Bala ChaturdashiBy Nepali Patro in Festivals .
The Chaturdashi date of Krishnapakchya during the month of Marga (magh) is known as Bala Chaturdashi. People stay awake on the night of the day of Bala Chaturdashi, with a burning lamp in the name of ancestor in the temple of Lord Shiva and on the day of Chaturdashi, after bathing in the nearby rivers, ponds, etc., completing the rituals / by bathing in holy rivers like Bagmati, Ganga, Kosi, Gandaki etc. Then, starting from the temple of Shivaji, the Sat-bij (A blend of 100 grains, renowned by virtue) are scattered in and around Sleshmantak ban (forest of sleshmantak, Pashupati) in the name of ancestors. Then there is the classical tradition mentioned in scriptures of giving donations to the Brahmins and feeding them.
Persons who have lost their parents this year, it is customary for them to light oil lamps and stay awake during the night and take a holy bath then return home after the Sat-bij scattering ceremony plus donation and food to the brahmin meal has been done.
Nepal, Mrigasthali and Balacharturdashi
Nepal is the country with the world’s highest mountain, The Everest. Nepal is also the playground of god and goddesses. Many known and unknown sages and saints (Rishi-Maharshi) came to the northern part (Uttarakhand ) of Nepal to make their lives auspicious by doing penance and to scatter the light of knowledge from here to people all over the world, displaying the path of knowledge. Thus, in the scriptures, Nepal is described as the sacred role of being the stairways or an ascending / descending path of and from heaven. This place has a history of being a place for deities, to get entertainment, dwelling, performing various types of sports and working for a path of knowledge and self realization. Shiva, Brahma, and Bishnu and Indra etc are deities who used to roam this holy land and kept playing. As the playground of various deities, ascetics used to encounter their god / goddesses, Nepalese land was renowned as an easy place to receive boons at will from different deities. Uttarakhand (the northern part) of Nepal was considered as a Tapobhumi (place to practise tenacity and meditation etc) and the sages and saints used to practice and perform penance. In this way, deities and sages used to gather here and exchange free will talks, talk of public interest and exchange of boons, etc. It used to be in a gross state then and now it is still taking place but considered is taking in a subtle manner. But, because our vision is not subtle, it can be said that we do not have the ability to see it.
Uttarakhand of the earth is the world famous virtuous area of the world also known as a tapobhumi. Siddhartha Gautam was born here in this northern part of the world and he spread the light of knowledge all over the world. This stream is still flowing continuously. In Uttarakhand of Nepal exists Sleshmantak forests and Mrigasthali inside it. Various legends and scriptures have mentioned the special glory of this mosaic forest while depicting the importance of forests and gardens.
सन्ति तीर्थान्यनेकानि श्लेष्मान्तकवने शुभे।
देवताः सफलास्तत्र स्थिताः भक्तवरप्रदाः।।
Many pilgrims, knowledge seekers, deities have come and stayed in the Mosaic Forest of Sleshmantak. The gods and goddesses bless these human beings seeking knowledge. Sleshmantak forest is considered to be very virtuous because the deities are also said to be blessed with its hospitality. The Mrigasthali (deer park) area lies under the Sleshmantak forest in the heart of Nepal. The glory of the Mrigasthali is also immense. Lord Shankar used to come to this place as a child and it was his playground. The first known day of such sports of lord Shiva as a child was the Chaturdashi of Krishnapakchya in the month of Mangsir, thus it came to be named as Bala Chaturdashi. Many deities reached Mrigasthali to watch Shiva as a child and then Lord Shiva appeared in his real appearance. The land is considered very sacred by the devotees, and it is considered very important for Shiva worship due to the fact that it was Chaturdashi that day.
