari Jaganmaatah Sachchidaanandavigrahe,
Gruhaanaarchaamimaam preetyaa praseeda Parameshwari. //7//

Guhyaatiguhyagoptree twam gruhaanaasmatkrutam japam,
Siddhirbhavatu mey Devi twatprasaadatSureshwari. //8//


O supreme Goddess. Thousands (it means a lot of) of offences are committed by me every moment including day and night. (Still) please forgive me as I happen to be your servant (the term servant has been used to show deep devotion and surrender). //1//

I don’t know your invocation. I don’t know the concluding rites; even don’t know how to worship. (still) O Goddess (Parameshwari) please forgive me. //2//

Those prayers offered by me are without mantras, without Kriya (Physical procedures of worship) and without devotion. (Still) whatever I have offered (in worship and prayer) accept it as absolute. //3//

Having done hundreds( a lot of) of offences, even then if someone utters your name ‘jagadamba’ his course of soul attains that (divine) achievement, which is rare for even Brahma and other demi-gods. //4//

I am full of offences and taking Your refuge, O Jagadambikā! Do pity on me and do whatever you wish for me.//5//

O Goddess! Please forgive my mistakes which has occurred due to doing it either less or more then actually required, which are result of lack of knowledge, lack of memory and lack of wisdom. Please be happy on me, O Supreme Ruler.//6//

O Universal Mother, Who fulfils our wishes, Who has got a blissful appearance (or whose idol makes devotees get the real mind-blowing joy) accept these offerings (during prayers) with happiness and blesses me. //7//

O Goddess! You possess the most secret knowledge. (Still) Accept (grant my recited mantra as correct by doing pity on me) the mantra from me. O Goddess, Who rules over the demi-gods! May I become perfect by Your shower of compassion on me? //8//

writer's view :

When we chant the ‘Kshyamaprarthana’, we should feel the same emotion from our inner heart that actually I have committed the mistake. More clearly, suppose someone is praising us but uttering our name wrongly, then we should be annoyed with it, because taking someone’s name with a wrong pronunciation is dishonor to him. But finally if he bags excuse that he has wrongly uttered the name not to dishonor us, but due to lack of proper knowledge, then we would like to excuse him and bless him as per our capacity.

Applying this logic for this great sacred hymn, we  praise the supreme mother that whatever mistakes I have performed, that is unknowingly and I surrender at your feet to beg excuse and then the affectionate Universal mother will pardon our mistakes and bless us.

She always waits for Her sons and daughters (i.e. we, the people of this Universe) to show a small bit of affection or esteem to her and She will bestow Her great divine blessings on us.