Bhāt Dyā: The Chakmas believe in rebirth. They believe that so long as one cannot extinct or quence desire , he/she is bound to take rebirth untill attainment of Nibbānā. Some get better rebirth and some are born in lower being or abode. Even with good deeds, one may be reborn to relatives if one cannot quence desire and love. For the salvation of the dead relatives and to quence their thirst the Chakmas earlier performed a rite called Bhāt Dyā (literally giving rice) meaning offering of rice or pinda. A Bhāt Dyā was held only for the people of own gutthi or lineage of three, five or seven generations. Therefore, the active participation of all the people a the gutthi and their relatives are a must. The arrangement should be huge and it is very very expensive. Only the wealthy people could initiate such a performance.
When holding of a Bhāt Dyā is decided, first the correct list of dead relatives of three, five or seven generations are prepared in a book called Dhāmāsik. Afterward fixing the time and place is made, Invitation is sent to all the people of own gutthi (linage) and none should even a baby or old person of the gutthi should be left out or remain absent. The place should be wide and plain.
Before the appointed day, all the people of the guthhi come to the appointed place and donate their able amount and goods necessary for the rite. They also reach in person one-two days before the occassion and the place fills with people. Some people open shop and a temporary market for sale of vegetable, cattle , fish, dry fish etc. Apart that, for the dedication and offering to the dead people clothes, banners, utensils, ornaments etc. are also brought in the market. Those are collected and stored in a Bhāndāl Ghar(store house). The convenor has to arrange all the necessary materials including invitation of Lurees (traditional monks). At the appointed place, arrangement is made for the stay of the people.
It is noteworthy to mention that, Bhāt Dyā can be conducted with only traditional Buddhist monk, the Lurees. There is a rule that the Lurees may be assisted only by the Lukthaks (former lurees), who knows the rules of the rite. In this rite chanting from the traditional religious scripture, the Āghar Tārā is a must. Before start of the rite, funeral pyre for all the dead relatives are prepared at the appointed place. Above which Tāngon (banners) and Bābadā (flags) are also posted. On the day before the performance, the lurees go to the pyre in the evening and invite the departed xouls by chanting from the scripture, Āgar tārā. Some people remains there in guard and some people arrange the food by sloughtering buffellow, pig, chicken and also arrange fish, dry fish and other vegetable courses. Actually all edible things like meat, fish, vegetable, sweetmeat, wine, rice beer and other household materials had to be arranged and kept reserved in the Bhāndāl Ghar(store). Some people cook rice, some people cook meat, fish, vegetable and some people prepare sweetmeat, etc. literally they remain awake whole the night.
On the day of Bhāt Dhyā, rice plates has to be arranged on a Mejng ( bamboo tapes weaved small table), above which plantain leaves are spread and on which rice, sticky rice and all available items like meat, fish, dry fish, vegetable, cakes,sweetmeat, milk, curd, wine, rice beer, betel rolls etc are placed for every dead persons. Such a plate is called Ādārhā Poi or Āk Bārhā Poi. If the dead people are one thousand, such number of Ādarhā has to be prepared. Afterward these are offered at the funeral pyre by the relatives of the dead people. These plates have to be guarded so that no dog or other animal could eat it. Afterward the Luris come to the spot and chant Āgar Tārās from the scripture in unison without rest. During this time people burn fire cracker and burst other fireworks. They also beat drums.
The traditional religion had more than the following Ăgar Tārās )religious scripture):
(1) Ādittāmā Tārā –
(2) Ajinā Tārā – After offering rice to dead.
(3) Amantran Tara – To call gods and the soul of a dead. It has (a) Karali Jadi, (b) Pania Jadi, (c) Aniya Jadi and (d) Dakshiya Jadi etc invitation chantings.
(4) Angārā Suttang Tārā – Description of virtues of Triple gem, arhants and others.
(5) Ānijā Tārā – On seeing a dead body at home.
(6) Arejnama Tara – It is about the creation of universe
(7) Arindāmā Tārā -Recitete at the time of death of a king or rich person and at Pinda Dana.
(8) Arinnama Tara – Recited at marriage.
(9) Ārintimā Tārā – Pinda dānā to rich and noble.
(10) Ārittāmā Tārā – Marriage.
(11) Bār Kuruk Tārā – After tiger’s attack while performing Bur Para. For peace.
(12) Bar Nhidhing Tara – With this the paste, present and future of a person is ascertained in Bhat dya.
(13) Bar Tangda Tara – It is about spread of \Buddhism.
(14) Bhujanga Tara – on snake bite to reduce affect of snake bite.
(15) Botjango Tara – to get relief from illness.
(16) Buddha Phulu Tārā – At Buddha Puja, Pinda Dana and dedication of Channwa (canopy).
(17) Cherāk Phulu Tārā – While dedicating a temple or banyan/peepul tree. Bhat dya and Pinda Dan.
(18) Chhotā Kuruk Tārā – Annameru dan, for peace.
(19) Dāsāpārāmi Tārā – Burning of dead. Jadi Pujo.Dharma Kamo Puja (Sitdhi Puja) (m), Bhat Dya, Pinda Dan.
(20) Dwadachsya Tara – It is recited at Bhat Dya and Pinda Dana for upto seven generation.
(21) Jai Mangal Tārā – It is listened like Mangal Sutta.
(22) Jiyan Dhāran Tārā – Bhat Dya tobring back sense and Pinda Dana.
(23) Kadam PhuluTārā – Bhāt dya and calling of soul of dead relatives.
(24) Kamma Phulu Tara – It is recited at dedication.
(25) Khabari Tara – After Dhamma Kamo Pujo to know about future of the votery.
