The Nepali religion , tradition and culture holds a lot of reverence for a father . He is considered the pillar of strength , respect and support of a family. The most auspicious day to honour one’s father is Gokarna Aunsi . It falls on the dark fortnight in August or in early September.
A day when children show their gratitude and appreciation for his guidance and teachings in life. Sons and daughters, near or far, come with presents and confictions to spend the day with their fathers. Children spend their hoarded coins on presents, which expresses honour and love in their own special ways. The streets are a gay scene of married daughters on their way to their parents’ home with delicacies . After the offering of gifts, they touch their father’s feet with their foreheads , this act of veniration is done by the sons only , the daughters touch the hand. The ceremony is also known as “looking upon father’s face”.
People with or without fathers worship the Gokarneswor Mahadev on this day. It is a sacred shrine of lord Shiva , renowned for his singularly close communion with the souls of dead . The shrine lies in Gokarna village, five miles east of Kathmandu. The fatherless people honour the memory of their fathers and promote welfare of his soul here.
Mythology has placed the Gokarna shrine in prehistoric times when Lord Shiva hid himself in the Pashupatinath forest, disguised as a one-horned golden deer, from the gods and mankind. While he spent his days frolicking, the world suffered so Lord Vishnu, the preserver, Lord Brahma, the creator and Lord Indra, the king of Gods, took matters into their hands and searched for him. Finally a goddess revealed Shiva’s disguise. So when they finally caught the deer by the horn , it burst into fragments and Shiva revealed himself. He asked the other three gods to establish his horn in their three worlds. So, Vishnu installed his section in his abode in Vaikuntha, Indra in his realm in heaven and Brahma enshrined it at the sacred site of Gokarneshwor. The following day the gods and goddesses descended and bathed in Bagmati river, paid homage to Shiva and established the present day tradition of ancestor worship at gokarna.
Gokarna Aunsi is yet another festival in the continuous procession of holy days, wherein homage is paid deities and the bonds of family and kinship is renewed and strengthened.
Article by Padmakshi Rana