Saturday 22 June 2024

Hati Besha or Gaja Besha

Hati Besha or Gaja Besha or the Gajanana Besha is represented on Snana Purnima as a part of the Snana Jatra tradition.

GAJA or Hati means- "Elephant"
It also signifies Shree Ganesha.

The first four letters of Jagannatha Mahaprabhu- JAGA.

It may be noted that GAJA and JAGA have the same four English letters/alphabets.

The principal servitor of Shree Jagannatha is "Puri Gajapati" i.e. the King of Puri.

On Snana Purnima, the sibling deities - Shree Jagannatha and Shree Balabhadra are dressed in Hati Besha i.e. Elephant dress/attire. (Images- Above)
Maa Subhadra is dressed in Kumari Besha. (Image- Below)

After the deities are ceremoniously bathed in 108 pitchers of sacred and scented water, they are decked up with the finery of this incredible Hati Besha.
More about the Deba Snana Purnima & Snana Jatra in my previous post-

As per Shreemandira Sebayat Sri Biswanath Samantara, today is the only day when bhoga is offered all around the deities, even on the back side of the idols.

In the image below, we can see a variety of bhoga like Anna, Khaja, etc being carried and served by Sebakas.

Many handicrafts like Solapith are used during many of His Besha including for Hati Besha.
Mahaprabhu uses many of our traditional, local, and Geographical Indication (GI) products.
Work is on for many Odisha GIs thanks to Mahaprabhu's blessings.

When and how did the Hati Besha start?
This began in the 15th Century.

There is an interesting story behind this-
A great devotee of Shree Ganesha named Ganapati Bhatt visited Puri.
He had heard that Shree Jagannatha Mahaprabhu is "Brahma" and thus came to see "Brahma" in Puri.
As he believed in Shree Ganesha, he believed Brahma should be in the form of his God.
As Ganapati Bhatt did not see his Shree Ganesha's form in Shree Jagannatha, he was disappointed and went away.

Shree Jagannatha understands what His devotees want.
Shree Jagannatha gave a message to him via a priest and asked Bhatt to revisit Shreemandira.
That day was Snana Jatra.
The deities had been bathed and bhoga had been offered.
Ganapati Bhatt was surprised to find the deities in the form of Shree Ganesha. They were using their trunks like elephants and eating the bhoga served on all sides, even on the back.
Thereafter, the Hati Besha is done on every Snana Jatra.

The above is the version of the story that Sri Samantara shared.

The story I had heard earlier from my mother and grandmother was a bit different.

Over the years, I have heard multiple versions of the story where some details are different, viz-

1. Most say Ganapati Bhatt belonged to Maharashtra; while some say he was from Karnataka.

2. Some say Shree Jagannatha disguised Himself as a priest and went to invite Bhatt after the latter had left Shreemandira; others say that Mahaprabhu conveyed his message through a dream to a priest and thus sent his servitor to look for and call Ganapati Bhatt.

3. Some say Mahaprabhu was already dressed in Hati Besha when Ganapati Bhatt revisited; others say that this Besha was started on the orders of Puri Gajapati from the next year onwards to mark Ganapati Bhatt's experience.

4. Some say that Ganapati Bhatt interacted with some other devotees at Athara Nala regarding "Brahma"; others say that he slept at Athara Nala when he was found by the priest who had gone to search him.

I shared the version I was aware of in my blog post, which was published word-for-word (without due credit) in Pragativadi newspaper, as mentioned in my previous blog post.

Sharing about Mahaprabhu is always a challenge.
First, I do not know what spellings to use- would like uniformity & no confusion.
Plus, we don't know what has really happened.
Do we have the right information?
I always believe that to learn about Mahaprabhu's sanskruti needs several lifetimes.
But how will mere humans know when Gods don't know!

Whatever may be the story, the reality is that:
- Mahaprabhu listens to His devotees.
- He answers their prayers.
- He appears in the form they like!
- He is "Bhaktara Bhagaban" - God of the devotees.

What can we say about His Leela?
Whatever we write seems inadequate.

Plus, correct representation is always a challenge.

The above is in no way exhaustive about Hati Besha. It is a curtain-raiser. Much remains to be written and shared. Hope to do as much as possible by Mahaprabhu's grace.
Everything is possible thanks to Him.

Jaya Shree Jagannatha Mahaprabhu🙏
May Mahaprabhu bless everyone 🎊

Images Source:
Shree Jagannatha Temple, Puri
Doordarshan National (DD1)

Had you seen the Hati Besha of Shree Jagannatha before?
Are you aware of any other God being dressed as Shree Ganesha?
Please share in the comments below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your words mean a lot to me.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...