Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Significane of Aashada Ekadashi-Pandarapur Jatra

"Pandarapura vemba dodda shahara,
Alli Vithobha yemba obba Sashukara
Vithobha eruvudu nadi teera
Alli Pandari bhajaneya vyapara
Jai jai vittala panduranga..
Jai hari Vittala Panduranga"..

 Goes the Kananda Bhajan on Vittala Panduranga...

I was wondering how I missed a post on Aashada Ekadashi on my blog post.

Here comes one. I have post one on Vaikuntha Ekadashi. So is also Aashada Ekadashi which is of great reference.

Ekadashi, Triyodashi, Amavasya (New Moon Day), Pournima (Full Moon Day), are of great significance to Indians. Each Ekadashi, Triyodashi, Amavasya (New Moon Day), Pournima (Full Moon Day), is given a specific name which again has a legend or a story behind its naming.

Ekadashi meaning is “eleven tithi”- is the eleventh day of each of the two lunar phases which occur in a Hindu calendar month. A month is divided into two phases called Paksha. - the Śukla Paksha is the period of 15 days from new moon day to full moon day. Or to say the period from brightening moon also known as the waxing phase. The Kṛiṣhṇa Paksha is the period of 15 days from full moon day to new moon day or the period of the fading moon also known as the waning phase.

According to Hinduism and Jainism, Ekadashi –i.e., the eleventh day is considered more auspicious for spiritual advancement day. It is usually observed as “Upvasa” a Sanskrit word – “UP” meaning near and “VASA” meaning to sit or reside. Kindly don’t pronounce it as English word “UP”.

Now the questions arises sit or reside before whom?

Before the Almighty-in any form and be engaged in spiritual meditation. It is kind a day-off from all the activities like-cooking, cleaning, eating, washing, talking or chattering and so on.

One day to devote ourselves completely in meditation for betterment and spiritual advancement.

The Upvasa is wrongly translated as fasting in English meaning no eating or partaking food. Again on Ekadashi day variety of food preparation takes place maybe in the form of fruit salads, cooking or eating of special kinds of grains, milk and so on.

The right way of abstinence starts from previous day i.e., tenth day called Dashami afternoon meal marks as a closure of kitchen chores. From tenth day afternoon to before dawn of Dwadashi day i.e., twelfth day. On twelfth day the special prescribed food has to taken before the sun rise and then not to eat or sleep the whole day. This would amount to around 36 hours without food or water. So following thus, twice a month amounts to staying without food or water for three to three and half days. This again as a scientific reason which benefits our body.

What would a person do on Ekadashi day?

Person is expected to devote totally in the spiritual activities-like participating in Sath sangh bhajan, recitation of Sahasranamas, meditation, Japa and not to indulge in unnecessary gossip.

However, there is an ample of exemptions for not taking food on Ekadashi day. People who are sick, have health issues, or are pregnant women, children below the age of 8-10 years are exempted. Again, there is relaxation of consuming one meal instead of three meals. In real sense, observing Ekadashi is not strictly imposed one and all. It is left to the individual.

There are usually Twenty-Four Ekadashis in a calendar year. During Leap year there are two extra Ekadashis. Leap year in Indian calendar is the year which has an extra Lunar month called Adhika Māsa, it occurs every third year.

Each Ekadashi has a unique name, significance and is associated to either any avataras (incarnation) of the Almighty or any specific incident/person/deity from the Puraṇas or Itihasas. Here are the names of Twenty Four Ekadash is in year:-

Chaitra Maasa- Begins in March -April

Kṛiṣhṇa Pakhaa - Papavimocanī Ekadashi
Śukla Pakshaa - Kamada Ekadashi

Vaishakha Maasa – Begins in April- May

Kṛiṣhṇa Paksha - Varuthini Ekadashi
Śukla Paksha - Mohini Ekadashi

Jyeṣṭha Maasa –Begins in May -June

Krishna Paksha- Apara Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Nirjala or Bhima Ekadashi

