Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bhasma Aarti of Mahakal Ujjain

Bhasma Aarti of Mahakal Jyotirlinga, Ujjain

Many poojas are performed in Mahakaleswar Temple of Ujjain but the most significant is "Bhasma Aarati". The belief goes that those who are fortunate to watch this ritual will never die a premature death. It is a belief that anyone who comes to the temple does not go back empty-handed. Mahakaleshwar Temple is the famous Tantrik centre of Ujjain. 

One has to apply one day prior with photo ID and get the permission letter thereafter next day to wake up at very early in the morning and stand in a queue at 3.45 AM. Men to wear Dhoti and women in Saree, blouse, Ghagra (they check!) to enter center Sanctum Sanctorum for first jalabhisek over the Jyotirlinga. After jalabhisek by devotees, the Pujaris do panchamrit abhisek and pooja and draw face of Mahakal in different look every day. Thereafter Aghori Sadhu beautify the Jyotirlinga with bhasma (ash of corpse brought from smashan) through bhasmabhisek. The women are told to not to see this part (spreading banana) of the aarti. Now it is said that the bhasm is prepared in the room by burning cowdung cakes. But during our visit we saw Aghori Sadhu with ash! The Jyotirlinga thereafter tied with crown, ornaments, garland, etc, followed by deep aarati with chanting Mahamrintinunjay and other Vedic mantras and Eulogies, with deep aarti and jalabhisek by temple ladies and pujaris the 'Bhasma Aarti' ends at 6 AM. 

It seems, a narration of a life cycle of a human being, who passes through the same cycle from birth to death. We born, grow, cherish, die and the body put on pyre for cremation. It is a 'Bhasma Yatra' from birth to death.

Mahakal is one of the oldest temples established by Brahma as per mythology. The coins and appointment of Prince Kumarsena for looking after law & order are references of 4-6 century BC. Meghdutam of Kalidas, Kadambari of Banbhatta, Naisadhcharit of Sri Harsa, etc described the ancient glamour of the temple. It is to note that the temple had flat roof when Kalidas described it in Meghdutam. (May compare it with the building of Kaba).

We did visit Shipra river and Gandharva Smashan, Bhairav and Batuk Bhairav temples and met Tantrik Dabral Baba (A Bhardwaj Brahmin from Uttarakhand) to satisfy our curiosity on Tantra. His Guru "Mahovtar" (300+ years old) lives in Himalayas.

If get a chance or make a plan to visit Ujjain, do attend "Bhasma Aarati". It is a memorable experience.

Ujjain 16 January 2015.

NB: All Jyotirling temples have 'akhand deep jyot".

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