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The Essence of Puranas – Nilamatha Purana -1

Posted by gopalakrishna

The Essence of Puranas – Nilamatha  Purana

1    Invocation


King Janamejaya, a Pandava descendant and the son of Parikshith, enquired of SageVaishampayana, the disciple of Veda Vyasa as to why Kashmira, an integral and illustrious part of Bharata, did not participate in the Maha Bharata Battle. The Sage replied that the then King of Kashmira named Gonanda took the side of King Jarasandha in the latter's war with Yadavas and Balarama of Yadavas killed Gonanda. The succsessor of Gonanda named Damodara decided to take revenge and fought with Shri Krishna of Yadavas at Gandhara in a 'Swayamvara' where a bride could choose her husband and Krishna killed Damodara; yet, out of consideration for Damodara's pregnant wife, Krishna himself coronated Yashovati as the Queen of Kashmira till the birth of Bala Gonanda, who at the time of Bharata Battle could not take sides of either Pandavas or Kauravas.

2    Close Association of Kashmira and Devi Sati
Most importantly, the main reason was that Kashmira and Devi Uma were of mutual interest and regard. In fact, Kashmira was originally the ‘Sati Sarovara’, since converted as a valley:


(Muni Vaishampayana confirmed that Bhagavati Uma / Sati was Kashmira herself as manifested as a huge waterbody eversince the beginning of the present Kalpa for the last six Manvantaras). The valley was well-known for its Natural Beauty and Bounty as of excellent fertility of rice crops, wide range of trees, fruits, flowers and vegetables. The population of Kashmira was highly virtuous: the Brahmanas were adept in their own meditation, Yagjna Karmas and Veda-Vedangas always; the Kshatriyas were valiant, well trained in warfare and capable of battle skills possessive of excellent armoury and armaments; the Vaishyas or the Business Class were accomplished in trading and retailing; while others were hardworking and honest. The Kasmira Society was orderly and hard working, religious and God-Believing, and possessive of social values of justice and devotion. Kashmira was spotted with several Temples, Sacred Rivers, Tirthas of popular belief, Hermitages and Yogashrams, ringing with Veda Shravanas; at the same time of the sounds of armoury and war-training camps, besides the busy market places with bargain sales, retailing Trade Fairs and abundant merchandise.It was a land of faith and fear of God, of gardens and wilderness of forests, and in short a vibrant and virtuous land of pristine beauty and sacredness. There is a River Goddess, most popularly called Vitasta, flowing down the mountain of Himalayas, fulfilling the desires and aspirations of devotees while on the banks of the River were a sizeable existence of Nagas with their own customs, beliefs, rituals and social values.

3    Origin of Sati desha (Kashmira) and of Nagas
About the origin of the Kasmira Region in Bharat Desha, Sage Brihadashwa explained to King (Bala) Gonanda that at the end of each Manvantara, there was complete destruction of the Universe by Mahadeva who spread himself all over as water.

'Satidevi swayam kaaley tasminnotwam karoti vai,
Manurbhavishyamstasmimstu sarva beejaani Maayaya,
Tadaa sthaapayetey Raajamstaam cha naavam Jagadguruh/
Matsya rupadharo Vishnum shringey krutwaapakarshati/

(As Sati Devi herself assumed the Form of a Ship, the future Manu, Vaivaswata, collected all Seeds for subsequent germination and deposited these on the Ship by virtue of 'Maya'(Illusion) while Bhagavan Vishnu assuming the Incarnation of 'Matsya' dragged the Ship by the grit of his horn). The Ship was tied to a mountain-peak called 'Noubandhana'.

Nou-dehena Sati Devi Bhumirbhavati Parthiva,
Tasyaam thu Bhumou bhavati Sarastu vimalodakam /
Shadyojanaayatam ramyam tadardhena cha vistrutam,
Satideshamiti kyhatam Devikreedam manoharam/

(Devi Sati who assumed the Form of the Ship converted herself as Bhu Devi; the latter materialised an awe-inspiring Lake with excellent and pure water known as Sati Desha of six yojanas of length and three yojanas of width which was the joyous Playground of Devas!

Having described the origin of Kashmira, Sage Brihadashwa traced the origin of Nagas who were prime residents of Kashmira: At the beginning of Vaivaswata Manvantara, Daksha Prajapati married off thirteen of his illustrious daughters to Muni Kashyapa who was the son of Maharshi Marichi. Among these daughters, Aditi gave birth to Devas, Diti to Daityas, Danayusa to Vritra, Surabhi to Bhadras, Khas to Yakshas and Raakshasas, Ira to Airaavatas, Prava to ‘Gayanas’, Muni to Apsaras, Kala to Kala Kalpas and Kalakaayaas, Danu to Daanavas, Krodha to ten daughters of the same nature, Kadru to Nagas and Vinata to Garuda the Carrier of Vishnu Deva and Aruna the charioteer of Surya Deva. Kadru was extremely jealous of Devi Vinata and somehow desired to put her down. Kadru picked up an argument that the Celestial Horse Ucchhaiswara was black in her body colour and Vinata stated that the horse was white in her complexion. There was a bet beween the two sisters that whoever won would be another's slave and Vinata lost it since Kadru persuaded her sons to paint Ucchhaisvya black. Garuda brought 'Somarasa' from Indra to relieve his mother from the slavery to Kadru; Garuda secured a boon from Indra too that as a revenge on Kadru's cruelty against his mother Vinata, he could kill and eat the Nagas. On behalf of the race of Nagas, the Elder of Nagas viz. Vaasuki approached Janardana and extolled him as follows:

'Namastestu Shaaranga Gadaaaasipaano, Namamstestu tey Danava naashanaaya/ Namastestu tey Padmaja Samstutaaya, Namastestu tey Lokahitey rataaya/
Namastestu tey Vaasava Nandanaaya, Namastestutey Bhaktavarapradaaya/
Namastestutey Satpada darshanaaya, Unnidra neela nalinadyuti chaaruvarnam/
Samtapta haatakanibey vasaney vasaanam, Ksheerodaka kanyaarpita paada padmam/ Devam Prapannosmyanagham Varenyam, Param Puraanam Paramam Sanaatanam/ Tamaadi devam Pranatosmi Bhaktyaa,
Phanaavalii ratna Sahasraarchitrey
Seshasya bhogey Vimaley viseshye/
Lokasya sarvaasya tu chintayaanah
shubhaashubham raksha Mamaadyadeva,
Khagapatirati chandabheema vego/
Mama Kulamaashu vinaashayatyananta,
Kuru Munivara samstutaadya rakshaam/
Pavana balam vinivaarsva taaksharyam/

(My greetings to you Deva Deva Janaardana with your hands armed with Sharanga / Bow and arrows, Gada/ Mace and Asi / Sword; the destroyer of Daanavas; the One whom Brahma the lotus-born commends to; who is ever engaged in the deeds helpful to the Worlds; who seeks to provide happiness to Indra; who bestows boons to the devotees; who guides the path of righteousness and virtue; who rests his lotus like feet on the lap of 'Samudra Kanya' wearing clothes of molten gold's illumination and possessive of blue lotus body colour and who relaxes on the thousand hoods lit up with the varied hues of the precious gems of Maha Sesha but engrossed in the thoughts to provide relief and protection to the Tri Lokas! Adi Deva! The most powerful Garuda appears to destroy my entire 'Vamsha' of Nagas with his speed and might; do grant the race security and protection to ensure our existence!) Bhagavan Vishnu then assured Vasuki that Garuda or any of his clan would neither attack nor hurt Nagas in Sati Dehsa any more.

