Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ashoka Astami

Hi Readers,

Today is the auspicious day of Ashoka Astami the eighth day from new moon day in Chaitra Masa, this is the eighth day of Vasant Navaratri as well. On this day, Goddess Maa Durga is worshiped in  her Maha Gauri form.This is also believed that Sri Ram had worshiped Goddess Durga during Vasant Navaratri to defeat Ravana. As Maa Shakti is believed to have protected Ravana, Ram had worshiped her continuously to appease her and get boon to defeat Ravana in the battle of Lanka. Ram had worshiped both Lord Shiva and Maa Shakti to get this boon. On the auspicious day of Ashoka Astami (Ashoka meaning the one who removes and protects from hurdles and sorrows), both Lord Shiva and Maa Shakti had blessed Lord Sri Ram and had removed all his sorrows.

In Odisha this day has special significance, due to Rukuna Rath Yatra (the famous car festival of Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar).According to folklore, Lord Sri Ram had worshiped Lord Shiva at Rameswaram, and when Lord Shiva wanted him to ask for what he wants , he wanted Lord to visit Rameswaram for five days, thus Lord Lingaraj in his Chandrashekar form visited Rameswaram in his chariot Rukuna. The folklore also has another version, in which Lord Lingaraj and Maa Bhubanswari had travelled to kill Surasura.

Rukuna Rath or chariot has one special significance, as it does not return once it moves in one direction. So, the devotees pull this chariot till the Rameswar temple. On the Bahuda yatra ( return of Lord Lingaraj to Lingaraj temple) the decoration in front side is removed and is placed in back side and pulled back.  

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