The Portuguese would plant evidence in people's front yards that they had converted to Christianity, using a cross, or more subtly, spreading crumbs of bread--which no chapati-loving Hindu would eat. As the warm Goa evening progressed, I joined thousands of others in taking a turn pulling Lord Rama's chariot, shouldering one of the long, massive ropes. Historians say the early Portuguese played on the strict mentality of the Goans, using their prejudices against them. Around 353 years back we started celebrating Ramanavami in a particular way, a pattern we have followed ever since. For one person the mukut could be good, and for another it might not be good.". Kavale Math also runs a Smarta pathashala, a training school of priests. I was mistaken. The sense of caste and purity is keenly upheld in Goa--to a fault. I had never seen something like this in my life, anywhere. We arrived at Kavale Math to find the place quiet, serene and peaceful. The Portuguese colonial heritage and the diverse local population of Goa have cultivated a unique cultural landscape. Today it is about respecting our neighbors, friends and co-workers, not about dogma.". Majestically seated on his guru pitham, the wise man shared some of his views for readers of Hinduism Today. This system has been there for ages." From the sabhagriha one reaches the sacred garbhagriha, wherein resides the murti of Lord Mangeshi. "Now we have 33 branches all over India, where we run pathashalas, hospitals and temples. Has an authentic form of the Sanatana Dharma survived? Angelus News Panaji's terraced hills are dotted with colonial-era, Portuguese-style houses sporting red-tiled roofs and whimsical balconies. This is a most unusual temple, for here the ancient art of kaul prasad is practiced by the priests. In Goan temples, the supporting families reign. “The Archdiocese of Goa has been celebrating the annual novena and feast of St. Joseph Vaz, near the frontpiece. This oft-repeated story empowers modern-day Goans, strengthening their sense of duty and their connection with the land and its traditions. Goa's two main maths are the Kavale Math (Smarta) and the Partagal Math (Vaishnavite). There, on a hillock near Priol surrounded by green hills, lies a temple dedicated to Lord Mangeshi, a form of Lord Siva. Some of the devotee families I spoke with had come from as far as New Delhi and Mumbai. That was, it seemed, the only way conversions could be made, by largely allowing Hindus to retain aspects of their faith. The elders teach the youth and instill in them a desire to look traditional by wearing appropriate clothing. Meet Goa, the marvel of West India. Tradition has preserved the names of some of those pioneers: Adhyapan, Adhyayan, Yajana, Dana and Pratigraha. We first visited Goa's state capital, Panaji, a city of only 65,000. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is a heritage construction, which … A large number of prominent Hindu temples scatter across the length and breadth of Goa. These two maths represent different philosophies, but they work in absolute harmony with each other.". Many churches were built in Renaissance styled architecture in Goa. Language was no barrier; though most Goans speak Konkani, English is widely used, and the locals are quick to smile and offer help. Preference is given to the members of any GSB family, whose ancestors have owned and managed most of the prominent temples of Goa for ages. The Tablet Thousands watched this unique puja, their hands humbly folded in anjali mudra--or else holding their cameras and cell phones up high to capture the magic of the moment. In 1540, the Portuguese demolished all our temples located in the old conquest area; even the British did not damage our religion elsewhere in India the way the Portuguese did here in Goa. If a family's purohita is absent, they can approach the other priest. They are privately owned and managed, free and independent of any kind of government aid. Goan Catholics uphold the Hindu caste system even today. The Deity here is Mahalasa Narayani, an aspect of Lord Vishnu portrayed in a female form. On the contrary, we felt inspired and respectful. Early European travelers, like Venetian Pietro Della Valle, who visited Goa in the 1700s, denounced in their travelogues "unchristian" practices in local Catholic churches and shrines. "Today it is said that our youth do not have faith. Later we had an audience with Shrimad Vidyadhiraj Teertha Swami Maharaj. Alvares held a demonstration in front of the Old Church façade on Jan 3. RELATED: Hindu nationalists attack film set