Part 1 of: Can you write something about Pushkaram festival for Godavari River in South India? गोदावरी नदी के पुष्करों के बारे में आप कुछ लिख सकते हैं ? భాగం 1, గోదావరి పుష్కరాల గురించి మీరేమైనా వ్రాయగలరా ?
In India Pushkarams are associated with religious beliefs and sentiments, hence we have to analyse issues very carefully, else somebody or other will claim that his religious emotions are hurt.
Pushkarams are River Festivals held every 12 years.
Why 12 rivers in India have pushkarams. Why not for all Rivers? Why Pushkara and Brahma (creator) did not like other rivers such as Mahanadi, Sarayu Nadi, Chambal River, Gomati River, Zhelum, Chenab, Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Rivers? Are they sinful? Why tAmraparNi in Tamil Nadu and prANahita in Telangana more sacred than Damodar, Bahuda Rivers?
Selected Rivers in India have pushkarams. Who selected them, and on what basis, nobody knows. There is some arbitrariness in selection of the Rivers.
These selected rivers need not be major very big rivers with great flows.
Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati, Indus are North Indian Rivers. Saraswati is a mythological River said to be flowing underground underneathe Ganga, Yamuna, at the confluence of Trinity (trivENi Sangamam) at PrayAg (Allahabad).
Narmada and Tapati are West-Indian Rivers flowing into Arabian Sea.
Bhima, Tungabhadra, Pranahita, Krishna and Godavari are Deccan Rivers flowing among the four States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. Thus, Pushkaras have are more common and relevant for these four States.
Among the five Deccan Pushkara Rivers, Bhima, Tungabhadra are tributaries of River KrishnaVeNi. Pranahita is a tributary of Godavari.
The twelfth and the last River is Tamraparni. It flows through Tirunelveli and Tuticorn Districts of Tamil Nadu, into Bay of Bengal.
Question, प्रश्न, ప్రశ్న
Why should there be pushkarams only for Indian Rivers?
If we ask this question to Indian priests, they will say that foreigners are barbarious and they do not know the sacredness of rivers.
India is a hot country. Bathing is very important in India, from the point of view of physical hygiene. In ancient India, transport facilities were far and few.
Places used to be dry or wet intermittantly depending on monsoons. Consequently, wells (called kUpAs in Sanskrit) used to be the main source of water for bathing. Well water used to be hard, and saline, depending on the minerals dissolved in the soil. Only those people residing in villages located on the banks of Rivers had the opportunity of bathing in them. Others had to travel long distances through hard and tough terrrains by walk or bullock carts to have glimpses of rivers and bathing in them. In the context, pushkara River festivals gave people occasions and opportunities to bathe in sacred rivers. When people of those days bathed in Indian rivers, it gave them a feeling of refreshment and rejuvenation.
Since 19th Century many canals have been dug from Indian Rivers, and river waters have become available even in far off places. Barrages on Godavari and Krishna Rivers have made available long canals containing river waters.
With development of electricity, electric pumps, pipeline systems, river water has come to doorsteps of many households, even in small towns, not to speak of cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Surat, Rajahmundry, Patna, Vijayawada.
People of Cities having River Water Pumping Systems bathe in River water at their homes, everyday. It has become so common, that they have forgotten the sanctity of that. Having lost that consciousness and memory, for these people, there should be no additional sanctity of their going to River banks, bathe and wash there, and pollute them further.
Question, प्रश्न, ప్రశ్న
What will you say about the calculation differences about the commencement date of pushkarams?
Ans: Ancient Indian astronomers were very accurate in their measurements, though they were made without any sophisticated equipment. The depended more on their logical capabilities and mathematical acumen.
As I have already pointed out in my earlier blog posts, Indian astronomy and Indian astrology have many things in common with the western astronomy and astrology. For example, the West uses a zodiac of 12 constellations from Aries to Pisces. India also uses a zodiac (rASi cakram) of 12 constellations (rASis), with mEsham to mInam, with meanings of the constellations, also similar. For example pisces means fish. MInam also means fish. This is because of their having a common origin.
We have to keep in mind constellations in zodiac (రాశిచక్రంలో రాశులు) are imaginary areas/points along the path of Sun's journey (sun does not travel. Earth travels). Only difference between a National Highway or a Grand Trunk Railway, and the zodiac is: zodiac is circular. Indian Railways and Indian Roadways are not circular. For example, if we take Delhi to Chennai railway line as zodiac, Delhi as aries, Agra, Madhura, Jhansi, Gwalior, Bhopal, Itarsi, Nagpur, Wardha, Kajipet, Vijayawada, Gudur will be the other constellations such as Taurus, Jemini.
Thousands of years back, the starting points of Aries in the West, and the mEsham in India, and in the West were same. Owing to some celestial phenomenon, the starting point of Aries changed slightly every year, and the West changed it from time to time. Some Indian astrologers in India have not noted these changes and alter their starting point of aries. Consequently, the starting point of Indian astronomers/astrologers who didn't make the starting point of their aries, come up with their almanacs which have different calculations, variance being around 15 days. When Jawaharlal Nehru was our First Prime Minister, some scientific astronomers might have brought it to his notice, and he seems to have instructed the Ministries to adopt the Western modern calculations of ephemeral tables, using the data of NASA. These tables might have got reflected in Lahiri method. It will, therefore, be in the fitness of things, for all Indian astronomers to follow GOI calendar, and the ephemeral tables published by the Government of India.
Godavari River Pushkarams are celebrated when Jupiter (guru or brihaspati in Sanskrit) enters the constellation Leo (Simham).
We have seen above, that the point of commencement of Aries, and the other 11 constellations vrishabham, mithunam, karkatakam, simham, kanya, tula, vrischikam, dhanus, makaram, kumbham, minam, (these are all names of imaginary places/areas in sky on the illusary path of Sun's journey along the zodiac) are in variance with the world calculations. Not only Indian zodiac is imaginary, even the world zodiac is imaginary. రాశి చక్రము అనేదే ఒక భ్రమ, భ్రాంతి. సూర్యుడి చుట్టూ తిరుగుతున్నది భూమి. సూర్యుడు, గ్రహాలు ఏవో రాశులలో ప్రవేశిస్తున్నాయి అనుకోటం ఒక భ్రమ.
Planets are in Solar System, nearer to us in comparison to stars. Constellations are star heaps, hundreds of light years distance away from us. There is no question of Jupiter entering Leo, or leaving Leo. They are all illusions.
Pushkaralu were apparently used by Indian Priests to make some supplementary income every 12 years. Hence, stories seems to have been woven around them.
In 21st Century India, Government Contractors are using pushkarams to make millions of quick bucks, as pushkara public works are taken up and completed in a hurry, and nobody inspect their quantity, quality properly. Else, how can they live?
Remaining portion, I shall write in Part 2.