Chaturdashi date is Lord Shiva’s favorite date. Shivaratri fast also falls on Chaturdashi date. Each month, the fourteenth date of the Krishna Pakchya is known as the monthly Shivratri fast. Among these Chaturdashi Marga or Magh Krishna Chaturdashi is known as Bala Chaturdashi. This Chaturdashi has special significance as well as the monthly Shivaratri. On the night of the Triodashi, the lamps are placed, offered in the shiva temple or in the shrines to save the ancestors and night is passed by being awake Jagaram). In the first year of the parents’ death, still wearing white clothes (sign of mourning) burning the lamp in the name of the deceased, people stay awake the whole night. The Jagaram is observed by lighting a lamp to allow the deceased one to go from the path of darkness (Dhoom Marga) and to follow the path of light. The lamp is helpful in the dark. The lamp or light is helpful for this life as well as for the afterlife. Therefore, in the dark night of Krishnapakchya, the lamp is a friend and helper as well therefore, for the ease from darkness lamps are lighted and sacred religious songs are sung during the Jagaram.
After spending the night, staying Jagaram by lighting the lamp and holy songs during the night in the Trayodashi, special duties are fulfilled in Chaturdashi. On the day of Chaturdashi, after completing the regular baths etc (nitya karma), in the morning, if the year is mourning of parents death, the mental sighting of lord shiva is done from the gate of the temple, Sat-bij is scattered or offered, in the nearby Sleshmantak Ban, Barahakshetra Dham, Janakpur Dham, Hrishikesh Dham Gulmi, etc. Offering Sat-bij in the name of ancestors is customary belief that they will get food, etc., as they are, as they have reached in their afterlife. One hundred types of seeds such as paddy, maize, barley, wheat, beet, lentils, etc. are considered as the main seeds or vegetables.
The above mentioned items which give fruit/seeds within a year falls under the Sat-bij. Mirangasthali, in the north corner has the shrine of Kirateshwar Mahadev and in the external part Pashupati, southward is a holy and sacred, a beautifully decorated place with the temple of Vishvarupa / Biswarup a perfect place for attaining Shiva. Sat-bij scattered in such a holy place fulfill all the wishes as well as rescue the ancestors, whereas, some offer Sat-bij on this day Sat-bij with the desire of attaining Shiva. Lord Shiva’s visit to this area becomes the wish of our Shaivas, and inspired by it, the desire to visit the Mrigasthali site for Sat-bij offering celebration on this day in this sacred area should be the cause of fulfillment of our life and afterlife.
मृगस्थलीं परिभ्राम्य पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते।
सुवर्णरतिकातुल्यं ब्रीहिमेकं परिक्षिपेत्।।
The purpose of life is to become Shiva. But, in order to become Shiva, one must purify oneself by doing good deeds on many virtuous days. There are acts of growing one’s wisdom from the holy person. Knowing how to use that wisdom properly improves this life and the afterlife. Every year, festivals like Bala Chaturdashi motivate us to improve this pace of gaining internal wisdom. Bala Chaturdashi, this year, has given us inspiration as:– ‘Do good for your own welfare, for the welfare of your fathers and the welfare of your descendants, do offer the Sat-bij so that you may not fall into sin that will lead you in the path of sinlessness and progress”
Not only this, if one lights an oil lamp in the dark of the night of Bala Chaturdashi one can get the salvation and overall good welfare of three generations, namely, father, son and grandchildren. removing the inner darkness with light, and getting rid of the negative thoughts, hatred, envy etc. And, it can be said that Sat-bij offering’s motivation in Balachardashi is the same. Moving on to the positive side by lighting a lamp by taking a tour of your inner self supposing it as Mrigasthali is moving to positivity. In addition, offering or scattering 100 seeds as Sat-bij in this pure area is in fact filling or doing 100 good deeds to make oneself pure. Thus, it is said in the Scriptures – “From sinful negative karma one destroys the wisdom, a person devoid of wisdom cannot focus on good deeds and continues to do evil. Therefore, the message of Bala Chaturdashi, is to do good or to perform good merits.
पापं प्रज्ञां नाशयति क्रियमाणं पुनः पुनः।
नष्टप्रज्ञः पापमेव पुनरारभते नरः।।