4       Vishnu killed Jalodbhava as Kashyapa arranged Naga-Manava cooperation
In course of time, there appeared a Daitya Chief called Sangraha, a warroir of great prowess who got infatuated with Devi Sachi, the wife of Indra; he was unable to control and dropped his virility in a big waterbody. Eventually, Indra killed the Asura and from the latter’s semen there emerged a demon that the Nagas nurtured and named him as Jalodbhava. The Asura prayed to Brahma Deva who granted him invincibility in water with exceptional might. But he harassed and killed human beings of various regions around the the Huge Lake like Darvabhisara, Gandhara, Juhundara, Bahirgiri, Antargiri as also Sakas, Khasas, Tanganas and Mandavas. There was an exodus of people (‘Maadraas’) from these and surrounding Places to far off Regions which had nearly got vacated. As the above tragedy took place when ‘Maadraas’ fled away due to their fright of Demon Jadodbhava, Prajapati Kashyapa undertook a long Tirtha Yatra to several Places in Bharata Varsha to Pushkara, Prayaga, Kurukshetra, Naimisa, Hayasirsha (Pitra desha), Karantaka, Panchanda, Kalanjana, Gokarna, Kedara, Shaligrama, Prabhasa, Varanasi, Godavari, Kaveri, and so on. The highly virtuous King Nila of Nagas of serpent origin then met Kashyapa at the holy Place of Kanakhala and requested him that since he had already toured many Tirthas in the West and Southern Parts of Bharata Varsha, he might please consider to visit the holy Places in the Northern parts too like Vipasa, River Devahrada, Harahariswara, Kaalika -ashrama; Iravati around which there were as many as six thousand Holy Tirthas like Revati, Kumbhavasunda, River Devika, River Vishwamitra and so on.. Also Kashyapa Muni might please give the honour to Madraas as also pay reverences to Devi Uma popular in the area as Devika, especially at Rudra Tirtha, Durga Dwara, Koti Tirtha, Kaamaakhya, Ambujaanana, Suvarnabindu to visit the Temples of Hara and Skanda. Also there was the most Sacred River Chandrabhaga and Shankhamardala Tirtha, besides the Temples of Guhyeshwara, Shatamukha, Istikapatha, and Kadambesha. Chandrabhaga was considered as Sacred as Varanasi and was worshipped especially on Magha Shuddha Trayodashi. Prajapati Kashyapa consented to visit all these Places in the company of King Nila; he crossed Rivers Yamuna and Saraswati, visited Sanniti, performed Shraaddha at the time of Solar Eclipse at Chakra Tirtha and visited Vishnupaada and Amaraparvata. Subsequently the Prajapati toured the Region of Maadraas and found those places deserted when the King Nila narrated the havoc created by Jalodhbhava who killed innumerable residents of Maadra Desha. The Prajapati felt extremely hurt at the mayhem that Jalodhbhava created; he recalled Brahma mentally and entered the Brahma Sabha along with King Nila to convey the problems created by the Demon. Brahma agreed that all the Deities would meet at the Naubandhana Mountain peak to face the difficulties faced by Nagas and as Keshava heard this he alighted Garuda at once, while Rudra arrived there by his bull, Brahma by his Hamsa (Swan) Vahana, Kashyapa by his yogic power; King Nila and Sage Brihadashwa by clouds, all other Deities too assembled including Indra, Yama, Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera, Nirruti, Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Vishvadevas, Maruts, Maharshis, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas, Yakshas, all the Devis concerned. All the Oceans and Rivers too arrived at the Naubandhana Peak: Ganga by crocodile, Yamuna by tortoise, Shataadru by bull, Sarasvati by buffalo, River Vipasa by horse, Iravati by elephant, Chandrabhaga and Sinshu by lions, Sarayu on deer, Narmada by peacock, Godavari by sheep, Gandaki by crane, Kaveri by camel, Krishnaveni by clouds etc. All the Deities reached on the Naubandhana peaks-Rudra on the top peak, Vishnu on the Southern peak, Brahma on the Northen peak and the rest of Devas on the last peak. Vishnu commanded Ananta to break open Himalayas with his plough (Ananta being Balarama in Dwapara Yuga) and absorbed the entire water in the Lake where the Asuras were residing along with Jalodbhava. The Asura King plunged the Universe into pitch darkness but Rudra held Surya and Chandrama in his hands and brought back light to the Universe. Then Vishnu had a fierce battle with the Asura who with varying ‘Rupas’(forms) fought with his full force by throwing huge trees and mountains with all the magical Shaktis that Brahma endowed him with. After all the powers of Jalodbhava’s Maya was no match against Vishnu Maya and the demon was felled like a crumbling tree and the greatest menace that faced the Nagas was vanquished for ever! The respective peaks of Naubandana Mountain were named after Tri Murtis where their own Ashrams / Cottages were constructed in ther own names. Other Devas too constructed likewise.

It was at that time as the celebrations of Jalodbhava’s death, there was a big Conference convened by Prajapati Kashyapa where Tri Murtis, Devas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Sages, Nagas, Piscachas etc.were all present. Kashyapa proposed that the Land be allotted to human beings and Nagas and both should co-exist. There was a severe protest from some quarters of Nagas that human beings should not be awarded the land under reference either on share basis or otherwise. As his formula of sharing was not passed through, Kashyapa was visibly angry and retorted that Nagas might as well share then the land with Piscachas if human beings were not acceptable to Nagas! As Kashyapa’s formula was not acceptable to some of Nagas, he explained that there was a piece of five-yojana wide Land in the Region freed from Jalodbhava’s death and there was a huge concentration of some five crore Piscachas in that area, where Nikumbha was appointed as their King by Kubera of Yakshas. Normally, Nikumbha who was good and brave King would visit the area once in six months every Chaitra Month and destroy several of the evil Piscachas and thus there would be some peace to Nagas. Meanwhile, Nagas would have to share their stay with ‘Manavas’ (human beings) during that period only. In other words, Manavas would shift to Kashmira Plains to take up to farming during the Summer Season to raise crops and earn their livelihood for the year and like Gypsies return to Kashmira valley during the next six months of Winter Season again. More over, Kashyapa decided that Nikumbha should stay in the area year-long along with his army-support instead of six months a year to ensure safety of Nagas. Further, Vishnu assured that this stipulation would be for a period of four Yugas and there would not be any sharing with piscachas later on as the latter would get weakened and extinct with the passage of time. Thus the virtuous King Nila countered the dissenting voices of Nagas and finally endorsed Prajapati’s formula of sharing the new Desha, since named Kashmira:

Kah Prajaapatiruddhishtah Kashyapascha Prajapatih,
Teynedam nirmitam Desham Kashmiraakyham bhavishyati/
Kam vaari halinaa yasmaddesha -adasmaadapaakruta,
Kashmiraakhyam tatopyasya lokey naama bhavishyati/

(As the word ‘Ka’ denotes Kashyapa Prajapati , as also the word water which was exhausted by Balarama, the Halayudha by his ‘hala’/plough, the new Region would be called Kashmira).