Aashada Maasa- June-July

Krishna Paksha- Yogini Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Devsayani Ekadashi

Shravaṇa Maasa –July-August

Krishna Paksha- Kamika Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Putrada Ekadashi

Bhadrapada Maasa-August-September

Krishna Paksha- Ananda Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Parshva Ekadashi

Ashvija Maasa—September-October

Krishna Paksha- Iṅdira Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Papakuṅsa Ekadashi

Kartika Maasa- October-November

Krishna Paksha- Rama Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Prabodhini or Devuthani Ekadashi

Margashirṣa Maasa – November-December

Krishna Paksha- Vaikunta or Trikoti Ekadashi or Mukkoti Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Mokṣada Ekadashi

Pushya Maasa-December-January

Krishna Paksha- Saphala Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Putrada Ekadashi

Magha Maasa- January-February

Krishna Paksha- Shata Tila Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Bhaimi or Jaya Ekadashi

Phalguna Maasa – February-March

Krishna Paksha- Utpanna Ekadashi
Shukla Paksha- Amalaki Ekadashi

Aashada Ekadashi, also spelt as Aashadhi Ekadashi, is the most important Ekadasi observed as first Ekadashi of the year. In Telugu it is called as “Toli Ekadashi”. It falls on eleventh day in bright half of Ashada Maasa (June-July).

Pandarpur Yatra culminates on Aashada Ekadasi and is of great importance in Maharashtra State, India.

This Aashada Ekadashi is of especial reference to the Varkari community in Western India. It is 11th day of the first half of Aashada and on this day the Varkaris, having pilgrimage for weeks from their homes to reach holy Pandharpur, gather at dawn for darshan of their beloved Vitthal Panduranga-a form of Vishnu.

Pandharpur is a well known pilgrimage town on the banks of Chandrabhaga River in Solāpur district, Maharashtra, India. It is also known as the Southern Kashi of India and Kuldaivat of Maharashtra State. It is located at a distance of 72 kms by road from Solapur District headquarters. The Pandharpur Railway Station falls on the Miraj-Kurduwadi-Latur railway track.

Pandharpur, like several holy sites across India, is essentially a nucleus of energy. It is a place where the Supreme Consciousness was invited to appear in the human form. There are many miraculous stories of Vittala Panduranga who disguised as commoner lived and helped his devotees. There are strong beliefs among the commoner of Vittala entering the devotee’s home, like a family member would.

Legend Story behind Aashada Ekadashi

Pundalik was such a devotee and he had tremendous Trust and Love for the Almighty. As per the orders from Almighty, he performed all his duties in daily life with complete devotion. His old parents, who had brought him up well and guided him in youth now only, expected a few small services in their old age, like a little oil massage or pressing their feet, just so that they could sleep well.

One night, exactly at the time he offered his services to his parents, Vittal also known as Vitoba or Krishna appeared the form of a farmer, directly into the room. He had a worker’s blue-black skin and said to Pundalik, “Since you constantly keep me in your mind and also satisfy your Karma Yog, I decided to come over and meet you.”

Pundalik simply replied, “At the moment, until I complete my duties, I cannot be with you’, and in that simple room, he placed a brick near the Almighty to give Him a place and said, “Please wait upon this brick until I am done.”

Then the Almighty stood upon the brick, his hands upon either side of his waist in a posture of waiting. In Marathi, a brick is called vit and the Vittala became, ‘the Almighty who paused upon the brick’ i.e. Vithala.

The concept of Almighty standing upon this brick is interesting.

Spiritual Scholars opine that this brick symbolizes a single cell in the body, just like it is a single cell in a building. As a good brick needs to be made of good quality earth, mixed with the water of devotion and fired by the heat of Karma Yog, as every cell needs to get purified. All our negativeness called doshas, bad gunas and tamas can be crushed just like grains of earth. Then you add to them the water of devotion and give them shape of the brick or cell through the fire of Karma Yog i.e. the heat of the hard work done to fulfill our duties. On such a brick or cell, through continuous longing and chanting, embed the name of Supreme. Thus did Pundalik invite the Supreme into his home, his family and in each cell.

