‘Dhuni Puja’, a rigorous ritual during which sadhus belonging to Mahatyagi sect sit in the middle of burning cow dung cakes cakes for three hours daily, has started in the camps of these sadhus near Khak Chowk in Magh Mela area.
Nearly 200 sadhus surrounded themselves with the burning cow dung cakes placed in a circle, semi circle, triangle and others depending on the stages of their penance as they started their four-month long puja on Wednesday. After the Magh Mela gets over, the sadhus will continue performing the ritual at the places where they reside.
If they succeed in completing the puja performed for 18 consecutive years, their status among the saints’ community takes a leap. The saints also pray for peace and prosperity of the country while performing the ritual.
Allahabad is the only city where these sadhus perform the ‘Dhuni Puja’.
The first stage of the ritual, also called ‘Panch-agni-tapasya’, involves surrounding oneself with five fires. In the subsequent stages, the number increases to seven, 12 and 84 before culminating in ‘innumerable’ circles of fire. In the final stage, the Mahatyagis balance a pot containing fire on their head. Each stage is performed for three consecutive summers.
“Everyone can’t perform Dhuni Puja. It can be done only after a lot of practice. We start the puja on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami during Magh or Kumbh Mela at the Sangam in Allahabad. We will continue this ritual when we return to our respective ashram,” said Mahatyagi Charan Dasji.
Baba Mahakal Dasji of Ayodhya, who is also performing Dhuni Pujan, said it was also performed for the welfare of the country.
“Different levels of the ritual include Chaurasi, Kot, Khappar etc. The number of cow dung cakes increases with every level,” explained Seetaramdasji Mahatyagi who has completed two rounds of ritual.
These devotees of Lord Ram wear white clothes and survive on minimum food. Their main purpose of coming to Allahabad is to perform Dhuni Pujan. They reside in Varanasi, Ayodhya and Chitrakoot.