Wednesday October 17, 2018
Home India Vasant Panchm...

Vasant Panchmi: the onset of spring festival

0
//
775
Republish
Reprint

By Varnika Mahajan

What Diwali is to the goddess of wealth Lakshmi, Vasant Panchmi is to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and arts. The whole country observes this auspicious day of harvest, which indicates the arrival of spring.

It is interesting to observe that in Indian culture, we have three goddesses representing, Wealth (Lakshmi), Power (Shakti) and Education (Saraswati), showing the equal importance being laid on all the three aspects.

Special prayers are offered to Goddess Saraswati on this day and many new schools and training institutes are inaugurated, a trend made famous by the renowned founder of the Banaras Hindu University, educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. He founded the University on Vasant Panchami day in the year 1916.

History behind the festival

The story goes like this- Lord Shiva burnt the god of love, Lord Kamadeva, who was sent by other Gods to tempt Lord Shiva while he was absorbed in Samadhi. This was done so that Lord Shiva would come out of Samadhi, marry Devi Parvati and beget a powerful son who would be able to destroy the wicked demon Tarakasura. Kamadeva discharged a powerful arrow at Lord Shiva from behind a tree, which disturbed Shiva’s meditation and, as a result, he became very greatly enraged. This led to the opening of His third eye which reduced Kamadeva to ashes.

Thus, the God of love- Kamadeva is honored on this day. Kamadeva Puja used to be conducted in many parts of the country in the past though such a practice has greatly reduced in the present. Kamadeva is also known as “Atanu” — one without a body and spring or Vasant being Kamadeva’s close friend, spring is closely associated with the latter.

Saraswati Puja

The major celebration on this day though is the Saraswati Puja. As per the accounts of Brahma Vaivarta Purana, a boon was granted by Krishna to Goddess Saraswati that she would be worshiped on Vasant Panchami.

Traditionally a Kalash containing water is set up with colored powder thrown into the air to mark the occasion.  Men and women wear yellow color which is a sign of auspiciousness and spirituality, representing the ripening of the spring crops.

People celebrating Basant Panchami in The East, generally wear yellow color garments, deck up Saraswati’s idol too in yellow. In the Telugu states, Vasant Panchami is observed with prayers to Maa Saraswati, and also observing Akshara Abhyasam or Vidya Arambham.

Even the food is colored yellow by using saffron with folks getting together and singing songs connected with spring.

Symbolism behind imagery of Goddess Saraswati

Seated on a white lotus, Saraswati draped in White with Veena in her hands, symbolizes knowledge, truth and light. Her four hands often displayed prominently symbolize, manas( sense), buddhi( intellect), chitta( imagination) and ahamkar( self consciousness). The Veena represents all the creative arts and sciences, and her holding represents the harmony created by knowledge.  Sitting on a white swan, it also symbolizes spiritual perfection, transcendence and Moksha. Thus, a sincere worship of Goddess Saraswati will lead one to Vidya and Moksha.

Interesting facts

    • At the end of the festivities, the flowers and mango leaves would be sprinkled with red gulal with girls applying it to their cheeks.
    • Interestingly, there is a gap of 40 days between Vasant Panchami and Holi and it is believed to be the number of days Rati undertook penance, after her husband Kamadeva was burnt to ashes by Shiva’s third eye.
    • Sufi Muslims have been witnessing this day since 12th century AD. It is said that the poet Amir Khusro, dressed in yellow, took flowers to the saint Nizamuddin, who was mourning the death of his nephew which made him feel better. Sufi Basant is observed in Sufi shrines.
    • In Uttarakhand, earthen lamps and incense are lit, to signify worship of the earth as a ‘harvest festival’. On the other hand, people in Bihar and Bengal worship the plough on this day.
    • Saraswati Puja is also called Shree Panchami.
    • Punjab region celebrates it as the Basant Festival of Kites with the observance in Gurdwaras as a Sikh festival.
    • Worshiped not only in India but other countries too, the goddess is called by many names- Brahmani( Goddess of Science), Vani( referring to the flow of music).  In Telugu-speaking states, she is referred to as Chaduvula Thalli( Goddess of education) and as Kalaimagal, Kalaivani in Tamil. A very common name is Sharada, one who loves the autumn season. (Image source: besthdwalls.in)
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Mesmerising Temple Towns Near Bangalore