These qualities define the Varkari community, followers of that Vithala. They choose to do simple jobs but are hard working.. They have a tradition of tremendous devotion expressed through constant nama-japa and giving all the credit for their work to Him through a rich tradition of community songs and verses as well as devotional songs.

All of this is done to keep inviting the Supreme back to Pandharpur and meet him on Ashada Ekadashi. As hundreds of thousands of Varkar is take to the streets to walk to Pandharpur in time for the tithi they meet and enlarge their circles. They walk together and sing together in massive groups of people. The idea is to accommodate everyone they meet on the way, and slowly include the world in one circle on the way to meet their Lord. They sing simple mantras like ‘Vithala-Vithala’ or ‘Pandurang Hari’ and their devotional songs are full of great advice on how best to go through life, both materially and spiritually. They learn and remind each other, and finally make their way to Vithala.

The great saints of Maharashtra, Saint Dnyaneshwar from the 13th century and Saint Tukaram from the 16th century were the main visionaries who showed the community these simple ways to invite Almighty’s Grace into their lives. Many pilgrims begin from Alandi, Shree Dnyaneshwar’s town, or Dehu, where Shree Tukaram lived. Some come from very far away and could take 3-4 weeks. They walk with minimal luggage and on the way are served food and water by hundreds of people who support them. They pass the time singing away and reach on the night before Ekadashi. Their entire lives, work and devotion comes full circle when on the glorious morning, the Lord comes to meet them. Saint Tukaram has clearly stated in one of his ‘Abhangas’ about Vithala and the PandharpurYatra - ‘Vaikunthpeethaalegharaa’ i.e. the Lord has come into our homes over here and even that he has seen the Almighty in human form with a luminous glory. The peeth, or seat, to invite the Lord to come to you is the brick or cell of the body. Every cell of your body can become a seat for the Supreme. This is a result of when one is able to instill Trust in Almighty deeply into the body for the performance of one’s everyday duties. When they follow this principle in life, then during this journey, or vaari, the pilgrims come into the highest spiritual joy, which reaches its climax when they all see their Lord together.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Significance of Kara Hunnime celebration in Karnataka

Hunnime meaning Full Moonday. Every full moonday , new moonday, Ekadasi are named as per Hindu almanac. Each of them have a great sifnificance that is related to mankind.

Kara Hunnime (fullmoon day of Jyestha, a festival for peasants) was on June 17, 2019. This is full moonday is celebarted in some parts of the Karnataka State, India.

This is the first full moonday after the on set of mansoon rains in this region. Hence, this full moonday is celebrated with sepcial reference to cattles.

Farmers celebrate this kaara Hunnime  as a sign of  end of summer  season and welcoming mansoon.

 In the morning, women folk collectively pray to the Pipal tree by tying sacred threads all around. 

Also offer the sweet delicacies prepared as part of the worship.

Farmers, wash bullocks and paint their horns with different colours, tie colourful pompoms, forehead knots, hip belts, foot jingles. In short they decorate bullocks cattle’s with ornaments and colourful ribbons. They then worship cattle’s and offer thesweet delicacies made out flour called holige, kadubus and sweet rice to them.

Many pairs of bullocks participate in the running race and the pair which comes first is acclaimed by the public. If the bullocks which comes first are red or brown colour, it is supposed that red variety of jowar will grow in abundance during the ensuing season and if they are white in colour, white jowar is supposed to grow in plenty.

