Manabasa Gurubar || Famous Festival of Odisha


The story of “Manabasa Gurubar” teaches us against the evil practices of Untouchability in ancient society. It also stresses the importance of feminism and empowers the female power to not get suppressed by male hegemony.

The word Manabasa comes from two words Mana (a measuring unit to measure paddy in olden days) a pot made of Bamboo cane is filled with freshly harvested paddy, and Basa(to keep it as a designated place for worship). The doors and walls are decorated with chita (rangoli used nowadays, but earlier a thin mix of water and rice paste was sprinkled on the walls by hand to form beautiful white designs) beautifully. It’s believed goddess Lakshmi won’t visit if the house is not clean.

It’s also called “Margashira Masa Gurubara“; Gurubara is “Thursday” and Margashira is the month of “मार्गशीर्ष” in Hindi.

Legend of Manabasa Gurubar is based on the ancient scripture “Lakshmi Puran”. Since the untouchables were not allowed to pray, worship and do rituals to God in the ancient ages, this story teaches us against that practice.

At that time Shriya a woman from untouchables prays and wins over the support of Goddess Lakshmi, who then visited her home and had food cooked by her there. This angered Balarama, the elder brother of Sri Jagannath (Husband of Goddess Lakshmi). At the behest of Balarama, Jagannath drove Lakshmi out of their home because she ate at the house of an untouchable.

As Lakshmi moves out of Jagannath’s house, both Jagannath and Balram undergo immense suffering, even they have to starve without shelter, water and food for 12 years. Soon they realized the importance of Lakshmi and requested Maa Lakshmi to come back home. Lakshmi finally returned to Jagannath’s house, but on one condition that there will be no discrimination of caste and creed on earth.

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This unique story highlights the fact that for God everyone is equal. Besides it reflected the progressive stance of Gods from the ancient times. Only in the end through Narad, it is revealed that Lord Jagannath himself, to end castism and discrimination from this earth, had “set up” these series of events which conveyed the social message.

The story not only motivates against Castism but also highlights Women Empowerment.

Want to read this in Odia? See here.


About mm1978

Jack of all trades is what almost fits me. I'm a home maker, mother, wife, teacher and so on. I like to talk a lot and when I don't have anyone to talk to, I write.
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