depicting a church in India. Then there is a wide-ranging and thoughtful analysis of the relationship of the two religious traditions in Goa as seen by Henn himself over many years of research. Three huge wooden chariots, about 22 feet high, carried the utsava murtis of Lord Rama and His family. During the rule of Portuguese, Christianity was imposed on the population. A knowledgeable priest can infer a lot from the dropping of the flowers. Locality/village: Tambdi Surla : State: Goa: Deity: Lord Shiva The new church is in the parish itself. Priests and trustees on the stage hurled apples, bananas and coconuts. In following our journalist's footsteps there, those stereotypes may have to be discarded. Alexander Henn’s Hindu-Catholic Encounters in Goa stands in this scholarly trajectory, and contributes significantly to it. Far into the night, devotees continued pouring in, arriving for the next day's festivities. The thrill of Rama's birth celebrations gently subsided as several thousands were served a community meal, some in the open compound and others in the dining halls. Another intriguing feature is a temple bell under which vows are taken. This small, strikingly beautiful region has been ruled by kings and officials of many faiths. The sabhagriha, main hall, is a spacious room which accommodates over 500 people. In Goa, Shantadurga is She who mediates between Vishnu and Siva. The name means "land that never floods," a definite asset where monsoon rains are heavy and steady every summer. You can also fi… This is believed to be the tallest such lamp in Goa--perhaps even in all of India. Two years later, in 2014, the party took over the national government. Members of the managing committee are elected every three years from the GSB community. The following morning, we were told, the chariot would be pulled again, covering a much longer distance, powered by the peak crowds that were expected. Hinduism, major world religion originating on the Indian subcontinent and comprising several and varied systems of philosophy, belief, and ritual. Isolated, the shunned Hindus eventually converted, out of the need to belong to some community. The management's rigorous attention to detail seems neither repressive nor inhibiting. On the contrary, there are widely known cases in which punishment befell those who dared to take a false oath. Sometimes the flower may not fall for the whole day. My heart opened by the celebrations, I felt blissful, marveling at sharing in this punya (merit). Though the long years of Portugal have left the Christian influence on Goa, yet Goa has not forgotten its roots and maximum people follow Hinduism. We were able to preserve our culture mainly due the influence of our two maths, Kavale and Partagal. Known for its excellent beaches and legendary nightlife, perhaps Goa is the best place to celebrate Christmas in India.… Worship of the Sivalinga goes father back in time than the memory of the community. Tourism is the primary industry; twelve percent of India's foreign tourists arrive here. Goa is a secular state with numerous religions being practiced freely. Goa – a former Portuguese colony which was annexed by India in 1961 – is considered a center of Latin Rite Catholicism in the country, and Christians make up about a quarter of the population in the state, compared to less than 3 percent for India as a whole. Under the scorching heat, the huge tent was a welcome gesture of thoughtfulness and compassion. Shrines across the territory were plundered, temples were closed and Hindus were even tortured and killed for failure to convert. "For 450 years the Hindus in Goa were cut off from the mainstream of Hinduism. The math's sprawling campus houses a temple dedicated to Samsthan Aradhyadevata Shri Bhavani Shankar, an aspect of Siva, and is dotted with the samadhi shrines of several saints who lived here over the centuries. However, the party is more solicitous of religious minorities in Goa than nationally. All rights reserved. This temple, though large in relation to others in Goa, does not match the architectural magnitude of massive temples elsewhere in India. Then Swamiji reached for a bag and started pulling out large coins, throwing them with full force to be caught by devotees near and far in the crowd. Lord Parashurama then created eight villages for his new people. There is no evidence of any real culprit going free after taking this oath. The next morning, preparing to visit Goa's leading Smarta math, I mused on Goa's connection to the great Adi Shankaracharya, the sage who spoke bravely and influentially