Maa Bhramari Devi

Introduction

Janasthan Shakti Peeta is one of the most famous Shakthi Peetas.  Sati’s chin fell here. Devi is worshipped as Bhramari or Chibuka (meaning Chin) and Lord Shiva as Vriktaksh/Vikrakatakkha (one with crooked eyes) or Sarvasiddhish (one who grants all wishes). Here Devi is worshipped as Maa Saptashringi, as there are seven peaks (Sapta Shrunga) around the Devi. Brahmari Devi Shakthi Peeta is also known as Janasthan Shakti Peeta.

Location

Janasthan Shakti Peeta is located in a village, Vani which is 40 kms from   Nasik, Maharastra. The temple can be easily accessed by road, rail and air. The nearest airport is from Mumbai and Pune which have direct flights to Nasik. Nasik is 185 kms from Mumbai and 220 kms from Pune. Nearest railway station is from Nasik which is well connected to all major cities. The State government plies a good number of buses to Vani from Nasik.

Deity

The deity has 18 arms holding different things like Battle axe, Arrow, Beads, Sword, Bell, Sudarshan Chakra, Mace, Thunderbolt, Lotus, Bow, Cudgel, Lance, Trident, Conch, Noose, Shield, Water pot etc. The idol is 10 ft high. The Goddess is smeared with Sindoor all over the body. There is also a stone image of a buffalo representing the demon (Mahishasur) at the foot of the hill whom, the devi as Mahishasura Mardini had slain. There is a trishul or trident in the courtyard to which bells and lamps are tied. Devi is believed to be a Swayambu (self manifestation) and residing at one of the rocks of Saptashrunga. The temple is also considered as the Bhadrakali Mandir of old Nasik.

Bhramari means bees in Sanskrut. There are black bees around the Devi.  Maa Bhramari is said to be manifestation of Maa Kalika. The “Hring” sound produced by her bees is one of the Seed-Mantra or Beejakshar mantra of the Devi.

Puranic references

In Ramayana, there is a mention of Dandakarnya forest which is part of Saptashrungi Mountain. It is believed that Lord Rama and Devi Sita visited Dandakarnya forest and worshipped Goddess Amba.

Sage Markandeya (who later came to be known as Bhakth Markandeya and composer of Devi Mahatmaym) a devotee of the Goddess Bhramari and Sage Parasher, believed to be a manifestation of Sriman Narayan, accomplished their meditation and tapasya at Saptashrungi.

Once a demon, or Daitya called Aruna, wanted to defeat all the Gods. He had a strange desire of not wanting to be killed by any God, any weapon, nor by any man or woman, or by any two legged or four legged creature. He did meditation and prayed to Lord Brahma for thousands of years. Finally Lord Brahma pleased with his prayer granted him the boon he desired. With the blessings of Lord Brahma, the demon Aruna with other Rakshasas announced a war on the gods/ devatas to establish his supremacy on earth by conquering the Devatas. The Gods, prayed to the Mother of the Universe, requesting her help in conquering the demons.

When the Goddess appeared to help the Devtaas, a swarm of black bees came out of the Devi’s body.  These bees killed all the demons and thus the Gods/ devtas were saved. From then on the goddess came to be known as Bhramari Devi, or Goddess of Bees.

The temple is considered as Sita Gufaa (Sita Gufaa temple complex) which is located on the western side door of Kalaram temple near Panchavati. The cave can be accessed only through a narrow. There is a Shiva Ling which is believed was worshipped by Lord Rama, Lakshman and Sita during their exile.

In Ramayana war, when Lakshmana was lying unconscious in the war field, Hanuman came to Saptashringi to get medicial herbs to restore his life.

Rituals

The deity is given a religious abishekam or bath daily, after which the goddess is dressed in new clothes. The god is dressed with precious ornaments like silver nose ring, necklaces etc.

Festivals and Fairs

Navaratri and Durga Puja is celebrated with great splendour.

Kumba Mela is held in Nasik once in 12 years on the banks of river Godavari.

The most important festival is the Chaitra festival which starts on Ramnavami (Chaitra shukla paksha navami) and ends on Chaitra poornima(the biggest day of the festival). The festival is attended by childless women who pray to the goddess for a progeny. People from nearby states attend the festival. During the festival, the goddess is given a panchamruta snan and on the penultimate day, the deity’s banner is worshipped and taken through the village in presence of the village headman (gavali patil) of Daregaon village and is hoisted on the hill peak at midnight. On the final day of the festival, villagers worship the deity on the hill top along with a darshan of the banner. The celebration at the temple during the Chaitra festival dates back to 15th Century.

Devotees usually offer fruits, ornaments, grains, flowers, coconuts money, silk saris, and burfi to the goddess Bhramari. Bhopas are the hereditary guardians of the temple. The Saptashiti (700 verses on Devi) is also recited by many devotees.

Special poojas is conducted on every Tuesday, Friday, Ashtami, Navami and Chaturdashi of every month, which is considered very auspicious. Other festivals celebrated are the Gudi Padwa (New year of Marathi’s celebrated on Chaitra Shukla Padya),Gokulashtami, Kojairi (harvest festival celebrated on Ashvin or Ashwija Shukla Poornima)  Laxmipuja (celebrated on deepavali amavasya)when large number of devotees visit the temple.