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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dashain's Tika and Jamara

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
On the seventh day, Fulpaati, the town of Gorkha sends an offering of flowers to Kathmandu. A band associated with the army also plays its music and goes through the old core of Kathmandu.


The eighth day, Asthami, is the day of sacrifices. Goddess temples all over the Kathmandu Valley receive sacrifices, ranging from goats and buffaloes to ducks and chickens. Blood, symbolic for its fertility, is offered to the goddesses. This meat is taken home and cooked as "prasad", or food blest by divinity. This food is offered, in tiny leaf plates, to the household gods, then distributed amongst the family. Eating this food is thought to be auspicious.

Sacrifices continue on Navami, the ninth day. Families will visit various temples around the Kathmandu Valley. On the tenth day, "Dashami," a mixture of rice, yogurt and vermillion will be prepared by the women. This preparation is known as "tika". Elders put this on the forehead of younger relatives to bless them with fertility and abundance in the upcoming year. The red also symbolizes the blood that ties the family together. Elders will give "dakshina", or a small amount of money, to younger relatives at this time. The tika continues for five days, during which time people also gather to play cards around massive amounts of food and drink.

In several parts of Nepal, Dashain is the only time of the year when people receive a set of new clothing. Likewise, in poorer families, the animal sacrifice was eagerly anticipated since it might be the only animal protein the family would eat all year. This may be true in certain parts of Nepal where food is in low supply, but is less so in the cities. In general, the tradition of sacrifice is lessening with the easy availability of meat for daily consumption, and with the influences of Vaishnav Hindus (who are vegetarian).

In recent times, Dashain has become commercialized, with industries sponsoring events around the festival to sell goods.
Dashain this year falls on September 28, 2009.


Dashain

Dashain (दशैं) is the 10-day national festival of Nepal, and a state festival of Indian states of Sikkim and the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is also a national holiday in Bhutan. Now it is celebrated all around the world by the Nepalese diaspora. The festival falls around September-October, after the rice harvest. This festival is known for emphasis on family gatherings, as well as on a renewal of community ties. People will return from all parts of the world, as well as different parts of the country, to celebrate together.

The festival is a blend of Hindu Tantrik and animistic harvest festival traditions. On the first day, called Ghatasthapana, the "Dashain Ghar", or special worship room, is set up—this room is used to worship the Astha-Matrikas (the 8 tantrik goddesses) as well as the Nava Durgas (the 9 durga goddesses), to whom the festival is consecrated. Married women will say the mantras for the next fifteen days, and guard the goddesses. Barley is sowed on big earthern pots which have a coating of cow dung. These seeds will sprout in ten days. The sprouts, which symbolize a good harvest, will be decoratively placed on the heads of family members later on in the festival as a blessing.



Tika (In red color) and Jamara (green color) used in Dashain.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stairway to Bajrayogini- Sankhu

Friday, September 25, 2009
Stairway to Bajrayogini Temple- Sankhu




This stairway is in Sankhu. Last stairway to Bajrayogini. As Bajrayogini is on hill everyone has to climb through stairway from sankhu. Among lots of stairway this one is the last one. Which contains 108 steps.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Evergreen Farewell

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Evergreen Higher Secondary School is not a new name for the people of Sankhu and surrounding. This is a private school which promises to give better education to the people Sankhu and surrounding. Today on the occation of Great Nepali festival Dashain this school organised a programme. The farewell and Felicitaion Ceremony to +2  and Greeting exchange and welcome programme to new comers grade 11. The programme was really fabulous. We all can see the effort of School team. All are really  excellent. All the teachers, staff and students showed their effort.



Everyone can sense their effort. We all need to wish them on the auspicous occation of Dashin. As they are doing something which really help to boost the education level of the people of sankhu and surrounding. That effort definately will bring the positive result to give better education in this place.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

History of Newar People

Saturday, September 19, 2009
History (इतिहास)
The different divisions of Newars had different historical developments before their arrival in the Kathmandu valley. The common identity of Newar was formed after their arrival to the valley. Until the unification of Nepal, with the possible exception of the Muslims under Gayasuddin who attacked and destroyed many parts of the valley, all people who had inhabited the valley at any point of time were either Newar or were progenitors of Newar. So, the history of Newar correlates to a great magnitude to the history of Kathmandu valley prior to the Unification of Nepal.

