Shabari Jayanti is celebrated in the memory of Shabari a Kol woman, who came to be known as the epitome of devotions and Bhakti by her abundant love and devotion to Lord Rama.
Shabari Jayanti is celebrated on the second day of the Krishna Paksha of Phalgun or February-March month according to the Hindu calendar.
What is the story of Shabari?
Shabari belonged to an uncivilized community called Shabara. She did not understand religion, devotion or God. However during the passage of time she came across Guru Matunga. Her Guru told her that one day God will come for her and bless her; and he also told her that hence the only word that should come out of her mouth is RAMA as it was the name of God.
From that day onwards, the only word that she uttered was Rama. Twelve years passed without any sight of Lord Rama. When she was of eighty years old, Shabari kept thinking that I must not give up my soul cause I am yet to meet my savior, my God.
Then one day, Lord Rama, in a quest to find his wife Sita Mata who was abducted by Ravana, came to her hut. Seeing Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana, Shabari could not hold back her tears. Hungry, Lord Rama asked for some fruits. Shabari wary of serving bitter or poisonous fruits to Lord Rama, started tasting all the fruits when finally she realized that she had tasted all the fruits. Ashamed she could not bring herself to give them to Lord Rama, but what is God without his disciples? Rama accepted all the fruits and ate them with relish. Overwhelmed, Shabari cried copious tears and said now her life was fulfilled. Lakshmana, seeing this devotion between the devotee and her God prophesied that her name will remain immortal as a true devotee. She breathed her last in front of Rama and her soul went heaven bound and she attained Moksha.
How is Shabari Jayanti celebrated?
Several devotional and cultural programs mark the celebrations of the Shabari Jayanti. Special celebrations are held at the Sitaramachandra Swamy temple at Bhadrachalam where a huge number of people, especially tribal people, congregate to mark the occasion. People take out a huge procession, and this procession has been christened as the Sabari Smruthi Yatra. In this procession people carry huge portraits that depict the event of Shabari offering the fruit to Lord Rama. The event marks the significance of complete devotion and subjugation, of both God to His devotes, and of devotees to who they worship. Apart from that, various tribal rites and rituals are performed on this day.