Friday, September 4, 2009

WHAT THE VISARJAN TAUGHT ME

This evening we had gone to watch the Ganpati Visarjan at the artificially-created ‘pond’. As scores of Ganpatis, from tiny to tall – but always benign and divine – made their way on the shoulders of devotees down to the final immersion place, as the rotund elephant-god gradually sank into the muddy water, I kept feeling sadder and sadder. I remembered feeling absolutely bereft as a child on Dashami (the day the Durga idol is immersed, after five days of Durga Puja).

I felt sad at the ending of the festivities, at the drowning of the beautiful idols (created with so much passion and patience), at the loss of celebration and beauty. Each Dashami – and today at the Visarjan ground – even as the celebrations reached a crescendo, even as the band/dhaak/drumbeats rose to a manic climax, even as the dancers whirled and twirled in a frenzy, I would cry silently, mourning the passing away of another year, another festival.

I was surprised to see the spouse sharing my tears. He is not the type to be moved my religious emotions (maybe by dogs, Amitabh Bachchan movies and Kolkata memories – not in that order, though). So I whispered to him, “You know why the Visarjan is necessary? Because it teaches us to let go. Because it reminds us that nothing is permanent – not happiness, not beauty. Neither the carefully-crafted idol, nor the week-long joy can be possessed forever. We have to disengage…unclutch our fists and let go.”

And then I looked at my daughters, blissfully unaware of parental philosophizing, happy to be witnessing the noise and colour and dance and statues, happy with their newly-bought balloons and pinwheels. And I felt that the Visarjan also teaches us to have faith – faith that this will all happen again next year – the holiness and the happiness. As the scriptures say, Change is like a cycle: what is, will go, and what will go, will come back.

24 comments:

Babli said...

You have expressed your feelings very nicely. As now we are waiting eagerly for Durga Puja but at the time of visarjan we feel very sad. Only once in my life while staying at Jamshedpur i have gone for visarjan but after that I have never been as I feel more sad.

lopamudra said...

How surprisingly you reflect my philosphy of 'bisarjan',infact a couple of weeks back i was having this discussion with my husband about the necessity of such rituals, particularly in our consumerist,botox injected,crave for 'eternal youth' society to reiterate the transient nature of life.

Suchismita said...

Nice post. Visarjan brings home many points, about the transient nature of life. the cycle of life..how the old has to make place for the new...actually,it should be introspection time.

Ps.. dogs (and most non-human animals) move me too! :)

Ugich Konitari said...

I loved this post because half a century and more of experiencing it has made me reach the same conclusion.

And unlike Divali, when its all about "show", Ganeshotsav is all about faith, belief , and the biggest Ganpati often gets in line with all the smaller ones during visarjan; something I witnessed when our local campus Sarvajanik Ganpati waited its turn, while a tiny "Ganpati Maharaaj" worshipped by an old senior sweeper's family was going through its visarjan rituals. Of course every one around joined in, and I like to think that Ganpati Bappa would have loved the on going bonhomie amongst the worshippers and revellers.

Priya said...

Amazing Sucharita, Amazing....you said that just in two sentences...your way of interpreting the two emotions has left me spellbound....

yes..regardless of anything, somewhere it twitches to say the annual good-bye to the Goddess on Dashami.

Loved this post...

Meira said...

Have never experienced the visarjan or the durga puja celebration at its best. And all I've seen of Dusshera , with the Ravan burning, brings a lot of joy...that the good wins over bad. So yes, I guess the same analogy holds :)

shulagna said...

A wonderful introspective post!!

Nu said...

Yes SuSa, Visarjan brings in tears to me as well. We have 5 days Ganpati at home and when bappa goes away I feel weak in my knees. I feel the very own family member has gone away. It's painful and though it's every year festival,it makes me cry every time !

Your post touched all the aspects..the sadness,the learning and kids who are untouched by these worldly emotions and their innocence makes us feel positive all over again !

No wonder we say "Bacche Bhagwan ka Roop hote hain". They give you happiness and teach you lessons in life every now and then :)

Aparna said...

Beautifully expressed.
I remember the visarjan from my childhood. All five days of frantic activities and suddenly everything is gone.
Yes, letting go is important and so is having faith.
BTW, have you done your Puja shopping?

sujata said...

So true..My husband's family have their own Durga Puja and after the five days of the Puja, the day of the visarjan, I feel gloomy and sad, and esp after the boron, it just gets on to me..the godess comes to life with the sindoor and the sweets on her lips, and then we have to let go..I think its a teaching that we have to let go the moment we get attached!

Pradip Biswas said...

Our religious functions are carefully planned to tech us the happenings of life. Abahanam and Visharjanam are part of life but we seldom look visharjanam at that angle. The onlookers are good students of rfeligion as you are.

Nona said...

Letting go. :) Thank you. It is valuable lesson.

Lincoln said...

it didnt teach u that it creates lot of pollution ???!!!

Little Girl Lost said...

a lovely thought sucharita...
we let go, and it comes back to us again, year after year...

Tomz said...

very thoughtful naration, as I have once mentioned, you are more attached and open to the religious rituals and practices

Vivek Patwardhan said...

Very insightful.

This feeling [having to let go] is missed increasingly at maharashtrian homes. The reason is that more and more homes are going 'Green'.

At our home we do not bring a clay idol now. A small silver idol is used as 'Utsav Murti' and a 'Supari' substitutes the ganapati clay idol. Supari is immersed in a small utensil with clean water and that too at home. The silver idol is returned to cupboard.

So nobody gets that feeling which we used to get in our childhood, similar to that you mentioned, on immersion. But nevertheless, it is good in a way!

Vivek

manju said...

Nice, introspective post, Sucharita! I like your thoughts about the meaning of Visarjan.

Suchismita said...

HI sucharita, A day late.. but then it is the thought... happy teachers day... you make a big difference to the world!!

Sumandebray said...

I like your interpretation.... I always thought that we celebrate the letting go event with so much pomp and glory that the enjoyment of the Visharjan drowns the pain of letting Go. And offcourse we do have the hope ... Asche bochor abar hobe!"

Mustaf said...

Wowww...what an excellent thought that was..by the time I read about "let it go", i thought that's it. But then "keeping faith" was just from no where...breath taking jevan darshan

Jyothi said...

Nice thought! Letting go is a very difficult thing to do. But waiting for it again next year makes the letting go much easier.... ;)

You have an award awaiting you in my blog...

Double-Dolphin said...

Death makes angels of us all, gives is wings where we had shoulders, smooth as raven's claws - Jim Morrison

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Dear All,
Thanks for sharing and appreciating the Visarjan sentiments.

@Aparna,
Since I shop all year round, I feel rather guilty about doing any extra shopping before the Pujos. What about you?

@Lincoln,
Of course I know about pollution 24x7x365. But the other sentiments come only about once a year, don't they?

@Suchismita,
Thanks for the teachers' day wishes. Sorry I am late in responding.

@DoubleD,
Cryptic and enigmatic, like a true rockstar.

@Vivek,
That is a wonderful eco-friendly way of celebrating our religion.

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

Wonderful!