*Chaman Lal Raina
t has been said by the great Rishis, ascetics and men of spiritual realization that Vitasta is the Parvati incarnated as the Vitasta. When we turn the pages of the Nilamata Purana, which is the socio-cultural purana of the Kashmiri Pandit heritage, it tells us the story of the incarnation of the Vitasta. The legend says:
yāni tīrthāni bhāratavarṣe tāni tīrthāni kāśmīra maṇḍale|
yani tīrthani kāśmīra maṇḍale tāni tīrthani vitastāyam||
The Bhadra Shukla Trayodashi, or Vyatha Truvah, which is the 13th lunar digital day of the month of Bhadra-Pada, generally falls in the month of August or September.This is the very auspicious day for the people of Kashmir, because the Vyeth got incarnated that very day and its constant flow speaks of its grandeur from Vetra Vatti, which is Vyeth Vottur, in the Kashmiri ethos. The Vetra Vatti is one of the forms of Bhavani---the Divine Mother Parvati, as explained by Shiva to his disciple Nandi , in the Rudyamala Tantra. Glory of the Divine Mother is fully explained with reference to the Primordial nature of the Absolute, in the Bhavani Sahsranama.Lord Shiva has explained the Thousand Names of Parvati, who is "Shaila Putri-- Parvati" as well.
Much water has flown from the river Vitasta, since it got incarnated on the Reshi Vai’r of Kashmir. Rrshi Vair is the Apbhramsha of the Sanskrit word Rishi Vatika'which means the playground for the Rishis--the seers of the Vedic truth..We as the Hindus of Kashmir have special reverence for this sacred river. Hindus would offer their Sandhya on its banks at the
The translation runs as:--
The holy place of Kashmiris filled with the sacred spots. The sacred lakes of the Nagas are in plenty there and are the holy mountains. Of course, there are sacred rivers, sacred lakes, sacred templesand also the hermitages on that sacred land.
That is why all the major temples are situated on the banks of the river Vitasta--the Vyeth of Kashmir.
Close to Ganapat Yaar on the banks of the river is the Bhagvan Gopi Nath’s Ashram known as the Vaihkuri Yaar or the Kharyaar. It is because of the linguistic changes, as we see in the Apbhramsha, Vaikhuri Yaar has become the Khar Yaar. This was a center of Sadhana for thousands of people. Soomyaar/Somyaar is considered as the important Tirtha for the Kashmiri Hindu women. This Tiratha--pilgrimage on the banks of the Vyeth is at the Habba Kadal bridge. This Tiratha is associated with the Somavati Amavasya.
When the SOMVAAR or Monday coincides with the Amavasya or No-Moon day, it is called the Somavati Amavasya. The women take the dip in the Vitasta early in the dawn for being Suhagin. Suhagin is the symbol of auspiciousness for a women. On the opposite bank of the river, there is Purusha Yaar, which speaks of the dedication towards the Vedic Purusha Sukta , followed by Drabi Yaar temple. Famous temple Raghu Nath Mandir is situated on the bank of the Vyeth in the Fateh Kadal area. Next comes the famous TRIKA Ashram at Fateh Kadal area, close to the Spring of Mahakali, which is very sacred for the Hindus. Mahakali is the Ishta Devi of many Kashmiri Pandit families. Devotees going for a Parikrama--cirmumambulation to the Hari Parbat and the Chakreshwara would pay their Pranams and obeisance to the flow of the mystic spring. Then they would move for the Parikrama.
The devotees would recite the following Shloka on the banks of the river facing towards the Sindoori Darbar of the Mahakali shrine.
māyā kuṇḍalinī kriyā madhumatī kāli kalā mālinī
mātaṁgī vijayaa jaya bhagavatī devī śivā śambhavī
aktiḥ śaṁkaravallabhā trinayanā vāgvādinī bhairavī
hrīṁkārī tripurā parāparamayī mātā kumārītyasi
This Shloka is the quintessence of the Kashmir Shakta Vimarsha, as explained in the Agamic literature. Shri Mahakali is the Timelessness of the universe. what a wonderful explanation of the Mahakali. She is both present in the serial time of the universe and beyond that.
The Pandits lived in the consolidated position, by the efforts of Pandit Shri Bhat on both sides of the river Vitasta, after they were settled after the great fire of that area.
Shri Bhatt of the Vichar Nag area was responsible for bringing back the displaced Pandits to Kashmir, in the reign of Budshah. Thus developed the Bhanumaasi and Malamasi system of the society. Mostly, Pundits of that time preferred to reside on the banks of the river Vitasta and other sides, where water was in natural flow.
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We agree we have a special romance with Weyth which has its history steeped in scriptures and mythology.Dr.Raina has researched the journey of River Jehlem through the valley of Kashmir well.
Added By pushkar ganjoo
Thank you Shri Pushkar Ganju Ji for your comments. I would like to add to my write-up that the word Vitasta falls under the Panchanadas,which occur in the Rigveda and the Mahabharata.
Added By Chaman Lal Raina