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Trinath Mela Story

Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (Shiva) in Hindu religion are collectively known as Trinity or Trinatha. The Trinath Mela or trinity worship has been in practice in different parts of the country following different traditions. But in eastern region, particularly Odisha, Assam and Tripura, the Trinatha worship is based on a common practice and that practice is in turn based on folk tradition with a root in Hinduism. Here is the story of Trinath Mela.

Trinath Katha related to Trinatha Mela has different versions in different regions. The following version of the folk tale is popular in the Barak Valley region of Assam:

One fine afternoon a Brahmin was going to the local market. The road to the market, like a giant serpent, travelled through riverside, small hillock, paddy field, bushes and hutments of rural people. Far from human settlements by the side of the road stood a large banyan tree. Darkness engulfed the land patch under the tree.

When the Brahmin was passing by the tree, a loud and soothing voice came from nowhere. “Thakur (as Brahmins are generally addressed) stop! Look below in front of you”.

The bewildered Brahmin stopped forthwith and looked downward. Three coins were dazzling on the white sand. The voice resumed: “Take these coins and bring oil, pan (betel leaf) and ganza (marijuana) of one paisa each”.

The Brahmin took the coins hesitatingly and without any further question set out for the market. On the way, he thought about the identity of the fellow, whose voice he heard and whose paisa he took. He should have asked the person to appear before him. Was he a god or ghost or demon?

He shopped for himself but forgot to buy the things that the voice had asked. He tumbled. "Hoo! What is this?" He tumbled again. The road was well known to him; he walked through it almost every day. He knew every turn and every bump or pitfall. That day he found it difficult walk properly.

Suddenly he realized: he committed a grave mistake. He had not purchased the items requested by the voice. He went back and purchased pan and ganza. When he went to a grocery to purchase the third item, oil, he encountered a problem. He had no bottle or container to take the oil. But he had to take oil. He thought and thought and smiled at last, as if he had thought out a good solution. He spread a corner of his dhoti and asked the grocer to pour oil in it.

The grocer thought the Brahmin must have gone mad. How could oil be retained in a porous cloth? He wiped the bottom of his measuring mug and said, “Go. This is the oil for one paisa”. Simple hearted Brahmin accepted and started his journey towards home.

As he walked a few steps, he heard a loud call from the market side. The grocer shouted, “Stop Thakurmashai, forgive me. You are perhaps a god.” The Brahmin turned back.

The grocer said “Forgive me and come to my shop again. I have cheated you. Oil in my container has evaporated, entire can is empty”. This time the grocer measured correctly and poured correct quantity of oil into the corner of the dhoti.

The Brahmin said “I am not a god, perhaps for whom I am taking the oil is a god” and left the market. After he reached near the banyan tree he uttered, like a soliloquy, “Hey god or whoever you might be take your goods.” The male voice said in ordering note: “Take them to your home and organize Trinath Mela”.

“I have not heard about Trinatha Mela. How is it organized?” Said the Brahmin

“Light diya (lamp) with the oil. Offer pan and ganza and sing song in praise of Trinatha”. Said the Voice.

The Brahmin left home in confusion. On his way back to the home, he noticed his lost cow. The cow had been lost a few days back and after an extensive search it could not be traced. Now it was grazing on the way side. “Amazing” thought the Brahmin, “some god must have become happy with me”.

When he was entering his home, following the cow, his son, who never called him baba (he was a dumb), shouted at his mother, who was in the kitchen, “See maa, baba has found out our cow.”

Mother was amazingly delighted to see all these. She addressed her mother in law as maa and told, “see maa, our son has started to address his father as baba.”

The mother in law merrily replied “you too are addressing me as maa. Perhaps a god has become kind on us”.

After reaching home, the Brahmin narrated the story of that unseen man to his family members. They started the process of organizing Trinath Mela. Neighbors were invited, diya lighted, pan and ganza were prepared and offered to the god. After offering ganza to Trinatha they started to consume it as prasad. They were absorbed in singing devotional songs.

On the other hand, a boat was passing through a nearby river. The fire arrangement on the boat was over. Due to the lack of fire, the sole passenger, a guru, was unable to have a puff at hukka (smoke). The guru ordered the boatman to stop the boat and go and collect fire from the nearby village.

The boatman asked: “From where can I collect fire?”Follow the sound of the song. Go to that home, it is my disciple. Ask them. They will give you fire”.

After sometime, the boatman came back empty hand. “They don’t pay heed to my request. I requested several times on behalf of you. Who cares? They were busy in singing devotional songs.”

The guru felt insulted. Who could be of greater importance than the guru, he thought. He rushed straight to the Brahmin’s home. Kicked their offerings, collected fire from the diya and came back with anger and pride.

When the guru was still on the boat he heard wailing from his village. The tensed guru reached home to find his son dead. He realized his mistake. “They were worshiping a god. I showed disrespect towards the god”. He hurried back to the shisya’s home, where they were singing songs in praise of Trinatha.

“Tell me how I can rectify myself. How can I do penance? I have lost my son”. Hearing his story, the poor Brahmin said, “Take the sacred ash of the ganza, massage the dead body with it. Your son will wake up again. Don’t forget to organize Trinatha Mela if your son becomes alive”.

The Guru did accordingly. He got back his dead son and organised Trinatha Mela at his home with fanfare. Whatever is your prayer, Trinatha will fulfill it. Trinatha Mela got popular in this way.