Guwahati: The different parts of Raas festival started today with enthusiasm. Raas-lila is an annual festival held on the full moon day (Purnima) in the months of October-November.
Raas festival is most popular in Nalbari, Majuli, Jorhat, Barpeta, Nagaon etc and other places.
This year BJP MP and famous actress Hema Malini will visit the famous Raas festival at Hari Mandir in Nalbari. This was shared by the secretary of the temple management committee, Nagen Das.
This year’s celebration at the Hari Mandir will begin in the evening of November 7. It will be a mega 13 day event with various events on the cards. The host said that this year will be one of the most beautiful festivals in the North East region. Apart from the regular presentation of the life of Lord Krishna and stories of Mahabharata using idols, there will be several other cultural performances.
Beginning in the year 1933, this will be the 89th annual celebration. Apart from local artists, guest artists from several other states will also come and perform during the temple building ceremony. This includes Gujarat teams as well.
The guests will thoroughly enjoy the Raas performance in the traditional style of this festival. They will also be able to try a wide variety of local and foreign cuisines, especially street food. There will also be a Mina Bazar where visitors will be able to buy a variety of products and gifts. The celebration also includes a book fair for all the reading enthusiasts in the region.
In Majuli, the festival will be celebrated with enthusiasm in satras and various organizations will also celebrate the festival in different places of Majuli.
Satra disciples will also organize raas festival in Auniati, Dakhinpat Satra, Kamalabari Satra.
‘Raas Leela’ is a spiritual work and the original story is taken from ‘Bhagawat Purana’. The Neo Vaishnavite spiritual leader Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev narrated the story from ‘Bhagawat Purana’ and based on a story in the Purana, he composed a chapter of poetry in his religious book “Kirtana”. He also composed an Ankiya drama “Keligopal” which is the foundation of ‘Raas Leela’ in Assam. Sankadeva included spiritual undertones of philosophy in the play. Apparently the theme of Keligopal seems to be erotic but it is infused with the spirit of devotion to Lord Krishna. Her final message was to surrender ourselves to the slavery of ‘No’ for salvation. The activities of Lord Krishna from childhood to adulthood depicted in Keligopal, greatly show the meaning of controlling the pleasures of the senses and merging our souls with the super soul of the universe (the fusion of Atma and Paramatma).
During the 4 days, the story of Lord Krishna is presented in the form of art. It begins with the birth of Lord Krishna in Gokul, although his cruel uncle Kansa is determined to kill all the children of his mother Daivaki. Famous stories in this art form include Krishna’s childhood in Gokul along with his friends, fighting mysterious demons like Bakasura, Putana, Kaliya, etc. and finally killed his uncle Kansa. During the 4 days, all of Majuli can be considered as a part of RAAS LEELA.
A variety of wooden masks used during this festival is a major attraction of Majuli. The artists start their work making creative masks and wooden tools more than a month in advance. A few weeks before the festival, the masks are dyed and dried in the sun. It is a unique experience to witness the huge wooden structure acting like a flying snake trying to swallow humans.
From small children dressed as Kanha – Krishna as children to adults, everyone participates in RAAS Utsav, Majuli. In Namgarh (community prayer hall) men dressed in women’s clothes are seen performing various arts in RAAS. The RAAS Leela performance includes various art forms like dance, various musical instruments evoking KHOL, TAAL & DOBA, songs related to Krishna, use of masks and other instruments. Dramas during the RAAS festival in Majuli are recited in the Brajabali language, a combination of five Indian languages - Sanskrit, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali and Maithili.