Showing posts with label Haridwar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Haridwar. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Mansa Devi In The Hindu Pantheon?


Mansa Devi  is a Hindu goddess. One of the nine Shiwalik goddesses and the presiding deity of Manimajara, a small town in the Shiwalik Hills near Chandigarh.

This is one of the Shakti Pithas, a network of Goddess-sanctuary places that stretches throughout the subcontinent, according to local legend.

Each Shakti Pitha commemorates the location where a piece of the goddess Sati's severed corpse fell to earth and took on the shape of a different goddess; Mansa Devi was Sati's head.

The term "mansa" means "wish," and it is said that Mansa Devi would fulfill any desire brought to her by a devotee (bhakta).

In the holy city of Haridwar, there is another temple of Mansa Devi on the hill above the bathing (snana) ghats; here, too, the officiants promise that the presiding goddess would grant all one's requests.

The Manimajara's founding story Mansa Devi depicts her power and compassion for her worshippers during the reign of the Moghul emperor Akbar.

Akbar assigns a Rajput ruler to oversee the Manimajara region.

The chieftain is unable to pay his taxes one year because the crops have been damaged by harsh weather.

The chieftain is imprisoned, but one of Mansa Devi's worshippers is moved by his predicament and asks her to intercede on his behalf.

The chieftain is liberated and the taxes are canceled; when he realizes how this occurred, he is so thankful that he builds a shrine in her honor.

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Hinduism - What Is The Juna Akhara?

 Juna ("Old") Akhara - One of the seven subgroups of the Dashanami Sanyasis' Naga class of renunciant ascetics who are Shiva worshipers (bhakta).

The subgroups are called as akharas, and they are analogous to army regiments.

The Nagas were largely mercenary soldiers until the early nineteenth century, but they were also involved in mercantile trade; none of these qualities apply now.

The sage Dattatreya is revered as the Juna Akhara's "tutelary god," the principal deity from whom they learn; each of the akharas has a separate tutelary deity.

According to some reports, Bhairava was the Juna Akhara's patron god in the past, which would explain why the organization is also known as the Bhairava Akhara.

The present name's literal meaning and association with Bhairava suggest that it is quite ancient.

It is a vast organization that is only present in northern India nowadays.

It is assigned a low rank in certain regions because it admits members from poorer socioeconomic levels.

The Juna Akhara marched alongside the Niranjani Akhara in the bathing (snana) processions at the Kumbha Mela until the middle of the twentieth century, and was therefore regarded a minor portion of that akhara.

The Junas have been dissatisfied with their subordinate position for much of this century, despite having considerably more members than any other akhara.

The Junas first attempted to earn recognition as a distinct procession in 1903 during the Haridwar Kumbha Mela, but did not get it until 1962.

The akharas decided that the Junas would lead the Sanyasi processions during the Shivaratri bathing during a Haridwar Kumbha Mela.

However, on the other two main bathing days—the new moon in Chaitra and the Kumbha bath on April 14—the Niranjanis would be first.

This system fell apart at the 1998 Kumbha Mela in Haridwar, when the Junas asked that, as the biggest akhara, they be permitted to enter the Chaitra bath first.

This argument erupted into a full-fledged riot between ascetic groups and police on the day of the second bath, in which many people were injured.

The fear was that similar violence might return on the major bathing day, but when the Juna Akhara boycotted the bathing processions, the day passed without incident. 

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Hinduism - Where Is Haridwar? Why Is Haridwar Sacred?

A Sacred city (tirtha) on the Ganges River, about 140 miles northeast of Delhi. One of India's Seven Sacred Cities is Haridwar.

It is said that dying in one of these cities ensures one's soul's ultimate release.

It is situated on the outskirts of the Shiwalik Hills, which are the Himalayan foothills, and is where the Ganges is said to emerge from the mountains and into the northern Indian plain.

Haridwar is regarded extremely sacred, as are other areas where the Ganges makes a natural transition, and has been a pilgrimage destination since at least the sixth century, when Chinese missionary Hsuan Tsang recorded massive pilgrim throngs.

Haridwar's main appeal is as a bathing (snana) destination, which attracts big people on festival days.

It has long been a popular location for conducting asthi-visarjana, the final of the burial rituals (antyeshthi samskara), which involves immersing the deceased's ashes in the Ganges.

Haridwar is also an important entrance to the pilgrimage sites in the Garhwal area of the Himalayas, and it acts as an essential transit and supply point to destinations farther up in the mountains during the pilgrim season (April–October).

Finally, as a haven for ascetics, Haridwar has a long history.

It is a prominent location for a number of ascetic organizations, notably the Naga class of the Dashanami Sanyasis, who are traders-soldiers who are Shiva worshipers (bhakta).

Many ascetics who spend their summers in the Himalayas use it as their winter quarters.

The presence of so many ascetics has had a significant impact on the city's overall character, as seen by the hundreds of ashrams that dot the city and the bans on the sale of eggs, meat, and booze. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

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