The earliest known history of Newar and Kathmandu valley were recorded in the form of mythical scriptures. One of such texts which even accounts the creation of the valley is Swayambhu Purana.
Swayambhu Purana
Swayambhu Purana is a Buddhist scripture about the origin and development of Kathmandu valley. Swayambhu Purana gives detail of all the Buddhas who came to Kathmandu..... According to Swayambhu Purana, the Kathmandu valley was a giant lake called Nagdaha until the Bodhisattva Manjushree, with the aid of a holy sword called Chandrahrasa, cut open a part of southern hill of Kachchhapala and then cut open Gokarna daha and drained the giant lake, allowing humans to settle the valley land. This apocryphal legend is supported by some geological evidence of an ancient lakebed and it provides an explanation for the high fertility of Kathmandu valley soil. According to Swayambhu Purana, Manjushree then established a city called Manjupattan (Sanskrit: land established by Manjushree), now called Manjipa, where he crowned Dharmakara as the king of the land. A shrine dedicated to Manjushree is still present in Majipa.

No recorded historical document has been found after this era till the advent of Gopal era. A genealogy of emperors is recorded in a book called Gopal Raj Banshawali. According to this manuscript, Gopals were followed by Mahispals, and Kirats before Licchavis entered from south. Some claim Buddha to have visited Nepal during the reign of Kirat emperor Jitedasti.

The Licchavi Licchavi (लिच्छवी )

Licchavi was an ancient republic which existed in what is now Bihar state of India, since the birth of Mahavira , and later a kingdom in Nepal which existed in the Kathmandu Valley from approximately 400 A.D to 750 A.D....dynasty ruled for at least 600 years, followed by the Malla dynasty in 12th century AD. Nepal Bhasa script is estimated to be at least 1200 years old. Nepal Bhasa inscriptions in an ancient manuscript, Nidan, from 901 AD and on a stone tablet from 1173 AD in the courtyard of Bajrayogini Temple.

Bajrayogini Temple
Bajrayogini Temple is a famous Tantrik temple of Kathmandu valley. It is also well known as Bodhisattva's temple.A very famous temple of Nepal of Bajrayogini situated in Sankhu, Kathmandu is supposed to have the greatest power of blessings....at Sankhu

Sankhu (सांखू)
Sankhu is a Village Development Committee in Kathmandu District, Nepal in the Bagmati Zone of central Nepal. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 2097 residing in 353 individual households...., attest to the deep roots of Newar culture in the Kathmandu

Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the Capital and the largest metropolis city of Nepal. The city is situated in Kathmandu Valley that also contains two other cities - Patan, Nepal and Bhaktapur....valley.



Newar reign over the valley and their sovereignty and influence over neighboring territories ended approximately 250 years ago with the conquest of the Kathmandu

Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the Capital and the largest metropolis city of Nepal. The city is situated in Kathmandu Valley that also contains two other cities - Patan, Nepal and Bhaktapur....valley in 1769 by the Gorkhali Shah dynasty founded by Prithvi Narayan Shah

Prithvi Narayan Shah
Prithvi Narayan Shah, King of Nepal was a Nepali nobleman. He was the ninth generation descendant of Dravya Shah , the founder of the ruling house of Prithbinarayan..... Newars were engaged in business between Tibet and Moguls in India. So, to affect the Mogul empire's treasury, British East India Company supplied weapons and advice to Prithvi Narayan Shah who in return would conquer kathmandu valley and put an end to the trade between Tibet and Moguls of India. Systematic brutal suppression of newar people was pursued for generations during early shah dynasty rule in order to discourage newar people from any political aspiration.7

The Newar maintain a highly literate culture and their members are prominent in every sphere, from agriculture, business, education and government administration to medicine, law, religion, architecture, fine art, and literature. There is a wide acceptance of the fact that Newar architects may have been responsible for developing Asia's hallmark multi-tiered pagoda

Pagoda
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia....architecture. Newar devotional pauba (and thanka) painting, sculpture and metal craftsmanship are world-renowned for their exquisite beauty. The fine temples and palaces of Kathmandu

Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the Capital and the largest metropolis city of Nepal. The city is situated in Kathmandu Valley that also contains two other cities - Patan, Nepal and Bhaktapur....

, Patan and BhaktapurBhaktapur

Bhaktapur , also Bhadgaon or Khwopa is an ancient Newar town in the east corner of the Kathmandu valley, Nepal. It is located in Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone....

are largely the product of Newar architects, artisans, and sculptors. Now however the enterprising Newars are spread across Nepal, Bhutan, State of Sikkim and the District of Darjeeling in India.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

VALLEY DESTINATIONS- Sankhu- Shankharapur

Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sankhu. Sankhu is a sleepy town beneath the Gum Bihar religious complex. Within the complex is the temple of Bajra Yogini built in the 17th century. The area has been an important religious site since the 4th century and has excellent woods and bird-life as well as charming monkeys and pigeons in the temple area. Visitors may wish to bike up to Nagarkot and come down biking to Sankhu.

The ten Avatars-HIndu

The scriptures speak of the 10 Avatars of Vishnu – different incarnations that take the form of divine intervention provided by Vishnu during the various stages of human evolution. The “dasavatara” (ten avatars) is meant to re-establish dharma or righteousness and destroy tyranny and injustice on earth.
The ten Avatars are:
1. Matsya (the fish)
2. Koorma (the tortoise)
3. Varaha (the boar)
4. Narasimha (the human-lion)
5. Vamana (the dwarf)
6. Parasurama (the angry man, Rama with an axe)
7. Lord Rama (the perfect man, king of Ayodha)
8. Lord Krishna (the divine statesman)
9. Balarama (elder brother of Krishna)
10. Kalki (the mighty worrior)
The last Avatar is yet to appear, and in many versions of the mythology, the ninth incarnation is mentioned as Lord Buddha.
A Cosmological Necessity
The legend of the Avatar, like all myths, is prophetic, says Cosmologist and Astrologer Robert E Wilkinson. According to him: "It is not a mere allegory but an archetypal story describing the incarnations or emanations of living and conscious evolutionary forces. The appearance of the Avatars is also not a random event but a cosmological necessity. The periodic manifestation of the Avatars is determined by their inherent association with the 'Time-Spirit.' They take birth at particular points in the cosmic cycle which correspond to the earth's passage through the zodiacal ages as described in the Rig Veda."
Establishing Order on Earth
In his “Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology,” Dr Devdutt Pattanaik, one of India’s most popular mythologists, writes about the Avatars of Vishnu: “Every time dharma is threatened Vishnu mounts his eagle, the mighty Garuda, and comes to earth ready to do battle. The descents of Vishnu from Vaikuntha to earth are his avatars or incarnations. The form in each descent is different because the demands of the world each time are different. The different avatars thus reinforce the idea that rules and regulations that maintain order are not static by nature. They are forged when the demands of desire clash with the quest for order. As man's understanding of the world changes, desires change and so do concepts of order. Rules have to therefore constantly adapt themselves. Social stability must not be compromised, yet new ideas must be respected. Vishnu's descents are not just about reestablishing order. It is also about redefining them."
Role of the Goddess
Dr Pattnaik adds: "Each avatar of Vishnu involves a crisis involving the Goddess. Vishnu takes the form of a turtle to help the Devas churn Lakshmi out, the form of a boar to rescue the earth that have been dragged under the sea, the form of Rama when Sita is abducted and the form of Krishna to help Draupadi. Thus the Goddess is the embodiment of nature and culture. She is the kingdom and Vishnu is the king. She is Bhoodevi and he is Shripati. Both validate each other, she by giving him powers of kingship and he by defending her."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Heritage Conservation Projects

