It may be recalled that the book entitled ‘Shree Devkikrishna Devasthan—A Complete History’ written by Goa’s renowned historian ‘Itihasacharya’ Shri Vinayak Narayan Shenvi Dhume and published in 1994 by a devoted member of the Devasthan (temple) Committee Shri Prakash Mahabaleshwar Prabhu Verlekar from Mapusa, Goa had long gone out of print. Since a new edition was not available and there was a persistent demand from the devotees who were eager to know about their family deity and its history for an upto date and authentic information, it was decided that it was high time that the book be brought out in the form of a new edition.Incident about Vasco da Gama mentioned in above book on page no.265:
“ However, the idol of Devkikrishna originally of Chodan Island, Tiswadi taluka transferred at the time of molestation by the Christian missionaries to Mashela (Marcela in Portuguese) hamlet of Orgaon village, Ponda taluka, is interesting.
The idol is Devkikrishna in standing form, holding on her left side of abdomen with her left arm, the image of child Krishna. This idol I presume, is unique throughout India. History says that Vasco da Gama in his old age was appointed Vice-Roy of all colonies of the Far East as a gesture of honour. One day, he visited Chodan Island. When he saw this idol through the main doorway, he immediately saluted the image and went on his knees, considering it the image of Mother Mary, with baby Jesus, but his companions explained to him and Vasco da Gama was very much annoyed.”
During the last several years, there has been a continuous flow of visits by the devotees to their family deity and members of the sausthan committee (Mahajans and Kulavis), both individually and along with their families. It was gathered from the interaction with them that most of them had hardly any knowledge or information about the sausthan, its history, the rituals and other allied necessary information such as the main temple (Devasthan) and other ancillary deities, the available ‘pooja-seva’ (religious rituals), the arrangements regarding the accommodation for outstation devotees and visitors, the projects already completed and also those which were proposed and were in the pipeline towards further progress and renovations etc. Thus it was felt absolutely necessary that along with with the reprinting of this book of history, the Mahajans may be equipped with the current ongoings and upto date information regarding the Devasthan. Hence all these details have been included in the second section of this book. That section includes details concerning the systematic and authentic ‘darshanakram’, complete information regarding various rituals, festivities, description about the fortnightly ‘trayodashi-palkhi’ festival, details about the Management of the Devasthan, so also the projects already completed and those proposed to be undertaken and on the whole the progress that is continuing.
The third section of the book contains two very important and preservation-worthy articles concerning the Devasthan, penned by late Shri B.D.Satosker, the illustrious son of Mashel, a senior journalist and a reputed writer in Marathi. Shri Satosker has written the first article painstakingly giving the right perspective about the Devasthan, after personally visiting
the original spot of the Devkikrishna temple and it introduces the Devasthan to the readers through researched angle and proper viewpoint. In the second article, which deals with the story of Lord Krishna, the writer describes how his mother Devaki who was desperately trying to trace her Balkrishna managed to locate him on the Chuddamani (Chodan) island. This legend is relevant to the background of the Devkikrishna sausthan, hence it is incorporated in the book.
The Devkikrishnashttak as well as Mangalashtakas composed by Shri Sagunn Krishna Prabu Moye from Siolim, Bardez, Goa and which are chanted at the time of Palakhi procession are appended at the end of the book. Thereafter is printed an Aarti of Devkikrisha composed by Shri Anant Raghunath Prabhu.
The task of compiling the information was meticulously undertaken by Shri Arvind Anant Sukhthanker and all the relevant details for the benefit of temple members (Mahajans) has been provided. This difficult job was possible through the ready assistance and willing co-operation from the Pujaris, other workers and helpers of the Devasthan and various elderly and knowledgeable Mahajans. The Managing Committee of the Devasthan is deeply indebted to all these persons who extended their helping hands in this job of compiling the information.
