On last Thursday of Margashira month after finishing my home Puja joined my in-laws for Manabasa Gurubar and Sudasha Brata. After preparing 50 odd dough balls for “Mandaa”, a sweetmeat typical of Odisha cuisine usually made for Laxmi Puja, started reading the “Laxmi Purana” and “Sudasha Brata katha”. These are books to guide one through the Puja process but it is felt that it’ll be a sin or puja will be incomplete if you do not read these books on the D-day. Really unfortunate to associate the absence of it with sin like any other religion. Hinduism is always so broad and benevolent that incurring sin from such a petty act of not reading a book is laughable. But with time, hardly people understood what is true spirituality and why these rituals take place.
Margashira (Margasirsha) month is the month of harvest or at least during this month the paddy will be just ready for the harvest. Since Mother Laxmi is considered as the Goddess of prosperity, she is invoked and worshipped with gratitude. These days were occasions when people got to take something special in their food and with all scientific basis. Whichever Puja prasad I have analysed as a Biochemist, I found it to be a true representative of balanced diet.
With rice based outer covering (Jantuni), the stuffing will be that of coconut and jaggery or that of Moong dal. Some fruits as Baladhupa, Rice, dal, ghanta as main course (Shankhudi bhoga) and sweetmeats and pithas (Thick Dosas) for snacks (Trutiya dhupa) and each meal is a complete one.
These small “purana” or “bratakatha” books guide our daily routine—how to wake up early, maintain neatness in houses, how to dress up, how to maintain harmony in the house, how to pay respect to elders and what not. If no one reads these it’ll be a loss to them, not a sin incurred. All our rituals are so scientifically designed and each Prasad is framed as per the season and the combination is so perfect that they are a Science in themselves.
Apart from this, Laxmi Purana speaks against racism and caste system and gives equal rights to husband and wife and depicts the importance of women in running a household smoothly. But with decreasing education among women especially in our last few generations true power of these scriptures has been deviated from knowledge and awareness to “Bhoga”, satiating our two inch muscle, the tongue and fighting pettily over rituals and taking unnecessary stress over observing them rather than understanding rationality behind these practices.
It is a call to our youth to read these scriptures again, analyse and implement in their lives rationally, learn the nutrition principles and lead a happy and successful life. Let our land be again filled with prosperity and happiness. Jay Maa Mahalaxmi.