Monday, September 14, 2009
Sankhu as an ancient town consists numerous historical monuments. In the past, wealthy individuals, religious groups or families used to build such monuments to obtain religious merits. However, as they lost the sources of income these monuments are now left without maintenance, so many of them are in dilapidated condition. Most recently, the NGOS working in sankhu and  INGO from different countries  are taking responsibility of conservation of heritage of the town. The NGOS and INGOS are a non-government organisation, the main aims of these INGOS and  NGOS are to enhance rural development through self-awareness among the people of the community and to activate them to put collective efforts into socio-economic development, environmental protection, human resource development and heritage conservation. It assists in improving situation of women by encouraging their participation in all its activities. The primary resources of NGOS are are donation from different countries and people who really want to help countris like Nepal.  The foreingner and Countries  believes that the development process will only be successful through participation of the community. Working areas of the INGOS are Sankhu and its surrounding villages.
In the past years, the Friends of Sankhu has completed five major heritage conservation works in Sankhu. The most interesting thing about heritage conservation in Sankhu is that every project carries with it a sequel again, and that the path taken now is turning this small town already into a concentration point of Dutch efforts at cultural preservation and its spin-offs. In its efforts in carrying out heritage conservation in Sankhu besides local people’s supports the Friends of Sankhu have received financial support from the Royal Netherlands Consulate (SNV-Nepal KAP, a short Embassy project), the Royal Netherlands Embassy Neda, the Government of the Netherlands, the VNN-Netherlands-Nepal Association (Vereniging Nederland-Nepal) CORDAID, Seva Foundation the Netherlands and Wilde Ganzen, the Netherlands. Local Government organisation Vajrajogini VDC supported it financially and in each instance FoS was able to mobilize community participation.

Heritage Conservation in Nepal: the case of Sankhu

The town of Sankhu
Sankhu is an old and historical trading town situated about 17 km northeast of Kathmandu on the ancient trade route to Tibet. The foundation of the kingdom of Sankhu is attributed to the goddess Vajrayogini, whose shrine is located in the forest above the town of Sankhu. The temple of Vajrayogini is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus alike. The yearly festival of the goddess is also the main event in Sankhu's ritual cycle. According to the legend Manisailamahavadana, Vajrayogini instructed the priest Jogdev and the first king Sankhadev to build the town of Sankhu in the shape of a conch shell. The oldest inscription found in Sankhu is dated 538 AD.
After the opening of alternative trade routes to Tibet the town lost in importance. Nowadays Sankhu is a mainly agricultural town, which offers a medieval sight in spite of its proximity to Kathmandu. Sankhu’s surrounding villages; Lapsephedi and Nanglebhare Village Development Committees are the most remote and backward areas of Kathmandu.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Newar Music

Monday, September 7, 2009
Newar Music
The Newars are very much rich in traditional, classical and folk music as in dances. Various music and dance events take place in different parts of Newar societies on the occasion of different festivals. In fact, the Newars are so duly intermixed with music and dances that not a single festival, feast or ceremony, 'from womb to tomb', passes without a music or music and dances.
Various songs, musical instruments and dances are connected with various religious, social and cultural life of the Newars Different musical instruments are in practice in the festival, feasts, ceremonies and also in funeral procession.
Musical instruments
It is believed that there are about 200 (two hundred) types of original musical instruments in Nepal, and 108(one hundred eight types) of musical instruments have been found till now. A great number of Newar musical instruments are included init. These instruments can be classified into four classes according to Sangeet Shastra.
Membranophones - Dhimay, Dhah, Paschima, NayaKhin etc.
Idiophones - Bhusyah, Chhusyah, TainNain etc.
Chordophones - Piwancha
Aerophones - Muhali, Nekoo, Bansuri etc.
Mostly used musical instruments in Newar societies are membranophones, which are generally accompanied with idiophones and aerophones.
. Newar Dance The Newars are very much rich in traditional, classical and folk music as in dances. Various music and dance events take place in different parts of Newar societies on the occasion of different festivals. In fact, the Newars are so duly intermixed with music and dances that not a single festival, feast or ceremony, 'from womb to tomb', passes without a music or music and dances.
There are many mask dances, folk dances and classical dances the newars perform. A number of mask dances are also performed once in every twelve years. In general, these all types of dances can be classified into three categories
Masked Dances - Mahakali Dance, Bhairab Dance, Sikali Dance, Various Gan Pyakhan etc.
Folk Dances - Jyapu Dance, Ghintanmuni etc.
Charya Dances - ManjuShree, Arjya Tara, Sodasa Lasya etc.

