“Samudra vasane devi parvatha sthana mandale |
Vishnu patni namasthubhyam padasparsha kshamasvame ||”
Bhudevi, who is adorned by the oceans as her glorious dress, the highest mountains forms her busts, Devi you are the consort of Vishnu, I bow down to you, forgive me when I step on you everyday.
This is the very first prayer taught to children in Hindu culture. As soon as one gets up from the bed, before our feet touches the ground we must ask forgiveness of the Bhoomidevi, who bear us all and support our living.
Bhoomi Hunnime is a festival for worshiping mother earth, say sorry for the digging and troubling her all round the year, offer delicacies to her and pray for a good harvest. For western people and people who mock Indian culture, it may look like a meaningless celebration.
But It is a natural feeling and extension of gratitude of the people who connected with the soil. Mother earth is called Dharitri because she supports our life in every way. That is why Indian farmers in our villages treat her as mother. This is the time when the crops are about to start flowering and producing grain.
Therefore people treat earth as a pregnant lady. She is worshipped and offered many delicacies to her like we do in Seemantha of a pregnant lady.
Some of these delicacies are buried in the soil and spread in the soil with the belief that it will satisfy pregnant mother earth’s food craving. Even today Earth is treated with greatest respect as a living being – which it is and it deserves that respect and royal treatment.
No wonder, this festival is celebrated in India, the land where every living thing is treated as God.
In this time, when Earth is being subjected to every sort of pollution, treating Earth with highest respect must be taught to young generation. And Indian traditions have always been one with nature.
On this same day, Devi Lakshmi is also worshipped across India.
Sharad Purnima, also known as Kojagiri Purnima, is the only day when the moon is at its fullest, meaning with all sixteen kalas. In Hindu dharma, it is believed that each human is associated with certain kalas. Those with sixteen kalas are considered as the perfect human personality. Lord Krishna was born with sixteen kalas and Lord Rama with twelve.
The moonlight on the night is believed to possess amazing medical properties. Hence people stay awake throughout the night under the moonlight to rejuvenate the body. It is celebrated on Purnima (full moon day) of the Hindu lunar month Ashvin, which falls in the Gregorian months of September or October. It is one of the most celebrated Purnima in the Hindu calendar.
Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Indra are worshipped and jagarana is observed. It is said that during Kojagiri Purnima’s night Goddess Lakshmi visits every house and asks ‘Ko jagarti?’ meaning ‘Who is awake?’ Those awake are blessed with prosperity.
According to a legend, once a king was suffering a financial crisis and so his queen observed fast on Sharad Purnima, worshipped Goddess Lakshmi and observed night vigil. They soon regained their prosperity.
In Odisha, the day celebrated as Lord Kartikeya’s birthday and is called ‘Kumar Purnima’. Unmarried girls observe fast and perform puja to seek husband like Lord Kartikeya. There is a traditional celebration called ‘Kaumudi celebration’. Kaumudi means moonlight.
In Brij region, Sharad Purnima is also called as Raas Purnima. This is the Purnima that celebrates Krishna dancing with the Gopis. It is believed that it was on this night when Krishna performed ‘maha raas’ and upon hearing the divine music from Krishna’s flute, Gopis of Vrindavan reached the forest to dance with Krishna. During this maha-raas Krishna created several look-alikes to dance with each Gopi and extended the night equivalent to billion years.
It is believed that on this day the moon is closer to the earth and it showers elixir of life upon people. The rays have certain healing properties that nourish the body and soul. Hence the night is considered effective to those suffering from chronic diseases.
There is also a tradition of drinking cold milk during this fast as during ‘Sharad ritu’ days are hot and nights are cold.
The festivals are part of the season appropriate rituals which have wider health related benefits.
The Sharad Ritu is time when pitta dosha in our body reaches aggrevated state. Hence exposing to the moon light which is known to be naturally cool and having diets predominant with milk all these indicate knowledge of our ancestors on the seasonal changes. And also the significance of celebrating a festival.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth