Nov. 17, 2021, 12:14 p.m. by Dr Gayatri Mohapatra ( 398 views)
Gangaputra Devabrata/Bheesma was the supreme commander of the Kaurava forces and the one who witnessed the Mahābhārata completely from the beginning since the reign of Shantanu. Bhisma was the grand uncle of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas and was born as the youngest son of the illustrious King Shantanu and Ganga. He was related to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas through his half-brother, Vichitravirya.
Lord Brahma tells Narada in the Skanda Purna: ‘O son Narada, the month of Kartika is very dear to Lord Keshava. If anyone acts meritoriously in this month just to please Lord Visnu, he receives unlimited results.The last 5 days of the month of Kartika are traditionally known as the Bhishma Panchaka or the Vishnu Panchaka & it's mentioned in the sacred Hari BhaktiVilasa & the Padma Purana.
In the Mahabharata, towards the end of the war, on the tenth day of the war, Arjuna, with the help of Shikhandi, pierced Bhishma with numerous arrows and paralysed him on a bed of arrows. After spending fifty-one nights on the arrow bed, Bhishma left his body on the Uttarayana (winter solstice). Before his death, he handed down the Vishnu Sahasranama to the emperor in waiting Yudhishtira.
As Bhishma Pitamah was waiting for the sun to be Uttarayan, preparing to give up his life & achieve salvation,Krishna took the five Pandavas with him to pay their respects to Bhisma Pitamaha. Bhishma Pitamah spoke at length for five days on Raj Dharma,Varnadharma, Mokshadharma, etc.Hearing his teachings, Shri Krishna was satisfied and said that the five days till the full moon in Kartik Shukla Ekadashi would be named after the mighty Bhisma!
Mahabharata states that he attained salvation after his death. He was granted the Maatru Lok which is considered even above Swarga/heaven. Magha Shukla Ashtami marks the death anniversary of Bhishma Pitamah, the day being known as Bhishma Ashtami.
Panchuka begins on Ekadasi day during the Shukla Paksha in Kartik month and ends on Kartik Purnima.Generally, Odias abstain from non-vegetarian food during the entire month of Kartika and those who cannot do so, shun non-vegetarian food for the last five days or Panchuka, also known as Bagарanchuka. It is said that during this period, even cranes turn pious and abandon eating fish.
The five-day period is of great significance in Puri Jagannath Temple with devotees observing Kartik Brata for the entire month get an opportunity to have darshan of Lord Jagannath in five different veshas/ attire during the period.Lord Jagannath is adorned in different Bhesa (attires) on all the five days. He is adorned in the form of Laxminarayan on the first day, followed by Bankachuda Bhesa, Tribikrama Bhesa and Laxminrusingha Bhesa. The last day of Panchuka is very crucial as the Lord gives darshan to the devotees in Rajarajeswar Bhesa.Garuda Dwadasi and Tulsi Puja are observed during the Panchuka.
Kartika Purnima is celebrated as Deva Diwali, the day when Gods celebrate the victory of good over evil. On Kartika Purnima day, devotees take holy dip in Pancha Tirtha of Puri before visiting Lord Jagannath Temple. Kartika Purnima is associated with following important events:
Birth of Matasya avatar, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu
Birth of Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva
Birth of Vrinda, the personified form of Tulasi tree.
This day is also considered special for goddess Radha, the lover and eternal consort of SriKrishna with Krishna and Radha doing rasalila and known as Raas Purnima.Lord Vishnu, returned to his abode after completing his stay in Bali. Hence, the kartik purnima is known as Deva-Diwali.
(illustrative purposes from internet for images)