Joranda Mela Begins In Odisha’s Dhenkanal; Know The Cult Propagating Classless Society

Dhenkanal: Joranda Mela, the annual Magha Mela, began with much fervour at Mahima Gadi in Odisha’s Dhenkanal on Thursday.

More than 20,000 mahima sanyasis (ascetics), saints, pilgrims and local devotees from Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha have gathered at Mahima Gosain’s Samadhi Pitha in Sunya Mandir to witness the rituals that began this morning with Bedha Parikrama.

The Jhadubati Neeti (lamp lighting ceremony) will held between 5-5.30 pm by Kaupindhari and Bakaldhari sadhus. Several other rituals like Jhadu Neeti, Kheera Lagi Neeti and havans will be conducted during the three-day mela.

The temple here is dedicated to Sunya Bramha, the shapeless Lord. “We have full faith in the Lord. Many devotees from across the world keep visiting the mela every year,” a devotee said.

Elaborate arrangements, including drinking water facilities and toilets, have been made by the district administration for the convenience of saints and others visiting the mela.

Joranda is the main centre of Mahima followers. The mela is being organised every year by the Mahima followers since 1876 after the death of its founder Mahima Swami or Mahima Gosain, who envisioned a classless society during the 18th century when the lower caste people were tortured by the zamindars and other rich people.

They also built a temple at the ‘samadhi’ (grave) of the Swami. The temple has no entrance as idol worship is not prescribed by the sect. “The temple was built with contributions from well-wishers. This is the 115st year of the mela. We observe this mela every year with several rituals,” said a saint visiting the mela.

Mahima Gosain’s Vision

Mahima Gosain, who was a disciple of Bhima Bhoi, had dreamt of a society that is free from exploitation of the poor and the weaker section. The cult emerged from Jaka village in Dhenkanal district in 1874 in protest against idolatry, casteism and untouchability. While promoting a classless society, the followers offered prayers to ‘Sunya Bramha’ or the shapeless god and recited ‘Mahima Allekh’.

In 1975, the saint selected Joranda as his main abode and started Mahima Mela by igniting the ‘Akhanda Dhuni’ on Magha Purnima (full moon day) for the welfare of people and since then the fire has been burning continuously.

The devotees pour tonnes of pure ghee on the sacred fire chanting ‘Brahma Alekh’ or ‘Mahima Alekh’.

Legend has it that the saint was first seen in Puri and was known as Dhulia Baba. Later, he was found in deep meditation standing on one leg at Khandagiri for several years.

The Mahima monks lead a life of celibacy and piety.




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