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Celebrating Kajari Teej: The Significance of offering prayers to Lord Shiva and Parvati during Monsoon in Hindu Rituals

It is believed in mythology that Teej is celebrated on this day when Goddess Parvati reunited with Lord Shiva after 108 births of painful separation

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Stone figurines of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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August 21, 2016: Teej is one of the most celebrated Hindu festivals of all time and this year, Kajari Teej falls on Sunday, August 21. Celebrated on the third day after a new moon night and the third day after the full moon night, according to Hindu Mythology, Teej is the day of reunion between Goddess Parvati and her husband Lord Shiva, after a long separation.

India is a multi-religion land blended with rich cultural legacy and rituals. The land where each day is a celebration, however, big or small the occasion is. A geographically small but a religiously huge nation, India accommodates all festivities from every walk of life.

The period of Monsoon (or ‘Saawan’ as it is called in Hindi) is considered as an auspicious time by Hindus— from July to September. Festivals like Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, Krishna Janmashtami, Onam and Teej are celebrated during the rainy days.

Festivities during Teej. The songs that are sung are called kajri. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Festivities during Teej. The songs that womenfolk sing are called kajri.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

It is believed that Parvati had to go through 108 births to finally reunite with Lord Shiva, ‘the destroyer and the preserver.’ Goddess Parvati is considered as the epitome of pious devotion to her husband Lord Shiva. As a result, the festival of Teej is celebrated among Hindu women in hope to be as devoted as Goddess Parvati.

Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati
Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Married and unmarried womenfolk fast for the well-being and long-life of their husband on this day. However, like the festival of Karva Chauth, women hold ceremonies of eating food at 4 am and breaks fast with the food prepared by their mother-in-law. The food, popularly known as ‘sargi’ and is combined with various Hindu ornaments like bangles, red dupattas, kumkum and others.

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The festival of Teej is celebrated in the Northern and Western India, in parts of Nepal, and also observed by women from the Sindhi community. There are three kinds of Teej celebrated during months of Saavan and Bhadrapada: Hariyali Teej, Kajari Teej and Hartalika Teej.

Celebration of Teej in Nepal. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Celebration of Teej in Nepal.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Kajari Teej is also known as Badi Teej, while Hariyali Teej is called Chhoti Teej. It is celebrated fifteen days after Hariyali Teej and five days prior to Krishna Janamashtami and falls in the ‘Krishna Paksha’ of Bhadrapada/Shravana month. Kajari or Kajali Teej is mostly celebrated all over Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat; where women hold fast and worship around holy Neem trees. Women worship the moon and Lord Shiva and break their fast by eating a special sweet called ‘sattu’.

prepared by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

Hindusim
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

Hindusim
Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.

Twitter:@SGewali.