^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ SYMBOLS OF TWELVE MAJOR WORLD RELIGIONS ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^



May the Lord Jagannath Bless us all on this auspicious Day.

Balaram, Subhadra and Jagannath
The Snana Yatra (which means the Bathing Festival, in Sanskrit) celebrated on the Purnima (full moon day) of the Hindu month of Jyeshtha. It is an important festival of the Jagannath Cult. This is the first occasion in the year as per the Hindu calendar, when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, and Madanmohan are brought out from the Jagannath Temple (Puri) and taken in a procession to the Snana Bedi [Bathing  Platform]. There they are ceremonially bathed and decorated for a public audience with the devotees.

It is a belief among devotees of Lord Jagannath that if they make a pilgrimage to see the deity on this day, they would be cleansed of all of their sins. Hundreds of thousands of devotees visit the temple on this occasion.

According to the Skanda Purana when King Indradyumna arranged this bathing ceremony for the first time when the idols of the deities were first installed. This day considered to be the birth-day of Lord jagannath.

Hati Vesha (Elephant Mask) festival:
Traditionally this festival has been going on since the time of the carving of the 'Dharu-brahman' Deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram, and Lady Subhadra in Sri Purushottam Kshetra (Jagannath Puri) thousands of years ago, commemorating Their sacred appearance for Their devotees - primarily the saintly King Maharaj Indradyumna. 

After the bathing ceremony the Lord catches a transcendental chill, are fed sweet foods and drinks to break Their fever, and then retires for Their 'Anavasara kala' - recuperation period. In Jagannath Puri where the Deities are painted with natural mineral paints, after the bathing ceremony the paints have a tendency to run and the Deities would be not viewable to the general public. So to allow the devotees to partake further in the Lord's pastimes, they made a special arrangement with one 'brahmin' who came to visit to take 'darshan' at this time.

The story goes that this 'brahmin' was a devotee of Lord Jagannath, but for some reason expected to see the elephant-headed deva, Ganesh, in the temple. The 'brahmin' was somewhat disappointed seeing the deva / demigod not there, and that Lord Jagannath had been bathed already and that they were looking a bit 'off colour' with their mineral paint colours running. In many ways the hearts’ desire of that devotee were unfulfilled. Then that night, knowing his heart, the Lord appeared to the devotee in a dream and told him to go back to the temple and he would not be disappointed. Rather all his desires would be fulfilled by worshipping Lord Jagannath and not by separately worshiping any deva.

The all merciful Lord then appeared to his devotee; Lord Jagannath and Lord Balaram assumed the appearance of beautifully decorated elephants, while Lady Subhadra decorated Herself as a Lotus flower. From that time on they began the Hati Vesha (Elephant Mask) festival.


On the eve of the Snana Yatra, the idols of the Deities are brought out in a grand procession from the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) to the Snana Bedi. On the day of the Snana Yatra, the Deities are bathed with 108 pots, made of gold, of ritually purified water drawn from the northern well of the temple to the accompaniment of religious incantations. In the evening, at the conclusion of the bathing ritual, Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed up in elephant headgear representing the God Ganesh. This form of the God is called the 'Gajavesha'.

After the Snana Yatra the Gods are traditionally believed to fall ill and are kept in a sick room to recuperate in privacy under the care of the Raj Vaidya, The Royal Physician of the King of Puri. It is said that with the Ayurvedic medication ('pnachan') administered by the Raj Vaidya the Gods recover in a fortnight and resume giving an audience to their devotees.

COURTESY: en.wikipedia.org; www.vaisnavacalendar.info

Kali Temple with Radha-Govinda Temple in the front
On the occasion of Snana Yatra on May 31, in 1855 consecration of  Kali Temple at Dhakshineswar along with 12 Shiva temples and Radha-Govinda temple took place. Sri Ramakrishna's brother Ramkumar  officiated as the first priest of Kali temple. Later Sri Ramakrishna took over the worship of Divine Mother. 

No comments: