Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Significance of Jagran

The concept of ‘ Jagran ' or ‘Jagrata' is a common practice in the Hindu Faith and is frequently misconstrued by others. The word Jagran , derived from the Sanskrit word ‘ jaagar ', meaning awake or a state of alertness, refers to this period of nocturnal wakefulness. Many Hindu fasts or ‘vrats' such as that of Satyanarayan and Ekadashi advocate the practice of Jagran , or all night vigil, during which the Almighty is venerated through various acts of worship. The logistics of fasting have been discussed in an earlier article.

However, what drives the devout to forfeit a night's sleep and remain awake? To comprehend this we must analyse a central belief of Sanatan Dharma. Quoting Shri Krishna from the Bhagavad-Gita, ‘yagyo daanam tapashchaiva paavanaani maneeshinaam ' , describes the main methods of atonement for humans. Yagya alludes to sacrificing something to the Supreme Being, which is dear to us. Sleep, just like eating, is for the most part an agreeable experience. The impulse to sleep, in the Hindu context is described as ‘ Nidraa ', which in itself is a manifestation of a base female aspect of the Almighty, ‘ Yogamaya ' . This particular form of the female energy, orNidraa , induces sleep in living beings and is most prevalent at night.

The practice of ‘ Bhagvati Jagran' or Jagrata by the devotees of the Mother Goddess, Shakti, is widely observed. The reason for this is the aforementioned association of sleep as a manifestation ofYogamaya .

Jagrata is performed all through the night to thank the GOD for his blessings and all the love he has bestowed upon us. It is believed that one who approaches the GOD with a pure heart never returns empty handed.

All major relegions of the world have prayers written in praise of the almighty. Some prayers are meant to be whispered, some chanted aloud and some are to be sung. Hinduism has a vast category of devotional songs too. Most of these songs were written thousands of years ago by rishis, munis and prominent Indian philosophers of those times. The songs were mostly written on dried leaves and therefore were very difficult to preserve. Each century has contributed to this vast array, although names of authors are mostly unkown. Surprisingly, most of their work has traveled down the times by word of mouth and by their sheer popularity.

Here are many distinct categories of singing styles prevalent in the diverse culture of India (Bharat).Devotional songs in northern part of India fall into several popular categories like Bhajan, Bhent, Mantra(snippets in sanskrit), Shlok (snippets in sanskrit and other popular languages), Kirtan etc. These are not to be confused with the classical Indian singing styles which are bound to discrete disciplines and are well defined. Although a bhajan may be based on a Raag, the relationship between the two is only loosely bound.

In a jagrata (also called jagran), the holy mother is invoked by singing aloud the devotional songs (bhents),bhajans and invited to grace the gathering with her presence. It is believed that the mother visits in form of a jot (flame) which is lit before the ceremony.Even this jot is sybolised in all religions may be hindu, Muslims, Sikhs, Christens in different forms some as Deepak or candle.

It is said in guru granth sahib that ‘Ek noor te sab jag upjeyaa’ means the hole world is created from light of jot.

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