5 months ago
The legend of power play
Dashain is celebrated for fifteen days. The Hindus revere goddess Durga and her nine different manifestations during the festival. In their private prayer room, they worship the deity for nine days, beginning from Ghatasthapana.
Sacrifices are a crucial part of this festival. They begin from the night of Maha Ashtami. Buffaloes, goats, fowl, and ducks are offered to the Goddess. It is believed that she defeated Mahisasur on the night of Kal Ratri. Sacrifices continue until Nava Ratri. This is the only day that Taleju opens for the public. This day is known by the name of 'Syako Tyako' in the Newar community. It translates to the more you kill the more you gain.
The historical aspect
On the night of September 15, 1846, a member of Laxmi Devi's courts-men, Gagan Singh, was murdered. To find the culprit, she ordered all the officers, generals and aristocrats to gather at the courtyard of the palace. Spontaneously, a heated debate arose among the members. The debate resulted in a fight where approximately 125 people lost lives. The conspirer of the murder and the massacre is believed to be of Jung Bahadur Rana.
The sacrifice at Taleju is believed to be an offering to the departed souls during the incident. Hence it is believed that the sacrifice on Maha Navami every year originated from the period of JB Rana.
The religious point of view
During the ancient period, people had set the tradition of offering sacrifices to goddess Durga. She was venerated as a deity of strength. The tradition of 'Shakti Puja' or the rituals done as a source of strength originated during the Lichhavi period. This tradition became even more familiar and rituals were done as a celebration during the reign of the Mallas. The shrine for Shakti Puja was founded by medieval king Sameshwadev in 1179 as mentioned by historian Dr Jagdish Chandra Regmi in one of his articles.
He also asserted that this shrine was sited at Yodha Tole in Bhaktapur, and is also mentioned in the chronicles of Gopal Dynasty. Consequently, this tradition became even more accustomed during the medieval period. What has to be understood here is that Taleju Bhawani is one appearance of the supreme power of eight manifestations of goddess Durga. The eight manifestations namely are Bhramayani, Rudrayani, Barahi, Indrayani, Kumari, Baishnavi, Chamunda, and Maha Laxmi.
In Nepal, Durga is venerated as a form of Chamunda. According to the ancient drama 'Malati Madhab', Chamunda was appreciated excessively by the people of Madras. In the course of taking the goddess to Sri Lanka from India, King Nanyadev of the Kiranti dynasty brought it to Nepal which is also asseverated in our history of deities. King Nanyadev founded the goddess in Simarangarh and ruled there.
Unfortunately for Simarangarh, the progeny of Nanyadev King Hari Singhdev faced the attack of the Muslims. Hari Singhdev along with wife Dewaladevi and son Jagjit Singh had to flee. The family with their ancestral deity headed toward the hilly region of Nepal. On the way to Dolakha, Hari Singhdev died. Dewaladevi and son Jagjit Singh being parted from their defender requested for shelter to Malla king Rudra Malla of Kathmandu. Rudra Malla without any reluctance welcomed them into the palace. Dewaldevi established their ancestral deity, which they had brought along from Simarangarh, in the palace of Rudra Malla. Gradually Taleju Bhawani also became their supreme deity.