Tagu, the auspicious month of Buddha Sasana guarded by Sakka Deva

  • Maha Saddhamma Jotika Dhaja,
    Sithu Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt

Lord Gotama Buddha had predicted that his Sasana [Duration of his Dhamma Teachings] shall last for 5000 years. But after half of that predicted period was over, he assigned the remaining half 2500 years to the guardianship of Sakka Deva [Thunder God].
The first month of Myanmar Lunar Calendar, Tagu [April] is not only the month of New Year Festival [Thingyan] water throwing public festival but also it is the month that reminded the people of Buddha Sasana in the guardianship of Sakka Deva. The story runs as follows;
“On one auspicious day all deities of higher and lower orders suck as Lokapala devas [the guardian deities of the secular world] Sama devas and Sasana devas [the guardian deities of the spiritual world], all gathered at the Jetavana Vihara where living Gotama Buddha was residing. They all paid respect and homage to Lord Gotama Buddha where upon Lord Gotama Buddha uttered the following prediction and assignment.”
“After half of the period of my Sasana 5000 years elapsed, the secular world would begin to deteriorate morally and spiritually. Controversies, conflicts and fightings leading to wars would dominate. My Sasana would gradually decline. Sangha Order could not maintain my Sasana alone. Assistance is needed”. So I call upon Sakka Deva togather with other devas to look after my Sasana for the remaining half of the Period 2500 years”.
Since then Sakka Deva took his duty of looking after Buddha Sasana from the beginning of the second half of the 5000 years period till now.
Our Thingyan legend rituals and ceremonies highlight the above story.
Yearly, the State- appointed “Calendar Board” composed of learned monks and laymen in astrology, astronomy, meteorology and Veda sciences works out the New Year Calendar. Board members are unpaid. But they receive pujas in the form of clothing and food ration. Twelve months of Myanmar Calendar are six 29 days months and six 30 days months. 29 day month begins with the month of Tagu [Apirl] followed by eleven months of 30 days and 29 days alternately, so the twelveth month Tabaung [March] has 30 days. Calendar Board marks the three seasons Summer, Rain and Winter, Buddhist Lent term, waxing, waning, Full moon and No moon days, auspicious days of Buddhism, prospects of cultivation, recommends type of crop to be grown, the prospect of harvest. The Board also forecasts economic and political situation not only of Myanmar but also of the world.
There is also a Board of Thingyan Bulletine [Thingyan Sar] composed of Brahmin Priests or their descendants successively appointed by Myanmar Kings. This Board issues Thingyan Bulletine. The date and days of Thingyan Festival and Rituals. Usually Thingyan Days fall in the second week of April. Usually there are three days of Thingyan festival and ritual viz.
1. The day Sakka Deva descends to Earth for inspection
2. The Inspection day and
3. The Day Sakka Deva ascends [returns] to his Celestial Kingdom [Tavatimsa].
As assigned by Lord Gotama Buddha, Sakka Deva yearly comes down to human world on earth to inspect [check] if hunians are behaving well according to the teachings of Lord Buddha. Such as Pancha Sila Five moral precepts (1) Abstain from killing (2) Abstain from stealing (3) Abstain from sexual misconduct (4) Abstain from telling lies and (5) Abstain’ from taking intoxicants. Observance and practice of Four Brahmacariya namely (1) Metta [Loving kindness] (2) Karuna [Compassion] (3) Upekkha [Equanimity] and (4) Mudita [Appretiative Joy] in other’s success.
Avoidance of all evil doings and actions, unwholesome deeds and constant doing of wholesome deeds. Meditation and telling beads for mental stability and equanimity.
Sakka Deva is accompanied by two other devas, Matali Deva, the Registras and Withugyone Deva is the Vehicle driver. Matali Deva keeps two Record Books. The Gold Book is to record the good people and the Book made of dog skin is to record bad people. Withugyone Deva drives the Vehicle on which Sakka Deva descends to the Earth -human world. Vehicles vary in accordance with the calculation of the Board-chariot, Elephant, Horse, Naga, Ogre, Garuda etc. what Sakka Deva carries in his hands also vary year to year water pot, torch of fire, weapon, or sprigs of Eugenia leaves. Water pot, sprigs of Eugenia sprigs are good, predicting peace and prosperity for the New Year. Torch of fire, weapons predict outbreaks of fire, rebellion and war for the coming year.
On doomes day, a Board of Devas presided by Sukka Deva judged and sent all those in the Gold Registran Book to deva kingdoms above and those in the dog skin Registran Book are cast down to hells below. The most notorious ones are immediately punished by Sukka Deva by killing with his Thunder Bolt.
Some years there are two days of inspection. So Thingyan Days last 4 days. The day after Sakka Deva returns or ascends to Tavatimsa is marked a New Year Day [though it may not be so on calendar]. The New Year Day is the Day of merit makings. Old year with its all evils is driven out by chanting Paritta [Protective Buddha Suttas] and beating doors, windows and domestic utensils and washing and cleaning. Younger members pay homage to elda members in the family. Elders give younger blessings as well as some pocket money. Even pets at home receive special feed and treatment.
Thus we may rightly say Thingyan days in Tagu are Thagyar Sasana Akartaw Nay [odMum;
omoem tcgawmfaeh]. Tagu the auspicious month of Buddha Sasana guarded by Sakka Deva.

