Written by Aankhi Bandyopadhyay
‘Lokmata Shashthi’ is not only a folk godgess but an ancient Hindu goddess. Brahma-Vyavarta-Purana says, King Priyabhata was the devotee of Goddess Shashthi. He had returned the dead children alive after worshiping the Goddess Shashthi. And from that time, in the Hindu society, the sixth lunar day from full moon is celebrated as the the day of the Goddess Shashthi.
Some small maternal figures were found in Harappa civilization. These goddesses were mainly house-makers. On the other hand, the used to protect the newborn childrens. Later on, they were being worshiped as the Goddess Shashthi. However, the statues of the Goddess Shashthi are not found as the archaeological remains. But there are so many statues with new born child. A popular form of rock-sculpture is “newborn”.
While writing the prologue of ‘Shashthi-Mangal Kavya’ of poet Krishnaram Das, Dr. Satya Narayan Bhattacharya said that a statue of the Goddess Shashthi was found from Baleswar district of Odisha. In Panchmura and Sonamukha of Bankura districe, local potters make a type of clay doll. Namas, the ‘Shashthi Putul’ or ‘Jo Putul’. These are the vows of the Goddess Shashthi, are simply made by pressing the finger. There is one or two or more than ten children in the Goddess’ lap. The black or red colours are common. The impression of the idols are primitive. The presence of the Goddess Shashthi is from very old time. Even today it exists in Bengal’s diverse idol industry.
The mythological goddess Shashthi is just like Goddess Durga, Lakshmi or Saraswati. There is no difference in them. The essence of the meditation of the goddess is Gouravarna (White skinned), Dwivuja (two hands) devi (goddess). Many children in her lap. According to many, the pet of the goddess is cat and it is to contest with the goddess Jagdhutri. Cat is not furious as a tiger but it is calls as tiger’s aunt. Swami Nirmalanda wrote in his book ‘Dev-Devi o Tader Bahon’ (God-Goddess and their pets) that the cat is the Reproductive energy symbol. And cat’s milk used to use as a medicine for the recovery of gynaecological treatments.
Many people have tried to brought together the Buddhist Goddess Hariti to the Hindu Goddess Shashthi. But Hariti is a great child killer. She kills childrens if she is not worshiped. She fears the wifes of losing her husband. And the Goddess Shshthi is the children protector. The welfare maternal statue. If someone hits the person, she insults, then she will be in a terrible rage. There is a strange match with goddess Nigmessa of Jain culture. Kabikankan Mukundaram wrote that the worship of the goddess was in the house of the intruder.
Feria Chaler Khad Jwalilo Aturi.
Go-Munde Khuyai Dwara Puje Shashthi Buri.
The Goddess Shashthi was actually Banadevi. Banyan tree is the room for the Goddess Shashthi. That is why he is called ‘Batbitapbilasi’. Because of the burning heat of the month, women were used to go to the forest to worship Goddess Shashthi in the hope of receiving good crops, and rain. When she was pleased with the worship, the rain came down. From the time when the women and agriculture became synonymous, the Goddess of the forest became a goddess of reproduction. In the strong region, only the mother does not vow for the Goddess Shashthi, the land of agricultural also worships as Shashthi. Its name is ‘Gaabrishashthi’.
There was no role of son-in-law in Shashthi before. There was also no role of maiden girls in this puja. Many people said that the son-in-law’s mother-in-law’s reception is in the hope of getting the daughter’s child. At one time, most of the wives were assaulted in in law house. If the wife was unable to conceive, then it could be easily estimated where to reach the level of torture. That is why the matter of flattery comes from. That is why this special graft to Jamai (son in-law) is only in the Jamai Shashthi.
Some researchers again believe that on the fourteenth day from new moon, woman were used to worship to the Goddess for her husband’s long life. The wives worshiped the God Yama seeking long life for their husbands. Under the formula of this folklore, in the Babu culture of Kolkata, the Jamai Shashti entered. According to the case of child marriage and ‘Sati Daha’ (a cruel culture of burning the living wife of a dead person in the same ‘Cheetah’) etc., the mother-in-law would have wanted a long life of son-in-law. Naturally the ‘Jamia babaji’(son in-law) entered the program, and that is why the culture has become well-known as Jamai Sshati .
Photo courtesy : Sri Mahadev and Ankhi Bandyopadhyay
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