Author : Rtn. Gangaram Shamdas Purswani(P.H.F)
Khudabadi Sonara Community is Hindu by religion and believe Hindu gods, Symbols, Vedas, Upanishad, Purans and other religious texts and follow Hindu and Sindhi Customs, Traditions, Philosophy, Beliefs, Concepts Rituals, Sanskars and Nature worship. Their life style is filled with Hindu and Sindhi Culture and enjoys its Lore & Folks. Although they are devotees of Goddess Durga yet, in their temples the deity of Jhulelal, Guru Nanik, Shri Ram, Shri Krishna, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Hanuman is worshiped with equal enthusiasm. There are no restrictions and hard & fast rules laid down on basis of religion. They follow rules & regulations of Puj Khudabadi Sonara Panchayat, wherever, they are residing. At the same time, they are fond of wearing colorful rich clothing and jewelry. Partying and Socializing is an intrinsic part of their lifestyle.
The “Chat-hi” (the naming ceremony) of the new born child is performed sixth/thirteenth day according to their bradri whereas “Mundan” ceremony of male child is performed at the end of first year and that of female child is performed at the end of third or fourth month. In this ceremony, the hair is shaven, leaving a little hair at the crown of the head. In tradition, the hair from birth is associated with undesirable traits from past lives. Thus at the time of the Mundan, the child is freshly shaven to signify freedom from the past and moving into future afresh. It means enhancing the longevity of the life span of the child. The little hair is left at back is known as “Shikha”. This is supposed to protect that part of brain which helps to enhance the memory. The “Janeyan”: The Sacred Thread ceremony is performed on the male child of the family to initiate them to be a “Hinduism” follower.
Before wedding, the “Pukka”: The father of the boy and a few of his family members go to the home of girl’s father taking along some presents and ask him for his daughter to marry his son. As such, the Engagement of boy with the Girl is confirmed. After that the marriage ceremony is performed as per Hindu customs and rituals. But there are a few unique Rituals & traditions, which are performed by the community, as under :
- Invitation to Dev (Family Deity)
This ritual is performed in the groom’s and bride’s homes separately. The family pandit forms an image of the family deity, which differs from family to family, with cow dug and prays with incense and rice etc. in the presence of family members. Thereafter, the couple is given a kirpan (a shoft form of sword of about 6” to 9” long) to keep until the wedding ceremony is completed and is not permitted to go out of the home, till the time of the wedding event. The materials, used in the prayer, are immersed in a river, three days after the wedding. The Family Deity’s sacred invocation prior to the marriage making an absolute certainty and hurdle free wedding of couple.
On the morning of the wedding day, the bride’s parents keep four earthen pots filled with water along with a few pieces of cardamom and cloves, in a corner of the main room of their house. A son-in-law of the brides’ parent, seals the covers of the pots with wheat flour dough mixed with turmeric powder. He also erects, near the pots, a five feet long wooden stick, on the top of which is fixed two smaller wooden sticks, in form of plus (+), in such a way that the sticks point to four geographical directions (East, West, North and South). During the evening of the wedding day, the son-in-law of groom’s parents collects the kirpan from the groom and opens the pots with it. The water of the pots is distributed among the guests. This ritual is to pray the four directions of the earth for the prosperity and blissful longevity of the couple.
- Assembly of Puj Panchayat :
On the morning of the wedding day, the bride’s father requests the members of Puj Panchayat to assemble at a community hall, where, on the instructions of the President of Puj Panchayat, “Bhat”, a religious messenger, collects a “Saree” (Bridal dress), from the bride’s father and exhibits it to the present members. Then, the couple’s parents formally solicit the blessings and invite the members to attain and grace the wedding ceremony and then, the breakfast is served. The community does not have dowry system. The bride’s parents imparts with some new dresses and jewelry to their daughter as a gift called “Kanya Dan”, which, during earlier days, was exhibited, in full, to the assembled members of the Puj Panchayat by the “Bhat”, in an evidence, that the “Kanya Dan” is within the limits, fixed by the Puj Panchayat. This tradition symbolizes that the wedding is taking place with the approval of the Puj Panchayat.
IV). The “Shapata-Pati”: Seven Circumambulations around the “Holy Fire” symbolizing the seven vows taken by both the partners in marriage that solemnizes their union. The “Loon- Maap”: The play full game of cupping salt in both hands between bride and bridegroom’s family members.
V). The “Sagro -Chhoran”: Where you invoke Lord Shiva for boon granted and call all family members to partake of “Sai bhaji and Dhodho”.
Khudabadi Sonara Community worship piously the Goddess Durga and religiously observe Navratra. During Navratra, they perform “Devi-Sithapana” and propitiate on each day her nine manifestations (Nav Durga) – The nine forms of Durga – Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Maha Gauri, Siddhidatri which are based on various functions in protecting the cosmos and keeping the divine cosmic cycle running. They perform Pooja-Path & Rituals for nine days and nights, eat vegetarian food (once in a day), sleep on floor/ground, adhere to brahamcharya and do not shave. Terracotta Kalash is installed on small containers in which “Jau” (a kind of barley) is sown and an oil lamp is supposed to be kept lit all through the nine days and nights. Finally, on the tenth day, after performing “Havan”, the installation is taken for immersion in a lake or river for reiteration, rejuvenation and growth. The basic aim of this puja is to propitiate Goddess Durga, in her aspect as Shakti and Cosmic Power, to bestow upon men all wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge and all potent powers and linking himself with her.
They also worship Goddess Durga as Shakti in form of Maha Durga, Maha Maya, Mahisha-Mardini, Chamunda, Chandika, Raki-Danika (Kali), Tara, Bhavani and Muktakeshi.
And finally the “cremation” of the dead body after performing holy rituals and pujas.