જગન્નાથ યાત્રા

ગુજરાતની શાન સમજાતી ભગવાન જગન્નાથની રથયાત્રા દરવર્ષે અમદાવાદમાં અષાઢ સુદ બીજના દિવસે પરંપરાગત રીતે નીકળે છે. હિન્દુ ધર્મનું પ્રતિક ગણાતી આ રથયાત્રામાં ભગવાન જગન્નાથ, બલરામ અને બહેન સુભદ્રા રથમાં નગરયાત્રા કરવા નીકળે છે.

રથયાત્રામાં સૌ પહેલા આગળ મોટાભાઈ બલરામ, વચ્ચે બહેન સુભદ્ર અને છેલ્લે શ્રી કૃષ્ણના રથની સવારી નીકળે છે.

ભગવાન જગન્નાથની આ રથયાત્રા વિશે કેટલીક રસપ્રદ વાતો જે ખરેખર જાણવા જેવી છે

જગન્નાથની જે નગરયાત્રા જે રથમાં નીકળે છે તેનુ નામ નંદીઘોષ છે. કહેવાય છે કે આ રથ ઈન્દ્ર દ્વારા આપવામાં આવેલ છે, આ રથને સંપૂર્ણ રૂપે પીળા રંગથી શણગારવામાં આવે છે. ભાઈ બળભદ્રને મળેલ રથ તાલવનના દેવતાઓએ આપેલ હોવાથી તેનુ નામ તાલ ધ્વજ છે અને સુભદ્રાના રથનુ નામ પદ્માધ્વજ છે.

અમદાવાદમાં દરવર્ષે પરંપરાગત રીતે નીકળતી આ રથયાત્રાના ત્રણેય રથ દર વર્ષે પૂરા નવેસરથી તૈયાર કરવામાં આવે છે.

આ રથયાત્રાને એક તહેવાર તરીકે ઉજવવામાં આવે છે. મુખ્ય મંદિરથી શરૂ થઈ આ યાત્રા ગુડિયા મંદિરમાં પુરી થાય છે. આ રથયાત્રા કોમી એકતાનુ પ્રતિક પણ છે. રથયાત્રા શરૂ થતા પહેલા મુસ્લીમ સમાજના અગ્રણીઓ મંદિરના મહંતને ચાંદીનો રથ ભેટ આપી રથયાત્રાની શુભેચ્છા પાઠવે છે.

આ રથયાત્રાની એક રસપ્રદ વિધિ એ છે પહિદ વિધિ જેમ પ્રજાપતિ રાજા વિધિ અનુસાર એક શણગારેલી ડોલીમાં આવે છે અને સોનાની સાવરણથી રથયાત્રાના રસ્તાને થોડા અંતર સુધી સાફ કરે છે. રાજા પોતાને સેવક સમજીને આ કામ કરે છે.

Ram Navami

Sri-Ramnavami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day (navami). The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign.

Ramrajya (the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity. Mahatma Gandhi also used this term to describe how, according to him, India should be after independence.

Ramnavami occurs in the month of March. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. In northern India especially, an event that draws popular participation is the Ramnavami procession.

The main attraction in this procession is a gaily decorated chariot in which four persons are dressed up as Rama, his brother Laxman, his queen Sita and his disciple Hanuman. The chariot is accompanied by several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes as work by Rama’s solders.

The procession is a gusty affair with the participants shouting praises echoing the happy days of Rama’s reign.

On the face of it Sri-Ramnavmi appears to be just a festival commemorating the reign of a king who was later deified. But even behind present-day traditions there are clues which unmistakably point to the origin of Ramnavmi as lying beyond the Ramayana story.

Sri Ramnavami occurs at the beginning of summer when the sun has started moving nearer to the northern hemisphere. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama’s dynasty which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvansa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vansa mean familial descendant).

God Krishna

Once upon a time, as now, mother earth was overburdened with the weight of millions of arrogant kings. Assuming the form of a cow, her face overflowing with tears, she approached Brahma, the god of creation for protection.

Realizing her piteous condition, Brahma, accompanied by the earth and all the other gods, went to the ocean of milk, the abode of the Supreme Lord Narayana. There, Brahma venerated the Lord by chanting the Purusha Sukta from the Rig-Veda.

