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Ramayana Masam: The traditional practice of reading Ramayana during the pious month of Karkkidakam

Another significant tradition associated with Ramayana Masam is the practice of observing a major pilgrimage called Naalambala Darshanam by the Hindu devotees

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Ramayana masam
Rama breaking the bow to win Sita as wife. Wikimedia Commons
  • Also known as Karkadaka Masam, every devout Hindu household during this time reverberates with recitals from Ramayana
  • ‘Amavasya’ (no moon day), dedicated to the ancestors is also a distinct one during this period
  • While Karkkidakam  is considered to be an auspicious month, filled with spirituality, no new function and business venture are started during it

Observed in the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam  (July-August), Ramayana Masam is a popular festival in Kerala. Also known as Karkadaka Masam, every devout Hindu household during this time reverberates with recitals from Ramayana.

The recitals are also performed by various Hindu organizations in temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Ramayana Masam 2016 began on July 16 and will end on August 16, when the narration of the verses would stop.

During the festival, all the members of the household gather after sunset and recite the verses of Malayalam version of the Ramayana titled ‘Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilippattu’ (translated by Thunchath Ezhuthachan).

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The sacred book is read under ‘Nilavilakku’ or the traditional Kerala lamp. Interestingly, the verses are read in a way that the last recital takes place on the last day of Karkkidakam, says an article in prokerala.com.

Rama sending his signet ring to Sita through Hanuman. Wikimedia Commons
Rama sending his signet ring to Sita through Hanuman. Wikimedia Commons

Apart from reading Ramayana, several plays, quiz competitions based on the holy book, recitals and public discourses are also organized throughout the month.

Another significant tradition associated with Ramayana Masam is the practice of observing a major pilgrimage called Naalambala Darshanam by the Hindu devotees. The believers undertake the pilgrimage to the temples of Ram, Bharathan, Lakshmanan and Shathrugnan, the four brothers and all in a single day.

‘Amavasya’ (no moon day), dedicated to the ancestors is also a distinct one during this period. On this day special rituals are carried out near the water bodies by Hindu families to ensure that their dead family members are at peace. This ritual is generally performed by the male member of the family.

While Karkkidakam  is considered to be an auspicious month, filled with spirituality, no new function and business venture are started during it.

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Considered to be the last month as per the Malayalam calendar, this period is also known as ‘Panja Masam’ (the period of scarcity) due to heavy rains. Since the field is flooded with water and people cannot go out, they rely on the grains stored during the last harvest season.

It is believed that to mellow down the nature’s fury, people started reading Ramayana initially and since then it has been taken forward as a tradition.

– prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram. Twitter handle: iBulbul_

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Kerala Government Decides to Revise The List of Women Who Prayed at Sabarimala

The list of 51 women is not part of an affidavit but only referred to by the state government counsel in his arguments. Soon the list was highlighted in the media

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Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Stung by widespread criticism over the numerous errors in the list of women who prayed at the Sabrimala temple, the Kerala government has decided to re-prepare the list.

A counsel of state government had presented the list in the Supreme Court on Friday, which reportedly had discrepancies in the age and names of women. The list was taken from the records of the online system, through which pilgrims register for having “darshan”.

The row erupted over flaws in the actual age of some of the 51 women, whom the counsel had referred to in the list as “banned” — on account of they being of menstruating age group of 10 to 50 years — who prayed at the temple this season.

State police chief Loknath Behera on Saturday asked senior officials to revise the list, which included even the name of men, besides several of the women above 50.

State Devasom (temples) Minister Kadakampally Surendran told the media that his department has no role in the preparation of the list, while the president of the Travancore Devasom Board – custodian of the temple, A. Padmakumar said they are not responsible for this as they do not prepare statistics of the pilgrims in the temple.

Kanam Rajendran, state secretary of the Communist Party of India – the second biggest ally of the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan government, said the entire responsibility of what has happened lies with the state government.

Sabarimala
Kerala to revise list of women who prayed at Sabarimala.

But the Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, the closest aide of Vijayan, defended him by saying that it is not just 51 women, but so many women have had “darshan” at the temple.

Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini, both in the “banned” age group of 10 to 50 years, prayed at the Sabarimala temple.

It was after they approached the apex court seeking security for having safe “darshan” that a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari directed the state government to arrange adequate protection for them.

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The list of 51 women is not part of an affidavit but only referred to by the state government counsel in his arguments. Soon the list was highlighted in the media.

“This goof-up reveals the abject failure of the way Vijayan is running the state,” said state BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai.  (IANS)