IT IS THE DEV DIWALI NIGHT

The sky is lit with countless lamps
Souls, bathed in light, shine bright
On the Ganga ghats and its ramps
The water breathes the eternal light

With multitudes, the Ganga flows
And the panorama weaves a night
Slowly, the evening bloom grows
Getting younger, holding us tight

It’s the day when Gods descend
And we all pray in aesthetic accent
Practising initially on a silent note
To go spirited then on a singing rote

It’s always an experience of a lifetime
With glowing diyas and their rhyme
Come and be there in Shiva’s Varanasi
Don’t worry
Gods lead us on the Ghats of Kashi

It’s again that annual Dev Diwali night
Infusing in us a transcending delight
As the water and air get heavenly
And as the identities are lit blissfully

dd12

IT IS THE DEV DIWALI NIGHT

©SantoshChaubey

DEV DEEPAWALI – VARANASI VIBES

INDIA’S OLDEST LIVING CITY – INDIA’S HERITAGE AND CULTURAL CAPITAL – AND THE WORLD’S SPIRITUAL CAPITAL THROUGH RANDOM CLICKS

DEV DEEPAWALI – FROM MY STOCK IMAGES

dd9

dd10

dd11

dd12

dd13

dd14

dd15

dd16

dd17

DEV DEEPAWALI

©SantoshChaubey

DEV DEEPAWALI – VARANASI VIBES

INDIA’S OLDEST LIVING CITY – INDIA’S HERITAGE AND CULTURAL CAPITAL – AND THE WORLD’S SPIRITUAL CAPITAL THROUGH RANDOM CLICKS

DEV DEEPAWALI – FROM MY STOCK IMAGES

dd

dd1

dd2

dd3

dd4

dd5

dd6

dd7

dd8

DEV DEEPAWALI

©SantoshChaubey

GOATS HERDED FOR SACRIFICE

Mumbai’s Bakra Bazars, or for any matter, of any other place, are a common feature during the festival of Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice, a major Muslim Festival.

This year it fell on September 13, when the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities are also on. The ten day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival began on September 5 and will go on till September 15.

While visiting Mumbai’s Mumbadevi temple, which is located in a densely populated area of lanes, houses and markets, one will come across such hoards of goats (the main animal for sacrifice) as this photograph says.

Mumbadevi area has over 50 percent Muslim population and the alleys all around the temple have a mix population of shops owned by Hindus and Muslims. If you will find goats herded up for sacrifice here, you will also find the Ganpati idols and Mandaps (make shift pavilions) in every other lane.

gaots1

gaots2

Though the ritual of sacrificing animals is increasingly being criticized, it is still the norm.

Here, in this image, we can see how many goats are rounded up and chained in a makeshift camp. A ‘not for sale’ marker is hanging prominently that shows the animals are specifically for September 13 sacrifice and not for routine sale.

©SantoshChaubey

JANMASHTAMI IS STILL WORSHIPPED IN ALMOST EVERY HINDU HOUSE BUT WITHOUT JANMASHTAMI TABLEAUS

Time changes things and the way we carry out many activities – even if the perspectives and the concepts behind those perspectives remain the same.

The same holds true about how we celebrate our festivals.

In our childhood, and even in teens, Janmashtami happened to be a community celebration where almost each household participated. Jhankis (tableaus) were created in almost every house in our locality. We would start preparing the day well in advance. Everyone in the family would be given or would take some responsibility.

Krishna is a mystical God but then it takes precedence of spiritual elements over ritual practices of religion to feel so, which the ordinary, worldly people seldom realize. Krishna Janmashtami, that is celebrated as Krishna’s birthday, is not heavy on rituals and is quite flexible – a worldly festival of a mystical God that we enjoy with song and dance.

Krishna is born in every household at midnight – as our scriptures say. And the rituals that we perform during birth of a child in our houses are performed then. This part was for family’s elders, especially my mother and father.

But every step leading to the celebration of the day was my favourite, topped by creation of different jhankis – depicting Krishna’s birth, Vasudev taking him to Yashoda’s house, various stages in life of Krishna with Kansa and his demons and various other tableaus to depict what my childhood would think about then.

I loved making mountain from black stones that I collected from factories in Varanasi’s industrial area. Krishna’s idol is placed inside a large-sized cucumber and after his birth at midnight and the ritual bath, he is placed in a cradle, adorned with new jewellery and clothes. Then, when we used to spend at least a week preparing to celebrate the birth, we would place branches of Carissa (Karonda), with plenty of leaves and fruits all around the mountain (created from stones) and around the cradle.

We would also run from this saw mill to that saw mill to collect sawdust and wood filings. We would then colour the same in different shades and use them in different tableaus – as the base (or the ground). Normally, one tableau would be separated from the next with small wooden blocks and colour of the sawdust. Sometimes, in some homes, coloured sand was also used, though I never used it.

Many small tableaus of different colours and with different themes together formed the grand ‘jhanki’ of every family. Sometimes it took two days to start and complete the final decoration with all tableaus conceived and created.

On the day of Janmashtami, in the evening, we would go to every house to see how the other fellow had done – that how if his jhanki was better than ours – that what he had done that we also could have done – that what was his scale relative to ours – a childhood mind primarily thinks in these terms after all.

But we would always come back in time for Krishna’s birth – that was the main attraction – with all the rituals in place and with all the ‘prasads’ that would follow. Krishna’s birth, like any child’s birth, has celebrations with lavish food preparations.

The ‘ritual part’ and ‘prasads’ that follow are still there but the part (or the parts) that took many days of preparation, in creating many tableaus for a grand ‘jhanki’, slowly and gradually went out of individual families. I don’t remember when we stopped doing it, but I know that probably no house in my locality does it so now. I have heard similar echoes while conversing with people on similar lines.

Janmashtami is still a community celebration and is still worshipped individually in almost every Hindu house, but the community nature of its celebration through individual houses, and jhankis has slowly and gradually gone out of our lives. Janmashtami tableaus are now only seen in temples, public institutions and religious places.

janmashtami-2015-12

JANMASHTAMI IS STILL WORSHIPPED IN ALMOST EVERY HINDU HOUSE BUT WITHOUT JANMASHTAMI TABLEAUS

©SantoshChaubey

O KRISHNA

O Krishna
You are the epitome of love
Of its purest expression

O Krishna
Your ways are mysterious
Its divinity transcendental

O Krishna,
Feeling You is like
Looking at life’s joys

O Krishna
You show us the way to live
To love, and to be

O Krishna
Show me the light
To see the life as it has to be

O Krishna,
Give me the courage
To become who I have to be

O Krishna
Let me have an evolved faith
That reverberates

janmashtami-2015-11

O KRISHNA

©SantoshChaubey

SIMPLICITY OF SHYAM, MYSTICISM OF KRISHNA

The beauty of black that It radiates
The light in the darkness that it shows
While thinking of You on this journey
While singing of Your mystical aura

The simplicity of Shyam that captivates
The mysticism of Krishna that transcends
In a God’s abode that belongs to us
On a journey with no beginning and end

You are the voice of universal creation
And we are Your manifestation
You are the faith in life personified
And we crave to bathe in this illumination

Yes, God You are, yet so human You look
You tell us the essence of human existence
You teach us of core human conscience
The Perfect One You are, the perfect Soul

janmashtami-2015-7

SIMPLICITY OF SHYAM, MYSTICISM OF KRISHNA

©SantoshChaubey