Sawan Bhaku

Sawan Bhaku
Sawan Bhaku is claimed to be god so are workshipped by local persons. Sawan Bhaku wears mask with red cultural dress. One of them carries the sharped weapon and comes in blue dress.he is reagarded as Bhairab. They shows dance in many places.The most interesting thing is that during puja the raw eggs are also devoted to Sawan bhaku,and they just eat the raw eggs and get drink too much wine. Most amazing thing is that their health is not affected due to lots of raw eggs and too much wine. It is said to be encarnation of the god in them in the time of wearing the mask.

Chariots of Ganesh, Bhairab and Kumari

Chariots of Ganesh, Bhairab and Kumari
Three chario ts of Ganesh, Bhairab and Kumari is pulled around Kathmandu during the Yanya Punhi in series wise.It is said that the chariots of ganesh and Bhairab is taken for the protection of Kumari god. Kumari is considered to be only one living goddess in Nepal, the bodily incarnation of Taleju Bhawani.She is a Hindu goddess but Kumari is represented by a Buddhist girl of the Shakya, a clan within the Newar community. A chariot carrying Kumari is pulled around Kathmandu during Indra Jatra. The tradition was started by the last Malla King of Kathmandu, Jaya Prakash Malla.
Along with above processions festivals, including the Procession of Goddess-Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Dasha Avatara masked dances are staged in Kathmandu Durbar Square, near the Kumari Temple. The "Dasha Avatara" refers to the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu who is one of the Hindu's Holy trinity
Gigantic mask of Aakash Bairab represented by a massive mask spouting beer and liquor is also displayed in this festival. Households throughout Kathmandu display images and sculptures of Indra and Bhairab only at this time of year.After the chariots of godess are pulled around the Kathmandu, people moves towards the mask to have drop of beer and liqor spouted throught that mask as (prasad) of Asak bhairab.
This festival is also observed by the Newars as a day to remember the family members who passed away during the past year by offering small oil lamps along a traditional route covering all the parts of the old city. It is believed to have been started during the reign of Mahendra Malla.
The excitement of the festival of Indra Jatra comes to an end on the last evening of the festival when the long wooden pole erected on the first day is lowered with religious ceremonies, animal sacrifices and ritual gestures.

Pulukisi (or Tanakisi)

The hollow painted elephant. Three people go inside an elephant costume and start their journey in a wild way accompanied by a man holding a flaming torch and a musical band. The Pulukisi appears once in a year during this festival from Kilagal.All the local people basically children are very happy to see the dance of the pulukisi. Many of local persons also do worship pulukisi as regarding as the ganesh god.

Newar Buddhism

Newar Buddhism is the form of Mahayana-Vajrayana Buddhism practiced by the Newar ethnic community of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. It has developed unique socio-religious elements, which include a non-monastic Buddhist society based on a caste system and patrilinial descent. The ritual priests, Bajracharya or Vajracharya, and their Shakya assistants form the non-celibate religious sangha while other Buddhist Newar castes serve as the laity. Newar Buddhism seems to preserve some aspects of the Indian Buddhism that died out during the 12th century and appears to have not been preserved in Buddhist schools elsewhere. Newar Buddhism is characterized by its rich artistic tradition of Buddhist monument and artwork as well as by being a storehouse of ancient Sanskrit Buddhist texts, many of which are now only extant in Nepal. According to the authors of Rebuilding Buddhism: The Theravada Movement in Twentieth-century Nepal: "Today traditional Newar Buddhism is unquestionably in retreat before Theravada Buddhism."

