Snana Yatra is a sacred festival to commemorate Lord Jagannath
It is celebrated by his devotees on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Jyestha
On this day, the deities Jagannath, Subhadra, Balabharda, and Madanmohan are ceremoniously bathed and decorated
June 09, 2017: On the holy festival of Snana Yatra, large crowds of devotees come to the Jagannath Temple in Odisha to commemorate the appearance of Lord Jagannath. It takes place in the Hindu month of Jyestha on a Purnima (full moon) day. This year, it was on June 9.
Lord Jagannath is the deity worshiped by Buddhists and Hindus. Lord Jagannath means the ‘Lord of the Universe’. Most worshippers and be found in Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, and Manipur.
A day before the Snana Yatra, the images of Jagannath, Sudarshana, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are taken to the procession which is called the snana-vedi (bathing pandal). The procession is known as ‘Pahandi’ in the local language.
The proceedings are known to be sacred. The Devotees strongly believe that getting a glimpse of this bathing ceremony of the Lord will wash away their sins. Hence, the ceremony attracts people from different places in large numbers. The bathing platform is 76 feet high which makes it visible to people outside the temple as well.
The snana-vedi is beautifully decorated with traditional paintings of trees and gardens. The deities are decorated with flowers. The bathing water is ritually purified water drawn from the northern well of the temple only once on this day of the year.
After the bathing ritual, the ceremony is concluded by dressing the Lord Jagannath in an elephant headgear symbolic of Lord Ganesha.
– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394
Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.
However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.
The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.
Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.
After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:
Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs, agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?
Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.
Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.
Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.
These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.
On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.