Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, June 13:
As part of the Bhitara Banajaga (Banajaga inside the temple premises) process of the Nabakalebara rituals of the presiding deities of Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s holy town of Puri, pratistha (consecration) ritual of the ‘Nyasa Daru’* was completed on Friday evening.
The consecration marked the completion of havan and chanting of Patali Nrusingha mantra by appointed stotriya Brahmins for the last seven days since Biswabasu and Vidyapati (of the Banajaga Yatra Dal) brought the darus to the Nyasa Mandap on June 6.
The havan was conducted under the guidance of the mukhya acharya (chief priest) by nyasa acharya, brahma, charu acharya, samidha acharya, pracharak, pustakacharya, mandala acharya japak, shala rakshak, agnee rakshak stotriya Brahmin servitors, all of them priests with different assignments.
In conformity with tradition and the prescriptions laid down in the tomes, the consecration of ‘Nyasa Daru’ was completed on Friday, the dwadashi (twelfth day) of the dark fortnight of the lunar month.
Today being the trayodashi (thirteenth day) of the dark fortnight of the lunar month, a secret Rath Yatra of the ‘Nyasa Daru’ will be held inside the Bhitara Bedha (inner compound) of the Shree Jagannath temple. All preparations for the secret Rath Yatra ritual of the ‘Nyasa Daru’ have been completed.
The ‘Nyasa Daru’ is placed on a cart called Nyasa Daru Rath or Nrusingha Rath. The Nyasa Daru Rath will perambulate inside the Bhitara Bedha to be coordinated by the Daitapatis, Pati Mohapatra, Biswabasu and Vidyapati servitors. The Nyasa Daru Rath from Koilibaikuntha will enter Bhitara Bedha after passing through Kurum Bedha and Uttara Dwara.
According to Daitapatis and research scholars on Jagannath culture, consecration of ‘Nyasa Daru’ and other rituals connected with it are of utmost importance in the Nabakalebara process.
After completion of all bhoga (prasad /offerings) and Bada Singhara ritual of the Lords, preparations will begin for the Nyasa Daru Rath Yatra. Before the chariot starts moving, the entire Shree Mandir premises will be cleansed and purified as part of the ritual called shodha. The Nyasa Daru Rath will begin its perambulation in complete darkness, sources informed.
During its circumambulation, lights in the entire area in and around Shree Mandir will be switched off. The Nyasa Daru Rath will circumambulate in the Bhitara Bedha seven times after which it will be taken to the karma kutir (workshop) inside the Koilibaikuntha, sources revealed.
Preparations for the Nyasa Daru Rath Yatra will begin after 9 PM tonight, sources in the know of things revealed. From today, Daitapatis will take charge of the ‘Nyasa Daru’. After completion of the Nyasa Daru Rath Yatra will begin the carving of the Brahmadwara or the cavities in the belly-portions of the new wooden images to contain the ‘Brahmapadartha’ (life substance), they added.
The significance of Nyasa Daru:
*Nyasa Daru is different from the other Darus collected for the making of the new idols of the deities. It is separately collected (ordinarily) from the Neem tree meant for the statue of Devi Subhadra. It can be considered as the symbolic representation of the new statues in the making. It is during the ‘Mahanabasara’ period in all the ancillary functions relating to the consecration ceremony of the Nabakalebara ritual. It therefore remains in use till the new statues are brought to the fore. It is brought to ‘Pratishta Mandap’ on the 6th day of the dark-fortnight of Ashadha. This actually marks the beginning of the consecration ceremony. The next day, the Nyasa Daru is ceremoniously consecrated. One of the Rajagurus is nominated by the king to function as the chief priest of this sacred occasion. A series of special worships are conducted during this occasion in connection with the consecration ceremony. It is placed on a small cart and taken around the Shree Mandir in its inner precincts seven times as per the required ritual. It is then handed over to the Daitapatis . The Daitapatis (who among them know carpentry), cut the ‘Nyasa Daru’ into four pieces of the prescribed size and carve them into suitable lids so as to use them to cover the cavities in the belly-portions of the new wooden images containing the ‘Brahmapadartha’. These lids are called ‘Brahmakapatas’.