Godavari Harathi

1417734180000 » Tagged as: Godavari , Tagged as: rivers , Tagged as: environment , Tagged as: nature worship



"The hydrologic cycle describes the pilgrimage of water as water molecules make their way from the Earth's surface to the atmosphere, and back again." NASA has called it a 'pilgrimage'. I had the good fortune to make a pilgrimage myself, to attend a pilgrimage by the people on the bank of river Godavari, at Rajahmundry, in Andhra Pradesh. 'Godavari Harathi Utsav' (homage to Godavari) was a puja utsav attended by pilgrims from all over Andhra and Telanagana, to honour the pilgrimage made by the goddess Godavari.


Water has always been sacred, to all life on earth. It used to be most sacred, holy, when it fell from the sky, as God's blessing on all life. But man, who has always been the violator, began to commit sacrilege by polluting the air around him, thus defiling the sacred water falling down from the sky. As the water began its pilgrimage back to the sky, to the abode of the Gods, man continued to defile and abuse the goddess of water.


Godavari, like all other river goddesses, has been defiled ever since. The irony is that man has also continued to worship the river as a goddess, offering puja and seeking her blessings. All things sacred are also pure, and it is the duty of man who holds them sacred to keep the purity of the sacred objects. But man, who always fights for his rights, never thinks about his duties and obligations.


Godavari is the second longest river in India, after Ganga, with over 60 million people living alongside and depending on her water. Godavari has also been called the 'River for Writers of Andhra Pradesh'. Nannayya, the first Telugu writer and the first Telugu poems 'Guadyudi Bhruhatkatha' and Haala Satavahana's 'Gaadha Saptashathi' had been written by the banks of the Godavari. It is heartening to see the Telugu writers today are taking up their responsibilities to create awareness among people, that it is their sacred obligation to keep the river goddess clean and pure.


In India they took up the cleaning of their most sacred river Ganga, recently, which may be rather too late. The Yamuna is long past the time it could have been cleaned and her polluted water is threatening the foundation of the Taj Mahal. Godavari is comparatively clean, and there is hope her contamination and pollution could be controlled, prevented and someday it could be as clean as she would have been a few thousand years ago.


Godavari Devi is violated more with agrochemical poisons, because her pilgrimage is mostly through agricultural land, and instead of offering flowers and incense most people offer poison. This is an easily preventable destruction, because if we can go back to our traditional methods of farming, we need not use poison on our cultivations. Industrial effluents and waste are offered as puja by the industrialists, in return for her water used by them. None of these desecrators would have poisoned their own wells, from which they draw their drinking water. Poisoning the water on another man's well would have been considered as murder, yet today no one is concerned about poisoning the water source for billions of people living on river basins around the world.


Godavari Utsav also recognized the services and contributions by great sons and daughters of the Godavari basin, with annual awards. 'Sri Sripada Subramanya Sastri Memorial Literary Award' was made to Ravulapati Seetaramrao. Sri A. Ravi Shankar Prasad Award for contributions in journalism, was made to the Dalit writer Mallepally Laxmaiah.


On 6th November, on Kartik Poornima, Buddhavarappu Charity Trust celebrated the Godavari Harathi Utsav, for the 50th time, in the best possible way to pay homage to goddess Godavari. They had initiated the cleaning of the river on every full moon day for the past four years. This charitable trust is the brainchild of Dr. Buddhavarappu Venkat Rao, who has been practicing free medicine in his native village, Polamuru, after his retirement. His son S. N. Kumar Buddhavarapu is the moving force today, who is helping the people, through the Trust. The environmental concerns are always on their minds. In the temple they have built for the god Dattatreya (the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), for the Nava Graha Puja they have set aside a separate garden to obtain the kinds of flowers needed for the puja.


This is a lesson for all of us, all around the world. What the people in Rajahmundry have been doing for the past four years, and what the government has initiated recently are admirable efforts, but what we are really doing is, drink poison first and then trying to purge it from the system. It is time we stopped drinking poison, time we stopped adding poison to our sacred rivers. This is where we scribes and artists could play a very important role, to draw attention to this criminal activity by man, and educate the young children to respect Mother Earth, and Gods and Goddesses who bring us all natural resources and benefits.


In USA, they began a program for children, 'Reading for the Earth'. For children to read for the Earth, we have to write for the Earth, write stories, poems, songs, paint pictures, produce plays for the Earth. We should produce them not just for the children, but for the adults too.


"Let us pledge for the mammoth task of keeping our Goddess Godavari River Clean and Serene." They pledged at the Godavari Harathi. Let us all pledge to keep all the waters on earth clean and serene, because it is most sacred to all life. Let us all go back to Nature Worship, to hold all Nature as Sacred, so that we would not desecrate, abuse or violate resources offered by her.




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