(Pictorial Inputs from Laxmi Prasad Pattanayak, Amulyaratna Das and Nigamananda Dash)
Funeral rites of Asharani Pattanayak ended on the twelfth day of her transformation into omnipresence on 27 December after obsequies at her native place Tigiria, when the tenth and eleventh day rites were performed at Bhubaneswar, where she passed away on the 16th.
Her eldest son Subhas Chandra Pattanayak performed the last rites. The family members and close relations numbering more than a hundred of both the genders spanning four generations attended Tutha (oblation ceremony) at a public waterbody at Bhubaneswar chosen for the purpose and offered sesame sprinkled water in libation known as Tila Tarpana on the tenth day of the rites on 25 December.
Before this ceremonial libation took place, all the participants irrespective of gender got their nails trimmed. The sons and nephews of Asharani clean-shaved their heads and beards and other male relations trimmed the hairs on their heads and shaved. The only exception was Subhas Chandra Pattanayak himself, who just tonsured because of certain medical advice.
Symbolic of eternity
Trimming of nails never stops the growth of nails, but instead, it always is followed by instant growth thereof. Similarly, trimming or shaving of hairs and beards generates new growth thereof. So, cutting of nails and trimming or shaving of hairs and beards or tonsuring are symbolic of continuous growth after end.
This is same with the sesame seeds. A sesame seed generates thousands of seeds when sown even on dry lands and contain oil that strengthens the nerve system and act as a refreshing agent. Therefore use of sesame seeds on the tenth day of passing away of a dear one is symbolic of renewable stamina and growth after end.
The tenth day is symbolic of the ten directions – the eight points of the compass and the two points above the head and below the feet of a person – whereinto, after cremation, the body, metamorphosing into elements, spreads and becomes omnipresent.
So, on the tenth day, during day time – as the Sun, synonym of Buddha the benefactor of all and proponent of death as a phase of life, must be then staying in the sky – the obsequial offering of sesame-sprinkled water in libation are made in honor of the departed dear one.
This particular rite, thus, is symbolic of eternity and therefore, most refreshing after the shock of bereavement, notwithstanding misguiding scriptural rituals coined by vested interest elements at various stages of evolution of an exploitive system.
Celebration of omnipresence
On the eleventh day on 26 December, about five hundred relations and family friends attended the funeral feast at Bhubaneswar and more than that at Tigiria on the twelfth day on 27 December in celebration of Asharani’s transformation into omnipresence. They very fondly recollected the affectionate personality that she was and most of them discussed how concerned was she for the well-being of everybody that was coming in contact with her.
Her passion for reading and learning as well as her devotion to traditions well known to relations, a solemn congregation of educated persons belonging and related to Brahmin villages (symbolic of centers of learning in ancient times) of Tigiria was conveyed at the residence of Sri Subhas Chandra Pattanayak at Bhubaneswar on December 26. Pandit Bhagaban Acharya, retired Deputy General Manager (Telephone Revenue) of Government of India, well known exponent of the Vedas in the region, led the congregation comprising Padmanav Mishra, Biranchi Narayan Mishra, Sridhar Mishra, Sarat Kumar Panda, Rama Shankar Mishra and Uma Shankar Mishra. Pandit Acharya recited and interpreted Vedic hymns to show how cycle of life goes on uninterrupted despite death and how death helps evaluation of life. Rama Shankar cited scriptures in this regard too.
Sri Malaya Kumar Pattanayak, Asharani’s son-in-law through niece Nirmala Pattanayak, gifted copies of Srimad Bhagavat Gita with containers to the Pandits on the occasion.
Prof. Biswaranjan, celebrated educationist, author, orator and editor of Khabara; Author and Columnist Prof. Jayanta Kumar Biswal; Poet Prof. Hara Prasad Parichha Patnaik; Author and Columnist Dr. Bibudharanjan; former member of Orissa State Public Service Commission, Hemant Kumar Das; Veterinary Scientist Kailash Chandra Pattanaik; Col. Mahi Pratap Mohanty; Secretary of Orissa Environment Society Prof. Sundar Narayan Patra; Former Engineer-in-Chief-cum-Secretary of Works, Er. Piyusakanti Quanungo; former Deputy Labor Commissioner marked for action against exploitive employers, Sura Narayan Patra; Karmayogi Sri Laxmidhar Mohapatra; Dr. Manoranjan Das; Prof. Nirmal Parija; Prof. Jugal Kishore Mishra; Eminent meteorologist and founder of Misra Technique Dr. Asok Misra; educationist Kiranabala Pattanayak; Prof. Yotsnarani Pattanayak; former Director of GRIDCO Er. Bijay Kumar Mohanty; present Director of GRIDCO Er. Alekh Mallick; Health administrator Dr. Nirmala Mallick; Prof. Asok Kumar Mohanty; Endocrinologist Prof. Dr. Binay Kumar Mohanty; former Chief Engineer and Power Consultant Er. Nagen Mohapatra; former Director of Orissa State Forensic Laboratory Dr. Basanta Kumar Das; Prof. Dr. Amiya Kumar Mohanty; Former Chief of Government Electrical Department Er. Rajkishore Sahoo; Historian Major Dr. Kumudini Barai; Author Asit Mohanty; Film Editor Deven Mishra; Senior Advocate Sarat Kumar Panda; Documentary Producer Padmanav Mishra; former AIFS (P&T) officer Bhagabana Acharya; former IFS officer Pratap Chandra Pattanayak; former IAS officer Pramod Chandra Pattanayak; Prof. Supriti Mohanty; eminent Homeopath Dr. Dinakrushna Nanda; eminent Textile Technologist Ratindranath Kanungo; Sanskrit scholar Dr. Pramila Mishra; Irrigation expert Er. Prafulla Pati; author Dr.Bijayalaxmi Mohanty; eminent Arboriculturist Damodar Pattanayak; author Gobinda Bhuyan; Prof. Priyambada Mohanty were a few amongst those who fondly recollected and bid adieu to Asharani in the evening of the eleventh day.
