STORIES OF MAHARASHTRIAN POOJAS AND FESTIVALS
I clearly remember the day, two years ago, in an informal gathering of senior citizens, middle aged and the young, exchanging views on tradition and culture and their relevance today. It was highlighted that tradition is something which should be preserved for posterity, to make this world peaceful and make the people living in it good and purposeful. I was pondering over many ideas as to how I could be of help to the society at large, in helping the tradition to continue.
Coincidentally, I was contacted by the secretary of the Maharashtra Association, Chennai, of which I am also a member for very many years, and made a request to me to help in bringing out a book of stories of Maharashtrian poojas and festivals. I was skeptical to take up this project at the beginning, and asked for time. Thinking again, I thought I will not let go of this opportunity, as opportunities for such good deeds do not come often, and I accepted it in right earnest. I sat over this, day and night, referring various books in different languages, like Tamil, Marathi, Telugu and English and obtained a wealth of information. I have put my sincere efforts in this project and the end product has come to my satisfaction. More than my satisfaction, it has satisfied the publishers who have expressed this to me.
I am a septuagenarian, who had the opportunity to be with my grandchildren and story telling was my pastime, which we all cherished. Tapes, CDs and DVDs cannot replace the verbal communication, and nothing can replace the expressions on the tender faces of the children. I only feel that this book will serve its purpose of replenishing the thoughts of the elderly and increase the bondage with the generation next.
I am thankful to my wife, Uma Bai, who kept on giving me all the details patiently, which I needed regarding the pooja procedures, and the authors of the books I referred. I am extremely thankful to the members of the Board of Trustees of the Maharashtra Association, Chennai (MS & MAB Trust) for having given me this opportunity of being useful to the society, of which I am also a part.
Prof. P. Bhavanisankar Rao. M.A., M.Sc.
“Stories of Maharashtrian Poojas & Festivals” was published in April 2006 by The Marathi School and the Maharashtra Association Building Trust (regd), # 15 Vinayagam Street, Somu Colony, Chennai 600028 on the occasion of Chhatrapathi Shivaji Jayanthi Celebrations.
The publishers have permitted me to upload the contents of the above book to dakshinimarathiadda.com subject to the following conditions:-
Quote : “We are happy that you want to publicise our work. Please note that this was the hard work of our member Late P Bhavanisankar Rao and also the great efforts of our Trustees in getting them published. We give you permission to upload with the condition that you fully and elaborately and visibly acknowledge the work and the Trust. This permission is given exclusively to you for this purpose only and it is not transferable”. Unquote.
The stories and sketches contained in the above book are the exclusive property of the MS & MAB Trust, Chennai, and no part of this publication should be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means: electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, and violations will be dealt with according to law.
While fully and elaborately and visibly acknowledging the work and Trust, I sincerely thank Dr. S. Devaji Rao, Hony Sec, MSMAB Trust (the Maharashtra Association), Chennai for conveying the above permission.
No part of the above uploads in dakshinimarathiadda.com should be downloaded for any purpose by any visitor to the webite other than the authorised officials of MSMAB Trust (the Maharashtra Association), Chennai.
Ananda Rao Vasishta
All religions have their own festivals and traditions to follow. Hindu religion is no exception, but has many in number. The festivals like the husk of seed, preserves its essence of life and make it germinate. A well organized festival has many advantages social, historical, psychological, aesthetic and mystical. A wisely planned and solemnly conducted festival prepares the ground, creates the atmosphere and suggests the mood to feel the presence of God. All men need festivals, but in varying degrees and various ways. The importance of the festivals needs to be propagated from generation to generation to keep them alive.
The joint family system of yesteryears had the advantage of tremendous interaction between people of different generations, and the process of conducting festivals were going on till recently, partly by compulsion and party by persuasion. Grandparents had the opportunity to live with their grandchildren, and were the inspiration for the younger generation. Story telling was a great pastime for the mentally and physically weak grandparents, which gave all the energy and goodness to their children, which ultimately made them good parents and citizens. Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj was the epitome of valour imbibed from the stories told by his mother, Jija Bai. Technology advanced, tapes and CDs appeared, trying to replace the grandparents’ narration of moral stories. Grandchildren got separated from the grandparents, as the parents went away from them as nuclear families either locally or abroad, widening the generation gap.
The Maharashtrians living in South India for generations have adopted the local customs of the south, in addition to those exclusive to their place of origin, the state of Maharashtra. In the process, the number of poojas and festivals has multiplied. The busy schedule of the present day parents has forced them to curtail the poojas to suit their convenience and rendered them as mechanical events, without understanding their significance. At the same time, the present day children who are willing to accept such traditions only when supported by reasoning, show no interest in active participation.
To bridge this gap, the Maharashtra Association, Chennai, always trying to maintain the traditional values, came up with the idea of making a book containing the stories of all the poojas and festivals of Maharashtrians in general. The stories are designed in a format consisting of introduction, pooja procedure and the story of the pooja or festival, so that it gives a clear picture. The font size has been so chosen to be big for both the elders and children to read without difficulty. The paragraph of pooja procedure is supported by a photograph, and the story by a neatly drawn single colour drawing. The drawing is purposely made in single colour, so that the child can use this as a colouring book. Working on this drawing is expected to drive the fact into the child’s thought.
The Maharashtra Association, Chennai is indebted to its member, Prof. P. Bhavanisankar Rao, for accepting to author this book, and produce this in a simple fashion so as to benefit the community at large. The fact that it has taken two full years to produce this book is enough to say that a tremendous amount of homework has been done by the author, referring volumes of books in various languages, to make this, very authentic and factual. His capability to read, write and converse in various lanagues has made this possible. The Maharashtra Association profusely thanks its young members Miss Bhavna Rao and Miss Kirthana Rao for rendering the illustrative work with neat drawings.
Our sincere thanks to Sri V. Keshav, for the excellent cover design and art work.
It is expected that this effort will fruitfully serve the community and be an invaluable source of bondage between people of different generations.
H.H. Sri Samartha Ramadas Swami of Sajjangad
H.H. Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swami,
Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam
“Though confronted by obstacles, the strong minded never give up the task undertaken”