Hyderabad: Let’s clear bonfire of the pandemic
Hyderabad: When the whole world is shivering under the scare of Omicron variant of the Covid virus, there is a hope that it would come to an end with traditional rituals, believe optimists. Bhogi ritual is part of one of the biggest festivals in the South India and has several reasons to it. Whether it will make the endemic of the pandemic has to be seen in the times to come.
However, it is interesting to note that the first day of the 3-day festivities, Bhogi, has an interesting legend, too. During this time, the sun is slightly farther away from the southern hemisphere of the earth, which is referred to as Dakshinayana. People make bonfires to keep themselves warm to ward off the cold temperatures. People in Dakshinayanam make it a ritual on the Bhogi day to make bonfires of their sufferings and pray to the Fire God to shower them with happiness in the ensuing Uttarayana.
Let us find out the legend and the scientific reasons as to why bonfires are lit on this festive day. The word ‘Bhogi’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘bhug.’ Bhoga means happiness and prosperity. It is our legend that the Festival of Bhogi came into play as a sign that Godadevi was absorbed in Sri Ranganadhaswamy on this day. We all know the epic ‘gaadha’ of Sri Maha Vishnu who trampled Bali Chakravarti into the underworld in the incarnation of Vamana. But later, on the eve of every Sankranti, the Bali Chakravarti was asked to emerge from the earth to bless the people.
What is the secret behind the bonfire? It is said in our mythology that bonfires are set up to invite the arrival of Bali Chakravarti. This is also the auspicious day when Lord Krishna taught Indra, the King of Gods, a lesson and lifted the Govardhana mountain with his little finger. This is also the day when Basavanna, the vehicle of Lord Parameshwara, was sent to the earth as a curse and the god of the peasants came down to earth. Generally, everyone says that it is winter and hence fires are set up to keep oneself warm. But the fact is that bonfires are not only to keep ourselves warm but also healthy. The ‘gobbemmas,’ flower-decorated balls of cowdung, are placed in front of the house throughout the month of Dhanurmasa.
Cow dung also dried in the form of cakes is also offered to these bonfires. The air is purified by burning cow dung cakes. Micro germs are destroyed. Oxygen is released into the air. Its air inhalation is good for health. In winter, many diseases spread. There are many respiratory diseases, especially those related to breathing. The bonfires work as a medicine. Flames, which are fuelled by the barks of the trees like ravi, mango, ficus among others, leap to reasonable heights to match the fervour of the revellers. Generous sprinkling of cow ghee adds to the aroma of the bonfire arena. Let us all make merry with bonfires responsibly and drive away the pandemic. Hopefully!!!