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Month Of Shrawan In Maithili Culture: Ram Dayal Rakesh
The month of Shrawan is considered very sweet and soothing in Maithili culture. It is also considered very religious. This month is also very momentous in terms of season. Poets are very fond of this month. Even great poet Kalidas has described its importance in his famous epic named Meghdoot. He has described its natural as well as material beauty and importance. His hero Yakshchha sends message to his forlorn heroine through clouds. His beloved is weeping bitterly in absence of her lover.
It is in the month of Shrawan when there is soft shower of rain throughout the whole night. The flash of lightning is shinning all around. The black clouds roam and roar above in the sky day and night. The whole sky is covered with silky and silvery clouds. It increases pangs of separation to a great extent. Everything is stimulating and exciting. Her pain of separation has been doubled in this month because her lover is far away from her. Thus this month is not so welcoming for forlorn females.
There has also been a long poetic tradition of this month in Sanskrit, Hindi and Nepali languages. Kali Das's epic has become immortal in the true sense of the term. He consoles his bereaved beloved by the blessings of this month.
This month has been mentioned even in the folklores of Mithila. Maithili folksongs have been sweetened by the fragrance and flavour of this pleasing and pleasant month. Those folk songs which are sung in this month are called Barahmasa and Chhaumasa. These songs are sung the whole night by men and women of Mithila. They forgot the fatigue of physical labour done while planting the saplings of paddy in their fields during this month. The whole atmosphere begins with the resounding with these melodious folksongs.
Actually speaking this month is very sweet and soothing. The womenfolk of Mithila begin swinging in the orchards of mango singing these sweet songs. I would like to quote one folksong in this context:
"Sakhi (friend) peacock began to dance
The clouds are pouring and roaring all-around
The lightning is frightening me by shinning
I feel thrust for sexual pleasure
The night is dark and clouds are black
Madan (the god of love) is giving pain.
The Maithil womenfolk love to have green saris and bangles in this month of Madan. The lovely ladies of Mithilanchal adorn their wrists with vibrant and beautiful bangles. They also worship Lord Shiva, the enemy of Madan (Kamdeva).They also have henna (Mehandi) on their hands and feet to beautify themselves. They also love to have the reddish hue and attractive patterns of Mehandi. It signifies auspiciousness, good luck and sensuality. It is a kind of traditional skin adornment.
Its significance has been mentioned in the ancient scriptures. It is considered inseparable part of marriage ceremonies. Its main purpose is to avoid evil eyes. It spreads good smell in the surrounding and catches the eyes of the beholders. Nowadays ladies of all ages are fond of it. Men and women equally colour their hairs either with red and green Mehendi. Many of them decide to be vegetarian throughout the whole month. They offer trifoliate leaves of the Bel fruit which are naturally ever green to pacify the anger of Lord Shiva. They also observe fast on every Monday of this month to please their favourite god, Lord Shiva.
The Terai plain is very hot and humid during the rainy season. So they wear green saris and bangles to avoid the hot temperature and to please Lord Shiva. The whole Terai belt looks like green velvet because of green paddy plants in the fields. They also have aesthetic sense as well as colour psychology. Green colour is considered very soothing especially in this month.
In Hinduism Shrawan is considered very auspicious month because it has religious significance. This is the fourth month according to Hindu calendar. The worshipping of Lord Shiva begins with the first Monday of this month because Monday is favourite day of Lord Shiva. It is regarded as auspicious day for worshipping and at the same time pleasing Him. So the womenfolk worship Him very attentively and regularly for the long life of their husbands. The maiden girls worship Him for getting suitable husbands. It is also said that Parvati worshipped Him to get Him as her constant consort. Hindus of the world regard this month as the holiest one. They throng to Shiva temples on every Monday this month. They frequently visit Baidyanath Dham and Pashupatinath temples during this month. Some devout devotees crawl throughout the whole way to have His Darshan. Many fairs and festivals are held in this month.
Nagpanchami(worshipping of snake) is very useful festival. By offering milk and Lava (fried paddy) to the snake god is to get rid of snake biting the whole year especially during the rainy season. Snakes frequently come out in this season and bite the people. So the people of Mithila worship the snake god every year on the fifth bright lunar day of fortnight. Rakhi (Rakchhabandhan) is celebrated on the auspicious occasion of the full moon day every year. Brahmins use to wear new sacred threads on this occasion. Sawaneghadi is also observed in the whole Mithilanchal in which the family deity is worshipped by every family according to one's religion. I would like to quote here:
'Religion is each individual's sacred relation with his God. This divine transformation is the result of faith in God who is Truth, Justice and Love. This is universal and common to all religions.''
Madhushrawani festival is also celebrated in this month with gusto. Newly married boys and girls observe this festival and pray to God Shiva for their successful conjugal life. Even unmarried girls celebrate this festival to get suitable boys as their life partners. Married girls pluck fresh flowers from the garden to offer to Lord Shiva and Parvati. This festival is considered as religious as well as sexual. According to some cultural experts, it is like honeymoon.
Ambassador of Nepal to the United Nations 1991-1994, Jaya Raj Acharya was inspired by diplomatic luminaries such as Prof. Yadunath Khanal and Rishikesh...