5    Origin of River Vitasta and several other Sacred Rivers in Kashmira
Kashmira represented Devi Uma who was worshipped at Vriddha Tirtha as Vishoka; the River Vitasta named after Devi Lakshmi; the Sacred Place called Bhogavati of Vasuki the Head of Nagas; River Trikoti signifying Aditi the mother of Devas; Harshapatha River after Sachi Devi the wife of Indra as encouraged by Kashyapa; River Chandavati as Devi Diti as suggested by Kashyapa; Yamuna as part of Vitasta River, and River Karshini of Devi Sati’s Amsha who was the wife of Hara Deva.

King Gonanda asked Guru Brihadashva as to how all the Rivers viz. Sati, Sachi, Ganga, Aditi, Diti, Yamuna and Karshini agreed. Aditi, Diti, Sachi, Yamuna and Ganga readily agreed but Sati Devi kept quiet; Kashyapa prayed to Maha Deva who requested Sati to help Kashyapa. Devi Sati told the Prajapati that the entire Desha was of her own body which was Sacred but Kashyapa replied that some human beings had the tendency of Piscachas and there would be a need for absolving them of the sins. Then Devi Sati asked Hara Deva to break the mountain with his Shula to enable the emergence of a River at the Rasatala that would flow up the route of Balarama’s plough engraving it up to Sindhu River; Maha Deva himself named the new River as ‘Vitasta’ but she saw sinners like the killers of Brahmanas and others and thus disappeared earlier two three times and did not get materialised. Then Kashyapa prayed to the Holy River as follows:

Namastestu tey Parvataraja kaney,
Namastestu Tubhyamarshivaryajushtey/
Namesestu tubhyam Harasangalabdha
pavitra bhaavey varadey Vareney supunyatoye
Surayoshitaabhis -chakreeda maanaabhi rupeta theerey /
Devadwijaadyaiva rupaguuhyamaaney susheeta toye vimaley Vishokey,
Yeshaam hi bheetya prapaalayasi twam twad darshanaada Devi vimuktapaapaah/
Vrittaa naraastey gatasarva paapaah twaam bhaasayantah prabhayaa mahatyaa, Saptaarchi dagdhasya yathaa shuchitwam twaddarshanaad Devi shuchitvam/
Sarvam Pavitram bhavateeha taddhat paapam Maheshaai kuru prasaadam,
Papaanaam paavanaarthaaya praarthitaasi Mahanadi/
Tasmaat paavaya paapaani maa pranashaam vrajaashugey/

(My greetings to you Parvataraja Putri, Devi Parvati, worshipped by Maharshis, the provider of boons and the beloved of Hara Deva; you are a personification of purity and happiness; sacred and coolness sought after Brahmanas for washing contamination and dirt and burning their sins off. Do give us your appearance with free flow, Mahanadi! The Holy River Vitasta then responded to Kashypa and replied that she might not help great sinners of ‘Maha Patakaas’or the inexcusable sins and that only Lakshmi the consort of Vishnu who could destrory sins of any magnitude even far better than Aditi, Diti and Ganga.

The Prajapati who was bent on purifying the Kashmira Desha extolled Devi Lakshmi as the illustrious daughter of Samudra Deva, saying that she was not only the prime river of Kashmira but also of the Amsha of Uma; the Unparalelled River of the worst forms of crimes and indulgences ever; the inseparable better half of Keshava and that her water was likened to the sweetness of Amrit and Milk! Bhagavan Govinda asked Lakshmi to hurry up as Devi Vitasta was fast arriving at the Ashram of Dhaumya Muni as the holy combine of Sati, Trikoti, Harshapada, Chandravati and Sindhu /Ganga and Vitasta /Yamuna. Out of veneration for Kashyapa, Ganga’s daughter Tapana too joined the Union, reflecting the auspiciousness as superior as of Prayaga!
5       Chandradeva helped formalisation of Naga-Manava co-existence in Kashmira (An Outline of Pancha Raatra Vrata Vidhi included)

When Prajapati Kashyapa provided the formula of co-exitence between Nagas and ‘Manavas’, Bhagavan Vishnu prophesied that after four yugas, Piscachas would get weakened. At the end of the stipulated time frame, the descendant of Kashypa named Chandradeva arrived at Kashmira but was harassed by a few piscachas all the same. He managed to escape from the troubles of Piscachas, reached the Palace of King Nila, met him and requested him to let human beings co-exist with Nagas for good, while the earlier stipulation was that Manavas would arrive at Kashmira only for six months on Chaitra Pournami and after the agricultural opertations collect grains and leave the place thereafter. The King of Nagas agreed to this proposal and allowed Manavas to live in Kashmira for ever; that was in line with Vishnu’s earlier prophesy / instruction. Formal understanding of King Nila and of King Virodaya was finally arrived at in the presence of Chandradeva that places of worship, residence, market places etc. would be constructed like Temples, Sacred Places, houses etc. for common use; within six months in Asviyuja month, the menace of Piscachas was got rid of too, as their Chief Nikumbha decided to leave Kashmira and shift to the Sea of Sand for ever.

To mark the historic occasion on Kartika Amavasya/ Dipaavali the entire Kashmira was spruced up, residences were painted, day-long fast was observed on the previous day till next day; morning pujas were performed to Ganesha, Rudra, Parvati, Skanda and Nandi besides Surya Deva; homams were performed to all these Deities; pujas were perfomed to cows, sheep and other domestic animals; and after day long worship and penance there were to be night-long festivities with men, women and children wearing new clothes, eating excellent vegetarian food and break out for musical extranvagaza and gay abandon through out the night. In fact every day in the fortnight till Purnima, there should be devotion during the day and physical joy and contentment for men and women in all possible ways in the night!

