Jai Maa
September 2018


Hindu Temples In Maharashtra: Jeevdaani Devi


Hindu Temples In Maharashtra: Jeevdaani Devi

The legendary story of Jeevdaani Devi is as follows: During their forest journey, Pandavas came to Shurparaka. They visited the holy temple of Vimaleshwar consecrated by Lord Parashuram and on their journey to Prabhas halted on the banks of Vaitarni river. There they worshipped the Bhagavati Ekaveera on the banks of Viraar Tirtha and seeing the serenity and lofty nature decided to carve caves in the nearby mountains.

Doing so Pandavas also made a set of small caves now known as “Pandav Dongri” about a mile from Shrigaon for the hermits.Many yogis used to stay in Pandav Dongri and have darshan of Jeevdhani Devi. After the onset of Kali Yuga, and after the advent of the Buddhist faith, the number of Vaidik Yogis lessened and slowly people forget the hillock and the devi.

They did so on the hills nearby and installed and worshipped the Yoga Linga of Ekaveera devi in one of the caves. They called her Bhagavati Jeevadhani (That is Goddess, who is the real wealth of life).

During times of Jagadguru Shankaracharya’s advent, a Mahar or Mirashi used to stay in Viraar who used to graze the village cattle.

He came to Nirmal Mandir for the darshan of Jagadguru Shankaracharya Padmanabha Swami and requested His Holiness to bless him so that he could have darshan of his beloved Kuladevata. Jagadguru was pleased with the devotion of Mahar and advised him to serve Go-Mata on the foothills of Jivadhani, and at appropriate time he would have darshan of his Goddess and attain Go-Loka.

He literally for the rest of life followed the advice of Jagadguru Shankaracharya and herded the village cattle. While grazing the village cattle, he used to see a cow grazing along with, whose owner never paid him for herding her. By his virtue, he determined to find the owner of the cow. He followed the cow on the top of Jeevdhan Hill. A beautiful woman with divine features appeared. The Mahar remembered the words of Jagadguru Shankaracharya and understood that she is none other than his Kuladevi Jeevdhani, he was overjoyed and asked “Oh Mother ! I have grazed your cow, will you not pay me for her herding ?”. The Devi just smiled in delight and was on the point of putting some money in the Mahar’s hand, when he said “Do not touch me, I am Mahar.

Give me something which cannot be spoilt by touch, words, smell, figure, and ether.” Knowing this Devi asked “Lo my child , whence from you learned this unique knowledge of Varnashram Dharma and Moksha Dharma?”. To this Mahar replied, “From none other than by the Grace of Jagadguru Shankaracharya”. Bhagavati was pleased by this and said “By your virtue (Punya), see this cow which is none other than Kaamadhenu has taken your forefathers to higher abodes by her tail , crossing the Vaitarini”. Thus saying the Mahar saw the cow lept from the hill top putting her two feet prints on hill foor and other two across Vaitarini River in heavens. Now Devi told, “I confer upon you the thing which you demanded that is Moksha.”

Saying so the Mahar attained Moksha (The real Jeeva Dhana, the real wealth of Life)and the Devi was about to disappear in the cave, when a barren woman saw all this divine incident screamed “Devi Devi , Amba Amba, will you leave this barren daughter of yours without our jeevan dhan a child in my laps?”. Devi was pleased by her prayers and said “ Great indeed are you who saw all three of us. I henceforth bless you with a child.” The lady was not satisfied by this, she said “Oh Mother of the three worlds, do not just bless me , but let all barren daughters of you who pray you be conferred with the child”.

Devi was pleased at this and said “See henceforth, due to the advent of Kali Yuga , in order to maintain purity of rituals, I will stay into a hole in the niche of the cave. The barren women who offer me the beetlenuts in this hole, as is offered in my original place in Mahurgad, will be rewarded with a progeny”. Thus saying the Devi disappeared. This lady spread out the incident and thus once again the Jeevdhan hill started to be visited by the pilgrims.

What's Mahalaya?

Mahalaya is an auspicious occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja, and it heralds the advent of Durga, the goddess of supreme power. It's a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth--"Jago Tumi Jago". This is done through the chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs.
Since the early 1930s, Mahalaya has come to associate itself with an early morning radio program called “Mahisasura Mardini” or “The Annihilation of the Demon.” This All India Radio (AIR) program is a beautiful audio montage of recitation from the scriptural verses of “Chandi Kavya”, Bengali devotional songs, classical music and a dash of acoustic melodrama. The program has also been translated into Hindi with a similar orchestration and is broadcast at the same time for a pan-Indian audience.
This program has almost become synonymous with Mahalaya. For nearly six decades now, the whole of Bengal rises up in the chilly pre-dawn hours--4 am to be precise--on the day of Mahalayato tune into the “Mahisasura Mardini” broadcast.
Mahalaya In West Bengal

The Magic of Birendra Krishna Bhadra

One man who'll always be remembered for making Mahalaya memorable to one and all is Birendra Krishna Bhadra, the magical voice behind the “Mahisasura Mardini.” The legendary narrator recites the holy verses and tells the story of the descent of Durga to earth, in his inimitable style.
Bhadra has long passed away, but his recorded voice still forms the core of the Mahalaya program. In a sonorous, reverberating voice, Birendra Bhadra renders the Mahalaya recital for two thrilling hours, mesmerizing every household with the divine his narration, as Bengalis submerge their souls in quiet moments of prayer.

