Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bhishm Panchak

Recently when we visited Varanasi on the occasion of Dev Deepawali we found these idols on the steps of many Ghats. The one on Kedar Ghat was sculpted in a bit elaborate way while others like that on Gai Ghat were simple but each of them was being worshiped . These idols represent Bhishm Pitamah lying on bed of arrows on the battle ground of Kurushetra. The idols are sculpted on the day Ekadasi of Kartik Mas and immersed in the Ganges after Kartik Poornima. This period is known as Bhishm Panchak. Pitamah Bhishm fasted for these last five days of his life getting ready to give up his life. As our mythological texts tell us that Bhishm Pitamah had a boon to give up his life whenever he wanted. Nobody could have killed him.
People observe fast these last five days of Kartik mas and worship Bhishma. Those who observe vrat for entire Kartik Mas intensify it for these last five days.
Entire Kartik Mas is considered to be very sacred in Hindu religion. Ghats of Ganges at Varanasi witness many religious activities, specially held during this period. Bhishm Pitamah was Ganga Putra hence perhaps his last days on earth are remembered in this unique way here. Tarpan in Ganges, immersion of ashes of departed in Ganges is considered very significant and sacred in Hindu religion. Ganga Putra Bhishm's worship and his departure from earth to affectionate lap of his mother is observed with all the devotion, rites and rituals.
The various colored silken threads of  deep emotions, devotion weaving the charismatic tapestry of our cultural heritage always fills my heart with amazement and calm.

Pictures --- Sunder Iyer.

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