Prof. Dr. Rabindranath Kanungo, Dr. Shubhashish Sircar, Sri Tathagata Satpathy, eminent Journalist Sri Prasanta Patnaik, eminent Journalist Barendrakrushna Dhal, Editor of Samadrusti Sri Sudhir Pattanaik, Editor of Orissabarta Sri Manoj Kant Dash, Ms. Mohima Bose, Prof. J. N. Dash (Dash Benhur), Prof. Mrinal Chatterjee, Er. Lalit Patnaik, Sri Ajay Raut, eminent Journalist Soumyajit Pattnaik, Film Director and columnist Kapilas Bhuyan, Prof. Shailendra Narayan Tripathy, Sri Uma Ballav Rath etc were amongst those who could not attend the rituals but paid obituary oblations through condolence messages. Close friends and relations like Narayan Patra, Mrs. Smrutirekha and Mr. Jatindranath Kanungo paid obituary respects in person.
Grand son-in-law of Asharani, Sri Ajay Mohapatra organized the funeral functions at Bhubaneswar on December 26 whereas her eldest son Subhas with co-operation from her other sons – Suresh, Naresh, Harekrushna and Ramakrushna, nephew Paresh, sons-in-law Lalit Mohan Pattanaik, Rabi Narayan Pattanayak, Sudhanshu Das, Bijay Pattanayak and daughters Bijayalaxmi Das, Prativa Pattanayak, Sanjukta Das, Susama Manjari Pattanayak and Kanaka Manjari Pattanayak conducted the funeral feast at Tigiria on December 27. Her youngest daughter Bijayalaxmi, who had attended to her on her hospital bed day and night during the entire period of hospitalization offered Prasada from a temple to about a hundred of poor leprosy patients residing in Jagannath Palli, a Kusthashram (Leprosy colony) in Mancheshwar area of Bhubaneswar. Her eldest daughter Kanaka Manjari and grand daughter Nibedita also did similar offerings.
Maa Anuradha Bose, Laxmidhar Mohapatra, Asok Misra, Lalit Mohan Pattanayak, Sudhansu Kumar Das, Bijay Kumar Pattanayak, Manoranjan Das, Bikash Pattanayak, Jayakrishna Pattanayak, Sudhansu Mohanty, Baikuntha Bihari Pattanayak, Dillip Pattanayak, Udayanath Pattanayak, Priyanath Pattanayak, Dhiren Das, Bijay Kumar Raut, Banchhanidhi Pattanayak, Sushil Kumar Samantaroy, Pramod Kumar Pattanayak, Damodar Pattanaik, Karnenduraja Pattanayak, Pulin Bihari Mohanty, Prasanna Kumar Pattanayak, Ananta Kumar Das, Mihir Pattanayak, Swarup Pattanayak, Asok Kumar Pattanayak, Subrat Kumar Das, Shubhendu Kumar Das, Purnima Pattanayak, Bishwamohan Goswami Mahapatra, Col. Mahi Pratap Mohanty, Chitta Ranjan Pattanayak, Nibaran Mohanty, Rabi Narayan Pattanayak, Smruti Ranjan Das, Sribatsa Mohanty, Kalpana Roy, Sudhansu Mohanty, Manoj Kumar Das, Nila Madhab Mohanty, Shobhabati Dei, Dhaneshwara Pattanayak representing Purnima Pattanayak, Biraja Prasad Pattanayak, Debendranath Mohanty, Amulya Ratna Das, Amulya Kumar Tunga Samanta, Bishwamohan (Bishu) Pattanayak, Rabi Narayan Pattanayak, Hadibandhu Singh Samanta, Prashanta Kumar Das, Prasanta Kumar Pattanayak, Gagan Bihari Pattanaik, Hemanta Kumar Das, Ratindranath Kanungo, Shishir Ranjan Mohanty, Ratikanta Das, Chittaranjan Das, Pradyumna Kumar Pattanayak, Jagat Mohan Pattanayak, Piyusha Kanti Quanungo, Prof. Namita Pattanayak, Pradipta Kumar Pattanayak, Prof. Bishwaranjan, Malaya Kumar Pattanayak, Bibhuti Bhusan Pattanayak, Prafulla Kumar Pattanayak, Janaki Ballav Pattanayak, Naba Kishore Pattanayak, Major Dr. Kumudini Borai, Asoka Kumar Mohanty, Nirmal Parija, Dr. Basanta Kumar Das, Chinmay Chiranjibi Das, Indramani Mahalik, Goura Kishore Pattanayak, Ajay Kumar Mohanty, Dr. Binay Kumar Mohanty, Dillip Singh, Bijay Kumar Mohanty, Shashi Bhusan Mohanty, Sundar narayan Patra, Pratap Chandra Pattanayak, Bira Kishore Mishra, Gagan Bihari Pattanayak, Suryanarayan Mohanty, Pranab Kishore Pattanayak, Ramesh Chandra Tunga Samanta amongst others were conspicuous by their active participation in the function.
Loving villagers offered Kirtan as a mark of their respect for her at the end of the twelve day long rites.