New Delhi: Gone are the days, when urchins(group of young children) used to decorate their tesu-jhanjhi and roam around the neighbourhood humming songs and asking for goodies or donations.
However, till today, in a bid to keep the age old tradition alive, small children of the Vraja croon the tesu-jhanjhi song or geet:
“Tesu-Jhanjhi gaye bazaar, wahan se laaye aam ka achar;
mera tesu yahin adha, Khane ko mange dahi bada….”
(Tesu and Jhanjhi went to the bazaar, where they bought mango pickle,
My Tesu will stand here and he wants dahi bada to eat…)
Despite the tradition dying a slow death, Brajwasi children, through their songs, are keeping afloat a ritual that has been endangered by foreign cultural intrusion.
With the influx of western culture into the Indian society and Halloween getting popularized, the “Tesu-Jhanjhi” culture is gradually disappearing. Indian children staying glued to television and aping the western culture has further eclipsed the celebration.
Expressing nostalgia about tesu, Dhananjay Gautam, a Brajwasi , noted, “It is a lost culture which needs to be preserved.”
“The tradition of the tesu-jhanjhi is inspired by a story from Hindu epic Mahabharata”
What is the “Tesu”?
Tesu is a small toy made of sticks and clay head made by the small boys. The girls in turn have a small perforated clay pot with a lit earthen lamp inside it. They visit houses in their neighbourhood on the eve of the Navaratri and recite the traditional children’s song. Elated with the efforts they get rewarded with gifts and money.
On the day of Dusserra the children blindfold the Tesu-Jhanjhi and immerse them in a water body.
History of “Tesu”
“Tesu” has its origin embedded in the Mahabharata. Bhima’s grandson Barbarik chopped off his own head before the Mahabharata war at the request of Krishna. But he expressed his desire to witness the battle. Fulfilling his desire, Krishna placed Barbarik’s head atop a mountain overlooking the battlefield.
After vanquishing the Kauravas, the Pandavas argued on who made the greatest contribution in the war. Krishna came to the rescue and suggested that Barbarik’s head should judge the matter. Barbarik declared that Krishna with his strategy and his presence played the most crucial role in the battle. Pleased with Barbarik, Krishna blessed him that children would worship him in the Kaliyuga in the form of tesu. The tesu thus resembles the head of Barbarik and the jhanjhi resembles his body.
Hollywood vs Tesu
Fierce marketing by Hollywood has made Halloween popular in India. With metropolis in India celebrating Halloween, an age old tradition that has roots in our cultural history is getting sidelined. It is evident that the smart-phone generation is clearly turning a blind eye to our very own rituals. Halloween and “Tesu” are celebrated nearly at the same time. It is only because of marketing that Halloween elbowed out the latter.
It’s time for the the Indian youth to dig deep into the culture and start celebrating their own traditional festivals instead of Indianizing western festivals.
Foremost among the several gods and goddesses of Hinduism are the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, the holy triad that signify supreme divinity in Hinduism – the creater, sustainer and destroyer of the world
New Delhi, October 9, 2017 : Devout Hindus have a god for every occasion and every day – over 33 million, according to popular beliefs. While people of other religions often interpret them as fictional characters, the multiple gods and goddesses of Hinduism are held with utmost devotion and sincerity by the believers.
Ours is a polytheistic religion – in other words, a myriad of gods and goddesses of Hinduism. Foremost among the several gods and goddesses of Hinduism are the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, the holy triad that signify supreme divinity in Hinduism – the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world. These divine forces are known to appear in different avatars, embodied by different gods and goddesses.
In Hinduism, Lord Brahma is the creator of the Universe and the first member of the holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh). However, he is not worshiped as Vishnu or Shiva with only one temple dedicated to him, the Pushkar temple of Rajasthan.
Here are some of the many gods and goddesses of Hinduism.
Vishnu is the second member of the holy Hindu triad, who sustains the entire world – Vishnu is believed to return to the earth during distressed times to restore the balance between good and evil.
Believed to have incarnated nine times, Vishnu symbolizes the principles of order, righteousness, and truth. His associate is Lakshmi, the goddess of family life and prosperity.
Vishnu is always depicted with a blue-colored human body with four hands, each of which carries four different objects – a conch, chakra, lotus flower and mace. The god is shown to ride the Garuda, an eagle.
So far, Vishnu has appeared on earth in various incarnations. These include fish, turtle, boar, Narsimha (half lion, half man), Vamana (dwarf sage with the ability to grow), Parsuram, Ram, Krishna and Buddha. Devotees believe he will re-incarnate in a last avatar, popularly known as ‘Kalki’, close to the end of this world.
Hindus who worship Vishnu are primarily known as Vaishnava and regard him as the greatest god.
One of the members of the holy Hindu trinity, Lord Shiva is as the god of destruction, so that the world may be recreated by Brahma. Thus, his destructive powers are perceived as regenerative: necessary to make renewal possible.
