Sambalpur: The adage that old age brings with it sadness, lack of enthusiasm, loneliness and failing health is proved wrong by this group of grannies from Sambalpur.
Setting a unique example, these wizened women, all members of Sambalpur District Senior Citizens Society celebrate Amla Navami at village Rupapali every year. They use the occasion to mark a religious festival, do social work and above all, bond with each other.
Like every year, village Rupapali of Dhankauda tehsil, reverberated with echoes of kirtan on the occasion of Amla Navami. More than 200 senior citizens from sambalpur came together to absorb and showcase the true essence of a community festival. Bhajan kirtan with a rustic touch, an open air fest of pure satwik food – what more could one ask for?
The day typically starts with rituals of Amla Navami followed by a health check-up camp, a yoga camp etc. organised for the villagers. A kirtan group from Tulandi, Chipilima came to perform on the occasion this time and the villagers loved every moment of it. They also discussed the importance of the festival and narrated the mythological stories behind this day.
Abani Bhusan Mahapatra shared the story of “Kanak Laxmi Stotra”. Long back, when Lord Jagannath was shifted to Patali Srikhetra of Subarnapur district, Adi Shankaracharya was searching for the Lord everywhere. One day, he felt hungry and went to an old woman’s house in search of food. It turned out that she had nothing to serve but found a small Amla, which she offered to Adi Shankaracharya. Even that made him so happy that as a return gift, he made the woman learn the Sanskrit “Kanak Laxmi Stotra.” This made Goddess Laxmi so happy that she filled the woman’s house with gold Amlas.
Sadananda Sonbarsa’s account was different. He shared a happening on this day in the life of the great poet Jayadeva. While writing the Sanskrit poem Gita Govinda, the poet got stuck up with a few lines. So he left it incomplete and went out to take a bath. When he returned after the bath, to his astonishment, he found the poem completed with the lines “dehi pada pallaba mudaram”. Jayadeva asked his wife Padmavati about how it happened and she said, “You only came in between your bath to finish these lines.” This proved to Jayadeva that it was no one else but Lord Jagannath who came in his form to complete the lines.This explained the link between Amla Navami and “Radha Pada Darshan”.
Secretary of the Senior Citizens Society, Sadananda Sonbarsa said, “We registered our society four years back to provide security and fun to the senior citizens of our district. Anyone above the age of 60 years can be a member. We organise different social work events like health camp and swachh bharat abhiyan in our area. We just try to keep senior citizens engaged, connected and happy, which serves as a great strength. When most people feel dejected and depressed, we lead a very healthy and peaceful life.We try to take care of each other. Impressed with out work , the Collector of Sambalpur gave us a fund to celebrate Senior Citizens Day on October 1.