Showing posts with label Daita. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daita. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Are The Daita?


 A tribal (adivasi) community in Orissa's modern state. 

The Daitas are hereditary temple employees who work at the shrine of Jagannath in Puri. 

Although he was initially thought to be a local, tribal deity, Jagannath was introduced into the greater Hindu pantheon by identifying him as a manifestation of the god Krishna. 

This background may be deduced in part through Jagannath's relationships with the Daitas, who are regarded Jagannath's relatives despite their low social standing. 

The Daitas have numerous distinct duties as a result of their relationship link. 

The Daitas transport the deities' giant wooden images from temples to the chariots and pull the ropes that draw the carts during the annual Rath Yatra, a ceremonial procession in which Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra, and their sister Subhadra are processed around the city in giant wooden chariots. 

When new pictures of the gods are created, which happens every twelve to nineteen years, they play an even bigger role. 

The new pictures are carved by the Daitas from a single huge timber. 

When the new image is finished, the oldest Daita removes a wooden plug that seals an interior cavity in the old image. 

He then injects a mysterious substance known as "life substance" into a corresponding cavity in the new image, which he then seals with a wooden plug. 

The Daita selected to do this transfer is blindfolded and has his hands covered in layers of fabric, making it impossible for him to discern what is being transferred, and this "life stuff" is considered so holy that the person who performs it is said to die shortly thereafter. 

The former picture is considered a "corpse" once the "life material" has been eliminated. 

The Daitas bury it after a ten-day period of ceremonial death impurity (maranashaucha), and the deceased's heirs claim his "belongings," which are mostly garments and resin, which they sell to pilgrims. 

Jagannath's ongoing relationships with the Daitas allude to his roots as a local tribal deity, and this association grants the Daitas specific benefits.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.