Navadurga priests angered by govt ‘negligence’

- Anup Ojha, BHAKTAPUR
Navadurga priests angered by govt ‘negligence’

Oct 7, 2014-

President Ram Baran Yadav visited the Navadurga Mandir of Bhaktapur on the occasion of Kojagrat Purnima (the final day of the Dashain festival) on Tuesday. He offered prayers at the temple and received offerings from the priests. The President offered Rs 500 each to 19 devgan (team of priests) and 19 Navadurga mukundos (mask of goddess Navadurga) to the temple.

After President Yadav left the temple premises, the priests expressed dissatisfaction over the amount they received from the head of the state.

“We had spend thousands of rupees from our own pockets to make this festival a success every year. But we are not being adequately compensated.  The amount we receive cannot meet our everyday expenses,” said Narayaman Prasad Banmala, one of the priests.

According to Banmala, they have been requesting their issue since 2008 with the support of local people, but without any reaction from the government side.

“Our voice has not been heard. If this continues, we cannot carry on with the century-old tradition,” he warned.  

Navadurga Puja, which is believed to have started during the Lichhavi Period (450-700CE), last for eight months. Before the abolition of monarchy, the Shah kings used to attend the annual puja on the auspicious occasion of Kojagrat Purnima.  

One of the temple priests, who has been performing the puja for years, said when the late prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala visited the temple for Kojagrat Purnima, he used to offer Rs 1,100 each to the priests. “Now, even the dakshina (monetary offering) we receive has decreased. The times have changed, everything has become expensive,” he said, adding that it takes them more than 1 million rupees to organise the ritual that is conducted annually.  

The priests have also complained that the government has not given its attention towards the priest training for the temple.

“As per the tradition, there should be at least four children in the Devgan. We only have two thest days,” said Banmala.

 

Kojagrat Purnima observed

POST REPORT

KATHMANDU, OCT 7

Dashain concluded on Tuesday with Hindus observing Kojagrat Purnima, the last day of the 15-day festival, by worshipping Maha Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, in the evening.  The festival began on September 25 with Ghatasthapana.

As per the Hindu scripture,  goddess Maha Laxmi descends to the earth on Kojagrat Purnima, which falls on a full moon night, to offer her blessings to those who stay awake worshipping her. It is believed that worshipping the goddess on the night of Kojagrat Purnima brings wealth and good fortune.  Some people observe fast on Kojagrat Purnima during the day and worshipping goddess Maha Laxmi at night. It is believed the moon showers elixir on the night. Many devout Hindus expose food and plants on the moon light on this night as it is held that by doing so the food and plants absorb the elixir. The spiritual import of keeping awake through the night is to remain vigilant in life. The message of Kojagrat is: “Stay ever awake! Always remain vigilant! Watch out! Be alert at all times.”

 

Published: 08-10-2014 09:25

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