While he was thus contemplating, Brahma heard a voice in the sky: “God already knows the affliction of the earth. He will manifest Himself as Krishna and reduce the burden of the earth.”

Hence, saving the earth from the clutches of evil kings was the part motive for Krishna’s birth. Another primary reason was to give blissful joy to the simple cowherds of Vrindavan, their women, and cows. In Vrindavan, Krishna behaved much as a normal child of His age would do. He teased the gopis, respected His elders and also picnicked with His friends.

Natkhat-Lila-Dhari-Bal-Krishna

No sooner had Krishna also walked in following His friends, than the serpent closed his mouth. Caught inside, Krishna expanded Himself within the throat of the demon. Soon, the demon was choking and struggling for breath.

His prana, restricted within the body, finally burst out through his skull (brahmarandhra), and a bright and strange light illuminating the directions emerged from him, and waited in the sky. As soon as Krishna came out of the serpent’s body, the light merged into Him. Now, this is the kind of end only high-class yogis achieve. The Taittriya Upanishad describes this.

Shiva and Bhasmasura Stories

Way up in the Himalayas, where the snow never melts, there once sat a Rakshasa performing severe penance. He was a devotee of Lord Shiva and had spent many, many hundreds of years, with no thought for food or clothe, heat or cold, sun or snow, sitting there, his mind fixed on Lord Shiva. “Shiva-Shiva, Shiva-Shiva, Shiva-Shiva.” His name was Bhasmasura.

After ages had passed thus, Shiva decided to bless him. So, one day, as Bhasmasura was meditating, the Lord appeared before him. He was shining like the morning sun.

He was the supreme ascetic, dressed in deer skin, body smeared with ashes, locks matted, the snakes dangling around his neck and arms, his hand holding aloft the divine Trishul. Ah, what a magnificent sight he made in all his ascetic glory! Bhasmasura’s eyes were dazzled. He was speechless with wonder at the Lord’s beautiful form:

Gently Shiva spoke to the awe-struck Bhasmasura. He said, “I am pleased with the severe penance you have performed. Ask of me any boon you desire.” And Bhasmasura thought, “I must indeed be a great Tapasvi, as Lord Shiva has granted me a boon.”

Aloud he said, “Lord, grant that whatever object I touch with my right hand will be immediately reduced to ashes.” “Shiva-Shiva.” Bhasmasura, even after going through such rigorous penance, yet, had an asuric mind. “Shiva-Shiva.” What a boon to ask for! Lord Shiva said, “Tathaastu! – so be it.”

Shiva granted this request, but Bhasmasura thereupon attempted to touch the head of Shiva with his hand because he saw Parvati and wanted to possess her, which would only be possible when he turned Shiva into ashes. Shiva fled, and was chased by Bhasmasura. Wherever Shiva went, Bhasmasura chased him.

Lord-Shiva-running-from-Bhasmasura

Somehow, Shiva managed to reach Vishnu to seek a solution to this predicament. Vishnu on hearing Shiva’s problem, agreed to help him out.

Vishnu, in the form of Mohini, appeared in front of Bhasmasura. Mohini was so exceedingly beautiful that Bhasmasura immediately fell in love with Mohini. Bhasmasur asked her (Mohini) to marry him.

foolish_bhasmasura

She told him that she was very fond of dancing, and would marry him only if he could match her moves identically. Bhasmasura agreed to the match and hence they started dancing. The feat went for days at an end. As Bhasmasura matched the disguised Vishnu’s move for move, he began to let his guard down. While still dancing, Mohini, struck a pose where her hand was placed on top of her own head. As Bhasmasura imitated her, he was tricked into touching his own head, and hence Bhasmasura immediately burnt up and turned into ashes, due to the power he had recently gained.

The other variation of this, in a nut shell, is: While Shiva was fleeing away, Vishnu appears in the form of Mohini. Bhasmasura forgets about the testing of newly acquired boon and asks Mohini to marry him. She agrees and asks Bhasmasura to take a dip in the lake and clean himself as he is not clean at the present condition. Bhasmasura is too happy to take a dip in the lake. He tries to get rid of the excess water in his hair (dries his hair) by running his hands over his head. Bhasmasura turned into ashes with the power of newly acquired boon.