Then, they also hold cattle’s race which is kind of boost to the farmers too. Finally, after the race they also do aarti or harati to cattles toward off evils eyes. Aarti also spelled arti, arati, arathi, aarthi or harati is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light (usually from a flame) is offered to one or more deities, tree, animals on special occasions.
The whole village, market place, streets and surrounding bear a festivity look filled with joy.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Me not M . E --A Poem

I dedicate this poem to Ms. Corina Duyn-An Artist, a Writer and a wonderful Puppeteer from Ireland.
I got to know her through yet another wonderful friend. She is diagnosed with a rare illness called
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.)

Hands crave to carve,

Legs crave to walk long to serve;

My body reluctant to move;

Mind constant to prove,

I fell back, back on my knees;

Whirled in life’s own wild freeze,

Dependent on all like an oak tree on roots with ‘Please’,

How long the journey that just begun would last;

Hard to forget the past,

My life, my dream, my passion;

Ready to face the writ with confession,

Alas!! Peeping through the window for lovely occasion;

May the blue berries carry away all my blues with them,

May the church bells ring aloud the sound of my well-being;

May the waves at the sea shore bring back me ‘new’ well washed,

It’s M.E. that is affecting me;

Deteriorating self was pushed well by buzzing bee,

With a struggle between body and soul;

Coping with controls and roll,

Support of wheel chair and a goal;

It’s just M.E in me not me in M.E,

The fight begun, called the world;

I survive and survive for my passion,

Reunite near and dear;

Who are harmless and no fear,

My thoughts, my vision, my mission now clear;

Carving, sculpting dolls into puppets,

New life into M.E with taking care of budget;

With no grudges, I have felt of others touching it,

Fly high, Fly high…I shall fly high with M.E

This poem is also published on


Thursday, 21 March 2019

Puppetry-No more a Dying Art

India is also well known for oral culture and tradition. All the art forms texts are transmitted from one generation to another or from one individual to another orally. This orality of oral transmission formed the base of gurukul system of Veda parayana. So is with the folk art forms. The family of folk art performers’ acts as live gurukul and the senior most performers’ acts as the live guru-a teacher under whose guidance the next generation learns the art form enthusiastically. Same thing holds well with traditional Puppetry too.

Puppet dance, known as 'Putul Nach', ‘Bombeyata’, ‘Bommalata’, ‘Bommalattam’. ‘Pavai Koothu’ and so on was once the most popular form of entertainment in villages, especially for children, for its visuals, motions, and the power of storytelling. Using string, shadow, rod and glove/hand puppets, and puppeteers depicted stories from Puranas, mythologies, of rural heroes, heroic stories, and people, their lifestyles, religious beliefs, rural cultures and much more.

India, considered being the cradle of puppetry wherein all the four main forms of Puppetry exists even today. The pathetic situation is that this art form being the mother of all other art forms is given “dying” art form status.

Sadly, this art form is gradually fading away. The lack of patronization, modernism and advent and accustom to new urban culture are some of the reasons behind the unpopularity of the puppetry. In addition, the interest in the implicit world and the boom in technology is another reason for the mass that have strayed away from this art form. Lifestyles have changed so rapidly that many of our traditional crafts and hobbies have been consigned to the archives

On the one hand, we have moved from traditional cultural ethos towards embracement of modern conventional ethos, on the other hand, we have or at the verge of annihilating cultural values, practices , belief systems, norms, folklore, storytelling and so on. Where are we marching? Why are we progressing ahead at the cost of loss of our own rich folk art forms? In India, more so in most of the developing countries, the traditional puppet art form is in cold storage. Like other folk art forms, puppetry too claimed the status of dying art form.

Weirdly, there are the multitudes that don't recognize what a puppet is or where they are used or how to define them. Most of the Hollywood, cartoon and animation films and Monster movies, use robotics often have to have puppets of supernatural or alien beings made in to films and recreating with graphics and animations “move in space”. One doesn’t see the puppet but sees the results of the puppet.