Raatrow deepascha daatavyomaasamekam bahugruhaat,
Yaavatkartikamaasasy Poushaamaaseem Dwijotthama/
Esha tu Kaumudi naama titthih kaaryaa Shivapradaa,
Tatah Pakshey vyatitotu kartavyaa Sukhashuptik/

(A night-long ‘Deepa’ should be lit to signify the Celebrations outside one’ own house for one month till the night of ‘Krittika’ month when intensive celebrations would be observed in the name of ‘Kaumudi’ or the Provider of Joy and thereafter in the second half of the month would be ‘Sukha Suptika’ or comfortable sleep).

As the pujas and festivities would go hand in hand for a few days, an Idol of Narayana in Yoga Nidra as ‘Seshashaayee’ (who lies on the cozy bed of Sesha the Huge Serpent with his hand underneath his head while his feet were on the laps of Devi Lakshmi) made out of silver, or stone or metal in an earlier month by installed on Ekadashi, the eleventh day of ‘shukla paksha’or the bright fortnight of Kartika month. There ought be a fast that day and night, and observe ‘Jaagarana’or night long wake-up with Kirtanas, Bhajans or vocal recitals, instrumental music recitals, Brahma ghoshas, Purana Shravanas, Pushpa-Dhupa-Naivedyas-all signifying the Superiority of ‘Bhagavan’:

Ekaadashaayaam tu kartavyam raathrow jaagaranam tathaa,
Geetai nritthaistathaa vaadyai Brahmaghoshaistathaiva cha/
Veenaapataha shabdaishcha Puraanaanamcha vaachanaih,
Pushpadhupa pradaanaischa naivedhairvividhaistatha/

On the next morning, the Idol should be given a holy wash as per Pancharaatra vidhi’ (or Five Night Puja) with ‘Panchagavyas’ or the Five bye-products of cows viz. milk, curd, butter, urine and dung, besides honey. At the time of bathing, the Image should be applied with pulses powders viz. ‘masura churnam’, ‘maasha churnam’; ‘amalakani’ fruit pulp, ‘Kaleyakam’, ‘tagaram’ powder,’ ‘Siddharthakam’ /white mustard powder, ‘bijapurakam’ / pulp of citrus fruit, medicinal herbs and scents, kusa grass, clay from river beds burrowed by ‘hasti danta’/ elephant tusk or ‘Vrishabha shringa’/ bull horn etc. After the formal ‘Abhisheka’/ bathing along with Veda Mantras, the Pratima is applied by yellow ‘gorochana’, is dressed up, decorated and ornamented.

Then the formal worship was performed with the various services including jaati pushpa flowers, dhupam, deepam in earthen pots and Naivedya of ‘Paramaanna’or cooked rice with boiled milk. Performance of ‘havans’ or oblations to Agni by ghee would be an integral part of the Pancharatha Puja, which would be followed by honouring ‘Bhagavatas’(Guests) and also Brahmanas attending the worship program by way of ‘Dhana’ and Dhanyas (Grains and cash), Vastra (clothing), Bhushana (gold and jewellery), ‘Pashu’ (cows), and ‘Vaahana’ (horses and elephants) and by way of ‘Bhojana’. On the following days of the Pancha Ratras, besides the performance of the usual pujas, there must be social gatherings like ‘Malla Yuddhas’ (wrestlings) and ‘Bhattadhis’or those who are professionals in praising the King and so on; during these the ‘Kartas’or the main devotees needed to observe abstinence of food or at the most exist by milk. On the Puraamasi they should have strict fasting and on sighting the moon, perform worship of Kritthikas, Kartikeya, Khadga, Varuna, Hutasana / Agni, with Pushpa malas, Gandha, Dhupa, Bhakshyas , Paramaannas, fruits, vegetables, sugarcane products etc.as also ‘deepas’/ earthen lamps. Then a white bull should be given away in charity to a Brahmana and the belief is that the devotee(s) concerned would accomplish Swarga for as many years as the number of hairs on the body of the bull. After the Puja of Vishnu at the end, the devotee might then have a glass of milk before concluding the Pancha Ratra Fast finally. The Kartas are advised to sleep on the ground and observe complete abstinence. If Danavas, Daityas, Yakshas and Rakshasas perform the Pancha Ratra Puja, they must observe refraining of meat-eating

6       Worship of various Deities on select occasions in Kashmira Desha

King Nila further portrayed a digest of Pujas in vogue in Kashmira Desha to Chandradeva, the descendant of Prajapati Kashyapa. It was on the Pournamaasi of Krittika month that the illustrious Prajapati Kashyapa made possible the formation of Kashmira Desha and thus the celebrations were appropriate; everybody concerned should commemorate and rejoice the occasion by wearing new and colourful dresses, enjoy music, eat scrumptious meal and get pleasure from excellent drinks. On Margasira Pourmami, worship of Moon is performed by white flowers, white clothes as also fruits, white salt, lamps and grains; Pujas are done to Brahmanas; and to women whose husbands and sons are alive. Brahmana women with husbands alive, as also to one’s own sisters, father’s sisters; and wives of friends should also be given red clothes and gifts at these celebrations. In fact, all women should worship Full Moon for improving physical beauty and charm as also family contentment and wealth. Also when the first snow-fall falls in the Kashmira Valley or at the beginnning of the Hemanta ans Sishira Seasons, all concerned should perform worship to Himalaya Deva with ‘Baka Pushpa’/ Grandiflora, ‘Guggulam’/incense smoke and ‘Kulmaasha bhojanam’ (cooked barley) and to Brahmanas. In fact, these occasions are celebrated with music, dance and songs; at snow falls, wine should be served be enjoyed!


Pousha Krishnaashtameem kaaryam Shraaddham shaakai dwijotthamam,
Maagha Krishaashtati maamseyh Phalgunaasya sitaahtameem/
Tripupaih kaarayed –shraaddham nityameva samaahitah,
Navameeshu cha taasweva streenaam shaaddham tu kaarayet/
Shraaddham krutwaa prayatnena Brahmachaari vasennishaam,
Pournaamaasi tu Poushasya Pushyayuktaa yadey bhavet/

( The format of ‘Shraddhas’ is prescribed as follows: on Pousha Krishnaashtami, they are to be executed with vegetables; on Magha Krishnashtami, and on Shukla Ashtami of Phalguna month with ‘Tripupais’or flour cakes; on the corresponding days of the ‘maasas and pakshaas’, Shraaddhaas are to be performed for women. After performing Shraddhaa, the ‘Karta’of the Shraaddha should pass the night practising Brahmacharya; on the full moon night of ‘Pousha Maasa’, he should apply mustard powder and ghee and after taking bath should perform puja by using the purified water in vessels to Narayanam tathaa Shakram Somam Pushya Brihaspati (Narayana, Shakra / Indra, Soma, Pushya and Brihaspati) by offering ‘Pushpa maalas’/flower garlands, ‘Naivedyaas’etc. by chanting appropriate Mantras to the relevant Deities afore-mentioned. Thereafter, the Brahmanas should be honoured with ‘Dakshinaas’/ Cash and grains. Successful execution of ‘shraaddhaas’ with devotion and faith on the above lines should provide ‘Dhana Dhaanyata’ and ‘Paapanaasshanam’/ wealth and foodgrains and demolition of sins.
At the time of auspicious time of ‘Uttaraayana’ when the course of Surya Deva turns into the Northern Direction, a devotee of Madhusudana should smear the Pratima of Hari or Hara with ghee and worship the Pratima for three months to obtain boons for victory over enemies and excellent health of body and mind. The worship should conclude for three months to secure best results and Brahmanas should be given happiness out of gifts like adequate feed material to cows etc. On Krishna Dwadashi of Pousha Month, devotees should observe fasting and celibacy and offer ‘Tilodakas’ or sesame seeds and water to Pitras followed by Naivedyam.