Known by different names like Mahadeva, Nataraja , Pashupati, Vishwanath and Bhole Nath, Shiva is known to have untamed enthusiasm, which drives him to extremes in conduct. It is his relationship with wife Parvati which established the balance. While other gods and goddesses are represented in glorious avatars, Shiva is dressed in plan animal skin and usually sits in a yogic aasana.
Shiva is often addressed as the Lord of Dance, with the rhythm of the dance believed to be symbolic of the balance in the universe, masterfully held by Shiva. His most significant dance form is the Tandav.
Hindus who worship Shiva as their primary god are known as Shaivites.
One of the most popular goddesses of Hindu mythology, Lakshmi gets hers name from the Sanskrit word ‘lakshya’, meaning ambition or purpose. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, prosperity and purity and is the associate of Vishnu.
Lakshmi is believed to reside in places of hard work, and sincerity, However, the goddess leaves whenever an individual is overcome with greed or malice or when these qualities are not evident anymore. Hindus believe Sita is an incarnation of Lakshmi. Hence, they worship the goddess of prosperity primarily during Diwali, which commemorated the Hindu epic Ramayana.
Lakshmi is widely represented as an enchanting woman with four arms, settled or standing on a lotus flower.
Devout Hindus worship Lakshmi at temples and inside homes alike, and believe worshipping her with utmost sincerity blesses an individual with success and fortune.
The pot bellied, elephant-headed god Ganesha, also known as Ganpati, Vinayak and Binayak, is the son of Shiva and Parvati. one of the most popular gods and goddesses of Hinduism, Ganesha is revered as the remover of all obstacles, which is why his presence is first acknowledged before beginning any new work.
The lord of success and wealth, Ganesha is also the patron of knowledge and learning; devotees believe he wrote down parts of the Hindu epic Mahabharata with his broken tusk.
Ganesha is typically depicted as a pot-bellied, elephant-headed red colored god, with four arms and a broken tusk. This head is believed to characterize the atma or the soul and the body represents the maya or mankind’s earthly existence. The rats, which can gnaw their way through every hardship, are believed to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to destroy all obstacles.
Lord Ganesha is shown riding mouse, which can gnaw their way through every hardship, are believed to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to destroy all obstacles.
Believed to be the most popular and the most powerful avatar of Vishnu, Krishna is revered as the Supreme Being or the Purana Purushottam out of a list of several hundred gods and goddesses of Hinduism, by several devout Hindus. One of the most loved and mischievous gods, Krishna means ‘black’ and can be believed to denote mysteriousness.
In Hinduism, Krishna takes several different roles- that of a hero, leader, protector, philosopher, teacher and a friend and is believed to have lived on earth between 3200 – 3100 BC. His birth is widely celebrated on the midnight of Ashtami during the month of Shravan, and is called Janmashthami.
Stories of Krishna’s birth, childhood and youth and widely read and circulated, with every mother wanting to have a child like him. His raas with Radha is also remembered widely.
Krishna is held with utmost reverence for his role as the charioteer of Arjuna, as explained in the Mahabharata. It was in the middle of this war that Krishna delivered his famous advice about ‘Nishkam Karma’ which propagated action without attachment, which formed the basis of the Bhagwat Gita.
Krishna is extremely fond of white butter and there are several stories about how he stole butter from gopis throughout his childhood. He is depicted as a dark and extremely handsome, usually depicted with a flute which he used for its seductive powers.
Maryada Purushottam Ram is the ideal avatar of Vishnu. An epitome of chivalry, virtues and ethical demeanor, Ram is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu who is believed to have taken birth to eradicate all evils from the world.
Unlike all other gods and goddesses of Hinduism, Ram is believed to be a historical character, instead of an imaginary figure. The Hindu epic Ramayana is a retelling and celebration of Ram’s life – a tale of his fourteen years in exile with his wife and brother.
Ram’s birthday is celebrated as Ramnavmi, wherein devotees invoke him with religious chants to attain his blessings shield. The festival of lights, Diwali, which is one of the major festivals in Hinduism, is also observed to celebrate the return of Ram, Laksham and Sita back to Ayodhya after an exile of fourteen years.
Ram bears a dark complexion to show his resemblance to Vishnu and his other avatar Krishna, and is almost always depicted with a bow and arrow in his hands and a quiver on his back. Ram also wears a tilak on his forehead. Accompanying the statues of Ram are idols of his wife Sita, brother Lakshman and the celebrated monkey-god Hanuman, who together combine the Ram Darbar.
Daughter of Shiva and Durga, and the consort of Brahma, Saraswati is revered as the goddess of wisdom, learning, speech and music. She is the goddess of knowledge and arts. Devotees often worship the deity before commencing any educational work- books and stationary items are often revered as Saraswati is believed to reside in them.