It is noteworthy that, through this book, the Mahajans shall be able to get in one single volume all the relevant information, the history of the Devkikrishana Saunsthan, details of its present position and also the future plans and projects for ready reference to be used by the present Mahajans and the future generations
It is our sincere and optimistic endeavour to create the best and most pleasant environment in the temple as well as in its vicinity so that the Mahajans and their families should ardently feel like visiting the Devasthan as often and frequently as they possibly can. The Managing Committee has created the right facilities and arrangements in this direction. We are sure, our future plans shall also be translated into reality and we are putting in the best of our efforts towards this aim. We hope and pray that through the co-operation of all our Mahajans and through the blessings of Lord Devkikrishna, all our plans and projects shall fructify and this shall happen within the stipulated time-frame.
(Paush Pournima, Shaka 1925)
7th of January 2004.
Vasudev Bhagwant Prabhu Verlekar
Shree devkikrishna Saunsthan Managing Committee
The Only Deity in the entire Goa which by actual deeds expresses motherly affection
and the famous temple of the same deity situated at sacred place called Mahashaila
SHREE DEVKIKRISHNA DEVASTHAN
Shreekshetra Mashel-Goa .
If anyone takes into consideration all the four borders or the cross-section of Goa and its Total area and if he/she considers the Hindu population coupled with their deities and the temples One should be easily convinced why this land of ours is often rightly called as the sacred land of Gods. One may also take into account the expansive, lush green and colourful scenic beauty abounding in this tiny place, full of placid rivers, greenery, landscape and overall scenic tantalising beauty,; and then one will not be at all surprised if the Gods too must have felt pleased to descend on to this beautiful, quiet, peace-loving people’s place full of coconut palm fringes tossing about like fans in the open skies, tall areca groves, clean rivers with sweet waters and that famous Dudhsagar waterfall ever showering its sacred water like the celestial ‘Abhisheka’ so to say! No wonder, Gods could not have chosen any better place to descend down on the earth from their heavenly abodes!
And then, over and above, you come down to the most sacred area, the place called the Mahashaila. Among all the places in Goa, this particular area is abounding in splendid temples.
Some people often remark that there are to be found more temples than human habitats or residential houses in Mashel. And this is precisely the location where the famous temple or the Devasthan of Devkikrishna is located. The deity has the reputation of being the only God in the
Entire territory of Goa which showers motherly or filial tenderness, affection and blessings by actual deeds on the devotees.
When did the main deities and their temples in this ‘god’s land’ came to be worshipped and established in Goa? How, when, why and by whom did the entire process get started in those ancient times? Who were the originators or founders or builders of these temples? Who, when, how and why this glorious tradition came to be initiated? May be, it is difficult or almost impossible to answer all these questions precisely and correctly. But, even if it is rudimentary or cursory to a large extent, it is necessary to take a peep into and glance at the historic background. Only then shall we be able to understand and guess about the real topic of the discussion, i.e. the Shree Devkikrishna temple at Mashel. Let us therefore piece together some of the legends and anecdotes to get at the history of the Devasthan in brief.
The narrow and long strip of land which stretches from the Sahyadri right upto the Arabian sea which is popularly known as the ‘Konkanpatti’ (Konkan strip) is also known as the Parshuram Kshetra (Parshuram area). According to the information available in the Sahyadrikhand of the Skanda Purana, this Parshuram Kshetra is ‘shurpaakaar’ (i.e. of the shape of a ‘soop’,a kind of a flat basket) and it is situated to the South of the Vaitarni river and to the west of Subramhannya. The intention behind calling it ‘shurpaakaar’ was that Bhargavram obtained huge land stretching from Sahyadri right upto the Arabian sea which admeasured twelve ‘kos’ (old measurement of distance of three miles) in width and four hundred ‘kos’ in length and this ‘surpaakaar’ land went on becoming sacred even more than Kashi itself. This was so because Parshuram had brought and establised therein all the sacred places of pilgrimage. These ‘teerthas’ (pilgrimage spots) were: Vimal, Nirmal, Khadirteertha, Harihareshwar (near Baannkott), Mukteshwar, Balukesh (Walkeshwar), Banganga, Saraswati, (and to its South) Kushas…
Chodan was Devkikrishna. Every year at Chodan, during the annual Shigmotsav or any other public festivity first blessings are invoked that of Devkikrishna and then only the devotees proceed to the place called Pandaw wada and meet for some rituals at a public sacred place called the ‘Mand’. Therefrom the ‘Khelles’ (chief participants of the celebrations) go to another ward called Maddel , where there was the temple of Mal’lanath in ancient times and pay their obeisance and respect. Only then they proceed to other places. This tradition is being maintained even to this day. The temple of Shree Bhumika Devi was near the temple of Devkikrishna. However, that of the deity named Daaddsankall was situated quite far away. One still finds the lake of Daaddsankall on the island.
