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The lost feminine rituals of Bengal: Maghbrata and Suryabrata
The history of thousands of feminine ceremonies, festivals and fairs is spread across the lap of Bengal, which has not been divided by any barbed wire fence or geographical boundary. History For this reason, the whole Bengali society has been divided by the repeated well-planned historical tug-of-war over the Bengali ethnic group; As a result of that division, we have lost thousands of vows performed in social life, whose non-communal cultural consciousness still teaches us new lessons of harmony. Two feminine vows - Maghmandalbrata and Suryabrata - are lost in the darkness of isolation today as they are rapidly disappearing from social life over time.
One day, when the primitive women discovered the secret technique of crop production without knowing it, the footsteps of agrarian civilization were heard for the first time. Some magical religions gradually came under the jurisdiction to increase the productivity of crops, where the role of women was paramount. Sun-worship can be observed in various primitive nations of the world with various magical activities. Primitive society rightly thought that the ability of women to bear children and the ability to produce grain was in fact an expression of similar qualities. And so the relationship of the virgin woman with the primitive sun god can be noticed more. At one time the Maghbrata or Maghmandal vows were to be observed by the Bengali Hindu-virgin girls at Shrihatta-Kachar. Apart from Sylhet-Kachar, vows can also be observed in Dhaka, Comilla and Bikrampur areas. The time when the vows were celebrated is also particularly noteworthy, since the setting of the sun begins and it is basically one of the time of the sun festival of many primitive nations of the world.
From the age of five until the onset of menstruation, a girl completes the vow through various austerities. Naturally, it may seem that there is a social reason behind the celebration of such a vow with a single breastfed girl in the dark fog of dawn in the severe winter of Maghmas! But today, when we see that classrooms in different schools of the country have become an integral part of the modern curriculum for the physical and mental development of the child, such as clearing classrooms, memorizing rhymes or rangoli competitions, it seems that our rural society has The lessons of becoming a hardworking, self-reliant person have been taught, which is nothing more than a social responsibility.
From the naming of the vow, it is understood that a strange artwork is involved with it. Mandal Art. In the open courtyard where the vow will be made, a separate earthen VT or foundation is made with soil. In this Viti, Bratini conducts mandal activities under the leadership of an old woman with colored brick powder, various colored sand, yellow powder, dried leaf powder etc. Naturally, the child's mind is thrilled and excited about how to make a circle by making colored loops with these collected objects.
This mandalkriya was more popular than Alpana in Srihatta-Kachar. The only reason for this popularity is the primitive religious reforms based on ancient magic. Mandalkarma originates from the idea that drawing special symbols or symbols will fulfill similar desires. The ‘Maghmandal Brat’ is no exception. It was the first time that a child's psyche was connected with fine artwork by creating various herb designs with colored logs.
Moreover, Bratini has to collect so many different types of aristocratic flowers that she learns the names and uses of innumerable unnamed flowers as she goes through the whole process of the ceremony. No priest is required for this ritual, some mantras have to be recited; However, it is not a Vedic scriptural mantra - a kind of rhyme in a mixture of native languages. The old lady of the house, in whose performance the vratakriya is performed, is also entitled to recite the mantra immediately if necessary.
The vow-bearer observes the custom of holding a flower by cutting a rhyme with twenty-seven different symbols on the ground. It is commonly seen that by drawing an Anantnag, twenty-seven rooms are skillfully made in it and a huge circle is formed by bringing together the tail and fangs of the snake facing north. Needless to say, this strange work of art takes on an aesthetic form through the joint efforts of multiple women. The pond is cut by making two holes on the top of the soil VT, one square, and one round. Bratini recited mantras while shaking the water in the imaginary pond with a bunch of durbags in her hand.
Then he offered flowers to the sun god on the twenty-seven painted circle symbols. These twenty-seven types of symbols are moon, sun, earth, throne, cow dung, dish-rice, Vingar water, triangle, right angle, maghamandal, gold coil, father king, brother praja, dola, aingan-baingan, atpuji, ateshwar, tinak , Tinraj, Sindur, Shankha, Chiruni, Kajal-Alta, Sari, Kala-Jiari, Deu-Duar and Swarg-Duar.
One of the meanings of the rhyme spoken with these zodiac signs is as follows: “The earth floated in joy at the union of the moon and the sun, and I am sitting on the throne vowing to share in that joy. Kabali footprints, kabali dung, thala bhat, vingar pani all around manglik marks, prayers to be born ayo. The triangular earth and the right-angled kingdom will be worshiped, the husband will be the king, the father will be the king, the brother will be the king, the brother will be the subjects, I will come to them on a cradle, eat milk rice, there will be no shortage in the world I am worshiping the vermilion of the trunk - pie like Chinese vermilion, pie instead of comb like ivory comb, trunk jewelry as if gold-diamond jewelry comes to life. "
In real life, Bratini recites mantras in this way, wishing to imitate every product. A palanquin is drawn; A banana tree is tied to it and the bride is sitting inside it. The six Beharas are carrying palanquins, which are actually the six symbols of Shararipur and the bride sitting inside is the new life - Charaibeti, meaning the key to moving forward. In the end, Deuduar means - I am worshiping the gates of the gods and the gates of heaven, my family, my whole social life should be filled with happiness and prosperity. The last ceremony of the vows is the Chhataghurani or Chhatafirani episode. Sitting facing east on the mandalakriya, Bratini keeps turning an umbrella incessantly. On that rolling umbrella, various edible items like sesame, linseed, chira-muri nadu etc. are thrown and the spectators go to collect them.