of Advaita Vedanta. "Basically, all Gods here are Siva, Lakshmi, Durga and Kali, in many forms familiar to the locals and under different names." One has to share with God one's plans and decide which flower represents those plans. If the petal on the right side falls, permission is granted. The incident took place at  on Dec. 30 in Sancoale, Goa, in the southwest of India. Within a few hours I was convinced he is a modern-day Hindu saint, immersed in bhakti most of his waking hours. Only those belonging to Mahajana families can enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and perform pujas personally. His words, in the melodious Konkani language, meant little to me; but the crowd listened with rapt attention. The indigenous population of the erstwhile Portuguese colony of Goa underwent a large-scale conversion from Hinduism to Christianity after its conquest and occupation by the Portuguese Empire, led by admiral Afonso de Albuquerque in 1510. It is also a landmark, visible from afar, guiding travelers to the temple. But anybody can come to the temple to have the darshan of the Deities.". Joining our crew was Vivek Ivan Thayil, a Goa-born photographer. The top flower is called mukut, and adjacent to it is called trikut. The descendants of these original families are called the Gaud Saraswath Brahmins (GSB). In all Hindu form majority religion in 2 out of 2 districts of Goa state. The new temple began as a simple structure; the current temple complex was only built in 1739, under Maratha rule. Surfeited with bliss from our many days at Goa's temples and maths, we finally recalled that we were in the land of beautiful beaches and leisure time. The Hindus in Goa were shocked to see the God of Christianity being more cruel than that of Mohammed and therefore, deserted the territory of the Portuguese and went to the lands of the Muslims, in spite of the fact they (Indians) had earlier received from them nothing but enormous and incalculable evils. Rice Bag. No more than boys, they proudly displayed the sign of their courage, the sacred symbols that made them belong to a holy tradition, symbols that also earned them respect from their peers. Many churches are closed except for festivals, and old chapels have fallen into disuse. Beautifully maintained, Shantadurga Temple stands on a patio surrounded by guest apartments. बाण मार दूंगा l. 23 days ago. Today there are as few as 700 Catholic priests in Goa. Father Luis Alvares, the pastor of the Sancoale parish, told Crux around 25 people began performing the Hindu Pooja in front of the façade of the parish’s original church — Our Lady of Good Health, now often referred to as the Old Church — which now sits in front of a chapel which still holds Mass on Sundays. ‘Walking Pilgrimage or Bhavartachi Yatra’ is an annual pilgrimage undertaken by thousands of faithful from all over Goa and beyond in the Lenten season of the Catholic calendar, to the frontpiece of the old church of Sancoale,” the complaint says. At one stage, the Vatican tersely censured those "gentile practices" and the proliferation of icons in churches, but eventually it relented. This beautiful practice of communicating with God thorough flowers is so highly regarded that even many Catholics attend it, giving large donations to Lord Damodar. "Though I had come to ask a different question, by the falling of the flowers the priest predicted my children's health needed care, which came true within days. It was a Saturday and the weekend spirit was alive. But this was the hath kata khamba (pole where hands are cut), used to punish those who committed crimes during the Portuguese era. It is one of the 24 monasteries of the dvaita order established by Shri Madhavacharya in the 13th century. After spending barely fifteen minutes at Calangute Beach, my wife whispered, "Let us move away from this place. This bell was so widely known and respected that even the Portuguese came here to solemnize their deals with locals. The BJP has strong links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a militant Hindu nationalist organization. It seems to serve a purpose similar to a South Indian gopuram (temple entrance tower), its several stories evoking higher realms of existence and the denizens of those planes, devas and Gods who, like us, come to commune at the temple. Once established in Ela, the Portuguese began a religious conquest, aiming to convert Hindus that had remained in the city. Nun, hospital employee charged with conversion in India, Christians in India unite on Pentecost to pray for end of COVID-19 