Buraraj Temple of Jamalpur, East Burdwan

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Shyamal Kumar Ghosh

” ‘Buro’ from ‘Buro Shiva’ and ‘Raj’ of ‘Dharmaraj’, together with ‘Buroraj’ . Usually by adding ‘Nath’ or ‘Iswar’ is common in this country, not with ‘Raj’. Jamalpur has got it because there are two gods together has become folk deities for the people there.” -Binoy Ghosh

There is a railway station, Patuli on the Howrah-Katwa or Sealdah-Katwa railway section. Distance from Howrah is 127 km. Jamalpur, a village 7 km away from Patuli station. From Patuli station, the village can be reached by any public transport available. Previous station of Patuli is Belerhat. From there, you can reach that village too. Jamalpur’s village-dev ‘Buroraj’ is very famous in this locality. And why only in locality, also teens-youngs-old-everyone in a vast region of the two sides of the Bhagirathi, he is the god of life.

According to Mahamahopadhyay Haraprasad Shastri, Dharmaraj was the counterpart of Lord Buddha. According to him, the origin of Dharmaraj is from Buddhism’s Triratna (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). According to some others, religion worshiping has originated from sun-worshiping. In the mythological account, the name of ‘Yamraj’ produced himself as Dharamraj. However, in the so-called low-class society of Rarh Bengal, Dharmaraj or Dhrama Thakur is worship by them (Bauri, Bagdi, Hari, Dom etc) and is the village idol. Most of Dharmathakur’s devotee are confined to the non-Brahmanic priests, such as Dom-Bagdi.

There is a hearsay about the advent of Baba Buroraj. Namdaha village adjacent to Jamalpur. There was a huge number of Goyala (milk producers) people live in this Namdaha. Jadu Ghosh was one of the most successful Ghosh/Goyala there. He had hundreds of cows and buffaloes. Many of those were very good in milk-production. Among the cows, Shyamoli was above all. The shepherds used to take cattles and buffaloes roaming around Nimdaha and surrounding forests and fields. It has been seen for several days that Shyamoli’s milk was been stolen. Jadu Ghosh’s suspicion went on to the shepherds. As a result, the job of the shepherds was gone. But it couldn’t stop the milk stealing. At the end, Jadu one day followed her, Shyamoli running towards Jamalpur forest. Shyamoli remained standing in one place in the jungle, and the milk began to drop like a fountain from its bud.

Jadu was surprised and ran to Brahman Thakura Madhusudan Chattopadhyay of the village. After listening to all the words from Jadu, he went to the forest and found that all the milk was stored on a stone’s head. Brahman Thakur returned to his house after seeing all. That night he dreamt that someone saying in his dream, “I am here. Worship me. But there will be no pomp in my worship. My temple will be like a poor man’s hut. “

They started arrangement after cleaning the jungle for puja. The village Baghdi made the hut (temple). Chatujji Mahasaya started worshiping, and Jadu is sitting with his closed hands. After Puja, he said, ‘Jadu, I have done your pooja at first, as you have his blessings first’. As Jadu’s house was in Nimdaha, for this the first pooja is given to the Buroraj from the village Nimdaha till today.

This story is not the specialty of Jamalpur. The same hearsay is heard in the context of the origin of almost all the Anandilinga Shiva in West Bengal. The specialty of Jamalpur is that the worshiping and Gajan (one kind of song with chanting) of the Buroraj is arranged in Baishakhi Purnima. Shiva’s Gajan is held in Chaitra Sankranti. Dharmaraja’ Gajan is held in Baishakhi Purnima. So the Buroraj Shiva, or Dharmaraja? In reply to this, Buroraj is in one hand Dharmaraj, and he is also Shiva. Pooja and rituals performed in the worshiping in Buroraj seems to been started Dharmaraja’s pooja long ago. Puja is stopped for some reason. Later, Pooja was expressed through many Shiblingas, whose appearance was like Shiva, but rituals were performed like Dharmaraj. In the words of Binoy Ghosh, it is to say, “In the middle of the transition from dharmaraja to buro-shiva, reforms and customs are in the middle, compromising the ‘Buroraj’. This compromise is possible due to the farsightedness of the Brahmin priest and the inherent benevolence of Hinduism”. The great example of this compromise is that, between the main prasad of Buroraj, the stain cut it into two groups. His share was given to Shiva and the other to the Dharmaraja.

The eastward temple of Buroraj is not a brick-stone temple. The roof of the temple is made of straw and floor is of soil. Brick-cement temple is forbidden for this idol. Generally speaking, the head would have been spaced a few days after making the roof. Chandni-shaped Natmandir is in front of the temple. Earlier, Patuli zamindar Charuchandra Saha had constructed this after the release of his disease. After that, a few times the reformation was made.

