To search this blog

Sunday, April 5, 2020

lighting lamps ~ holy aarthi at Sri Pasupathnath Temple, Kathmandu

Do you play Computer games ? – have you tried - Commandos 2: Men of Courage,  a real-time tactics video game. It is a sequel to Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines and the second installment of the Commandos series, and is the only strategy game of the series to be designed not only for Microsoft Windows, but also for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The game sees players taking control of a squad of commandos, along with various allied units, as they sneak behind enemy lines to accomplish various missions in World War II, between 1941 and 1944, that will help them to thwart the war efforts of the Germans and the Japanese

In the Holy Ramanaya, in Bala Kandam, Sri  Rāma, along with Lakshmaa, led by Viwāmitra  travelled in the northeasterly direction and reached the place of (Janaka's) Yajña (in Mithilā).  The  Kingdom of the Videhas (also known as Mithila and Tirabhuki) was an ancient kingdom in Vedic India which rose to prominence under King Janaka. The ancient kingdom's territory is presently located in Mithila region of Northern and eastern Bihar of India and the eastern Terai of Nepal.  The native language in Mithila is Maithili, and its speakers are referred to as Maithils.

Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas, but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city. Nepal is a multiethnic country with Nepali as the official language.  The Hindu kingdom has lot of Hindu temples – mainly Mukthinath and Pashupathinath.  Those pursuing to have darshan at the holy divyadesam ‘Salagramam’ – (mukthinath) at Nepal, mostly would land at its capital Kathmandu ..

Rivers are holy and on the banks of rivers many civilizations prospered.  The Bagmati River runs through the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal and separates Kathmandu from Patan. It is considered holy by both Hindus and Buddhists. A number of Hindu temples are located on its banks.

According to Gopalraj Aalok Vamsavali, the oldest ever chronicle in Nepal, this temple was built by Prachanda Deva, a Licchavi King, who according to the stone inscription erected by Jayadeva 11 in the courtyard of Pashupatinath in 753 AD, happened to be the ruler 39 generations before Manadeva (464-505 AD). The Pashupatinath Temple  is a famous and sacred Hindu temple complex that is located on the banks of the Bagmati River, approximately 5 km north-east of Kathmandu in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley, the capital of Nepal. The temple serves as the seat of Pashupatinath.  This "extensive Hindu temple precinct" is a "sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati river" and is included as one of the seven monument groups in UNESCO's designation of Kathmandu Valley as visit here. The temple is one of the 275 Tamil Paadal Petra Sthalams (Holy Abodes of Shiva) on the continent. Kotirudra Samhita, Chapter 11 on the Shivalingas of the North, in Shiva Purana mentions this Shivalinga as the bestower of all wishes.

The area of Pashupatinath encompasses 0.64 hectares of land including 518 temples and monuments.  Main pagoda style temple is located in the fortified courtyard within the complex guarded by Semi-Military Nepal Police and Military Force Nepal Army and has a police outpost along with living quarter within. In front of the western door, there is a huge statue Nandi bull, in bronze. Along with many temples and shrines of both Vaishnav and saiva tradition. The temple courtyard has 4 entrances in the cardinal directions.

The earliest evidence of the temple’s existence dates back to 400 A.D. The current main temple of Pashupatinath complex was built in the end of the 17th century to replace the previous one, destroyed by termites. There are numerous legends, connected with the construction of the temple.  Pashupatinah is a place where century-old Hindu rituals are practiced in their astonishing initial form, giving a chance to the visitors to feel the unique spirit of Hindu traditions of life, death and reincarnation.

Would post more details on this temple in another post – as many of us would have witnessed, on the banks of holy Ganga mata at Haridwar and many other places at dusk – ‘famous ganga aarthi’ takes place.  During our visit to Nepal, we were lucky to have darshan of the elaborate ‘aarthi’ on the banks of the river adjacent to Sri Pasupathinath temple.

The buildings and street layout of the temple were  used in the video game Commandos 2: Men of Courage in one stage of the game, "Target: Burma". Although the game was set in Burma, there were references to Gurkhas, soldiers of Nepali nationality. Here are some photos of the aarthi and the lights lit in unison.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
5th Apr 2020.

No comments:

Post a Comment