The three-day-long world-famous Joranda Mela kicks off with spiritual fervor in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district today.
Beginning on Magha Purnima, the 147th Magha Mela is observed to mark the day of salvation of Mahima Gosain in Sunya Mandir at Joranda.
A huge number of devotees, monks and pilgrims from other states including Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand and neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet have thronged the Mahima Gaadi to participate in the Mahakumbh of Mahima sect.
Joranda Mela is exclusively a mass prayer of ascetics for the welfare of the world. It is aimed at spreading the message of love and humanity.
This apart, a trade fair has been set up to showcase and sell local produce. More than 2,000 traders are participating in it.
It is worthwhile to mention that the Joranda Mela is observed to mark the day of salvation of Mahima Gosain in Sunya Mandir at Joranda in 1876.
It is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of Magha (between January and February) and continues for three days.
Joranda Mela is organised by the Mahanitya Sadhubhakta Mandali (Kaupanidhari society), the Satya Mahima Dharma Dhama Parichalana Samiti (Bakaldhari) and the Dhenkanal administration.
The followers of Mahima Cult, saints, lead a life of poverty, celibacy, piety and constant movement. Like Buddhist monks, they don’t constitute a priestly class and don’t control over the lay devotees. They don’t worship any idol; instead, the supreme Lord of the indescribable grace (Alekha) is worshipped.
They are forbidden to adultery and violence, and consumption of any intoxicants and meat. They leave their beds at 4 AM and perform saran/darshan before sunrise. It is an act of complete surrender of self to Mahima Prabhu. This is repeated 3 times a day including noon and evening before sunset.
Mahima saints wander every day because they are not allowed to sleep in the same place on two consecutive nights, nor take meal twice from the same house any day. They are a tiny community of monks, wearing only a small saffron-colored cloth to cover their loins and knotting their hairs.
Thousands of sadhus, sanyasins, and devotees of both the sects such as the Kaupinidahri (wearing loin clothes) and the Bakaldhari (wearing the bark of a tree) reach Joranda on the auspicious occasion of Magha Mela to offer their prayer for world peace. The devotees pour tonnes of pure ghee on the sacred fire chanting “Brahma Alekh” or “Mahima Alekh”.
Joranda Mela reflects the ideals of Mahima Gosain who envisioned a classless society free from exploitation of the weak and poor by the feudal ruling chiefs and the landed gentry. His efforts also aimed at opposing the idea of large-scale conversion of Hindus to Christianity during the British rule in India.
Mahima Gosain ignited the ‘Akhanda dhuni’ (uninterrupted fire) on Magha Purnami for the welfare of universe and since then the ‘Akhanda dhuni’ is burning without any interruption.
After the death of Mahima Gosain in 1876, his disciples endowed the Mahima Gadi Mandir, the open temple (the temple with a void at the top), on his graveyard with the symbol of a serpent on the top. It is also called the ‘Shunya Mandir’ (temple of void) as no idols are worshipped.
Meanwhile, the devotees have erected Ekoisihatia Mandir, Ghanta Mandir and Dhuni Mandir in the holy shrine. The atmosphere at the Joranda Mela reverbs with the sound of ‘Alekh Brahma’ by devotees in rhythmic tone staunchly believing that these devotion will refine our earth and will provide the people with all their basic needs that are required in their daily lives.