King Nila informed Chandravadana that on Pousha Chaturdashi after bathing in any of the Sacred Rivers like, Vitasta or Vishoka or Chandravati or Harshapatha or Trikoti or Sindhu or Kanakavahini or any other River / waterbody offering clean water should worship various Deities of Destruction : Yamasya Dharmaraajaaya Mrityavey Chantakaayacha, Vaiwasvataaya Kaalaaya Sarva Praanaharaayacha/ (Viz. Yama, Dharmaraja, Mritu, Antaka, Vaivastvata, Kaala and the destroyer of one and all); these Deities should be bathed and worshipped by each name with Pushpa, Dhupa, Gandha, and cooked rice with pulses as Naivedya. By appeasing these Deities, the devotees would get rid of their ‘Mahapatakas’ or irredeemable sins.

On Magha Shudda Chaturthii, Devi Uma is to be worshipped:

Uma sampujanam kaaryam tasyaam Sowbhaagyameepsunaa,
Deepaannamaalya dhupaishchaapyadrakena gudennacha/
Kusumbha lavanaabhyaam cha kumkumaanjana kangkataih,
Kunda pushpaih samaanaathah prayatnaadapi Kaashyapa
Pujyaascha subhagaastratra yoshitastu Pativrataah/

(Devi Uma should be worshipped by all those seek ‘Sowbhagya’/ propitiousness and prosperity with ‘Deepas’, ‘Anna’, ‘Pushpa-maalaas’, ‘Dhupa’, Ginger, Jaggery, ‘Kusumbhha’, ‘Lavana’ or salt, ‘Kumkuma’ or Saffron, ‘Kunda Pushpa’ etc.). Also ‘Pativratas’devoted to their husbands should be also worshipped as they too are of the reflection of Devi Uma! Similar ‘pujas’ are to be performed on Shuddha Chaturthis of Aswiyuja and Jeyshtha months too.

To mark the birth of Raghunandana Shri Rama in the twenty fourth Treta Yuga, King Nila informed Chandradeva that a three day long Shri Rama Navami / Sita Rama Festival was traditionally celebrated on Chaitra Shuddha Navami, when the highlight was the worship of Devi Sita. The Mini-Festival was observed by inviting all the relatives of the maternal and paternal to arrive the Devotee’s house on ‘Ashtami’day itself that would be a day ahead who along with Brahmanas would be treated by a special delicacy called ‘Cheru’ or a kind of mix of boiled milk and grains, besides other items of sumptuous food. On the Navami day, Devi Sita / Devi Karshini is worshipped formally with various services like Dhupa, Deepa, Pushpa, Vastra and Naivedyas in a formal manner with the chanting of relevant Mantras: thus Navami would be the Certral Day of the Puja when a great ‘Bhojan’ would be hosted by the ‘Kartas’and appropriate gifts are distributed among Brahmanas, relatives and friends. During these three days, especially the last or Dashami day, there would be memorable experience of music - dance extravaganza. In fact, the eleventh day coinciding Ekadashi, there would be a spill over of the Festival when Shri Hari would be worshipped.

Following the Festival described by King Nila as above, Maheswara Puja was observed on Chaitra Krishna Chaturdashi signifying austerities, devotion, fasting and ‘Jaagaranas’ or night-watch. The devotees of Shiva observing fasting, snaana / bath and dedication would unveil the woollen cover of the Linga and perform ‘Lingaabhisheka’with Rudra Mantras and decorate it:

Sampujya gandhamaalyaadi raktavasrtaanulepanaih,
Naivedyairvidhai Brahman vahnibrahmanatarpyoh/
Bhaktya raatrou tatah kaaryam nrittageethaih prajaagaram,
Shrotavyaah Shiva dharmaascha pradurbhaavaascha tatkrutaah/
(After the Linga was venerated with Gandha, flower garlands, blood red clothing, smearing of ‘Anulepanas’, Naivedya of a variety of eats, performance of Agni homa and satisfing Brahmanas, the devotees should be awake with devotional singing and dancing, besides listening to ‘Shiva Dharmas’ and ‘Avataras’). Sincere worship on these lines would be provided a firm position in Rudraloka and even secure command of Shivaganaas.

7       Phalguna Shukla Paksha Festival

A Festival was celebrated in Kashmira during the first half of the Phalguna Month. By the evening of the first day, the whole of Kashmira would come alive with decorations and illuminations all over, new clothes, new ornaments, good food with sweets / savouries etc and all the persons experienced joy and satisfaction irrespective of their social standing. By the evening, earthen lamps would be lit up and kept on ice slabs near houses, temples, markets etc. After a day long fast, the nights would be devoted to Celebrations by way of excellent meals, night long dances and music enjoyed by men, women and children. The next day as also on the other days of the Festival, gifts are given to Brahmanas, family members, relatives, friends, craftsmen, service providers to one’s own homes etc. On the Pournima night, pujas would be performed to Chandra Deva and Aryama / Surya Deva followed by night-long sessions of group singings and dances, and merry-making.

These festivities would in fact continue till the fifth of the Krishna Paksha of the month, as that day signified the first menstruation of Kashmira Kanya. For the next three days, there would be no offerings of flowers, incense, scent materials and even milk. On the eighth day of the Krishna Phalguni, Kashmira would be bathed, worn new dresses and ornaments and provided healthy food along with special preparations of cow’s milk and triangular-shaped preparation of rice called ‘mudga’ which should be distributed to one and all while the sonorous instrument of ‘Tantri’ would be played to indicate that the Kanya was getting ready with decorations. But this special function would be performed only by women; however men would organise Agni homas to propitiate the Kashmira Kanya. There would be ‘Daanaas’/donations and good meals to Brahmanas and close relatives and friends in this connection.

