Rajasthan: Ashok Gehlot government to organise Bhagwat Katha

The Gehlot govt has been promoting religious tourism and it has made budgetary sanctions for the conservation of the old temples and for building roads to various religious places

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (File image)
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (File image)

Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is earning the accolades of people from all walks of life for presenting a people-friendly state budget. But beyond the budget Gehlot government has surprised the BJP and the detractors of the Congress by announcing that the state Devasthan department that maintains all the temples and Hindu religious places would be organising Bhagwat Katha in Jaipur’s historic Parasram Dwara Temple, near the famous Amer fort from March one to eight.

The move to organise the Bhagwat Katha was initiated by the Devasthan department and the Devasthan minister, who is the spirit behind holding the Bhagwat Katha discourse will herself lead the Kalash yatra on Shivratri Day. This move of the Devasthan department was approved by the state government and also at the party level by the Pradesh Congress.

The Bhagavata Purana is also known as the Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana or simply Bhagavata is one of Hinduism's eighteen great Puranas (Mahapuranas) composed in Sanskrit. It promotes bhakti (devotion) to Lord Krishna integrating themes from the Advaita (monism) philosophy of Adi Shankara, the Vishisthaadvaita (qualified monism) of Ramamucharya, and the Dvaita (dualism) of Madhvacharya.

The Bhagavata Purana, like other Puranas, discusses a wide range of topics including cosmology, astronomy, genealogy, geography, legend, music, dance, yoga, and culture. As it begins, the forces of evil have won a war between the benevolent devas (deities) and evil asuras (demons) and now rule the universe. Truth re-emerges as Krishna,– first makes peace with the demons, understands them, and then creatively defeats them, bringing back hope, justice, freedom, and happiness – a cyclic theme that appears in many legends.

The Bhagavata Purana is a revered text in Vaishnavism, a Hindu tradition that reveres Vishnu. The text presents a form of religion that competes with that of the Vedas, wherein bhakti ultimately leads to self-knowledge, salvation, and bliss. However, the Bhagavata Purana asserts that the inner nature and outer form of Krishna is identical to the Vedas and that this is what rescues the world from the forces of evil. An oft-quoted verse is used by some Krishna sects to assert that the text itself is Krishna in literary form.

The date of composition is probably between the eighth and the tenth century, but maybe as early as the 6th century. Manuscripts survive in numerous inconsistent versions revised through the 18th century creating various recensions both in the same languages and across different Indian languages.

The text consists of twelve books (skandhas) totaling 332 chapters (adhyayas) and between 16,000 and 18,000 verses depending on the recension. The tenth book, with about 4,000 verses, has been the most popular and widely studied. It was the first Purana to be translated into a European language as a French translation of a Tamil version appeared in 1788 and introduced many Europeans to Hinduism and 18th-century Hindu culture during the colonial era.

The Gehlot government has been promoting religious tourism and it has made budgetary sanctions for the conservation of the old temples. It has also made budgetary sanctions for building roads leading to various religious places.

The venue of Jaipur has been chosen as Jaipur was the first to hold the Ashwamedha yagna and also Jaipur is considered a mini Kashi and is often described as the Chhoti Kashi.

The Devasthan department maintains a number of temples in the state and the pujaris and mahants are paid remunerations by the state government.

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