There are many reasons why people perform this ceremony, here are some: –
A family tradition were the ceremony is performed when a new daughter-in-law is welcomed into the new home. The ceremony will bring happiness and blessings upon the couple.
In other family traditions the ceremony is associated with the first pregnancy, they will do this on the seventh month to call blessings upon the baby inside the mother to be.
Some parents like to perform the ceremony for an infant boy some time after he has his head shaved at his balmuvara (Normally between 13-15 months of birth or 24-27 months of birth). They ask for Randal Matajis blessings for the new boy’s life. Also this is for when a boy attains the janoi, Randal Mataji will give blessings to the boy and make him safe and be successful in his studies.
Other people do the ceremony for the joy and love for Randal Mataji.
The ceremony is usually performed at home, to also give blessings onto the home. The ceremony should be performed on auspicious days most commonly Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The priest should always be consulted over the best days for the ceremony.
Everything should be planned in advance so stress is taken away. The priest will make a list of items that they need to get e.g. food artifacts and offerings that are required. The success depends how many goyni’s there are. Any woman caste or faith can be a goyni. The goyni must be fit to eat well but not be expecting. On this day the goyni represent the form of Randal Mataji.
The minimum number of goyni’s is determined by the number of lota used in the cremony. Lotas are always counted in pairs. With 14 goyni’s for each pair of lotas.
The Matajis Mudh (Alter) is made ready by the priest, however this room is very devotional and is reserved for medition and devotional songs. Food is prepared. Although Kheer and paar are done the following day (Usually early morning).
The priest arrives early morning and performs the Pooja, firstly prayers to Lord Ganesh and homage to him who removes obstacles. Flowers are given and Lord Ganesh is washed. The priest will invite all Gods and Goddess, Ancestors, Planets holy rivers and Randal Mataji. During the Pooja two ghee lamps will be lit. Once lit, the lamps must remain alight until the ritual on Monday. The lamps are witnesses to the ceremony. They signify continuity throughout the following days of ritual.
Milk is offered to Mataji and the priest may leave. Preparation of two spiritual foods, the kheer and paar. After the Pooja and the Prasad to the goyni’s and guests, the householders will go to Randal Mataji’s Mudh to invite a Bhuy Maa or a Bhuva in the form of Randal Mataji. Although the divine mother is everywhere-especially in our hearts-it is part of the tradition of the ceremony to extend a formal invitation.
The house holders should carry kumkum, rice, friut and a coconut with them, as offerings. The Bhuy maa or Bhuva will explain his or her rituals at this time. The householders pray that Randal Mataji comes back to their home and bless them.
Early morning is the time the special foods for the ceremony should be prepared. The kheer and paar should remain in the house at all times and never to be given out or to be taken away by guests or goyni’s. The first person to be offered is of course Randal Mataji. Kheer and paar is offered in a thal. There are special garba sung at this time. The goyni’s arrive with their families, treat them with great respect as if they were your daughters. Randal mataji’s physical presence is with the goyni’s.
The first mark of respect is washing the big toe of the goyni’s feet. Attach few grains of rice to the chandlo; the big toe of the goyni’s foot is now washed. Bathe each goyni’s toe in turn with warm water, milk and warm water again. After the toe is washed, they apply another chandlo with rice to the goyni’s washed toe. Remember that the washing is an act of love and devotion towards Randal Mataji. The washing should be performed by a woman, usually the lady of the house hold, If possible, it should be done in the shrine room. Complete your devotions to each goyn’i by offering her a present of a chandlo and sopari (betel nut). Other presents may be offered as well.
During the stage of the ceremony, it is vital to keep an accurate count of the number of goyni’s who have had their toes washed. The success of the ceremony depends upon having the minimum number of goyni’s required by the number of lotas on the Mudh. Having more than minimum number of goyni’s is not a problem.
Now the goyni’s can eat within the household, but she must eat properly (several mouthfuls at least) – and she must eat kheer and paar first. After she has eaten the goyn’i is free to leave, although she is of course more than welcome to stay on. No kheer or paar may leave the house. It must be consumed within the four walls of the family home. Now is the best time to sing Mataji garba. The singing of the garba should be encouraged throughout the ceremony. They create a deeply spiritual atmosphere and they focus the minds of householders and guests on the wonderful event.
Sunday afternoon around 4.00 pm everyone will gather around the shrine room for the singing of garba. If there is a single best time to sing garba this is it. Mean while someone goes to the Mudh to invite the Bhuy maa or the Bhuva over to the house where the ceremony is taking place. The Bhuy maa or Bhuva will become the channel through which Randal Mataji speaks to the devotees.
While the household continues to sing garba the Bhuy maa or the Bhuva will enter the shrine room and perform his or her own personal ritual at the Mudh to prepare oneself for what is to come. This part of the ceremony is called the ghoro kundwo. As singing progresses the Bhuy maa experiences surge of energy that transforms her into the mouthpiece of Matajis. The more love, devotion, and energy that the devotee put into their garba and into the ceremony the stronger is the presence of the deities during the “ghoro khundavo”.
The householders will now ask Mataji through the Bhuy maa whether the ceremony has been successful. They should ask for forgiveness for any mistakes. There is no particular form of words for this conversation words should be loving and respectful.
Matajis reply comes to the householders through the medium of the Bhuy maa or Bhuva. More garba should now be sung as Prasad and milk are offered to Randal Mataji. Special garba invite that Mataji to come to fast. If necessary, the Bhuy maa will guide the householders on the procedures to follow.
After the thaal the devotees sing praise to Randal Mataji through the ritual known as Aarti. Finally, there are a few more prayers and then everyone can relax because the day’s ceremonies are over. However, this is a useful time to pause for thought to consider the mystery and the meaning of the day’s events.
After the aarti the householders fast is also over. They can at last enjoy the food they provided for their guests. But they should not forget their witnesses the two ghee lamps. They must keep an eye on those lamps overnight. For spiritual and for safety reasons it’s advisable for someone to sleep overnight in the same room as the lamps.
Once again the house holders must fast until the mornings rituals have been completed. Daatan (a special toothbrush stick) and milk should be offered to Randal Mataji.The priest returns early on Monday morning to perform another Pooja. This Pooja gives thanks to Randal Mataji and gives her right of leave to go. It can take up to an hour and involves the priest and two members of the householders.
There is another special Prasad to accompany this Pooja. This Pooja comprises khuller and coconut. One coconut is offered for every two lotas placed in the Mudh. This Prasad is the divine goddess’s breakfast. It is offered in a specific order: daatan; milk; khuller; and coconut. As always the priest will advise on the procedures.
This Pooja ends when Randal Mataji leaves to go. The ceremony must be completed by 12.00noon which then after is the Mudh (mandap) is dismantled.
After thought-Please don’t lose sight of the purpose of the Randal Mataji ceremony when studying in detail of the ritual. We are inviting the mother goddess to enter our homes with faith and with humility. We love and praise her because she loves us. If we approach her ceremony with good intentions minor errors will surely be forgiven.