Gayawal Panda Community
The Gayawal Panda community is one such community that is well-known for performing Pind-Daan practice as per the Hindu religion. The origin of the Gayawal Panda community is associated with the origin of Gaya city.
The word ‘Panda’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Pandit’ which means priest. And the word ‘Gayawal’ means the residents of the city Gaya.
How did the Gayawal Panda community originate? And why did they get the right to perform Pind-Daan?
Let’s find out some interesting facts about it. As per history, during the Shishunaga dynasty, there is evidence of the Gayawal Panda. During Mauryan Empire from 322 BC to 185 BC, the Gupta Empire from 319 to 467 AD, and other dynasties, records of many great men like Kumarila Bhatta, Chanakya, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and Chaitanya Maha Prabhu are also found in the Panda community in Gaya.
As per Vishnu Purana, Gaya was the kingdom of a demon named Gayasura. Anyone who saw the Gayasur demon was given a place in heaven. Due to this, Yamraj’s system of heaven and hell started getting disturbed. Then at Yamraj’s request, Lord Vishnu transformed Gayasura into a mighty Rock thus, Gaya city became the pilgrim center to perform Pind-Daan after death.
Thereafter, Lord Vishnu’s incarnation Hansa established Uttradi Math. And their followers were allowed to perform Pind-Daan in Gaya. Thus, the Gayawal Brahmin community came into existence. According to the belief, the first Pind-Daan in Gaya was performed by Lord Brahma during the SatyaYuga.
Since then the salvation city Gaya has been witnessing the practice of Pind-Daan and Mund-Daan on a daily basis. According to the Puranas, in Tretya Yuga, Lord Rama also performed the Pind-Daan for his father Dashratha here itself. It is mentioned in Van-Parv that during Dwapar Yuga, Pind-Daan of the warriors who died in the Mahabharata war, was also performed here. The Panda community right from their origin keeps the records of their Gaya clients with them. In ancient times, these records were written on Bhoj Patra (Birch bark).
And later paper was used for this which is called Panda Pothi. The panda community keeps the records in Panda Pothi in three descriptive types.
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First is the name and address of the person, second is the profession and their workplace, and the third, consists of their signature logs. To keep their Panda Pothi safe, the Panda community applies a specific chemical to it and keeps it wrapped in a red cloth. Interestingly, to keep the records of their clients, the Panda community follows the Fasli calendar started by Emperor Akbar. Which is 590 years behind the present Gregorian calendar.
From the Mughal Era, 1526-1858 to, the British rule 1858-1947there has been no change in the working pattern profession of the Panda Community. Their relations with different rulers remained neutral. Till today, they are in their traditional business of performing Pind-Daan.
With the changing world, they’re upgrading themselves with the latest technology as well. For the NRI or the people who cannot visit Gaya, the Panda community has started websites to provide them their service. The Panda community has been shrinking over time. But still, the community has maintained the tradition of performing Pind-Daanand Mund-Daan for centuries in Gaya.
It is the tradition to perform Pind-Daan and Mund-Daan by the Panda community on the Banks of river Falgu every morning. Currently, due to the COVID pandemic, when everything had come to a standstill during the lockdown, even then, the Panda community performed Pind-Daan by making an effigy and continued their tradition.
The Panda community has done an excellent job of giving salvation to people through Pind-Daan in every era. For ages, the Panda community has preserved the lineage of people’s clans in their Panda-Pothi safely.
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