Puppetry is a good communication medium for rural audiences. Messages of health, hygiene, family planning can be propagated in a realistic way. Puppet making and performing is a good occupational therapy for physically disabled people. Muscular coordination and manual dexterity improve with effort. Psychoanalysis of children is also possible by analyzing the comments they make on what they see.

The art of puppetry will never completely die as long as there are creative people alive who carry the art form profoundly.

Recent, research baseline study conducted claims, that there are many women both from traditional and contemporary families who have passion towards Puppetry and are doing a fabulous work. To name a few: Dr. Bhanumathi from Pavai centre, Chennai, Smt. Seetalakshmi traditional leather puppeteer, Smt. Anupama Hoskere, Founder of Dhaaatu Puppet theatre, Bengaluru, Smt. Moozhikkal Pankajakshi and granddaughter K. S. Ranjini of Nokku Vidya Pavakali (a unique puppet play), Kerala, Smt. Pushpalatha Pulavar, Smt. Dalawai Rangamma-senior most leather puppeteer from Nimmalkunta, Shinde Subhadra and Shinde Venkatamma –SNA awardee from Nimmalakunta, Anathpur District, Andhra Pradesh, Mothe Sayamma of Chekka Bommalata troupe from Burugupeta, Warangal, one and only women’s puppet troupw of Mulbagal, Kolar district of Karnataka with Smt. Padmamma Achar as team leader, Meena Naik, Chaitali Majgoankar, Deepali Babaoolkar, Ragini Sonam, Ranjana Kanitkar, Soniya Ketkar, Supriya Gosavi from Maharashtra and many others.

Apart from this, the Mumbai university has started a certificate course in Puppetry in 2012 and this year UNIMA India has designed Diploma Course in puppetry.

Puppetry is evolving constantly--what it is not what it was. The wheel is constantly being reinvented with sustaining force.

Today is the day to remember Dzhivada Zolfagariho from Iran who proposed to the World Puppetry Day on the XVIII Congress of the Union International de la Marionnette (UNIMA) in Magdeburg in 2000 to declare March 21st as World Puppetry Day The idea was accepted only two years later at the meeting of the International Council of UNIMA in Atlanta. The holiday was observed in 2003 for the first time. Since then World Puppetry Day is annually observed on March 21.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Sri M.R. Ranganatha Rao-Bheeshmapithamaha of Karnataka Puppet world

              Sri Ranganatha Rao-Bheeshmapithamaha of Karnataka Puppet world

Sri Ranganatha Rao -86 years young, winner of Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1981), Karnatka State Rajyostava Award (2016), Craft Council of India Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Award (2017) and many more. His journey in puppetry is similar to Eklavya’s training in archery in the absence of the Guru or the teacher. He a government teacher by profession switched over to puppetry after his first meeting with Smt Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. That was the power of this iron lady.

Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (3 April 1903 – 29 October 1988) was an Indian Social Reformer and Freedom Fighter. It is Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay who has been the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, hand looms, and Indian theater. In India, today several cultural institutions exist because of her vision, tireless efforts and upliftment of indigenous art forms.

Again, it was Smt Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay who introduced Sri Narasing Rao –a traditional string puppeteer to Sri Ranganath Rao. Sri Narasing Rao was none other than maternal grandfather of Sri Ranganath Rao. Sri Narasing Rao who was the “Asthana” or court puppeteer in the Mysore kingdom, in South India. Unfortunately, he has not seen his maternal grandfather. Sri Ranganath Rao was ninth born child to his parents and his maternal grandfather passed away when he was a toddler.

Though the art of Puppetry existed in the family, Sri. Rao had a teaching as a profession. He taught History in government secondary schools. Backed by an academic background in drama and theatre and a career as a schoolteacher, it was natural for Ranganatha Rao to use puppets as a medium of expression to teach children in school.