The following is the loose translation of the song sung by a film actor and singer Khin Maung Yin “Thigyar Sasana”.

Song Thigyar Sasana

Composer Shwe Taing Nyunt
Singer Film actor and vocalist Khin Maung Yin
Record No. BBR 1127
British Burma Film
Loose Translation of Song
Lord Buddha had left his prediction that the time is nearing for Buddha Sasana guarded by Sakka Deva [Thunder god].
It’s better to keep and practice Four Brahma cariya and Five moral precepts [Pyinsa Sila].
Definitely believe that Sakka Deva with one thousand eyes, is watching human world.
First stanze All devas including Loka pala devas gather together to pay homage to Lord Buddha residing in Jetavana Vihara [Monastery].
Lord Buddha teaches Loka byuha [Bek strategy for good mundane life.]
For the sake of all living beings Lord Buddha left his Dhamma [Truth] to be guarded by Sakka deva assisted by one thousand Goman Rakhas [ogres] including Vesawun deva.
So with the weapon Warazein Thunder bolt the King above in the sky that is Sakka Deva is watching us.
Good people’ll be saved, bad people’ll be cast aside in line with Buddha’s Dhamma.
Daily observe and practice Buddha’s Dhamma.
Buddha Sasana guarded by Saka deva is nearing.
Second stanza
Pursue the right way of Buddha’s teachings recorded in canonical texts [Tipitakas] with good will, always carry out wholesome deeds.
Then you are sure to be protected and helped by Devas.
The doers of unwholesome deeds will be taken to task without delay.
Thunder bolt, the weapon of Sakka deva in the celestial kingdom Tavatimsa, surely strikes the doers of unwholesome deeds without delay.
To keep the glory and light of Sasana Saka deva accompanied by Matali deva the Registrar and Vithakyone Deva the driver of Saka Deva’s vehicle descends to human world on earth every year. They go round inspecting and examining every human being. Therefore avoid unwholesome deeds.
Third Stanza
Keep and observe Five moral Precents Pancha Sila. Have a good mind. Jealousy is wrong till rosary. Respect Parents and Elders.
I, vocatist Khin Maung Yin urge you to avoid ten evil deeds.

