Friday, September 7, 2012

GOWRI TRITEEYA--SWARNAGOWRI VRATA


GOWRI TRITEEYA-SWARNA GOWRI VRATA
(DISCOURSE BY N. R. SRINIVASAN, SEPTEMBER 2012)



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Being the daughter of Himavaan (snow clad mountains of Himalayas) Parvati has to be white. So she is also popularly called Gowrii meaning  the bright one which could also mean the intellectual one (Uma as celeberarted as the most intellectual in Upanishads). Swarna Gowri Vrata is essentially of South Indian Origin, popular in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu celebrated or observed on the Bhadrapad Sukla Triteeya day, a day before Ganesha Chaturthi.  It is popularly known as Gowri Habba in Karnataka. In North India, more popularly in Maharashtra this is celebrated as Hartalika festival.  In Rajasthan Gangaur festival is celebrated over several days in the month of Chaitra.  It commemorates the union of Siva (Gana) and Parvati (Gauri). Hence the festival is called Gan-gaur. In Goa,  North  Konkan and Kerala it is celebrated as Tay  or Tayi. This is observed as ritual  (Vrata) in some parts and as festival in some other parts propitiating Goddess Parvati, mother of Lord Ganesha. She is worshiped in the Kalasa Form as Jalagauri as well as Harita Gauri , as a  mound of turmeric. A vrata is a special vow  observed to ensure the prosperity and security of one's  household .

 It is also customary to worship the clay idols of  Gowri  (Parvati) and then give her  a warm send off after worship by immersion in flowing waters. This Vrata is observed  by married women propitiating goddess Gauri seeking prosperity and welfare of their husbands. Newly-weds in olden days used to undergo the nuptials ceremony on this day so that consummation takes place hopefully in the beginning of colder months and delivery takes place after nine months in summer so that the born child would be less prone to infections. This practice is fast vanishing. Those who observe this day as Vrata also tie an arm band of sacred thread around their wrists with the blessings of Devi. In Karnataka "Baageena" forms the essential part of the function. Holy bath (Mangala Snaana) and wearing new clothes  form  the essential  part of the celebrations. Bageena consists of a number of items offered in a willow painted with turmeric and offered to Goddess first and then distributed or exchanged among married ladies. It contains packets of turmeric, vermilion, black bangles, black-beads, cereals (rice, toor dal, green dal) coarse wheat, jaggery etc. It is believed that on Ganesha Chaturthi day, Ganesha being the elder son goes to her mother-parent’s house and takes her back to Kailasa. In this connection  please to recall your memory to the popular belief in Bengal that Parvati (who is seen as a manifestation of Durga) visits her father's house with her daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati and her sons Ganesha and Kartikeya on the sixth day of Navaratri. On the tenth day she returns back to her husband. Everybody mourns her  departure (Vidhaai).

Parvati, the consort of Siva is worshiped in two forms: as Gauri holding a child and as Kaali dancing amid corpses.  Kaali represents wild nature--uncontrollable and almighty. As Gauri, the Goddess is depicted wearing a green sari, bedecked in the sixteen love-charms (sola singar) and sitting demurely beside her husband. Gauri represents sex and the life-giving aspect of Nature. Gauri also represents the domesticated aspect of Nature, the fields, the farms, the villages. She is popularly worshiped as Gauri in the South and as Kaali in Bengal.

Harita is the goddess of verdant vegetation and her presence is felt all through the month of Bhadrupada in  lush green fields. She is Gowri, mother of Ganesha, the Lord of Obstacles. Gowri gave birth to Ganesha without the help of her consort Siva as you all know. She created him by molding the paste of her skin according to Puranas.  That is why he is worshiped as turmeric lump symbolically. The divine mother is worshiped on the third day of Sukla Bhadrupada. On the fourth day the son is worshiped. Idols of mother and son are bedecked with flowers and offered sweets and incense before being given a warm send off and immersed in water after five days usually.

Sarvamangala maangalye sive sarvaartha sadhake | saranye trayambake Gowri Naraayani namostu te ||