Saturday, 2 July 2011

Lord Devnarayan: An Incarnation of Lord Vishnu

Lord Devnarayan: An Incarnation of Lord Vishnu

by Mantra & shlokas on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 10:25pm

Lord Devnarayan is a Gurjar medieval hero from Rajasthan, who is worshipped in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as a folk deity. He is believed as an incarnation of the Hindu lord Vishnu. According to the legend, he was incarnated in Vikram Samvat in 968 as the son of Gurjar warrior Sawai Bhoj Bagaravat and his wife Saadu Mata Gurjari. He is worshipped by all communities, though he is special deity of Gurjar community. Lord Devnarayan has a human form he is like lord Krishna, the embodiment of divinity itself. Dev Dham Jodhpuriya is a famous temple of lord Devnarayan. It is situated in Newai municipality of Tonk district, Rajasthan.

Devnarayan Katha (the story of lord Devnarayan) is a popular ballad performed in many parts of Rajasthan. Devnarayan Katha extols the life and courageous deeds of lord Devnarayan. The Katha provides a fascinating insight into the elaborate and richly complex social history of lord Devanarayan and his devotees. The narrative extolling the deeds of Lord Devnarayan is performed by itinerant singers during whole night vigils. Devnarayan Katha is sung by pairs of male singers called Bhopas. Bhopas are the traditional priest-singers of Devnarayan, who wander from place to place for the performance of Devnarayan Katha.

The oral-epic of Devnarayan consists of a number of episodes related to the life and works of lord Devnarayan. This epic is sung in the villages of Rajasthan and Malwa. Devnarayan Katha begins with an invocation of a number of deities, whose images are depicted in the phads. The deities invoked are Sharada, Ganesha, Sarasvati, Varaha, Narasimha, Vaman, Parashuram, Ram and Krishna. The first part called the Bagaravat Bharat is about the heroic deeds of the 24 Gurjar brothers, who were born as the sons of the man-lion, Bagh Simh. Devnarayan’s father Savai Bhoj was the most courageous of the 24 Bagaravats. The 24 brothers died after a preordained period of 12 years in a battle against a Rajput chieftain. The second part deals with the incarnation of lord Devnarayan, the miracles he performs and the revenge he and his cousins ultimately take on the Rajput chieftain. Whereas the first part is generally said to be marked by suffering, pain and death, the second is marked by reunion, miracles and heavenly testimony. This katha finally establishes of lord Devnarayan's cult amongst his followers.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.

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