Margashira Gurubar Laxmi Puja

ମୋ ଟ୍ରାଫିକ- ଆବୁରୁଜାବୁରୁ ଗପ (ଛ')
ମୋ ଟ୍ରାଫିକ- ଆବୁରୁଜାବୁରୁ ଗପ (ଛ’)
April 12, 2022
ସୁଜାତା ମ୍ୟାଡ଼ାମଙ୍କୁ ଅନ୍ତିମ ବିଦାୟ
April 12, 2022
Margashira Gurubar Laxmi Puja

DrViyatprajna Acharya
Professor, Biochemistry

This is the busiest month for Odisha women…it is the month of Manabasa Gurubar. The month of “Margashira”. The favourite month of the Lord Himself.

Since childhood the image of “jhotis” (Alpana in Bengali, Rice paste Kollam in Tamil), early winter, early morning waking up and the house smelling of Jhuna dhoopa (Dhoop/ Sambarani is made to produce lot of good smelling fumes in which with the help of coconut dried peel, camphor, little jaggery and jhuna that is obtained from Sal tree resin), mother wearing a white saree with red borders and different sweetmeats (especially pithas made from urad dal and rice batter) is well merged with this special Puja.

Mostly done in Odisha but not unusual in Bengal also as a neighbouring acculturation. Since Goddess Laxmi is considered the Goddess of wealth, she’s not only loved but also revered and bit dreaded that if the rituals are not done properly, then She may flee easily, as She’s otherwise named as Chanchala (who can move away fast). Hence under the aegis of the Mothers-in-law, the daughters-in-law perform the rituals and the kid daughters learn by watching them….the legacy is passed on with lot of admonishments and superstitious beliefs to the next generation.

The superstitions have basically creeped into our lives for 2 reasons…
1. “Swajati parahinsraka” i.e. intra-species intolerance, especially women are greatest foes of their own species due to jealousy.
2. Many good practices had started to give little extra care to the women on Thursdays, so that they can take bath leisurely, do Shringaar and have some good nutritious food like fruits and sweets. No cumbersome cooking with onion, garlic etc, no non-veg cooking, no nail cutting, no sweeping (Everything should be ready from the previous day), no cleaning of clothes (olden days lacked washing machines) etc…..

But over ages, with suppression of women and lack of education, they started behaving weirdly following these practices as mandatory and without logic. Thankfully, today girls are educated and given more freedom than earlier days and these rituals are sensing a change.

Out of all aspects of the Puja, I like to put these Jhotis maximum (though I was miserable in drawing till I came to +2 when I suddenly discovered that if not a genuine artist, I can be a plagiariser at least, since it needs focus and following the lines and I possessed that faculty well).

Now my daughters have picked up the art. I like both traditional and modern designs alike. In my view, art and literature are like flowing rivers which can pick up or drop many things on their way to the destination.

Goddess Laxmi is not only bestow wealth, but she dwells there, where harmony, peace, punctuality and cleanliness prevail. These facts are less understood and under the pressure to perform the rituals, blindly followed practices, in many households today there would have been massive altercations, verbal abuse taken place, husbands would have reached their workplaces late, kids would have skipped their schools for the sake and likewise.

Be aware of the true Laxmi-ship…after all you need money or anything for a smooth living, peace and happiness. Money is the means and not the goal. In lieu of achieving the goal we take the means as our real goal and get diverted from the original goal i.e. peace, happiness and health.

The rules and rituals should definitely be mended and at places bended for today’s working women and well-fed society. Let there be peace, harmony and health everywhere.

Happy Manabasa Gurubar to all.
Aum Shanti…Shanti..Shanti
Jhoti courtesy: Tannishtha (my younger daughter)

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