The Shifting from Chodan island to Mayem village.
The campaign of conversion was started suddenly on the Chodan island the local Hindus immediately sensed trouble and they quietly crossed over the neighbouring Vaddem village near Mayem with their sacred and precious idols. They successfully crossed the river through canoes and managed to establish the deities in the neighbouring village. The village of Vaddem in those days came under the non-Portuguese domain. It was under the ruler of the Bhatagram. Thus the deities brought from Chodan were established in Vaddem and their temples were also built in the same vicinity, close to each other and along the usual traffic routes. Even today the remnants of some of the ruins can be found in those places.
Thus these devasthanas came to settle down in the Vaddem village. Simultaneously the same names which were prevalent for the vicinity of these temples came to be given even in their new locations. One finds clear proofs of these phenomena even today. The temple of Ravalnath was situated at a short distance from the borders of Pandwada. Some remnants of the foundation is visible today. However, the ‘deep-stambha’ (lamp-pillar) is still standing erect. The reason is, it is engulfed by strong rope-like huge creepers, and the roots of the huge tree situated close to it. It is amazing that even after more than two hundred years the pillar is standing erect on account of the roots of that tree and even the robols are difficult to be dislodged. Some may take this to be a real miracle. The same type of a pillar one comes across at the left hand side of the Ravalnath (Shree Piso Ravlu) temple in Mashel. But that pillar has not yet been duly sanctified. When asked by historians, the elders from the locality say that as long as the pillar in front of the former Ravalnath temple at Mayem is still standing erect, the one at Mashel cannot be sanctified. And hence even today during the festival times, nobody lights lamps at the ‘deepa-stambha’ at Mashel! This instance and anecdote of legendary faith is quite interesting and thought provoking as well!
At Mayem, from a little distance away from the steps of the former Ravalnath temple, one can see the foundations of former temples of Devkikrishna, Shree Bhumika etc; however, none can say for sure as to which temple of which deity might have stood exactly at any given particular spot. But through oral communication of traditions and the legends, people show for sure where exactly the temple of Ravalnath was situated at Mayem near the Vaddem. This is located at the area or the ward called Gavonna. There was a well attached to that temple. There is a huge tree and a little distance away at Gavanwada there is an open lake in which one can still see some water. The steps leading towards in water of the lake are in complete ruins. However one can imagine the kind of construction and masonry which had gone into the construction of the lake.
Shifting of Deities from Mayem to Shrikshetra Mashel
The temples which were located at Vaddem village near Mayem got shifted to Shri Kshetra Mashel in due course of time. All this while they were of course safe at Mayem because that part of the Bhatagram taluka was beyond the borders of the Portuguese kingdom. Perhaps our ancestors felt that Mashel would afford greater safety and prosperity to the temples.
