Mahendranagar, 6 September
Krishna Janmashtami is called Ashtimki in the Tharu community. The origin of the word Ashtimki is from the two words Ashtami and Tika, which means to apply Tika to Kanha who was born on the Ashtami date of the month of Bhadra.
In Ashtimki, on the morning of fasting, before the rooster crows, dankattan (dart food) is eaten. For this, fish is killed the previous day. If someone eats tar after the rooster has crowed, then he is considered to be leprous and is not allowed to fast.
The person who makes the Ashtimki picture has taken a bath in the morning and fixed it by mixing the color brought from the market the day before. In Ashtimki, there is a tradition of making hand paintings on the north wall of the bahri (generation) of the house, in which various human figures and natural pictures are made. Before making the picture, the wall is covered with a special type of clay called 'Dhaura' and made bright. This article specifically discusses the ritual of Ashtimki.
The Ritual Process of Ashtimki
Any ritual requires a participant. It has a presentation process. Krishna is worshiped by making wall pictures in Ashtimki. Krishna's character poetry is recited. Here the ritual process is discussed.
All the members of the house participate in the Ashtimki ritual. Chutki (small) Ashtimki children who have not fasted participate by making pictures. Women participate in duna, tapri tying, food preparation and puja. The men help to gather the materials needed to perform the ritual. Especially the youth participate in getting the material offered during Ashtimki Puja. Elders actively participate by reciting Ashtimki. The barghar (leader) of the village and his wife are very busy in Ashtimki. Because Ashtimki's picture is made for worship in his house.
Building a mural
Before making the picture, a radish circle is made with sticks of different colors. There are also three rooms within the circle of Ashtimki Chitra. At the top of it is a small room, in which the symbol of Krishna is made. Five to seven odd-numbered pictures can be made in the upper room. It is believed that the male figures made in its room are different forms of Krishna.
In the pictures made, they are seen wearing Madal, playing flutes, carrying guns, and wearing umbrellas. Madal and Bansuri are said to have been created by Krishna to bewitch his 1600 girlfriends and not want them. There is a picture of the moon on the left corner and the sun on the right corner.
It is also said that the male idols made in the upper room are of the five Pandavas.
Even in the middle room, female figures are made equal to the number of male figures made in the upper room. It is said that the female figure was made as a symbol of Draupadi. Some say it is a symbol of Krishna's sixteen hundred gopinis.
The lowest room is larger than the two rooms above. In it, other figures are made of barmuruwa, doli, farmer plowing, kajri forest related to different nature, flowers, lotus leaves, boat, fish, etc.
Apart from this, animals such as black snakes, dogs, elephants, horses, camels, monkeys, peacocks, and birds such as roosters have a place in Ashtimki. There is also a reference to these animals in songs sung in Ashtimki.
There are two types of Ashtimki pictures, Barka (big) and Chutki (small). A chutki picture is made in a separate circle next to the barka picture. Although the picture is the same in both, not all the pictures find place in Chutki Ashtimki picture. In this, small children get the opportunity to make pictures. Chutki Ashtimki's painting process has been a good way to pass the generation. People who fast all day perform puja on Barka Ashtimki, while small children perform puja on Chutki Ashtimki.
Worship of Kanha
After sunset, the women of the house (Agunyan, Mahatinyan) who made the Ashtimki, cover the generation with cow dung and spread the seven-colored gundri. There, the women of the village keep the materials such as rice brought for worship. In the same way, other essential items are placed on the west side, made of salla incense mixed with nauni, vermilion, water, and roots in a lota and two ghoghas made of corn ashtimki.
After the evening, those fasting go to the house where Ashtimki has been prepared, dressed in new clothes. Their adornment is no less than Radha's adornment in Ashtimki Kavya. Along with a mana of rice, green cucumbers, cucumbers, fruits such as bhogte, nibuwa, apples, etc., a clay lamp is also lit on the rice in the plate. The lamp should be lit in the Dehurar (worship room) of the house.
Women from all over the village gather in the house where the picture is made. Not only the devotees but also the spectators are also crowded there. At the beginning, Agunya performs the pooja at the beginning. A picture of Krishna is made on the top of Ashtimki. The order of wearing the tee starts from there and ends with the picture of the tail.
Agyari is given after vaccination. Agyari is the process of performing Havan in fire by mixing Salla incense and Nauni. After Agiari, lota water is repeatedly poured into the Agiari area, which is called Pardana.
Before inoculating Ashtimki, they put the rice they had brought in the spread gundri. There is a cucumber on the side of the rice and a lamp in the middle. Village boys come to cut cucumbers. After the pooja is over, they cut the leaves of the cucumber and keep it in its place along with the leaves. Cut cucumbers are distributed to those who come to watch the puja