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The angry wife!-Hera Panchami!

July 5, 2022, 4:44 p.m. by Karuwaki Speaks ( 176 views)

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Lord Jagannath holds an unique place in the lives of Oriyas.To the millions of hindus of Orissa, Jagannath is their nearest kith & kin. Even in faraway,remote villages, before an auspicious event starts, people remember to send a coconut,areca nut smeared with turmeric to Lord Jagannath as nimantran/invitation seeking his blessings. Only after that, the rest of the invitation cards are distributed amongst relatives & friends.

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The sacred name of Jagannath is invoked on every occasion & while he may be the supreme deity, the Puroshottam to countless hindus everywhere,his relationship with Oriyas is almost human & overwhelming. Hera Panchami is celebrated at the Gundicha temple on the fifth day  of the Jagannath Rath Yatra & is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.

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The word 'hera' means “to see” and refers to the goddess of fortune, Mahalaxmi going to see her husband,Lord Jagannath. The word panchami means “the fifth day”  because this takes place on the fifth day of ratha yatra. Hera Panchami ritual is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. However, Madala Panji states that it is King Kapilendra Dev(15th century), who introduced a gold idol of Mahalaxmi and  transformed the earlier symbolic practice of vedic mantras into a full-fledged colourful Utsav.

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Later on, King Pratraprudra Dev increased the grandeur of this festival to seek Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's blessings. Chaitanya mahaprabhu's influence & worship was mainly in the Gundicha temple which he referred to as Sunderanchala. The temple of Lord Jagannath is known as Srimandira. ‘Sri’ means ‘Laxmi’, so the name of the temple as ‘Srimandira’ signifies that Goddess Mahalaxmi is the principal Goddess of the Grand Temple. 

This ritual highlights the angst of Mahalaxmi at being ignored by the Lord of the universe in a very human display of emotion. After the ratha yatra,The goddess Laxmi in a fit of feminine anger & jealousy at being left behind,proceeds to the Gundicha Temple, the Adapa Mandapa.

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The godess of fortune, in the form of Suvarna (Golden) Mahalaxmi sits in a beautifully decorated palanquin & in a colorful procession with great pomp, splendor and  traditional music goes to meet her divine consort, Lord Jagannath. Her palanquin is carried by Bimanabadu sevakas (servitors) on their shoulders. The devotees & servitors who are part of the procession of Goddess Mahalaxmi sing the traditional Hera Panchami song which expresses Mahalaxmi's divine resentment.

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She also carries the ‘Mohana Churna’ (a herbal powder with hypnotic qualities to attract husband) given to her by goddess Bimala who is a tantric devi. ‘Mohana’ means ‘To Hypnotize’, in oriya. InJagannath-centric traditions, while Lakshmi is the orthodox consort of Jagannath in the temple complex, Bimala is the Tantric consort and guardian goddess of the temple complex. So both the divine consorts of the Lord of the universe,hatch a plan to bring back their husband back to the Srimandir.

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As soon as the palanquin halts near Nandighosha chariot, the Pati Mahapatra (a representative of Lord Jagannath) welcomes Goddess Mahalaxmi with predefined ceremonial offerings & she is escorted to the Jaya Vijay door of Gundicha temple. Magalaxmi imperiously threatens lord Jagannath to come back to the temple at the earliest & throws the 'mohana churna' in the air.

To pacify her, the Lord offers her 'agyan mala', a garland of consent. Seeing the Goddess furious, the sevaka close the main door of the Gundicha temple. Mahalakshmi angrily breaks a portion of the nandighosha rath & hides under a tamarind tree. She returns back  to the Srimandir secretly through the Nakachana gate & Hera gouri sahi without any fanfare or procession to avoid being caught.

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This unique festival is very popular amongst devotees & every year large crowds jostle near the gundicha temple to watch this endearing divine fight between the celestial deities.

#gundichatemple #herapanchami #jagannath #jagannathswami #laxmi #mahalaxmi


Comments (11)

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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Jay maa Laxmi
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Very interesting! I especially liked how the dieties have been humanized...
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Enjoyed reading!
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Very unique indeed, so is the adhara pana niti and offering of Rasogolla upon return of Mahaprabhu to Maa Lakshmi
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Very unique indeed, so is the adhara pana niti and offering of Rasogolla upon return of Mahaprabhu to Maa Lakshmi
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Unique indeed, as is the ritual of adhara pana niti and offering of Rasagulla to pacify Maa Lakshmi upon return.- bks
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
The most interesting & amusing part of the Rathayatra festival ,even the God of cosmos becomes a prey to the anger of his wife , it seems Maa Laxmi is furious but she is also annoyed & apprehensive to bring back lord asap by throwing the Mohan churna ,the hypnotizing substance on Him. The Lord wants to enjoy his sojourn without any prior information but prepares his mind to receive all these brickbats tantrums like any other husband on earth . So the God incarnated in human like behaviour , rituals ( Manabiya Leela in Odia language) .
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Careful & caring wife Vs Carefree & careless husband —————————————— It would be not exaggerating to say that Maa Mahalaxmi was quite justified in reacting like any other wife on this earth and was quite hurt by Lord’s itinerary of 12 days long sojourn without approval by her , also before that not informed about high fever after taking a public ceremonial or ritualistic bath with cold water from Golden well situated at Sitala temple inside the complex not with 4 or 5 but 33 pitchers ( while big bro with 35 , Sis Subhadra with 22 & Sudarsan with 18 nos making it up to 108 of them)during Snan purnima , subsequently getting newly painted & dressed up in Evergreen youth attire ( Nabajauban Besha ) , preparing to go to Mousi ma’s place with all pomp & ceremony ( Saj dhaj ke )in customised hand made chartered cars. Ultimately the Lord sets on his journey along with his Siblings by telling that he will return the next day , but when they don’t return after 4 days , she becomes restless and decides to go by herself and reaches near Nandighosa but the doors of Gundicha temple are slammed against her face that makes Goddess Laxmi more furious but doubtful also so she throws the Mohana Churna or hypnotising substance to change Lord’s mind ,consequently the “Agnya mala “or “consent garland “is offered assuring Lord’s return back to the main temple asap. Still Mahalaxmi does not calm down , rather orders her servitors with a gush of anger to destroy Lord’s Car ! After this act She feels guilty & annoyed also so tries to escape secretly via a narrow lane of Heragohiri sahi without much fanfare . This typical behaviour shows indirectly shows the Love between two & how a wife is so much concerned & committed to her husband where as the husband although loves his wife but needs to be more caring & careful about some matters like keep his wife informed about the timings travel plans & whereabouts of his stay while going out for fun & frolic leaving his wife behind . A perfect lesson for every husband on this earth .’ Tadit Mohanty’
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Beautifully described.
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AnonymousUser 1 month, 1 week ago
Awesome presentation!!