I was a little kid when I held that small Kalash playfully in my hand. And a sudden scolding made me jump. A series of thoughts followed- for how I disrespected the god within Kalash. I was surprised that this small pot of clay held such high prestige that a small child would get scolded for playing with it. That is what I remember back to whenever I set my eyes on the Kalash that are displayed over different places in different manners.
I grew to be a bit bigger and still that Kalash kept on coming into my life in different forms. Seeing the pictures of my Birth ritual, I saw the Kalash prepared and so beautifully decorated. Then in the pictures of the feeding ceremony. And again in my Bratabanda. I was there watching how the Kalash was placed. And I even realized then, there were four extras surrounding the place.
What is it in this Kalash, that the same figure was kept all around and in every ritual? Being true to my curiosity, I asked my father who is a Pandit and he replied,” Kalash is a god-figure, which represents all of the world’s essence within it. And one who drinks the content of Kalash becomes immortal. That’s why the gods are always everywhere, powerful and immortal.”
I was shocked to hear about the gods. As it had never crossed my mind that Kalash, a small pot would ever be a representation of a god. “Where are you, God?” is A question I asked “The Kalash” with complete innocence.
The answer was never given to me by that Kalash. But every time I saw one, I always bowed my head in a nod to express myself to the god there. That was my innocent faith in the god that lied everywhere around me. I could even believe that I was being watched by the gods above. And the ones standing in every doorway. So I was a good kid, I must say that for the sake of my childhood. It’s all Thanks to that Kalash.
I finally reached my teenage with that same curiosity bursting often at times during any ritual. Reading the books of religious text didn’t make much sense. So for the time being I laid my research skills to rest. And just let it be. The answers from the elders didn’t do much for me. So I had to build myself up to be capable of brewing my understanding.
During these days, I practically volunteered for the rituals to build experience-based understanding. That’s when the texts started to make sense about the how’s and whys. Suddenly my understanding started to explode within me and I found the answers so simply from the guide of the ritual texts. And upon observing the ritual the puzzle finally started to find its own place.
The place I sat down for my Bartabanda and where I first got curious about all these. That’s where I sat back down to marvel and analyze my findings in another ritual of Asthanchiranjibi on my 18th.
That day, I felt around the Kalash and laid it on its marked place with my own hands marveling at the smooth curves and the artistic designs. And It all was the gods residing place. As I poured water into the pot, the resounding sound made me feel so blissful of the water falling across a hilly plain. There, lord of the seas just made an impact with the rightful host. I could feel why the water inside had Varun, the sea god’s name on it.
The base of the Kalash standing so firm upon the earth, was erect and strong holding the whole sea inside it. The connection that it made, made me marvel at my own findings. The tip of the pot with its inside filled completely with the water was shiningly reflecting the sky. In that open-air, I looked towards the sky meaning to see the heaven that I felt I saw inside Kalash. But the sky looked just as blue with the dancing clouds.
Looking back inside, I could still see that it was such a majestic view of the sky reflected. That was why the mouth of the Kalash was called the opening of heaven indicating the ether. The red and white threaded cloth that tied around the neck was clearly a tag for connecting the heaven with the earth down to its base. The same position was said to hold a place for the fire god Agni.
Observation is the key to understanding. That was what I accumulated from reading all those texts about Kalash but never getting the meaning of it. And here now the Kalash in front of me wasn’t just a figure representing a god. But looked quite clearly to be a figure in itself. The red and yellow lines of designs were making it seem like a divine person that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.
Here during this ritual, I saw what the surrounding Kalash actually meant. The formation and processing marched in the same order but were placed in four directions in each corner. And each represented a Veda on its own. Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda were placed respectively starting from the Main Kalash in the east.
The Vedas, a holy grantha collecting all the epic mantras of power and wisdom. And the branches of It are to be worshipped at the four sides depicted by the Kalash. The meanings that I had collected for all those years were making a shape of their own. Veda is the base of all knowledge and what the forefathers had said was ringing on my mind. “If you want to learn life, then learn the Veda with peaceful and pure soul. You’ll find your answers son.”
Four structures around the Kalash were pillars for the world to grow upon. And I was finally convinced of the answers I had been searching for since that first day when it had given me a series of scolding.
Kalash for me after the 18th year
The ritual for that 18th year was a satisfying bliss for me. And how Kalash and its entities gave me a relief and motive to understand the world around me. And learning has been a ride to this day.
I made my partition of the phases I had been through, and every piece made a connection to me. I understood the vision and took my days as a ride of learning everything that tried to confuse me. Had I never been curious back then, I would never have been curious enough to think back and write as my memory served me.
This is how I felt when I looked at Kalash and to some extent I still do but if you want to know the process of Nwaran- one of the rituals, where Kalash is worshipped, do follow the link here.