Photographer Md.Arifuzzaman is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. To see Arif’s body of work, click on any image.
Rakher Upobash is Hindu religious festival of lights, faith and devotion. Rakher Upobash is usually celebrated in the month of Kartik as per Hindu calendar, which usually falls in November. Kartik month is an auspicious time as per Hindu religion. There are lot of festivals and religious events in this month.
Sri Sri Brahmachari Baba Lokenath was highly revered as a great saint amongst the Hindu devotees. After years of deepest devotion to God, he had attained the enlightenment of the highest order. As a result, he turned out to be an embodiment of divine and spiritual power.
As per the Hindu scripture, Bashanta(Chicken pox) are believed to have broken out due to the anger of shitola devi/ Goddess (a lady having satanic power by the belief of people) and this disease got epidemic causing thousands of death in the villages around. Therefore, Sanatan devotees (those devotees follow archaic scriptures of Hindu religion) were started to worship Shitola Goddess in order to get rid of this deadly disease.
Once shitola Goddess was about to take a visit over the Bardi land, what Baba Lokenath got sensed and assumed that her visit over the land might break out Chicken pox in the locality incurring thousands of untimely deaths. Having been tensed baba Lokenath ordered her to take different path evading this havoc that eventually gave rise to a little brawl between them. At last, Shitola Goddess took the different path showing her allegiance to Baba Lokenath. Right after this incidence, Baba urged his devotees to observe fasting in Kartik month (a month of Bangla Calendar) and to lit on lights arranging other ritual elements in the Asram premises. Thus, this events Rakher upobash took to the ground.
Through this, he actually asked everybody to succumb to God in order to get his blessings.
As he was attained the divine spirituality by the blessings of God so that the devotees mainly worshipped their God as a mean of him.
Shri Loknath Bramhachari Ashram Barodi is just 35 km away from Dhaka; the capital city of Bangladesh. Baba Lokenath is worshipped as an incarnation of God. Still Lokenath and the ritual of Rakher Upbobash is very popular in Kolkata and Bangladesh but this auspicious ceremony take place in Bangladesh only. Apart from the religious factors this festival is very important and special because of the great divinity involved with it. Baba Lokenath was a people’s saint and through this festival and divinity in the faces of the people one can realize his popularity.
The photo is about a Hindu festival named “Rakher upobash”. When thousands of Hindu people sit together with oil lamps & fruits & they pray to God in Barodi temple. The Hindu devotees keep fasting on that day and secure their places from afternoon in temple. All the men, women and children sit side by side. They remember Baba Loknath who was 18th Century Hindu saint of Bengal. Hindu devotees having fast whole day and pray in earnest to the God for their favors during the ritual called Rakher Upobash traditionally. When I saw it first time it seemed that thousands of souls are lighting in candle light. I captured this enigmatic moment in Barodi and Shamibag temple. Every year thousands of Hindu devotees commemorate Baba Loknath asrom Barodi and Shamibag temple in Bangladesh.
All images and text © Md.Arifuzzaman
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