Saraswati Vandana, religious chants dedicated to the goddess of music often begin and end all Vedic lessons. The goddess also plays songs of wisdom, affection and life on the veena, a string instrument.
Saraswati is visually represented in pure white attire and rides a peacock, with a lotus in one hand and sacred scriptures in the other. She also has four hands that signify the four aspects of learning- mind, intellect, alertness, and ego.
Out of all the 33 million gods and goddesses of Hinduism, devout Hindus believe only Saraswati can grant them moksha- the ultimate emancipation of the soul.
New Delhi, September 21, 2017: Millions of Hindus prayers in temples and observe a fast across India, as the nine-night Navratri Hindu festival begins on Thursday, September 21.
Navaratri or Navarathri, is a multiple days Hindu festival acknowledged during the autumn, every year. The festival holds immense importance in Hinduism.
Whereas, theoretically Navratri falls twice a year; the autumn Navratri also called as the Sharada Navaratri is the most popular.
Sharada Navaratri is celebrated during the lunar month of Ashvin which is post-monsoon (September–October).
It is observed that the festival is celebrated for a different reason in the different part of the country.
Durga puja is observed in the honor of divine Goddess Durga Maa in the eastern and northeastern part of India, apposite to Navratri. It resembles the battle to restore Dharma and peace, Goddess Durga battles and emerges victory over Narkasur, the buffalo demon.
Dussehra is celebrated in the northern and western parts of India. ‘Rama Lila’ and Dussehra is a celebration of the triumph of Lord Ram over the demon king Ravana.
Similarly, in the southern part, the victory of Lord Rama or Saraswati is observed.
The victory of good over evil is the main cause of this celebration, sharing a famous epic like the Ramayana or the Devi Mahatmya.
It is believed that during Navratri, Goddess Durga or Lord Rama descends on earth to rid of demons and bless their devotees with happiness and prosperity.
Devotees believe that by controlling physical needs like hunger, a person can gain spiritually and that fasting helps create harmony between the body and soul. People fast for nine days to make their wishes come true.
The chanting of spiritual slokas, decorative pandals, new clothes, enacting stories of the legends is everything that happens in this multi-day Hindu festival. It is among the rich culture of the Hindus where public celebration of theatres, music, and dance be a part of this festivity.
The festival comes to an end with the final day, Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami, where the idols of the evil are burnt and alternatively the idols of the Gods and Goddess from the festival are immersed in the water body.
– Prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram twitter: @Writing_desire
Bhagavada Gita or the Song of the God, in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, is a narrative between Arjuna and Krishna. Krishna passes on sermons and teachings on life and death to Arjuna. These teachings are universal truths which have proved their relevance through millenniums. They are of extreme relevance to people of all ages, no matter which nationality they belong to. These are eternal truths which help every individual to pass the necessary ordeals of life.
Here are 10 special quotes from the Bhagvada Gita which can enlighten the mind and the soul –
1. “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”
People are born in this world as individuals responsible for their own actions. They should make their own decisions no matter how right and wrong they are, without trying to imitate others. People should learn to take ownership of their life rather walking on someone else’s road.
2. “I am Time, the great destroyer of the world.”
As goes the great saying “Time and Tide wait for none”, Bhagvada Gita also propagates the beliefs that time is the most valuable ornament of our existence. Any being belonging to any age group cannot afford to waste it. It teaches us how to be organized and have a productive and meaningful life. Once wasted, it can never be compensated.
3. “O Krishna, the mind is restless”
The mind is a powerful element that cannot be controlled by any force. It is its own master. At one point people believe in something and at the very other moment they support something else. The mind is always in a state of flux.
4. ‘Reshape yourself through the power of your will.’
Life should be conquered by the will. Will is the strongest emotion which drives the entire existence. People’s will to achieve their goals or to become something in life helps them to achieve success.
5. “Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward.”
People have the right to work, but never to the fruit of that work. They should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should they long for inaction. Hard work should be the soul dedication and the result will follow. People should always be patience.
6. “There is nothing lost or wasted in life.”
Everyone has the privilege of living only one life. People come into this world without belongings but as individuals. They should not have regrets in this life. They don’t even lose their loved ones, they are all here.
7. “Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”
Every man is an individual with different opinions and perspectives. A man is known by his beliefs. Whatever he believes in becomes his identity.
8. “There is neither this world nor the world beyond nor happiness for the one who doubts.”
Anyone who doubts his decisions, his likings, his dislikes or is not confident about his choices will fail to be happy no matter how many chances are given to him. He will not find happiness in any state of mind.
9. “One can become whatever one wants to be (if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith).”
All have hankering towards achieving goals in life. Though some are successful but some lose the battle because they are in doubt. People should understand humans have the capability to achieve everything in life only if they believe in themselves.
10. “I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Anything that takes birth is destined to die. Everything, that breathes, which includes plants and animals, also have a lifespan.