An Epic Composition

“Mahisasura Mardini” is a remarkable piece of audio drama, matchless in Indian culture. Though the theme is mythical and the mantras are Vedic, this program is a landmark composition. It's scripted by Bani Kumar and narrated by Bhadra. The enchanting music is composed by none other than the immortal Pankaj Mullick, and the songs are performed by famous singers of yesteryears, including Hemant Kumar and Arati Mukherjee.
As the recital begins, the serene morning air resonates with the long drawn-out sound of the sacred conch shell, immediately followed by a chorus of invocation, melodiously setting the stage for the recitation of the Chandi Mantra.
Mahalaya In West Bengal

The Story of “Mahisasura Mardini”

The story element is captivating. It speaks of the increasing cruelty of the demon king Mahisasura against the gods. Unable to tolerate his tyranny, the gods plead with Vishnu to annihilate the demon. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara (Shiva) come together to create a powerful female form with ten arms--Goddess Durga or 'Mahamaya', the Mother of the Universe who embodies the primeval source of all power.
The gods then bestow upon this Supreme creation their individual blessings and weapons. Armed as a warrior, the goddess rides a lion to battle with the Mahisasura. After a fierce combat, the 'Durgatinashini' is able to slay the 'Asura' king with her trident. Heaven and earth rejoice at her victory. Finally, the mantra narration ends with the refrain of mankind's supplication before this Supreme Power:
"Ya devi sarbabhuteshshu, sakti rupena sanksthita Namasteshwai Namasteshwai Namasteshwai namo namaha."

Durga Puja Is Not Complete Without The Beat Of The Dhak


About the Instrument

Dhak is one of the oldest percussion instruments of Bengal similar to two sided drums. It is made of a big wooden shell with two parchment heads or sides tightened by leather straps. It is generally played with two wooden sticks beating one side, by either resting the drum on the ground on the other head, or by hanging it from the shoulder with a strap. Other variations of this instrument are also available in different size and names (like "Dhol", "Dholok"). 
Dhak is an integral part of any worship. Its beat and the rhythm create the ambience for any Bengali puja festival . The "Dhakis", create the moods for the various moments of the puja by playing the dhak with relevant rhythm and varying speed.


History of Playing Dhak

In Bengal, dhak has been used since ancient times and is referred to in various literatures like "Mangal Kabya" written during the middle ages ("Madhyajug"). During those times, along with using it during the puja festivals, dhak was also played for different occasions like cultural functions (song, drama), public announcements by the administrators, and even during various processions. In course of time, these usages have decreased and are sometimes seen infrequently in the rural areas only. However, even in this age of glamour and light and themes, any Bengali puja festival can only be complete with the mesmerizing sound and rhythm of the quintessential dhak.

Product description

Hindu God statues and sculptures add to the well being of one's house and is also a great source of decoration. They are usually priced as per the material and craftsmanship. Some of the most popular god statues include goddess Lakshmi statue, Ram Statues, Vishnu statues, Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Lord Buddha, Goddess Durga etc. Out of these Lord Ganesha's statue is one the most popular and common sculpture which could be found in almost all Hindu Homes.
Brass, a perfect union of copper and zinc, is used since 500 BC. Our exquisite collection of brass statues captures the eternal, ethereal beauty of brass in timeless pieces of art. An art form that can enhance the ornate allure of interiors be it home, office or just about any place. No tastefully done interior is complete without a brass statue or sculpture. Connoisseurs place brass artwork in all together a different bracket, defined by no other art form. These religious statues are perfect imitation of our artisans skill.
Indian artisans make various types of brass artifacts, acclaimed as much for their beauty and strength of form as their utility. Highly skilled artisans, put in their greatest devotion to render- fine quality, impeccable finish and a graceful persona to the sculptures.
DronaCraft Lord of Success Shree Ganesha Brass Statue

 Vishwakarma Puja
Vishwakarma Temple, Lohgarh, Zirakpur (Near Chandigarh)
Since Vishwakarma is the divine engineer of the world, as a mark of reverence, he is not only worshiped by the engineering and architectural community but also by all professionals. It is customary for craftsmen to worship their tools in his name.

Silpy Vishwakarma is attributed a putative birthday by the Hindu religion. The more philosophical minded argue that it is impossible for the original Creator of everything to be born on a particular day. In Rig veda he is described as Swayambhu So it is a contradiction in terms since that presupposes another creator for Vishwakarma. The Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated in all parts of Nepal and India.