Due to a large influx of people from all over the world into the city, Bangalore is now a melting pot of culture and attracts people from various walks of life

0
The center of India's high-tech industry, the city is also known for its parks and nightlife.
The center of India's high-tech industry, the city is also known for its parks and nightlife. Wikimedia Commons
  • Bangalore often referred as the Garden City and Silicon Valley
  • The city is also home to many temples that are regularly flocked by devotees

Bangalore is endowed with many titles that capture the essence of the city. Garden City and Silicon Valley are often used to refer to this culturally rich city. Due to a large influx of people from all over the world into the city, Bangalore is now a melting pot of culture and attracts people from various walks of life. The city is also home to many temples that are regularly flocked by devotees. Apart from these, there are quite a few places of worship around Bangalore that are worth a visit.

Bangalore taxi service is available to anyone wishing to make a journey to these temples.

Ghati Subramanya

Located on the outskirts of Bangalore, at distance of 60 km from the city, Ghati Subramanya temple has Lord Karthikeya as its primary deity. The temple also houses idols of Lord Narasimha and the idols of both these deities are believed to have emerged from the earth.

Subramanya temple has Lord Karthikeya as its primary deity.
Subramanya temple has Lord Karthikeya as its primary deity. Wikimedia Commons

The temple has a history that dates back to almost 600 years and is believed to be developed under the Ghorpade rulers of Sandur. Devotees believe that when couples having trouble conceiving take a vow at this temple, they will be blessed with children.

Also Read: These 5 Ancient Temples are Believed to be the Oldest in India

Chamundi Temple

Chamundi temple, located on the famous Chamundi Hills is a popular temple in Mysore and is visited by devotees and tourists alike throughout the year. The temple is located about 160 km from the city of Bangalore, which makes it a little over a 3-hour drive from the city.

The temple also has a flight of one thousand steps which were built in 1659 and leads to the summit of the 3000-foot hill.
The temple also has a flight of one thousand steps which were built in 1659 and leads to the summit of the 3000-foot hill. Wikimedia Commons

The temple is also believed to be one among the 18 Shakti Peethas. The construction of the temple is credited to the Hoysala rulers, who reportedly built it in the 12th century. However, the tower of the temple is believed to have been constructed by the Vijayanagara rulers in the 17th century. The temple also has a flight of one thousand steps which were built in 1659 and leads to the summit of the 3000-foot hill. The temple also has several idols of Nandi, but the biggest one is the one situated on the 800th step. This idol of Nandi is about 15 feet in height and 24 feet in length.

Also Read: Top 10 Famous Hindu Temples of Tamil Nadu

You can book cabs from Bangalore to Mysore to visit this marvellous temple perched on the top of the hill.

Kotilingeshwara

The Kotilingeshwara temple is located 96 km from the city of Bangalore, in the district of Kolar. You can reach the place in around two and a half hours by road. The temple is famous due to its huge lingams (Shiva idol), which is the largest lingam in the entire world, which stands 108 feet tall.

The Kotilingeshwara temple is located 96 km from the city of Bangalore, in the district of Kolar.
The Kotilingeshwara temple is located 96 km from the city of Bangalore, in the district of Kolar. Wikimedia Commons

The temple has ten million lingas as indicated by its name, where ‘Koti’ stands for crore or ten million. These were installed by Bhakta Manjunatha, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva with the help of Maharaja Ambikeshwaravarma and his family. Bhakta Manjunatha, born to a pious Shaiva family was an atheist who did not believe in Lord Shiva. He is believed to have insulted Lord Shiva ten million times. The ten million lingas installed by him were done as an act of repentance of this after he came to realize the divinity of Lord Shiva.

Also Read: 7 Most Famous Temples to Visit in Uttar Pradesh

All these temple towns are located at a short distance from the city of Bangalore and can be easily accessible in a taxi.