Every year, many people gather for the special festivals of Boishakh, Jyaishtha and Magh month’s Purnima. In this, more people meet in Baishakhi Purnima. The fair of Baishakh used to continue for a month. At present, the stability of these fair has decreased as all the fairs. Still, the Pujo from Nimdah comes then the other start Puja. Now there is no survivor of Jadu Ghosh’s family. The villagers now send Pujo. Thousands of people gathered in the fair with a lathi-ramda-tangi and goats in hands. Most of the people are Ghosh and Bagdi. They have a Sturdy appearance. In addition to the temple, it is worshiped in the entire region and Buroraj is worshiped by the ghat(pot). As soon as they have the sign to sacrifice everyone starts. This program is held in the backyard of the temple. Generally,the sacrifice hasn’t taken place in front of the temple. The sacrifice is held in the name of lord Shiva. Earlier, there was fights for the goats. There were also killings and injuries. So the vows came together armed. The practice is still going on. Although it was considered shabby, but it was once considered a heroic game. The winner was honored by the party who could have been able to take away more bucks. Remember, they used to work as a lumberjack under zamindar-feudalism. Sticks were played on the occasion of fights for goats, and it was a major part of Dharmaraja festival. There are still some sticks-plays in front of the temple.

Baba Buroraj’s first priest, Haradhan Chattopadhyay’s last descendant, Madhusudan Chattopadhyay, had no son. His only daughter is married to Gupnath Bandyopadhyay of Dharmada village in Nadia district. Gopinath is still worshiped in their home temple. This Guppinath Bandyopadhyay’s descendants is the current priest of Baburaj.

In his book, Mrinal Kanti Bandyopadhyay described the rules of observing various vows of Buroraj. Monday is the best time to worship Shiva and Dharmaraj. By eating fruit or boiled-rice, twelve times in twelve months are to celebrate on Monday. Many people bath in the pond of the temple for getting rid of a severe disease, leaving food and sleep, covering the face many people stays in front of the father’s temple. This is called hatyadan or hatyedan (‘killing’). In this way, the devotees get revelation when they call him in such a way. For the children or others, the devotees tied stones on the adjacent branches of the temple. If the wish is fulfilled, then leave the gravel with your father’s pooja. Many people raise flowers on father’s head for their Manaskama. If there is flowering from the head of the father, it is known to be sure about the Manaskamana. Many people have “dandi-kata” to get rid of a serious disorder. After getting rid of deceases, bathing in the father’s pond, he used to cut the “dandi” till the temple of wet cloth. The worship of devotees was all overnight in the temple at Shivratri. The previous day one have to eat vege. Four times the night or four times at one same time,have to worship . The first time milk, curd in the second time, ghee in the third quarter and bathing with honey in the fourth hour is to be worshiped according to the custom. The next day Brahmin had to be fed.

Like the Shiva Gajan, Buroraj’s Gajan does not take place in the month of Chaitra,it takes place in Baisakhi Purnima. Anyone can be a monk regardless of religion and barna. The main monk had to eat havisanna(boiled-rice) for a month. Others will shave five or seven days before the full moon. On this day they have to eat vege one time of the day and Habishnna on the next day when wearing the ‘uttoriyo’ . On trayodoshi, fasting all day,after finishing pooja they can take fruits. The day Gajan comes out. On the Chaturdashi, In the evening after “ban foron” Liquid food can be taken. On The full moon day one should eat vege. On the Pratipad day the main preists and the monks after taking off ‘uttoriyo’, they give flowers to the father’s head, on the occasion for make wishes and to have blessings for the monks. When the flowers from the father’s head falls, the actions of the monks came to an end.

Passengers, devotees came to Buroraj comes to Buroraj, mainly for the purpose of freeing from diseases. People believe that tuberculosis, epilepsy, arthritis, acidity, etc., any difficult disorder can be overcome by buroraj. They also believe that in many cases physicians are unable to cure diseases, but their father can cure it.

At the end of the note, in the words of Benoy Ghosh, “When the Brahmins took Dharmaraja into Hindu deities, the opposition did not go to the dispute but to proceed towards compromise. Its brilliant example is Buroraj. Shiva and Dharmaraj accepting ‘naibidya’ from the same plate. There is no poverty, there is no constraint. A stain in the plate is enough to be acceptable to both the Gods. Sacrifice is held to Shiva. Of course, Shiva has power and has the power to sacrifice the sacrifices. But does not sacrifice the pigs. On one side of of the old temple, the ‘Handis’ give sacrifices of pigs, there is no obstacle. With the name of Buroraj the Ghosh and Byaghro-skhatriyo give sacrifice of thousands of goats without any obstacles. The Muslims of villages also vow for the goats, there is no reform. The symbol of liberal liberalism ‘Buroraj’ is the image of Bengal’s own human religion. “

(In writing this paragraph,Ashok Banerjee, a service provider for Baroraj, helped me with some information. Thanks to him.)

Helpful books:
1) Culture of West Bengal: Binoy Ghosh
2) Burdhaman: History and Culture (3rd volume): Yajeshwar Chowdhury
3) Shiva Mahat and Sri Sri Rukh Rauraz have spoken: Mrinal Kanti Bandopadhyay (Nirmal)

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Shyamal Kumar Ghosh

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