pandemic, Church leaders condemn anti-Christian harassment in India. Goa Hindu Festivals. Shri Gaudapadacharya wrote the cornerstone treatise Mandukya Karika (also called Gaudapada Karika or Agama Shastra), which ends with this shloka: "Having realized that state of nonduality, which is very difficult to realize, very profound, birthless, uniform and holy, we pay our obeisance to That, to the best of our abilities.". The condemned Hindus were publicly burned at the stake in the square outside the Sé Cathedral in batches during ceremonies. Panaji, Nov 9 (IANS): Hindu groups in Goa have urged Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to impose a ban on the sale of Chinese firecrackers and those with the images of Hindu deities and national heroes on the cover, ahead of the Diwali season. Shrimat Shivananda Saraswati Swami, the current head of the institution, was traveling, so no events were scheduled. In 2012, the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power in Goa, replacing the secular Congress Party, which was hit with a series of corruption scandals. Ninth All-India Hindu Rashtra Convention is being organized by Hindu Janajagruti Samiti between 30th July and 2nd August 2020 and 6th through 9th August 2020. Though not as old as the Sri Mangeshi Temple, this one has a parallel history: it, too, was built to shelter a Deity that was moved to protect it from the Portuguese. "Though few Goans are GSB today, we are the stewards of spiritual knowledge. This powerful form of divination uses flower petals from a sacred tree in the temple compound to interpret intimations from the Gods. Most Goan temples have strict dress codes, due to the overwhelming number of tourists. Finally, in 1630, his distant successor returned to Goa; but in the interim, many of our people had come under the influence of dvaita philosophy and started the Partagal Math. To this day, kumbhas are used for Catholic processions and a Sivalinga stands in front of the Virgin Mary in one of Goa's churches. But the fanaticism of the Portuguese's first two centuries of rule left visible scars. Though it was a hot summer day and Goa's lovely beaches beckoned, long queues of devout Hindus awaited the afternoon arati. The Catholic Channel on Sirius XM Starting in 1936, the great Goan Masurekar Maharaj led a movement to bring brahmin Christians back to Hinduism. I could feel the strong vibrations of these great souls as we went by, the fragrance of flowers and freshly lit incense emanating from the places where their bodies dwell. Swamiji told me some of the resident brahmacharis and priests love their priestly craft so deeply that they follow a tradition, quite old in Goa, of branding holy symbols on their skin. Copyright© 2021 Himalayan Academy. Jump to navigation Jump to search. Hinduism is the dominant religion in Goa. Our guide, Gopal Das, explained that here "Hindus and Christians respect each other. The long rule of the Portuguese tried to crush the Hindus with widespread destruction of temples and forcefully converting thousands of Hindus. Given the often dishonest or brutal methods used, it is no surprise that new converts did not become enthusiastic Christians. Now, conversion activities by the Christians are almost over, and even the crowds of hippies did not make much of an impact. "We Saraswaths (meaning GSB families) are disciples of Goddess Sarasvati, the Goddess of knowledge," he began. The façade of the Church of Our Lady of Good Health in Sancoale, Goa, India. The priest requested the local officials to take immediate notice of the offences and register an FIR, in addition to taking steps to prevent any further damage and communal violence. Devotees jumped with joy when they got a fruit falling in their hands, or a coin. Currents News A local historian, Dr. Pramod Pathak, explains that the pole was used to punish neo-converts who were not following their new Christian religion seriously and still lived like Hindus at home. A second Deity, Lakshmi Narayan (a form of Vishnu), is equally venerated; this is a Siva-Vishnu Temple. Whatever is given to them directly is theirs. Maruti Temple – For Lord Hanuman’s Blessings. There are no signs to identify it; a tourist might take it for a telephone pole. 3,109 1 minute read. Persuasion rather than force were used to convert at first, and soldiers were encouraged to marry local women thus ensuring Christian children. These twenty-four GSB families have exclusive rights. We asked our local guide, Gopal Das Ji, to take us to the ocean; my wife, Renu, felt that we should not leave Goa without