Sri. Rao vividly recalls the day when he attended a talk by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay when she mentioned the mastery of his grandfather’s art form and enquired about his whereabouts. Sri. Rao was forty years old then. After the talk, he introduced himself to Chattopadhyay and provided an update about the treasured puppets carved by his grandfather. He also spoke to her about the traditional art of ‘Salaki Gombeyatta’- ‘Rod Puppets’ of Karnataka.

Mr. Ranganatha Rao hails from Magadi Taluk, Ramnagar district, Karnataka. He is multi-talented; he crafts these beautiful wooden puppets and is an adept puppeteer, lyricist, music composer and storyteller. He is the Founder and the Director of ‘Sri Rangaputli Kalaranga’- a Puppet theatre and training institute. He has travelled extensively far and wide all over the world. He has participated and performed at various International festivals.

At the national level he has participated in the puppet festivals at New Delhi, Hyderabad and various States of India. He was appointed the director for the children’s puppet festival during the SAARC festival at Bangalore. He was also the director for the ‘National Puppet Festival-Puthali’-1991 in Bangalore. He has worked for Janapada Loka, Karnataka and has set up a multipurpose puppet theatre.

Sri. Rao’s grandfather’s puppets weighed 15 kilos, and to make the craft more effective, however Sri Ranganatha Rao has conceived new puppets with a combination of indigenous raw materials. He uses different kinds of wood to carve the entire puppet. A lighter wood for the body, with the traditional wood used for the puppet’s faces and arms.

In order to strengthen the roots firm, he took to the road performing not only in his village Magadi, but all over Karnataka and in different states of India. Storytellers and musicians were part of the troupe, and they along with their puppets performed stories from legends and mythology in villages delighting their devout audience.

Thus, this effort of his paved a way towards reinvention of the Puppetry as a “Temple Art” form and has trained many troupes in across Karnataka State in order to conserve and preserve this noble art form.

Today, traditional puppetry seems to be in a state of transition in Karnataka State. The ancient art form is taking new directions and visibility. He has been an instrument as serious revivalists in reviving the Puppetry art into sprouting movements by teaching and supporting students, art lovers from all walks of life. I He has crafted miniature doll theater called Rasalok, at the Bimba Art Hut in Basavangudi, Bangalore, the theater is run by a very accomplished dancer and another student of Shri Ranganath Rao

Sri Dattatreya Aralikatte a National Award winner and founder head of "Putthali Kalaranga" (Puppet Theater), Bangalore, Smt. Anupama Hoskere-Founder Director of Dhaatu Puppet organization are his disciples.

Apart from that he has trained and is training youth and women especially in villages in this art form. Both Print and electronic media has made a vast coverage of his unique style and journey in the field of Puppetry. Sri Rao is an encyclopedia of Puppetry and stands tall as a pillar of strength to all the art lovers around the world.

Very glad to share that I am privileged to get trained under him. Undergoing training in Ranga Putthali Style of  Puppetry of  Karnataka.


Monday, 27 August 2018

Uncertainty! Uncertainty!!- A poem

O' Science of stillness
Filled the world with illness;
With a hope to clear the darkness,
In the wild midst of madness.
O' Science of uncertainty! ! Uncertainty! !

You do have answers for all except one,
Mislead, misguide, made mistakes done;
Great Nobel Laureates to commons,
Lost in your journey and forgotten;
O' Science of uncertainty! ! Uncertainty! !

Application of quantum Physics,
Has worsened the free lives;
Hopes of inner self dies,
May long live the fool not called wise;
With humanitarian mind and eyes.
O' Science of uncertainty! ! Uncertainty! !

The well practiced in nature is less spoken,
Well spoken is less heard;
Well heard is less shared,
Well shared is less given;
Well given is forgiven and forgotten.
O' Science of uncertainty! ! Uncertainty! !

Your kindness has turned unkind,
You are the business hub for mankind;
You are labeled on every make,
No reasons accounts to YOU when you break;
Unstill you are still don't take,
The blame of Uncertainty of Science! Uncertainty of Science! !


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