Transfer of Deities to Vorgaon-Mashel in the Ponda taluka
In due course of time, the deity of Devkikrisha had to be transferred to Vorgaon village at the ward (vaddo) called Mashel from the earstwhile Vaddem village of Mayem. Today Vorgaon has become a separate part and Mashel itself has become an independent village abounding in ample temples and the abode of many deities includeing Devkikrishna. In due course of time former Vaddem and the neighbouring village of Mayem also came under the rule of Portuguese. Our ancestors must have for seen this possibility and they found a safer place for our deities at Mashel where they are safe, sound and well looked-after even to this date. As said earlier, although, the then Ponda taluka was out of the Portuguese domain, it was however, under the rule of the Adilshah of Bijapur, a Muslim ruler in fact. But the entire affairs and governance of Ponda taluka was looked after and under the control of Desais, Sardessais etc. who were of course Hindus. That is the reason our deities had no danger whatsoever. Ponda taluka as a whole, meaning, not only Mashel but other parts of Ponda too gave safe shelter to various important deities like Shantadurga at Kavalem, Ramnath at Bokadbaag, Shri Naguesh, Shri Manguesh etc. were all the deities shifted from the Portuguese ruled ‘Old Conquests’ (Salcete, Bardez, Tiswadi-Islands) to the ‘New Conquests’ which included Ponda. Hindu Deities from Bardez usually fount shelter in Pernem taluka, again a new conquest. As a matter of fact, another sacred deity of Hindus, Shree Shantadurga Kumbhajuvemkarinn deity had already been established in a temple at Mashel-Vorgaon. In fact, as a fall out of forcible conversions, religious persecution and overall atmosphere of stability was in jeopardy and trade and comerce had come to a halt. Hence, the government had formulated new ordinances and issued orders of various nature to give a healing touch to the Hindus. This fact has been already referred to before. However, even later the Hindus would not trust the Christian Portuguese rulers and they sought maximum safety and security to their deities. Even the deities from normally safe places got shifted to places like Mashel and elsewhere in the new conquests. Our ancestors did not bother much and surrendered liberally all the lands and other resources and sources of income of these temple which was due to them as per law.
When these deities were shifted to Mashel, they were temporarily placed at a house which was known as the Chouki which belonged to certain Saraswat Brahmin from Kumbharjua village. At present the same place and the location where these deities were temporarily housed in ancient times is xactly the place where one finds the Sabhagar (the main hall) of the Devkikrishna temple. Why were these deities established there itself? The reason was, the house belonged to the Saraswat Brahmin mentioned above whose surname was ‘Vaddiye’. He had no son. The gramdevata of Kumbharjua was Shree Shantadurga Kumbharjuvekarinn whose temple stands in Mashel today also belonged to this Mr.Vaddiye. The place of this temple also belonged to this person. That is the reason he got established the temple of the deity of his village (kumbharjuvem). In due course of time, as he had no son, the ownership rights passed on to his daughter and son-in-law. His son-in-law was the ‘kullavi’ of Shree Ravalnath Pandwada deity. So with a healthy and wise view of those people that all the deitities may exist and the temples flourish harmoniously, they divided the ownership rights of the lands of the temples in the vicinity. Hence, the land around the temple of Shri Ravalnath Pandwada was enrusted to the Shree Shantadurga Kumbharjuvekarinn deity and the land around the Shantadurga Kumbharjuvekarinn deity’s temple was earmarked for Shri Ravalnath pand wada temple. This was exemplary way of peaceful co-existence and co-operation and mutual understanding. Hence the house then known as ‘Chouki’ Was originally under the ownership of Shree Ravalnath temple. Initially, all these deities had rested and relaxed before getting established and sanctified in the respective temples. In due course of time, thus, the kullavis of both the Ravalnaths (‘Shanno’ as well as ‘Piso’) and also those of other deities like Mal’lanath, Bhumika, Daaddsankall etc. got built and duly established. However, Shri
Devkikrishna being the main and chief deity had to have a big, graceful, and very decent temple in keeping with its stature and reputation. Until the task got accomoplishe in due course of time, the deity was housed at the ‘Chouki’ itself. Later, when the Devkikrishna temple got built and duly established and the deity was sanctified according to Shastras etc., the event was also duly recorded and there is a ‘shilalekh’ (stone inscription) in Sanskrit and at present it can be seen placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the present temple. The contents are as follows:-
“ Shaake Sindhushesaadribhoo 1764 parimites
chandrananvde gurotaateerthe su tithoucha maashwatava
sitegrame mahaahaye// badhvanootanamaa-
taya sthaa nikaa: saunsthaapito devakikrishno-
bhumima yaa yu totra sakalaa tbhakta nhari rakshataat // 1 //
So, after going through the contents of this stone inscription, the present temple and the establishment of the deity Devkikrishna therein can be known to have taken place in Shree Shake 1764 which means the year 1842. However, some people still quote the traditional belief that at first there was a small temple of Shree Devkikrishna at that place and later the shifting took place after the full-fledged present devalaya got completed. Perhaps this was true as the theory sounds quite plausible.