RELIGION

Ask a Newar whether he's Hindu or Buddhist, the saying goes and he'll answer "yes" : after fifteen centuries of continuous exposure to both faiths, the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley have concocted a unique synthesis of the two. To religious scholars, the Newar religion is as exciting as a biologist's missing link, for some believe that it provides a picture of the way Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism functioned historically in India.
Until only the past two centuries, the Newars held fast to original monastic form of tantric Buddhism – as the bahal of Kathmandu and Patan still bear witness – while their rulers pursued the Hindu tantric path. However, the Kathmandu Valley has become progressively "Hinduized" since the unification of Nepal in the eighteenth century: the monasteries have largely disappeared, their monks have married, and the title of Vajracharya (Buddhist Priest) has become a hereditary caste like that of the Bahun (Brahman) priests. Today, Newar Buddhists are perhaps the only Buddhist culture that no longer maintains active communities of monks or nuns. Although the acceptance of caste and decline of monasticism have shifted the balance in favor of Hinduism, at the popular level the synthesis remains as well bonded as ever.
When Newars refer to themselves as Buddha Margi (Buddhist) or Shiva Margi (Hindu), they often do so only to indicate that they employ a Vajracharya or Bahun priests; even this does not hold true, though, as many jyapu (farmers) call themselves "Hindu" and attend Hindu festivals, yet still use Vajracharyas. In any case, Newar rituals vary little from Hindu to Buddhist.
Puja (an act of worship) is performed to gain the favor of deities for material requests as often as for "spiritual" reasons. It is a profound and very personal ritual. An integral part of all Newar rituals is the "puja of five offerings", consisting of flowers (usually marigolds), incense, light (in the form of butter lamps), sindur (colored powder) and various kinds of purified food (usually rice, dairy products, sometimes sweets). Before darshan (audience with a deity), the devotee or the priest uses consecrated water to wash him or herself and to bathe the deity. After the deity has symbolically accepted and eaten some food, the remainder is taken back by the devotee as prasad (consecrated food). This, along with a tika made with the colored powder, confers the deity's blessing and protection.
Priests are ordinarily engaged for the more important life-cycle rites (birth, marriage, death) or for larger seasonal festivals; wealthier Newars may also seek private consultations at times of illness or important decisions. Bahun priests don't perform animal sacrifices, but they do preside over the rituals that precede them. This brings up one of the rare differences between Hindu and Buddhist Newars : while Hindu Newars are enthusiastic sacrificers – they call the bloody ninth day of Dasain festival Syako Tyako (roughly, "the more you kill, the more you gain") – Buddhists seldom participate. During dasain, Tibetan monasteries in Nepal hold special services to pray for good rebirths of the sacrificed animals.

History in Nepal

Whilst the veneration of a living Kumari in Nepal is relatively recent, dating only from the 17th century, the tradition of Kumari-Puja, or virgin worship, has been around for much longer. There is evidence of virgin worship taking place in India for more than 2,300 years. It appears to have taken hold in Nepal in the 6th century. There is written evidence describing the selection, ornamentation and worship of the Kumari dating from the 13th century.
There are several legends telling of how the current tradition of the Kumari began. Most of the legends, however, tell of King Jayaprakash Malla, the last Nepalese king of the Malla Dynasty (12th-17th century CE). According to the most popular legend, a red serpent approached the king's chambers late one night as he played tripasa, a dice game, with the goddess Taleju. The goddess came along every night to play the game, with the condition that the king refrain from telling anyone about their meetings.
But one night the king's wife followed him to his chamber in order to find out who the king was meeting so often. The king's wife saw Taleju and the goddess was angered. She told the king that, if he wants to see her again or have her protect his country, he'd have to search for her among the Newari(Shakya) community, as she would be incarnated as a little girl among them. Hoping to make amends with his patroness, King Jayaprakash Malla left the palace in search of the young girl who was possessed by Taleju's spirit.
Even today, a mother's dream of a red serpent is believed to be a portent of the elevation of her daughter to the position of Royal Kumari. And each year, the Nepalese King seeks the blessing of the Royal Kumari at the festival of Indra Jatra. This tradition has changed recently with the country becoming the youngest republic of the world. This year the president of Nepal sought Kumari's blessing instead.
A variation of this and other legends names King Gunkam Dev, a 12th century ancestor of King Jayaprakash Malla, as the main character rather than Jayaprakash Malla.
A third variation of the legend says that during the reign of King Jayaprakash Malla, a young girl was banished from the city because it was feared that she was possessed by the goddess Durga. When the queen learned of the young girl's fate, she became enraged and insisted that the king fetch the girl and install her as the living incarnation of Durga.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kumari (The Living Goddess)