As this phase of Kashmira Kanya would be over, that would be the time for Kashmira’s conception to bear a child and that propitious time would be the symbolic commencement of sowing seeds on Earth by way of preparation of the crops. The specific time and day of the initiation of farming should be fixed by the astrologers:

Diney Daivajna nirdhushtey Kshetram krutwaa krutwaasuhudbhutah sahrudhrutah, Pujyayet Pruthivem Deveem Goyugam Surabhim hayam/
Baladevam Mahadevam Vamadevam Diwaakaram,
Aoushadheesham Nishaanaatham Parjaneyindro Prachetasam/
Ramam Salakshmanaam Seetaam Sesham cha Dharanidharam,
Brahmaanaam Kashyapa Vahnim Vaayum Gaganameyvacha/
Maalyergandhaistathaa dhupai naivedyascha pruthak pruthak,
Vahni Sampujanam kaaryam tatho Brahmana Pujanam/

(The specific time and day for Bhumi Puja might be determined by ‘Daivajnas’/ astrologers; worship of Bhu Devi, Cows, Surabhi, horses, Baladeva, Mahadeva, Vamadeva, Diwakara, Aoushadheswara, Chandra Deva, Parjaya Deva, Indra Deva, Prachetaas, Shri Rama, Sulakshana, Devi Sita, Sesha Deva, Brahmanas, Kashyapa Prajapati, Agni, Vayu, Gagana / Sky, etc. might be performed with Pushpa maalaas, Gandha, and Naivedya. There after, Agni Puja and Brahmana Puja should be done.) After the Pujas, the first hit of the plough with the seed would be celebrated in the presence of the family members, amid Vedic hymns and prayers. The Festival would conclude with the rejoicings of the families concerned.

9    ‘Maha Shanti’ in ‘Chaitra Shukla Paksha’ and worship to various Devas
Chaitra Shukla samaarambhey prathamehani Kaashyapa,
Pitaamasya kartavyaa tadaa puja vichakshanaih/
Pushpair naanaa vidhair gandhair vastraalankaara dhupanaih,
Hutaashapujanai Brahman Braahmanaanaancha tarpanaih,
Tasminnevaahni kartavyaa Mahaashanti Dwijotthama/

(King Nila addressed Chandradeva the descendant of Kashyapa Prajapati as follows: On the first day of Chaitra Shukla Paksha, Pitamaha Brahma ought to be worshipped with Pushpas, various Gandhas, Vastraalankara and Dhupas and Agni homaas, besides providing contentment to Brahmanas; on the same day, Maha Shanti Ceremony should be performed too as would be the duty of the Prosperous persons intending to further their wealth. On the same day again, there would be a duty to perform puja to ‘Kaala’ or Time, since the calculations of Time commenced from that day). It was again on that day; Brahma Deva initiated the process of creating human beings at the Sun-rise. It was on the same day, one should worship Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara; for securing Graha Shanti, pujas should be done to ‘Nava Grahas’ as also to Nakshatras. Other denominations of Time like Kalpas, Manvantaras, Yugas, Samvatsaraas, Uttara and Dakshina ‘Ayanas’; Shat Ritus or Six Seasons; ‘Dwadasha Maasaas’ or Twelve Months; Pakshas of Shukla and Krishna; weeks; days; hours; Muhurtas, Rashis and so on too need to be worshipped. The Fourteen Manus including the Seven Past ones viz. Swayambhu, Swarochisha, Uttama, Tamasa, Raivata and Chakshusa; the current Manu Vaivaswata; and the future Manus viz. Arkasavarni, Brahma Savarni, Bhadresa, Daksha Savarni, Rouchya and Bhautya need be worshipped.

Worship of Maharshis would be an important part of the Pujas on this historic day of Chaitra Shukla Prathama:

Marichimatrayaangeerasou Pulastyam Pulaham Kratum,
Bhrigum Sanatkumaram cha Sanakam cha Sanandanam/
Dharmam Varishtham Satyam cha Kaamaarthou cha Hutaashanam,
Vasu Rudraamllokapalaamllokaaloka nivaasinah/
Sudaamanaa Shankhapaadam Ketumantam tathaivacha,
Tathaa Hiranyaromaanaam Dikpaalaamscha pujayet/

(Worship should also be performed to Marichi, Atreya, Angeerasa, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Sanatkumara, Sanaka, Sanandana, Dharma, Vasishtha, Kaama, Artha, Hutashana,Vasus, Rudras, Lokapalakas, Lokaaloka Nivaasis, Sudama, Shankha paada, Ketumaan, Hiranyaroma, and Dikpalakas). Besides Indra, puja should also be done to Daksha Prajapati’s daughters viz. Sati, Khyati, Smriti, Swaha, Anasuya, Swadha, Preeti, Kshama, Sambhuti, Sannati, Arundhati, Keerti, Lakshmi, Dhriti, Medha, Tushti, Shraddha, Kriya, Mati, Buddhi, Lajja, Vasu, Shanti, Pushti, Siddhi, Rati, Arundhati, Vasudhashi, Lamba, Bhanu, Meruvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta, Saadhyaa, Vishwa, Kaashyapa, Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kaalaa, Danaayu, Simhika, Muni, Kadru, Krodha, Ira, Praava, Vinata, Surabhi, Khasha, Bhrigaashva, Pujya, Suprabha and Jaya.

On this auspicious occasion, reverences be paid to Bahuputra and his two wives, Arishtanemi and his four wives, Ruddhi, Vriddhi, Nidra, Dhanesha, Nadakubara, Shankhapadma, Nidhi, Pujya, Bhadrakaali and Saraswati; Vedas, Upavedas, Vedangas and all the Places of ‘Vidya’; Nagas, Yakshas, Piscachas, Guruda Deva and Aruna Deva. A comprehensive Puja must also be performed to Sapta Dwipas viz. Jambu, Shaaka, Kusha, Krouncha, Shalmali, Gomeda, Pushkara; Sapta Samudras viz. Lavana, Ksheera, Aaajya, Dadhi, Maraada, Sura and Udaka ( Salt, Milk, Ghee, Curd, Butter, Wine and Water respectively); Uttara, Kuru, Punya, Ramya, Hairavatastha, Bhadraashva, Ketumala, Varsha, Ilavrita, Harivarsha, Kimpurusha, Varsha and BharataVarsha; the ‘Nava Bhaagaas’( Nine Branches) of Bharata Varsha viz. Indradyumna, Kasheruman, Tamavarna, Gabhastimaan, Nagadwipa, Sowmya, Gandharva, Vaaruna and Maanava dwipa, surrounded by three Seas; Seven Patala lokas viz. Rukmabhouma, Shilabhouma, Pataaala, Nilamritthika, Raktabhouma, Shweta, and Krishnakshiti; as also Kaalaagni Rudra, Seha, Varaha and Hari.