During these activities, there is no break in the choreography. In many cases, professional musical instruments and dance troupes are brought in to make the festival a sight to behold. Recognizing the entry of people from all walks of life, rich and poor, irrespective of caste and creed, the Maghbrata of Srihatta-Kachar once became a unique example of a universal joyous festival.
In fact, the whole vow is a dramatic transformation of the rising sun by breaking the winter fog. Let the light shine through the darkness in the social life, all over the world - that is why there are so many arrangements! As we see a shameful expression of a woman's motherhood hidden in the sun through the prayers of the worldly bridegroom, it may seem as if the vows have been celebrated for a long time to teach baby girls the pakamo. But it should not be forgotten that in the patriarchal society of that time, the practice of Gauridan was inevitable. From immature age the child was inculcated in the child. If the husband could not become a worthy housewife, there is no alternative to life What a surprise!
However, not everything is made up of imaginary beauty, there is a bit of protest and resistance language in it. In a patriarchal society where the rights of girls have never been recognized in religious ceremonies, aren't these feminine vows a self-proclaimed protest against that patriarchal society? The woman whom we are accustomed to see as the afterlife, who has no choice but to rely on men step by step to maintain her own existence, has forbidden the rights of men in ceremonies. Even no priestly system was kept in the vows, no Sanskrit mantra. Mantras have been replaced by some rhymes and words, which are composed by women, uttered by them.
However, the emergence of feminine vows, especially the Maghbrata, by rejecting the male role altogether, does not end in self-centeredness, but in the pursuit of all one's various desires, the patriarchal father, brother, husband and even neighbors Wanted to his god.
Similar to the Maghmandal vow, another vow performed by women in Srihatta-Kachar is the vow of Suryabrata or Kalathakur. This vow known as Kalathakur or Thakurbrata may be a short version of Dharmathakur of any non-Aryan society. Women of any age can perform this vow. The Bratinis observe this ritual by fasting on one Sunday of the month of Maghmas and standing all day from sunrise to sunset. At dawn, the Bratinis offer offerings to the sun with burning ghee lamps in their hands. Like Maghbrata, a clay VT is prepared here and various materials are brought out with the help of mandalakriya; Such as- Kadamgacha, Radha-Krishna duet under the tree, Moon-Sun-Earth, various designs, various ornaments of Radha etc. However, like Maghbrat, this vow cannot be called pure feminine vow. The reason is that here we can see various rituals as well as some Vedic scriptural rituals. In this vow celebrated by women, the priest comes and worships Vishnu Shalgram rock, Sanskrit mantra is recited by the priest.
Usually the girls themselves become the priests of the female vows, there is no need for any Brahmin priest. But Suryabrata is exceptional in this case. The traditional sun-worship that existed in the agrarian society before the spread of Aryan civilization in Bangladesh, has changed somewhat to its present form as a result of extensive Aryanization. However, the proof that everything has not been lost since the change, the primitive fragrance can still be found inside the scent.
The most interesting aspect of Suryabrata is the dhamail songs and dances performed by women in a circle. Women of different ages from family and neighbors came together and performed various stories of Gosthalila from the birth of Lord Krishna to dance and song. These story-songs of Sri Krishna's Brajlila are also quite interesting. Krishna will go to graze with the cowherds, but there is no end to the worries of mother Yashoda's little Krishna, how much fear on the way! Mother's mind does not mean consolation at all. So he repeatedly warns the elder Balaram and the other boys in the party not to lose sight of Krishna.
When we think about it very deeply, we see two currents of society together here, one is the priestly Brahmanical patriarchal society, the other is the non-scriptural feminist society. The feminist community thinks that they are not dependent on any moderation, any Vedic mantra, any Brahmin priest for making connections with the worshiped deity in religious pursuits. The rapid pace of women with frequent applause and the Krishnakirtan composed in the regional language in multiple women's voices - all together it seems that the 'closed music of the Brahmins' has become the mainstay around. The song here is bigger than the scriptures, with which they can reject the official mantra-tantra. There is an official verse about the God of the scriptures, but the God who is outside the scriptures, the one whose abode is in the heart of the devotee beyond all the places of worship - is the only one who can offer himself in this way with joy and happiness. The language of that song is also its own, otherwise how will that call reach him!
This is how Mirabai of Rajasthan sang, Srimanta Sankardeva of Assam, Gurunanak of Punjab and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of Bangladesh once again sang in their own voice. This is a very big aspect of the Bhakti movement. If we say that this immersion of self-voice is seen in the religious pursuits of the women observed in these rural rituals, then is it very wrong? Probably not, they did not hide any mantra for the union of the heart of the devotee with God, nor did they keep any scriptural formal style.
Whether it is Maghbrata or Suryabrata, judging from that, these folk-centered rituals seem to be a direct protest against the feudal social system. However, their importance in the course of the history of society is so great that even though they have deteriorated, they show us a new path in the realization of the integrated way of life today.