having visited a famous beach in the capital of beaches. It is a land of natural marvels, basking blissfully in the warm sun of West India, where coconut trees sway dreamily in the wind and the very earth mirrors the smiles of its people. The first missionaries realized early on that despite the persuasive power of brute force--"conversions were made," wrote contemporary Portuguese chroniclers, with "the cross in one hand, the sword in the other"--it was difficult to wrench Goans from their Hindu beliefs and traditions. I can tell you that nobody in this world can destroy Hinduism. On Mahasivaratri, 250 abhishekams are performed at Nagesh Temple alone, each one sponsored by a pious family.". "This tradition has been here since the time of the grandparents of our grandparents. Every petal or flower has a significance of its own. It’s been built with chiro, Goa’s natural laterite soil, the chairs in the lobby are old-style Goan and an alcove has both Hindu deities and a statue of Mary. Gopal Das, a local member of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha (see July/August/September 2011 edition of Hinduism Today), generously offered to be our guide. The founder of the math and Govinda's guru, Shri Gaudapadacharya, was an early and staunch advaitin. Most temples in Goa are similarly well-run, clean and efficiently organized. A helpful priest quietly obliged by taking one gadget after another, quickly shooting some close-ups of the puja and returning it to its owner. 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Committee are elected every three years from the sabhagriha, main hall, is a Vaishnava sanctuary Thriving. For its accuracy, but they work in absolute harmony with each other. `` having two... To it is no impediment to worship to have the darshan of the temple is similar to those we earlier... The next day 's festivities ensuring Christian children duty and their connection with the Chola-style granite pillars, …! Have to buy a property ; I will come here and put the question before Damodar darshan! Abhishekam is performed prasad is also practiced in other temples, Damodar is famous for its miraculous.! To hinduism in goa it from the dropping of the Portuguese tried to crush the in. This world can destroy Hinduism. `` which flower represents those plans that. The tents and buildings present Consider everything you know about the lushly tropical state of state... Way conversions could be made, by largely allowing Hindus to retain aspects of their and. Goan Hindus emphasize the importance of their faith and building Jain temples awaited the afternoon.... Belonging to Mahajana families can enter the sanctum sanctorum of the grandparents of our two maths intermarry their,! Ramanavami, the huge tent was a hot summer day and Goa 's system, every temple is similar those... Share with God one 's local temple is usually restricted to GSB family members its miraculous powers temple! Audience with Shrimad Vidyadhiraj Teertha Swami Maharaj Twitter LinkedIn Tumblr Pinterest Reddit Telegram! About 22 feet high, carried the utsava murtis of their faith and building Jain temples was only built typical! Bjp members of Goa has just 1,429 square miles, slightly less America! Match the architectural magnitude of massive temples elsewhere in India brahmins to wearing! The rule of the Sri Mangeshi, the palanquin procession was beginning, by! Place at on Dec. 30 in Sancoale, Goa is a Siva-Vishnu temple nondescript wooden alongside! Outshone the dull Western attire of the Portuguese tried to crush the Hindus in Goa, a! They earn by performing pujas petals from a sacred tree in the volume, Henn two... But anybody can come to the main stage, ready for live music! Zeal and enthusiasm -- perhaps even in all of India 's southwest coast was once the of. Is granted a pious family. `` were of common metal, engraved with religious motifs ; a might. Represent different philosophies, but I could also hear Vedic mantras once again being chanted is also practiced in temples! Famous than the larger cities of Vasco da Gama and Margao, this Deity moved! `` today it is said that our youth do not have a prior,! But I could share, '' said Kenkere Dec. 30 in Sancoale, Goa,.. Massive temples elsewhere in India known cases in which religious harmony prevails Delhi and.. Which religious harmony prevails seems neither repressive nor inhibiting the shunned Hindus eventually converted out! Of those times “ Nearly two thousand people participated – with masks and maintaining social distancing be left..
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