King Nila suggested to Chandra Deva:

Bhurbhuvahswarmahaschaiva Janascha Tapasaa saha,
Satyalokastathaa lokaah Pujaneeyaahj Dwijottama/
Prithivyaapastathaa Tejah Pavanaambarameyvacha,
Manobuddhitathaatmaanaavyaktam Purusham tathaa/

(Sapta Lokas viz. Bhu, Bhuva, Swah, Maha, Jana, Tapah and Satya should be worshipped, besides the ‘Pancha Bhutas’ viz. Prithvi, Water, Radiance, Air and Sky; most significantly, veneration of Heart, Mind, Soul, and the Ever Unknown Purusha / Paramatma.). Adulation should then be extended to the Great Mountains like Himalayas, Hemakuta, Nishadha, Nila Parvata, Sweta, Shrigamaaan, Meru, Maalyavaan, Gandhamaadana, Maanasarovara, Mahendra, Malaya, Sahyadri, Shaktimaan, Rukshavaan, Vindhya, Paariyatra, and Kailasa; to Great Rivers of Bharata Desha like the Sapta Nadis viz. Bhagirathi, Pavani, Hlaadini, Hardini, Sita, Vankshu, Sindhu, besides Maanada, Suprabha, Kaanchanaakshi, Vishala, Maanasaahlada, Sarasvati, Sumeru, Pushkara Tirtha, and Vitasta; and Devis like Shachi, Vanaspati, Gouri, Dhumrorna, Ruchrakriti, Sinivali, Kuhu, Raaka, Anumati, Ayati, Niyati, Pragna, Mati, Vela and Dhaarini. Dhata, Vidhata, Sapta Chhandas, Iravata, Surabhi, Shravasa, Dhanvantari, Dhruva, Vnayaka, Kumara, Vishaakha, Maruds, Grahas, and Rishis like Baalaakhilya, Kashyapa and Narada would also have to be adulated.

The other significant Deities to be adored would include: Dwadashaadityas viz. Dhata, Mitra, Aryama, Pusha, Shakra, Varuna, Bhaga, Twashta, Vivaswan, Savita, and Vishnu; Ashta Vasus viz.Dhara, Dhruva, Bhoja, Apa, Anila, Anala, Pratyusha, Prabhasa, and Vasava; Ekaadasha Rudraas viz. Angaaraka, Nirruti, Ghosha, Ajaikapaad, Abhirbudhna, Dhumaketu, Dhwaja, Vaahana, Mrityu, Kapaali and Kankana; Dasha Vishwadevas viz. Kratu, Daksha, Vasu, Satya, Kaala, Kaama, Dhwani, Kuru, Vaak and Danuja; two Ashwinaas viz. Nasatya and Nasra; Dwadasha Bhrigus viz. Bhuvana, Bhavana, Sujanya, Sujana, Tyaaja, Suva, Murtha, Daksha, Vaya, Bandhuka, Prasava and Vyaya; Dwadasha Saadhyaas viz. Manas, Mada, Prashna, Nara, Pala, Diti, Haya, Naya, Hamsa, Narayana, Vishnu and Prabhu; Ekona Panchaashat Marutas viz. Ekajyoti, Divya Jyoti, Jyoti, Ekachakra, Trichakra, Rutajit, Satyajit, Sushena, Senajit, Agnimitra, Arimitra, Prabhumitra, Aparaajita, Ruta, Rutavaan, Dharta, Nidharta, Varuna, Dhruva, Vidhaarana, Devadeva, Idriksha, Adriksha, Ihadrik, Amitaashana, Krutina, Prasakrud, Daksha, Samara, Dhata, Ugra, Dhanu, Bhasma, Abhiyukta, Sadaasaha, Dyuti, Vasuratha, Adrushya, Vaama, Kaamajaya and Virat. The others to be respected on the occasion should include Vishwakarma, the Sarvashilpa Prakavartaka or the Chief of Architects and Engineers along with his ‘Aayudhas’ (weapons), ‘Vahanas’(chariots), ‘Chhatra’ (Umbrella), ‘Aasana’ (Seat), and his Insignia / symbol of ‘Dhundhubhi’(Drum) along with ‘gandha maalyaanu -lepana’ and ‘dhupadeepa naivedyas’; as also to Grahas, Nagas, ‘Maasaas’ and ‘Varshas’.

Omkarapurvakam Brahman Ghrutaakshatayavai sthilaih,
Taan pruthak prudhaguddishya deyaa Vipreshyu Dakshinaa,
Brahmanaa bhojaneeyaascha suhrutsambhandi baandhavaah/
Viseshavaccha bhoktavyam Kaaryamchamadutsuvam,
Pujaneeya Dwijasreshthaa tathaa Jyotishakaa Dwijaah/

(Agni-Homas should be performed wih ghee, ‘yavaas’/ barley and ‘tilaas’/sesame seeds with the reverberation of ‘Omkaara’Mantra and Brahmanaas are respected with Dakshinas with reference to separate Deites, grand meals are organised to Brahmanas / Jyotisha Panditaas, relatives and friends).

Kathitoyam Mahashaantih Sarvaaghavinisudani,
Sarvotpaata shamani Kaliduhkha pranaashani/
Ayushpradaa pushtikari dhanasoubhagya vardhini,
Vyaadhi shatru prashamani Rajyaraashtra vivardhini/
Mangalyaacha Pavitraacha Lokaadwaya sukhaavaha,
Chaitramaasaarambhey ye mayaabhihitaatavaa/

(Such is the procedure of ‘Maha Shanti’which demolishes sins / wrongdoings, appeases malevolent forces, obliterates dreadful dreams of ‘Kalikaala’, bestows longevity and wealth, annihilates enemies, provides happiness and auspiciousness to the Naga Desha as a whole).

On the fifth day of Chaitra Shukla Panchami, Nagas celebrated Shri Panchami; in fact, Lakshmi puja was an on-going affair throught one’s life to sustain and develop prosperity and to Vishnu for Salvation. Skanda Shashti was performed with great veneration by Nagas:

Skandasya tatra kartavyaa pujaa maalaih sugandbhibhih,
Gandhaalankaara vaasaamsi kukkutam cha nivedanayet/
Ghantaamajam kreedanakam naivedyam cha manoharam,
Dhruveyam Chaitra Shashthicha paritoshaastu kaamatah,
Yah karoti gruhey tasya virogah sarva baalakaah/

(Puja on Shukla Shasthi to Skanda Deva comprised flower garlands, fragrances, decorations, bells and toys, and sacrifices of cock and goat for Naivedya; those homes where pujas were performed likewise would never experience any diseases, especially to children). Bhadra Kaali was worshipped traditionally on Chaitra Shukla Navami for ‘Karya Siddhi’ or attainment of all auspicious deeds, while pujas were performed to ‘Ishta’ Devatas or the ‘Home Deities’ normally as well as to Agni and Brahmanaas on Ekadashis. On the Dwadashi day, Bhagavan Vaasudeva was worshipped by day long fasting and formal puja by the evening. On Chaitra Shukla Trayodashi, Nagas had the unique tradition of worshipping ‘Manmadha’ or the Deity of Love. Husbands stored pitchersful of scented water with flowers and fragrant grasses kept over the previous night before the Idol of ‘Kama Devata’who was neatly dressed up, decorated and ornamented for worship. The next morning on Trayodashi the husbands bathe the wives and thereafter perform formal puja together to Manmatha and Rati Devi to secure firm and everlasting love and affection for ever mutually.

