PATNA: Grappling with court cases pertaining to fodder scam and allegations of benami assets, the family of RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Monday sought refuge in the divinity of Lord Shiva by performing ‘rudrabhishek’, an elaborate ritual bath of the Shiva Lingam, in the early morning hours on Monday.
Mondays are considered the most auspicious days for paying obeisance to Lord Shiva in the ongoing holy month of Shrawan. Lakhs of devotees travel to Shiva temples, including the Amarnath cave, in different parts of the country, to perform ‘jalabhishek’ (offering holy water to the Shiva Lingam) during the month. Unlike the routine ‘jalabhishek’, ‘rudrabhishek’ is a time-taking, complex ritual performed either at temples or at home throughout the year.
The Lalu family performed ‘rudrabhishek’ from 4am to 7am at the official bungalow of Lalu’s wife and former CM Rabri Devi, where the family lives. Sources said the entire family, including the couple’s younger son and Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and elder son and state health minister Tej Pratap Yadav participated in the rituals.
Insiders said four priests had been called to preside over the sacred ceremony. They were joined by the two family priests, who perform prayers at the temple inside Rabri’s bungalow every morning and evening, to help the VIP devotees perform the rituals.
Rabri and Tej Pratap led the family in performing the rituals using turmeric, ashtagandha, honey, ghee, curd and holy water of the Ganga amid chants of Vedic mantras. “Lalu performs ‘rudrabhishek’ every year in Shrawan, but it was more important this time considering the troubles being faced by the family,” a Lalu aide and RJD functionary told TOI.
Tejashwi performed ‘rudrabhishek’ also on June 17 — at the centuries-old Hariharnath temple at Sonepur, 15km from Patna. Elder brother Tej Pratap followed suit and performed ‘rudrabhishek’ at the same temple the next day.
Sources close to family say Tej Pratap has been a Lord Krishna worshipper. However, he has of late started wearing a wrist band and necklace of ‘rudraksh’, a seed worn as beads by Shiva devotees for protection from evils.
The 29-year-old health minister had also reportedly organised a ‘Dushman maran jaap’ (a religious ritual believed to ward off evil spirits) at his official residence at 3, Deshratna Marg in the first week of June.
Tej savours ‘sattu’, and shows it
RJD president Lalu Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav on Monday posted photographs on Facebook and Twitter, showing him having ‘sattu’ (flattened gram used as a delicacy by many in Hindi heartland) in lunch.
“Sada bhojan, sadgi ka jivan aur shant mann, yehi hai spasht, swachh aur swasth vichar paane ka mool mantra… Sattu ka aahar aur samajwadi vichar (Simple food, simple life and peaceful mind are the keys to clear, clean and healthy thoughts. Food made of sattu and socialist thoughts),” read the caption of the photographs.