Thursday, September 3, 2009
Kumari, or Kumari Devi, is the tradition of worshipping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestations of the divine female energy or devi in South Asian countries. Kumari literally means virgin in Sanskrit, Nepali and other Indian languages and is a name of the goddess Durga as a child. In Nepal a Kumari is a prepubescent girl selected from the Shakya clan of the Nepalese Newari community. The Kumari is revered and worshiped by some of the country's Hindus as well as the Nepali Buddhists, though not the Tibetan Buddhists. In India a Kumari is generally chosen for one day and worshipped accordingly on certain festivals like Navaratri or Durga Puja. In the Indian state of Bengal this is a particularly prevalent practice.
While there are several Kumaris throughout Nepal, with some cities having several, the best known is the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu, and she lives in the Kumari Ghar, a palace in the center of the city. The selection process for her is especially rigorous. The current Royal Kumari, Matina Shakya, aged four, was installed in October 2008 by the Maoist government that replaced the monarchy.
A Kumari is believed to be the bodily incarnation of the goddess Taleju (the Nepalese name for Durga) until she menstruates, after which it is believed that the goddess vacates her body. Serious illness or a major loss of blood from an injury are also causes for her to revert to common status.

Ganesha

Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश; IAST: Gaṇeśa; listen (help·info)), also spelled Ganesa or Ganesh and also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, and Pillaiyar, is one of the best-known and most widely worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India. Hindu sects worship him regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India.
Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles (Vighnesha, Vighneshvara), patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom. He is honoured at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography.
Ganesha emerged as a distinct deity in clearly recognizable form in the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta Period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors. His popularity rose quickly, and he was formally included among the five primary deities of Smartism (a Hindu denomination) in the 9th century. A sect of devotees called the Ganapatya, (Sanskrit: गाणपत्य; gāṇapatya), who identified Ganesha as the supreme deity, arose during this period. The principal scriptures dedicated to Ganesha are the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvashirsa.

Yanya Punhi

Yanyā Punhi (Devnagari: ञेया पुन्ही, Sanskrit: Indra Jatra) is a festival celebrated in Kathmandu, Nepal. The main attraction of the festival is the procession of chariots and masked dancers representing deities and demons.
Yanyā Punhi (Indra Jatra) is a holiday related to Hindu god king of heaven, Indra. The festival begins with the carnival-like erection of Yosin, a ceremonial pole, accompanied by the rare display of the deity Aakash Bhairab, represented by a massive mask spouting beer and liquor. Households throughout Kathmandu display images and sculptures of Indra and Bhairab only at this time of year. Finally, the Kumari, or virgin goddess (living goddess), leaves the seclusion of her temple in a palanquin and leads a procession through the streets of Kathmandu to thank Indra the rain god.
Procession
Kumari paraded during the festivalThe procession consists of:
Majipa Lakhey
Pulukishi
Sawan Bhaku
Ganesh (Chariot)                            Ganesh Sankhu
Besides these, there are various dances held on the open stages of the city called dabu. There is display of Swet Bhairava as well as various deities of the city.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bodhisattva

Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Theravada Buddhism
The term Bodhisatta (Pali language) was used by the Buddha in the Pāli Canon to refer to himself both in his previous lives and as a young man in his current life, prior to his enlightenment, in the period during which he was working towards his own liberation. When, during his discourses, he recounts his experiences as a young aspirant, he regularly uses the phrase "When I was an unenlightened Bodhisatta..." The term therefore connotes a being who is "bound for enlightenment," in other words, a person whose aim is to become fully enlightened. In the Pali Canon, the Bodhisatta is also described as someone who is still subject to birth, illness, death, sorrow, defilement and delusion. Some of the previous lives of the Buddha as a bodhisattva are featured in the Jataka Tales.
In the Pāli Canon, the Bodhisatta Siddhartha Gotama is described as thus:
before my Awakening, when I was an unawakened bodhisatta, being subject myself to birth, sought what was likewise subject to birth. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, I sought [happiness in] what was likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement.
—Ariyapariyesana Sutta
While Maitreya (Pali: Metteya) is mentioned in the Pāli Canon, he is not referred to as a bodhisattva, but simply the next fully-awakened Buddha to come into existence long after the current teachings of the Buddha are lost.
In later Theravada literature, the term bodhisatta is used fairly frequently in the sense of someone on the path to liberation. The later tradition of commentary also recognizes the existence of two additional types of bodhisattas: the paccekabodhisatta who will attain Paccekabuddhahood, and the savakabodhisatta who will attain enlightenment as a disciple of a Buddha.
 
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