Some peculiarities and specialities of the deities and their festivals
In this Sausthan of Devkikrishna.
In the entire territory of Goa, one comes across one and the only one temple of Shree Devkikrishna deity. Besides, during the days of his infancy or childhood, Lord Krishna is seen here happily in the lap of his dear mother Devaki. Such a beautiful, affectionate, lovingly tender form of a deity is unique here. Nowhere else such a scene or form is seen or heard of by anyone. Moreover, during the festival called the ‘Shibikotsav’, Lord Shri Krishna is seen in his mother’s lap, while he sits in the chariot, he sits all alone. Again the idol of Lord Shrikrishna which sits in the chariot is of blackish (‘shyamavarnni’) in colour and made of Tulsi wood and it looks so attractive and eye-catching that even an atheist and a strong non-believer would fall in love instantly and having been so infatuated would surely change his/her views and become a believer! One should go there and see the thing actually to be experienced! Is it not true that ‘seeing is believing?’
Having known this much about the actual idol, let us now get to know some details about the major festivities, rituals and celebrations that take place at this famous Devasthan from time to time.
The Annual Zatra of Shree Devkikrishna comes in the month of Margashirsha in the Shukla trayodashi (thirteenth day of the first half of the month of Margashirsha). And throughout the year with the exception of the ‘Chaturmas’ period, ‘Shibikotsav’ is held there every fortnight regularly; and that too on the day of ‘trayodashi’. This shows that this particular ‘tithi’ (the day) has special importance in this temple. In fact as far as Lord Krishna or any of the observance or festivity about Him can go, ‘Ashttami’ or the eighth day should have been more logical, reasonable and understandable. However, some people conjecture that in ancient times, when this deity was established on the Chudamani or the Chodan island, it might have been the thirteenth day. Or may be when it was shifted to Mashel via Mayem, and finally established in Mashel, these days too might have been the ‘trayodashis!’ Of course there is a special significance and importance for the l3th day or the ‘trayodashi’ in the Hindu Dharmashastras. There is a popular saying coming down to us from the ancient tradition called ‘trayodashi sarvasiddhi’ (trayodashi is the most auspicious day for all accomplishments). This is a popular belief among the Hindus eve today. This day is supposed to be a good ‘muhurt’ day for any endeavour. But it is doubtful whether this belief alone is responsible for special significance of this day at this day. On the contrary the theory that the deity was originally established on this day sound more plausible and trustworthy. So the annual zatrotsav or the usual shibikotsav carry the significance of ‘trayodashi’.
More Important Specialities : The ‘Dahikaalaa’ and ‘Gaulankala’
‘Dahikala’ and ‘Gaulankala’ are the special festivities connected with the Devkikrishna’s childhood. Particularly, the Dahikala is concerned with the child Shrikrishna and his pranks. In Mashel, on the next day morning the perched rice brought by the ‘sevekaris’ (people working for the temple) and the devotee villagers is mixed with curds small balls (ladoos) are made and are distributed to all and sundry. And in the evening the festivity of ‘Gaulankala’ is celebrated. This is again connected with the childhood pranks and mischief of Lord Shrikrishna. There is a continuous tradition of hundred of years behind this festival. In many other temples too, this ‘kala’ celebration and also the ‘Gaulankala’ is regularly held every year. But the strong tradition, joy and the status which the ‘Kala’festival at the Devkikrishna temple is unique and this can best be perceived by the real lovers of Lord Krishna indeed!
In Goa, in almost all the temples, there is this tradition of taking ‘kaul prasad’ (permission of the deity before any endeavour) since ancient times. By way of exceptions, only in the temples of a very few deities like Shri Dat’tamaharaj, Shri MarutiRai, Shri Vitthal-Rakhumai this custom of kaul prasad is conspicuously non-existent. May be, taking God ‘s permission through this ritual called the kaul prasad or simply prasad should depend upon the wishes and beliefs of particular individuals purely by choice. However, by and large, in Goa, overall Hindus, before any ceremony liketh