Even among those who believe that there is a birthday there is no agreement as to when it actually occurs. Visvakarma birthday is celebrated on two days under different names:

Vishwakarma Puja. "Vishwakarma Puja" always celebrated in India on the 17th September of every Year.
Rishi Panchami Dinam. "Rishi Panchami Dinam" literally means ‘the day of the solidarity of five rishis.’ Those who celebrate this day believe that Vishwakarma did not have a birthday like the mortals but only a commemoration day in which his five children (supposedly five rishis) came together to declare their solidarity and pray to their illustrious father. This day follows the rules of the Hindu calendar and changes with every year. The five groups among the Vishwakarma community also celebrate this as an auspicious day in commemoration of their patron god at present.
Visvakarma Jayanthi. Vishwakarma Jayanthi is celebrated by all industrial houses, artists, craftsmen, and weavers. The festival is observed on Kanya Sankranti (16 September in 2016)[23] which follows the Ganesh Puja. It was on this particular day that the forefathers of the present Visvakarma people invented the plough and gave it to humanity. The plough represents both the artisan trade as well as agriculture and therefore becomes the representative symbol of the ancient Indian civilisation. It changed the course of human history altogether. This was a change from ‘local mob culture to universal human culture’ and Vishwakarmas of India pioneered it. Coincidentally, this also becomes the birthday of Rsi/Silpi Visvakarma. So Indians in the past celebrated this day of many illustrious conjunctions as an occasion to honor Vishwakarma and his descendants.
Vishvakarman is a particular god of Hindu railwaymen in India


Ganesha Chaturthi

One of the most anticipated and lively festivals in India, Sri Ganesha Chaturthi is dedicated to the beloved elephant-headed god, Ganesha. Worshipped throughout the world wherever large Indian populations are found, the fervent devotion and colorful celebrations which attend this festival reveal just how vital Ganesha is to the spiritual heartbeat of India.

Even though each Hindu deity represents only a few aspects of the one Lord, devotees in India naturally tend to hold dearest one form more than another, for instance maybe Shiva more than Krishna, or Rama more than Kali, etc. However, all easily love and worship Lord Ganesha. He is said to be the remover of obstacles and a bringer of good fortune. Add to this His plump belly and cheerful nature, and it’s no wonder that everyone adores Him! Therefore, before any worship is offered, or beginning any undertaking whatsoever, Ganesha is propitiated. This is why His image is found in all temples and on all altars. His blessings ensure smooth sailing!
As with all of the Hindu deities, the symbolism of Ganesha is multi-layered and profound. He represents Pranava, the seed syllable OM. Just as Ganesha comes first before the other gods, OM comes at the beginning of all other mantras. The symbol for OM even resembles an elephant head! OM represents the Nada, the original substratum of Creation, from which all else arises. That substratum is identical to our essential nature, the Self. Usually depicted riding a mouse (the ego), Ganesha represents the Self in its complete conquest over egoism. He is also depicted holding an ankusha (goad), which represents His Lordship over the entire world.

There is a symbolic story {read the story} that tells of how Ganesha came by His elephant head, and received the honour of being worshipped before all of the other gods.

Traditionally held to be Ganesha’s birthday, the Chaturthi day itself falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada* (August-September). Then it is proceded over a week of pujas, bhajans and cultural programs. A clay idol of Ganesha is made and worshipped on all of the festival days with prayers and devotional songs. The festivities culminate with the Ganesha Visarjan, where the idol is carried in a procession to the sea, river, or other large body of water, to be ceremonially immersed. The symbolism of this immersion ceremony reveals that at the heart of worship of different deities there remains the profound understanding that all forms are temporary, having both their origin and final destination in the formless Absolute.

Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi commemorates the birthday of Lord Ganesh. On this day, beautiful handcrafted idols of the Lord are installed both in homes and in public. Prana Pratishtha is performed to invoke the power of the deity into the idol, followed by a 16 step ritual known as Shodashopachara Puja. During the ritual, various offerings including sweets, coconuts, and flowers are made to the idol. The ritual should be performed at an auspicious time around midday, known as Madhyahna, when Lord Ganesh is believed to have been born.

It's important, according to tradition, not to look at the moon during certain times on Ganesh Chaturthi. If a person sees the moon, they'll be cursed with accusations of theft and dishonored by society unless they chant a certain mantra.

Apparently, this came about after Lord Krisha was falsely accused of stealing a valuable jewel. Sage Narada said that Krishna must've seen the moon on Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi (the occasion that Ganesh Chaturthi falls on) and was cursed because of it. Furthermore, anyone who saw the moon then would be cursed in a similar way.


The idols of Lord Ganesh are worshiped every day, with an aarti in the evening. The largest Ganesh statues, on display to the public, are usually taken out and immersed in water on Anant Chaturdasi.  However, many people who keep an idol in their homes carry out the immersion much before this.

Read More: Guide to Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion) in Mumbai

What is the Significance of Anant Chaturdasi?
You may be wondering why the immersion of Ganeshi idols concludes on this day.  Why is it special? In Sanskrit, Anant refers to eternal or infinite energy, or immortality. The day is actually devoted to the worship of Lord Anant, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu (the preserver and sustainer of life, also referred to as the supreme being). Chaturdasi means the "fourteenth". In this case, the occasion falls on the 14th day of the bright half of the moon during the month of Bhadrapada on the Hindu calendar.

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