21 October 2007

Saraswati Puja

Saraswati Puja, the ritual worship of the Goddess is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the Magha month of the Indian calendar, on the day called 'Vasant Panchami'.

Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahma and is the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge. She is the personification of knowledge - arts, science, crafts and represents Shakti, creativity, inspiration and the union of power and intelligence from which organized creation arises.

Puja is performed extensively in Hindu households on the day of Saraswati. One of the most essential aspects of this puja is that one dedicates the instrument of one’s work (gardening implements for a gardener, computer for a programmer, car for a driver etc) to the Goddess on this day.

In this respect I was invited by workers associated with Arunachala Kattu Siva Plantation to their puja which was performed by a priest from Sri Ramana Maharshi at the forest location of the reforestation work of the organisation.

First I have to get there so I take the very beautiful 'inner' mountain path.

Already many of the forestry workers and their families have arrived at the reforestation area, at which place the puja will take place.

Folk are busy preparing the area, and their working implements for the upcoming puja.

And now the puja, which is being performed by a priest from Sri Ramana Ashram, commences.

After a very beautiful worship the puja is completed with the waiving and breaking of a white pumpkin (to ward of evil spirits) and the cracking of a coconut.

Now all that remains is to sit down under a cooling tree and eat some delicious prasad of sundal (spicy garbanzo beans i.e. chick peas) and sweet pongal (rice dessert).

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