Jyotishacharya Shastri Pundit Roshan Singh
Mother earth is known as Bhumi Devi who is a manifestation of Shakti or the divine energy, manifest as life force that comes from the earth. Durga devi is the shadow of Haladini-sakti or Srimati Radharani who dwells in Goloka Vrindavan Dham the spiritual kingdom of the Lord. Srimati Radharani is the inner pleasure giving potency of Krsna while Sri Durga Devi is His external pleasure giving potency. The name Durga refers to a prison house keeper. Durga Devi carries a weapon in her hand which called a trishul. This is used to inflict the three types of miseries upon the conditioned souls of this material world according to ones karma. The three type of miseries are adyatmic, adidaivic and adibhoutic karma. The first of the three namely adyatmic refer to deep seated karma that we experience and cannot account for as they come from the soul or athma. At times an individual experiences great distress, ill health or financial problems which causes him to go into the depths of dispare. The second karma is adidaivic which is karma that is inflicted upon us by the Devas for instance storms, floods, pestilence, volcanic eruptions that produce collective results but the experience of every individual is independent. The third karma is called adibhoutic and are experiences where you can personally identify with, for example a motor car accident, someone speaks ill of you or as simple problem as a mosquito sting.
Prayers are offered to Durga Devi in the form of mother earth or Bhumi Devi at the time of Matkor to soften the blow of such karma that will have to be experienced in this lifetime. Her life force may take the form of health and healing from disease, the auspicious growth of plants and abundance of food and bounty without whom one cannot survive. Our food, clothing and shelter all are the mercy and bounty of mother earth. Even our bodies are made of the earth. It is with this in mind that the devotee prays to this divine mother to protect them from the adversities that may be experienced as a result of past doings.
Hindus show deep reverence to the earth as the Mother Goddess. Rivers, mountains, hills, the sky, and in fact all of the earth, have been respected as the body of the goddess herself.
Ya Devi Sarva Bhutesu Maa rupena samsthita I
Ya Devi Sarva Bhutesu Shakti rupena samsthita I
Ya Devi Sarva Bhutesu Buddhi rupena samsthita I
Ya Devi Sarva Bhutesu Laxmi rupena samsthita I
Namestasyai II Namestasyai II Namestasyai II
Namo Namah II
II Meaning of Devi Mantra II
To the Divine Goddess who resides in all existence in the form of universal mother
To the Divine Goddess who resides in all existence in the form of energy
To the Divine Goddess who resides in all existence in the form of intellegence
To the Divine Goddess who resides in all existence in the form of true wealth
We bow to her, we bow to her, continually we bow to her
Before building a house, undertaking cultivation of plants, starting a ritual, or beginning a dance, Hindus pray to Bhumi Devi, the earth goddess, for her blessings and forgiveness.
Similarly, the Matkor pooja is done in a festive and joyful mood by the mother of the bride and the bridegroom at their respective homes. They are accompanied by all the female members of the family to some place outside their homes. In the ancient times they would go to the nearest river, lake or well. In these days they would symbolically do this outside the home as if they were going to a river.
The earth is cleared with a hoe that was smeared with turmeric and dotted with sindur. Water is sprinkled on the earth to purify, 10 betel leaves and betel nut is placed on the earth as a seat for the Goddess. White rice is sprinkled on the betel leaves. On the leaves further offerings of soaked gram dhall and sugar is offered to Bhumi Devi. This is dotted with sindhur as it pleases her most when this is done. Camphor on which cloves is placed is lit to wade of evil forces and negative energy. Water is once again sprinkled to purify the offering.
While this is being done the elder ladies of the family continue to sing praises of the mother and dance in joy sometimes teasing one another to bring out a mood of happiness.
Tohi Bina Matiya Kaissan Biyah
Outhi outhi matiya kari
Tohi bina matiya kaissan biyah
Kahwan hi matiya toharo janam bhaye
Kahawan hi matiya oujwal jaye
Khur khete matiya toharo janam bhaye
Eh mandawari matiya oujwal jaye
“Without you O earth, O how is a wedding possible? Get up, get up, O black Earth, becoming yellow, without you, O Earth, how is a wedding possible? Where, O Earth, were you born? Where, O Earth, is your destination? O Earth, you were born on the outskirts of the village; O Earth, mandap is your destination”.
Prayers are offered to Mother earth to bless the couple in their marriage and her mercy is sought for her to provide abundantly for the couple that is about to be married. Upon conclusion of the prayer some earth is placed in the achal or the end of the sari of the mother. She is expected to take this home and place it at the alter where the mandap or wedding formalities are to take place. The bride or the bridegroom’s paternal aunt known as the poowa or phowi will carry a winnowing basket with all the prayer paraphernalia on her head. The sister of the bride or the bridegroom will carry a vessel of water on her head symbolically as if it were the sacred Ganga or Ganges. Once again in a joyful mood the ladies return home to give a seat to mother earth or Bhumi Devi.
In the vaishnava tradition devotees see this act as worship to Katyanini Devi who Srimati Radharani prayed to, to have a husband like Krsna. They experience the Matkor ceremony and the bringing of the water back home in a transcendental mood as if they went to the holy Ganga or Yamuna to bring back her holy waters that will be used to fill the mangal kalash of Lord Vishnu, be used for the wedding ceremony and to purify the paraphernalia and the couple. They try to reenact the mood of Srimati Radharani and the Gopi’s of Vrindavan.