Good triumphs over evil

Dressed up: Exqusite and traditional Perak headdresses for the festival. Photo: Special Arrangement

Dressed up: Exqusite and traditional Perak headdresses for the festival. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Hindu

July 21, 2016

July 31 and August 1 are important days for the people living in Zanskar mountains as they celebrate Karsha Gustor.

Karsha Gustor festival, is celebrated at the Karsha Monastery in Zanskar, Kargil district. One of the largest monasteries, it is home to over around 100 lamas. This festival is celebrated to remember the victory of good over evil. It takes place at the largest Geluk-pa (Yellow Hat) monastery, located on the slopes of Zanskar mountains.

Dance drama: Character traits. Photo: Special Arrangement

Dance drama: Character traits. Photo: Special Arrangement


The monks perform a masked dance which resembles cham.

The history of cham is interesting. Buddhist monks in medieval monasteries hold sacred festivals once a year, during which they perform these 1,300-year-old mystical dances, collectively called cham, to transform evil for the benefit of the entire world. Masked dances have been a part of the Buddhist scriptures. These dances were especially performed to ward off evil forces, and dates back to the historic times when Buddhist manuscripts were first written. The Zanskar (Karsha Gustor) Festival continues for two days.

Stok is a royal residence. At this time a man is chosen from the crowd after a formal selection. This layman is spiritually cleansed by the lamas, and is prepared to receive the spirit of the Holy Deity. During the Karsha Gustor, it is the layman who predicts the future not the reputed soothsayers.

Depicting myths: Citizens participate actively, making this festival a success. Photo: Special Arrangement

Depicting myths: Citizens participate actively, making this festival a success. Photo: Special Arrangement

The festival culminates with the Black Hat Dance where the leader of the dancers kills the evil force known as Argham.

The main feature is the re-enactment of the assassination of the Tibetan renegade, King Lang-dar-ma, by a Buddhist Monk. The king was said to be a traitor who lived in the mid 9th century, and caused a lot of harm to the state. An effigy of the evil forces is burnt at the end of the festival.

[link]

Advertisements

2 responses to “Good triumphs over evil

  1. Heather Stoddard

    In Buddhism as far as I have heard it is Wisdom that triumphs over ignorance. This is a very distinct lucid opposition as compared to good and evil.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s