Today is the Navami tithi. Ranchi Sanatorium where I was there from 1995 for long 12 years, is celebrating Sri Sri Jagaddhatri Puja today and tomorrow. This is a joyous annual puja participated with unheard of enthusiasm by more than 20,000 people mostly from rural tribal areas surrounding our Sanatorium. This Puja, began in a small scale, limited only among the patients and staff initially, has grown to become of late an harbinger of communal harmony with intense social interaction where the crowd throngs and mingles and where there is no distinction of caste, creed, language and all become just ‘children of Divine Mother’.
Albeit nostalgic apart, I cannot but think of Swami Shantatmananda, the present Head of our New Delhi centre, who used to come every year for performing puja from Belur Math. His one-pointed devotion to Mother Jagaddhatri and his keen sense of dedication with wonderful calmness was a treat to those who would sit hours together in that surcharged atmosphere watching the puja from sunrise to sunset.
It is pertinent to note that this memorable puja was indeed started by one in-patient of this Sanatorium in 1958. He was late Bhupati Bose from Howrah. It is said that he had a divine aadesh (Order) in dream one day for doing Devi Puja. The then Head Maharaj late Swami Vedantanandaji rejected his offer saying that doing Durga Puja in a hospital setup was not a joke. But Bhupati, distressed at the decision, prayed to the Mother and sought excuse for his inability to carry out Her wish.
Who can eventually stop the Divine Will? He again dreamt of the Mother who said that there was one-day Puja also available! On hearing about the second dream, Vedantanandaji was ready to reconsider his decision and acceded to the patient’s request for Jagaddhatri worship. Bhupati himself prepared the clay image beautifully for consecutive two years. The entire staff and all the in-patients stood together in completing the one-day Puja with great devotion.
As per ancient pauranik lore of the Hindu scriptures, soon after the victory over Mahishasur the Devatas became highly egoistic. They thought that because of lending Durga their weapons, the mighty asuras were vanquished. To make them understand that the primordial power is alone behind every action, the Brahman appeared before the Devatas in the form of effulgent Yaksha.
Bewildered by its presence one by one the Devatas approached Yaksha. First the god of wind Vayu. The Yaksha asked him what he could do. Vayu replied that he could throw away huge trees, tumble high mountains. The Yaksha then placed a small grass and asked him to move it. Vayu utilised all his powers but lo! he could not even displace it. So also the god of fire Agni, could not even burn it. So also the god of water Varuna, could not even wet it. Likewise one by one the Devatas failed. Ultimately the Lord of all gods, Indra came and immediately understood the inexplicable Power and humbly expressed his desire to know.
And it dawned on them that their powers were in reality not their own but derived from the supreme power who as protecting Mother holds the entire creation and therefore called Jagaddhatri. Anybody who worships Jagaddhatri becomes absolutely egoless and is a true servant of the world which is nothing but a manifestation of the Brahman as Sri Ramakrishna had realised.
If you want to know more about Jagaddhatri Puja at the Sanatorium with some of the fascinating pictures and a graphic account, please read here.
And if you are interested in some more other pictures of Jagaddhatri, please visit this blog.
(To M.) “One must accept the forms of God. Do you know the meaning of the image of Jagaddhatri? She is the Bearer of the Universe. Without her support and protection the universe would fall from its place and be destroyed. The Divine Mother, Jagaddhatri, reveals Herself in the heart of one who can control the mind, which may be compared to an elephant.”
RĀKHĀL : “The mind is a mad elephant.”
MASTER: “Therefore the lion, the carrier of the Divine Mother, keeps it under control.”