Browsing articles in "Asar (Jun-Jul)"

Guru Purnima

A portrayal of Vyasa, who is revered by Hindus...

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Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Asar (July-August). It is a day sacred to the memory of the great sage Vyas. Vyas edited the four Vedas, wrote the eighteen Purans, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. Vyas even taught Dattatreya, who is regarded as the Guru of Gurus.

On this day, all spiritual aspirants and devotees worship Vyas in honor of his divine personage and all disciples perform a puja of their respective spiritual preceptor or Gurudevs.

At the same time, this day has great significance to the farmers as well for it heralds the setting in of the much-needed rains, as the advent of cool showers usher in fresh life in the fields. It is supposed to be a good time to begin spiritual lessons. Traditionally, spiritual seekers commence to intensify their spiritual sadhana from this day.

The period (Chaturmas four months) begins from this day. In the past, wandering spiritual masters and their disciples used to settle down at a place to study and discourse on the Brahma Sutras composed by Vyas, and engage themselves in Vedantic discussions.

Across Nepal, some academic institutions declare holidays on this day while at others they hold cultural programs. Students bring in sweets and sometimes fruits for their teachers.

Bhoto Jatra

Patan_020

Image by Jigmi via Flickr

Bhoto Jatra, ends the month-long celebration of Rato Machhendranath Jatra. The chariot with an idol of Rato Machhendranath deity resembles the god of rain, according to local beliefs. It is taken to Lagankhel via Pulchowk, Gabahal, Mangalbazar and Sundhara.

This is the longest as well as the most important festival of Patan that begins with several days of ceremonies and fabrication of a wooden wheeled chariot at Pulchowk. The chariot carries a 60-feet tall spire fabricated from bamboo poles raised from its all four ends.

With the beginning of the month-long ritual, the chariot is paraded through the streets of Patan for several weeks. The procession moves to Gabahal, Hakha, Sundhara and many other places in Patan. It is taken to Lagankhel, where it rests for over 4 days, finally to Jawalakhel.

According to a legend, Yogi Gorakhnath came to seek alms in Patan but did not receive any from the locals. The furious Yogi forced all the rain-showering serpents under his seat and started meditating. There was no rain in Patan for ages and on the advice of the astrologers and pundits, the king of Patan invited Machhendranath, Gorakhnath’s teacher, in Patan. Learning that his teacher was in Patan, the Yogi went to see him freeing the rain showering serpents from his seat, which led to plenty of rain in the town. Thus, culture experts claim that this festival symbolizes rain and fertility.

The fourth day of the chariot’s arrival at Jawalakhel is celebrated as Bhoto Jatra on Jawalakhel ground. On the day of Bhoto Jatra a bejeweled bhoto (vest) of Machhendranath is displayed before the public and other dignitaries.

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