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Villages around Auroville

Auroville Village Action Group

Margarhi Masam

 

“Margarhi masam” is the favourite month of Lord Krishna.

Since this month is set apart for worship usually marriages and any other such functions are not performed during this month.

In temples all over India there will be a special pre-dawn worship. In early days people enjoyed being awakened by devotional songs accompanied by the traditional music played by god-intoxicated devotees. Everyone got woken up by girls, imitating the gopis , singing and running through the streets to join the melee at the village temple.

But in the recent decades technology has introduced labour saving loud speakers and recorded music – now people don't waste their time singing, they just switch “on and off” music. Everyone gets woken up for miles around, shaken by the blare of cinema songs.

 


Slowly people started to realize that they are heading into the wrong direction and destroying their original form of worship -- especially the newer generation with an educational background came up with the idea of re-organising the original way of worshiping. Actually, PETTAI can be a good example for that. “Raya Pettai” is a village of about 500 houses located north of Auroville, and it has been returning to celebrating Margarhi with no loud speakers and no recorded music, using traditional music and the devotional songs.

 

Let us see how did this amazing change happen?

 

A couple of years ago, in the early morning as the village temple loud speakers blared day after day, people were badly disturbed, but particularly the students who were studying for their public exams. One morning a man of about 65 years old, completely irritated by the sound, marched up to the temple and switched off the loud speaker and said “It will harm our student's life in the future”.

It was the turning point, or one can even say remarkable day, for the whole village to turn their backs on misdirected modernity and follow their ancestors' path. Since then, every year the elders of the village have organised a month long celebration in which the known singers and young people get up, with shruti boxes and chimes, and walk “en-chant-ingly” around the village led by a boy carrying the pictures of the gods, until by the time dawn has lit up the streets, they crowd into the temple and sing and ring enormously. At each house the women have made a beautiful large “ kolam ” on the pavement, and they come out to worship the god images with brass plates of camphor and tulsi water. Each day a different house is assigned to make tea for the minstrels, and also prepare Prasad (sweet rice and chickpeas) for the whole crowd at the temple at the end of the peregrination. The atmosphere is both ecstatic and convivially communal. Visiting Aurovilians feel completely at home, since most of the people work in Auroville – and there is a natural impulse to help the villagers restore their crumbling temple annex. [contact ananditrans@auroville.org.in who's in charge of fundraising for the repair work]

Most of the villages around Auroville are still using the loud speakers and recorded music. These loud speakers would be turned on very early (4 or 5 o'clock) in the morning and go on till 7 or 7:30, creating a cacophonous uproar all around. Normally this is the time to be quiet, to pray or meditate, and for students to read. When this is disrupted by the technology where can we go? But, with Pettai as an example, we may be not so far to see changes.

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