Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chaitra the first month of Hindu Calendar

Chaitra the first month of Hindu Calendar

चैत्र नवरात्रि की आपको और आपके परीवार को शुभकामना ॥

In Gujarat, Hindu calendar month starts on the first day after Amavasya. But in North India, the Hindu calendar starts on the first day after Purnima (full moon).

Chaitra is the first month of Hindu Calendar. The Shukla paksh, first 9 days are celebrated as Navratri, the autumn festival every year. This is the real Navratri, in which people of India worship mother Goddess for nine night. Many observe fast all these nine days.

Uttarakhand mountains follow two traditions for centuries: the bhetoli and the sacrifice of animals on ashtami.

Brothers send sweets and gifts to sisters as Bhetoli. Each home receives bhetoli for the mother and bahus.

On Ashtami, male buffalos and goats are sacrificed in a temple premises to appease the Goddess by her devotees. 11-15 villages form one group. One village of the group offer sacrifice of male buffalo in turn every year. The villagers carry healthy and heavy male buffalo tied with ropes and chains to the temple and hand it over with the cutter to the villagers of the another village who will offer male buffalo for the next year. The transfer of healthy male buffalo is very interesting. The owner villagers release the buffalo from the ropes and iron chains. The buffalo runs and the receiver villagers take over it's command after chasing for an hour and putting up lot of efforts. The receiver villagers perform sacrifice of the buffalo using the cutter handed over by the owner villager. Next year, they will give male buffalo and cutter to the new receiver village. The flash of the sacrifice is cooked after the offering and serve as prasad to all. Even the vegetarian otherwise, eat a piece of meat as prasad of the goddess. Other than the main sacrifice, some individuals offer sacrifices of male buffaloes and male goats to the deity. People kill many animals for their food in daily routine, kill the male animals to offer sacrifices one day in the year to the Goddess. Buffalo is a symbol of demon.

The practice of mass animal sacrifice was a cognizable offence under Prevention of Cruelty Act, therefore many villagers have changed the practice of killing. They offer the male buffalo to the deity and then release it into the forest where the tiger, vehicle of the Goddess Durga consumes it. Goats are eaten otherwise have been consumed as religious feasts.

Some communities offer animal sacrifice on the event of a male child birth in their families. It's a tradition practice over hundreds of year.

Apart from the animal sacrifice, the period of 9 days and 9 nights is very important for sadhana to acquire Devine power. People perform fast and worship the Goddess Durga and recharge the battery of the kundalini, the electrical power house of the body. Fates of many get change with the blessings of the Goddess during Navratri. It is a festival of worshipping the Goddess, the power of the Almighty, the God, for the wellbeing of the mankind.

Happy Chaitra Navratri

28 March 2017


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