KOZHIKODE: From time immemorial Hindus worship nature in its different manifestations, one of which is the traditional worship of the sea, ‘samudra pooja’. The auspicious Makar Sankranti has been considered as a sacred day by the Hindu fishermen and coastal residents when the whole Prakriti under goes a major transition.
Hindus of costal belt consider the sea as their Mother, the embodiment of life giving nature who also protects them from natural calamities. Just like ‘Thai Pongal’ has been celebrated in Tamil Nadu and other southern parts and ‘Gopooja’ is its important part, the pooja of sea is a speciality of Kerala coasts. Both are our traditional rituals connected with the life of our common people. In Kerala traditional fishermen since so many years consider the sea as their life giving mother, ’Kadalamma’ and it is with this belief they give utmost devotion and respect to the sea.
We see the description of samudrapooja first in Ramayana. Sree Rama requests Varuna, the Seagod, to bless him and his soldiers to cross the sea in order to go to Lanka to find out Sithadevi. With the permission and blessing of Varuna Rama built the Sethu, crossed the sea and paved the way to Lanka.
Just like the farmers start their cultivation process with ‘bhoomipooja’, the vanavasies begin their works in the forest after worshipping the ‘vanadevatha’ the fishermen venture into the sea after due devotion and respect. Every fishermen when they move their boat into the sea they first of all touch the seawater and pray with folded hands for the blessing of ‘Mother Sea’. Apart from the devotional aspect ‘Samudrapooja ‘ has got an environmental side also. By offering pooja with vedic hymans and pouring ‘Theertha’, flowers, sandal, coconut etc. to sea water it is believed that sea water is purified as there is a great danger of contamination of sea in many ways.
A lot of impurities owing to various types human activities enter into the sea which gradually finish the very life of sea water and its livestock. So giving attention and devotion to this life giving source and protect it from devastation is the need of the hour. To give timely awareness and attention among the people of the coast line towards sea ‘samudrapooja’ is an action in the correct direction. Not only that it is essential to draw attention of the common people to that sea coast, as it is an important boundary of our nation. There is always the threat of foreign hostile elements coming to our country with the connivance of domestic antisocial groups. Recent mock alert call given by the coastal and marine police to check the infiltration bid by foreign forces, in selected areas in Kerala, showed that there is no proper awareness among the coastal fishermen about the penetration of outsiders. That experiment had actually given a serious warning to both the authorities and the fishermen. It is to be noted that Kerala having a sea boundary stretching nearly 600 Km from Kanyakumari to Kasargod which is always vulnerable in many ways. Rashtreeya Swayam Sevak Sangh has given urgent and utmost awareness to this area, considering the seriousness of the problem by setting apart a separate Organisational wing called ‘Seema Jagaram yojna’ as its sea and coast protection activity.
From 14th January, the Makar Sankranti day, to 20th prominent coastal areas celebrated Samndrapooja all over Kerala. Large members of men and women, with pooja materials took part in worship. Poojaries and prominent workers lead the pooja and the head priests and after performing pooja in coastal temples went to the sea and performed pooja and aarti to the sea Goddess. Each and every devotee used to perform pooja. After returning to the temple in the coast there were distribution of prasada. In different pooja programmes many swamijies and prominent leaders took part.
The different beaches where pooja was performed include, Keezhoor (Kaserkode Dist.), Azhikode(Kannur), Vatakara, Koyilandy, Kozhikode and Beypore (Kohikode), Engandiyoor, Chavakkadu (Trissur), Vypin (Ernakulam) and Alappuzha. There were nearly 40 programmes in the State, conducted by Seema Jagarun Yojana and Bharatheeya Maslsya Pravarthaka Sangham. Sri: N.P. Radhakrishnan and Sri: Rajaneesh Babu, President and G Secretary, respectively, of the Sanghom took the initiative in organising these programmes.