-ဆို-ရုပ္ရွင္မင္းသား အဆိုေတာ္ခင္ေမာင္ရင္
ဓာတႊ္ပား ွြ် ၁၁၂၇ ႊဗိတိသွ်ဘားမား ရုပ္ရွင္ ဓာတႊ္ပား
ဘဂဝါဘုရား အမိန္႔ေတာ္ထားသည္၊ သြိကားသာသနာေရာက္ခ်ိန္နီးလႊုပီ၊ စတႊုဗဟၼစိုရ္ညီ၊ ပဥၦသီကိုပဲ၊ တကယ္စြဲလို႔၊ ႊမြဲကမွေတာ္လိမ္႔မည္၊ စိတ္ခ်ကာ ယံုယြံုကညြ္ကည္၊ ႊမတ္ဘိုးေတာ္သြိကားမင္းက စကၡၾတစ္ေထာင္ ေဆာင္ကြာကည္႔ေနမည္။ပထမပိုဒ္
(သံုးလုပရေမ၊ေရ႗ဆင္းနဲ႔ညီ၊ ႊမတ္စြာဘုရားကိုဖူးေမွြ်ာ္ကသည္၊ ေလာကပါလ၊ နတ္မ်ား စံုညီ၊ ေစတဝန္ေက်ာင္းေတာ္၊ ေသာင္းေသာင္းဖ်ဖ်ညီ)၂ ေလာကဗ်ျဟာပါ၊ တရားကိုသာနြာကားတာ႔သည္၊ ကုမၣဏ္တစ္ေထာင္၊ အေစည႗န္းရေပတဲ႔၊ ေဝသဝဏ္သ၊ မက်န္ရ၊ အမွန္ပ ရွိဦးခ်ီ၊ ဘဂဝါဘုရား၊ သတၻဝါေတြသနား၊ သာသနာမ်ား သြိကားကိုသာအပ္ၪွင္းခဲ႔ပါသည္၊ ဝရဇိန္လက္နက္စိုးတဲ႔၊ ထက္မိုးဘုရင္က၊ အထင္ကရေစာင္႔ေနသည္။
သႊံပိၾင္ (ေကာင္းသူကယ္တင္မည္၊ မေကာင္းတဲ႔သူဖယ္ရွားမယ္တဲ႔၊ ဘုရားတရားေတာ္နဲ႔အညီ)၂ အေလာ္ပါမ်ား၊ ေတာ္ရာရွား၊ ေသခ်ာမမွား ေဒသနာတရား၊ ေန႔စဥ္ပြားမည္၊ သြိကားသာသနာေရာက္ခ်ိန္နီးပႊါပီ၊ဒုတိယပိုဒ္
ဘုရားေဟာထားခဲ႔သည္၊ က်မ္းဂန္နဲ႔အညီ၊ လမ္းမွန္က်င္႔မည္၊ ေကာင္းမႌကုသိုလႊ္ပၾကာ၊ ေသေသခ်ာခ်ာ၊ ေစတနာရ႗ငြ္ကည္၊ နတ္မင္းမ်ားက ထင္ရွားစြာ ကူညီပါလိမ္႔မည္။
မေကာင္းမႊႌပၾတဲ့သူ၊ ခုမေၪွးအေရးယူလိမ့္မည္၊ မြိုးကိၾးလက္ၪွက္စိုးတဲ့၊ ေဝဇယၪၺာဘံုအာကာဆီ၊ သြိကားမင္းက၊ ထင္လင္း တကယ္ပစ္ခြင္းမည္။
သာသနာေရာငႊ္ခည္၊ မၪြမ္းေအာင္ေစာင့္ေရွာက္မည္၊ မာတလိစံုညီ၊ ဝိသြကံၾေခၚ ထိုနတ္သားတို႔၊ တရားေတာ္ၪွင့္အညီ၊ လႊူ႔ပည္လွည့္လည္၊ အမႌေတြကည့္မည္၊ မေတာ္တာကိုအတည့္ ေရွာင္ရွားသင့္ေပႊပီ။
သႊံပိၾင္ ေကာင္းသူကယ္တင္မည္၊ ——– သြိကားသာသနာေရာက္ခ်ိန္နီးပႊါပီ၊ေနာက္ဆံုးပိုဒ္
ပဥၦသီငါးပါးကို လႊံုခံၾေအာင္ထိန္းသိမ္းမည္၊ စိတ္ရင္းေကာင္းဘို႕လိုပါသည္၊ အဘိဇၦ်ာပြားရင္၊ မွားလိမ့္မည္ သြိကားသာသနာနီးလို႔၊ ပုတီးစိတ္ပါရသည္၊ အဲ့ ဒီအခြါကရင္၊ လြူကီးမိဘရိုေသရမည္၊ ဒုစရိုက္ဆယ္ပါးကို ေရွာင္ရွားဘိုရာ၊ ခင္ေမာင္ရင္ၪိူးေဆာ္သည္။အခြါကရင္၊ လြူကီးမိဘ ရိုေသရမည္၊ ုစရိုက္ဆယ္ပါးကို ေရွာင္ရွားဘို့ရာ၊ ခင္ေမာင္ရင္ၪျးေဆာ္သည္။
သႊံပိၾင္ ေကာင္းသူကယ္တင္မည္၊ ——– သြိကားသာသနာေရာက္ခ်ိန္နီပႊါပီ၊

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