10    ‘Piscacha’ puja during ‘Chaitra Krishna Paksha’ and importance of ‘Ira’ flowers

Chaitreymaasi sitey pakshey pancha dashayaam Dwijottama,
Yoddhum yaati Nikumbhastu pishaachana vaalukarnavey/
Tasmaatteshaamtu maddhyaahney aikalasya grihey grihey/
Pujaakarya prayatnena yathaavat tannibodhamey,
Pishaacham mrinmayam krutwaa kaamkshyam cha Dwijasattama/
Gandhamaalyaistathaa vastrailankaarai prapujayet,
Bhakshaicha lopikaapupairmaamsaaih paanaistathaivacha/
Ayurvidhairvividhaakaaraih chaatropaanahayashthibhih,
Nribhih shushkanna sampurney sthaayi bhakshya yutey tathaa/
Kuddaalapitakey chobhey tathaa tasya nivedayat/

(Nikumbha, the Chief of Piscachas would traditionally fight and punish malevolent Piscachas in ‘vaalukaarnava’ or Sand Seas / Deserts and thus all Nagas would worship the Piscacha Chief who overcame and controlled the Evil Piscachas. Even by the mid-day of Chaitra Pournami, every household would prepare Images of Piscachas in clay or tree leaves or cloth in any other material, decorate the Idols of Nikumbha with flowers, leaves, grass etc. and arrange symbolic ornamentation of umbrellas, sticks and footwear. By way of ‘Naivedya’ varieties of sweets, snacks, wine, meat and dry fruits are offered. As the Pournami evening fell, the Brahmanas who would oversee the worship would be disposed off and take to songs and instrumental music by the typical Kashmira ‘Tantri Vadyaas’or stringed musical instruments; they would form groups of the singing parties to climb hill tops and descend down to common places for enjoying grand feasts.

Chaitra Krishna Paksha was also significant of the blossoming of ‘Ira’ flowers.

Ira naamaapsaraah purvam shaptaa Shakrena Kaashyapa,
Vishwaavasoh sampprayuktaa Suropasthaana varjitaa/
Sthaavaratvamanu praaptaa Himavayachalottamey,
Bahudhaa saa vibhaktyaangi Nikumbho nirgatey bahih/
Yadaajaataa Iraadevi Iraa pushpopa shobhitaa,
Iraavaatey tatho gatvaa naariputra ganaanvitah/
Suvaasaah swanulipata -angah suchittaha susumaahitah,
Iraasampujanam kuryaat pushparnnair- vichakshanaah/

(Indra cursed an Apsara named ‘Ira’, an associate of Sage Vishvaavasu and having banished from Swarga destined her to turn into a mountain flower called by the same name. Even as Nikumbha vanished, the body of the Apsara got re-figured as trees, flowers and gardens as a vast family and the flowers were materialised with unique flavor, form and fragrance. The Ira Devi should be worshipped with various other flowers and Naivedyas of a variety of ‘Bhakashya bhojyaas’ should be offered along with ‘Deepas’).During visits to Ira gardens, one should certainly carry special items for eating satisfaction. Ira flowers are highly appropriate for adorning ‘dwijas’, respectable women, friends, relatives, especially when embellishing their hairs in darned form with red-coloured threads. Wearing the charming and aromatic flowers, enjoying a drink extracted from the juice of Ira flowers, and imbibing the joy of music and dance simultaneously would be an experience of a life time. Worship of Kesava with thousand Ira flowers would open up gates of heavens.

Ira pujatey Rudram Brahmaanam Shashinam Ravim,
Shubhaam kareeshineem Durgaam Sarwaastushyanti Devataah/

( Pujas performed with Ila flowers to Rudra, Brahma, Shashi, Shubha, Karishini, Durga and all other venerated Devatas would indeed please them all). King Nila affirmed that all Nagas were obsessed with Ira flowers and as for himself personally, he had a passion for them.

11    Worship of Gautama Buddha as also of Brahmanas on Vaishakha Purnima

Vishnudevo Jagannaatho Brahman praaptey Kalou yugey,
Ashtaavamsattamey bhaavi Buddhi naama Jagadguruh/
Pushya yuktey Nishaanaathey Vaishaakhey Maasi Kaashyapa/

(Kashyapa! Bhagavan Vishnu, the Lord of the Universe, would be born in the Twenty Eighth Kali Yuga as Buddha the Universal Instructor on Purnima in Vaishakha Month in Pushya Nakshatra).The procedure of worship was described as follows: On the Tritiya of ShuklaVaishakha itself, devotees should take baths, observe fast by eating ‘Yava’ and perform Japam, Homam, Shraaddh, and Daanam; follow the same procedure on the following day too. On the day next, an Idol of Gautama Budhha should be given a bath with the waters of a Sacred River along with ‘Sarvoushadhas, ‘Sarva Ratnas’, and ‘Sarva Gandhas’-a variety of medicinal herbs, gems and perfume materials as per ‘Sakya’ procedure; food offerings to the Idol as Naivedya be made as per the prescribed manner; ‘Sakya Viharaas’ should be cleaned up; the ‘Chetyaas’ or the Temple Areas be spruced up and decorated with paintings; a long festival be celebrated with music, song and dance; Buddhist Mendicants should be respected with new dresses called ‘Chivadas’, books, food items and gifts.

Dinatrayam cha kartavyam Naivedyam Vidhivad Dwija!
Pushpa Vastraadi Pujaa cha daamam deenajanasyacha/
Pourna--maaseem thu sampraapya Vaikhaasasya Dwijottama,
Madhuyuktaisthilaih kaaryam tadaa Brahmanapujanam/
Tilaih snaanam tilaihi homam Tilaih shraaddham tathaiva cha,
Maatraadaanam tu kartavyam depa daanam suraalaey/

(This would be a Three Day Responsibility of Naivedya, Puja to Buddha, flowers, clothes, and charity, especially to the Poor as well as Brahmana Puja, tila snaanam, tila homam, tila shraaddham, and Deepa daanam). This Procedure might be continued till the end of the Vaishakha Month. On Vaishakha Purnami again, Brahmana Puja was scheduled: Vaishakhyaam Pournama –astaantu Brahmanaan Sapta Panchavaa, Kshoudra yuktesthalaih krishnairarchayedan thavaitaraih/ Preeyataam Dharmaraageti yadaa manasi vartathey, Yaavajjeevam krutam paapam tatkshanaadeva nashyati/ (On the Vaishakha Purnami, seven or five Brahmanas be engaged for worship with black or other ‘tilas’ and honey; at the very thought of Yama Dharma Raja, the life-long acquisition of sins would get dissolved).

Om Tat Sat


(My humble salutations to  the lotus feet of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamy ji and also my humble greatulness to  Brahmasree Sreeman V D N Rao ji  for the collection)


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