(26) Mālem Tārā – Recited beside a dead at home (m).Jadi Puja (Annameru), Dhama Kamo Pujo while dedication to relative.
(27) Padam Phulu Tārā – At Bhāt Dyā and while dedication for relatives.
(28) Pariphulu Tārā
(29) Phāgiri Tārā – Meditation
(30) Pharāngphulu Tārā
(31) Phudumphulu Tārā – Shraddha. Bhat dya and Pinda Dana.
(32) Phuthumphulu Tara – Bhat dya and Pinda Dana.
(33) Pindapat Tara – It has two parts (a) One for opening the rice plate and the other (b) for offering the rice plate at the burning place.
(34) Rāghem Phulu Tārā – Yearly Shraddha. Bhat Dya and Pinda Dan.
(35) Raja Hoda Tara – It is about the Sakkyas.
(36) Rākhem Phulu Tārā – Sat Dinnya and yearly Shraddha. Bhat dya and Pinda Dan.
(37) Sadāpārāmi Tārā
(38) Sādengiri Tārā – While burning of dead body.
(39) Sāhas Phulu Tārā – Read at home beside a dead body (m). At Bhat dya and Pinda Dana.
(40) Sākā Suktān Tārā – To get protection from fire and House burning.
(41) Sākkya Tārā@ – Damma Kamo Pujo and Bhat Dya. About the Sakyas.
(42) Sālem Tārā –
(43) Sameng Phulu Tārā – While dedicating a Channwa.
(44) Sāmi Phulu Tārā – Marriage.Bhat dya and Pinda Dan
(45) Sanek Phulu Tara@ -At Bhat dya if a relaive is found to have bon as a bird or animal.
(46) Sarak Dan Tārā@ – It is recited at burning of lamps and thousand lamps.
(47) Shāneng Phulu Tārā – Pinda Dana, Bhat Dya etc.
(48) Sheel Magal Tārā – Marriage
(49) Sigol Mangal Tārā – Advice on family life recited at marriage of king and other rich people and leaders.Marriage
(50) Subadijhā Tārā – At Bhat Dya to bring back sense of hyptonised person by chanting water and administering it or giving bath.
(51) Surādijhā Tārā –
(52) Swargarohan Tārā
(53) Tāllik Shāstra Tārā – To cure a sick. It is about illness, symptom, treatment, preparation of medicine etc.
(54) Tāmmā Puinya Tārā –
(55) Tri Putdra Tārā – Marriage
(56) Trikudda Tārā – At death due to accident and for wealth.
(57) Udang Pharet Tara@ – It is of three kind. (a) Chak Phayet, (b) Angra Phayet and (c) Iji-biji Phayet. It is for protection of a village. First a thread of seven string is bound around the village. The powder of brick, parasital grass and mustard seed are mixed together and chanted this Tara and streewn around the village to get protection from spirits.
Out of the above, a total of 16(sixteen) tārās are recited in a Bhāt Dyā, namely (1) Sigol Mangal Tārā, (2) Ārinnāmā Tārā, (3) Sāhach Phulu Tārā, (4) Ānichchā Tārā, (5) Sādengiri Tār®, (6) Mālem Tārā, (7) Dajha Pārāmhi Tārā, (8) Padam Phulu Tārā, (9) Cherāk Phulu Tārā, (10) Rāghim Phulu Tārā, (11) Putum Phulu Tārā, (12) Sāmi Phulu Tārā, (13) Buddha Phulu Tārā, (14) Jyon Dharon Tārā, (15) Subhā Dijhā Tārā and (16) Tri Puttra Tārā are said to be chanted by the Luris in unision. While chanting the scripture some people get hyptonised and fall on the ground amid noises and cry with mild sound. The volunteers then go to them and aske who he/she is. They read out the names of dead people from the Dhāmāsik and ask whether they were such or such. Unless the right name is read out, they will go on crying. If the right name is read out, he/she would stop crying and will admit in closed eye that it is the right name. Afterward he/she will tell what was his/her unfulfilled desire and how will he/she get normal. Then he/she will answer in mild voice like (a) In my last life I could not get such and such thing as my son did not procure it for me, (b) That I had a mind to have such and such ornament but my husband did not purchase it, (c) I left such and such property and I want it now etc. etc. If the son of his/her previous life is found, it may be confirmed from him that due to monetary problem he could not provide the desired thing. Or that he actually had such property which was dear to him/her. Such a materialthenimmediately collected from the Bhāndhāl or the market at any cost and placed at the Ādārhā Poi, kept for him/her and the hypnotised person becomes normal and get up. It is also said that if such a desired material is not available, the relatives of the previous life had to seek pardon from the hyptonised. If pardoned, he /she will get normal and if not, he /she will die immediately or will remain half conscious for the rest of life. Some people have very less desire like a particular fruit, a particular cake or biscuit or a particular curry. Some demand for particular crockery, plate, dish, cattle etc. Some small girl even said to say that my husband sold my such and such ornament with the promise to make it again, but he never made it for me. It may also be confirmed from her what was the name of her husband, how may children she had or what was the name of her villaage. If the husband is alive, it may be confirmed from him that actually he had sold such ornament of his wife but could not make it again dueto poverty. In such case she had to be provided such ornament or give the market value to her. It is also said that within the area where the chanting of the Lurees is heard, some bird, cattle like cow, buffellow, pig, chicken, birds, insects etc. fall hyptonised and die immediately. It is believed that due to their bad actions in the previous life they got such form and achieved salvation from the life of animal, bird, insect etc. by diying in the Bhāt Dyā ground. It is also said that one woman had fallen hyptonised and after enquiry her husband was found to be her son in the previous life who died after child birth. Such a couple was seperated afterward as per custom. My mother also narrated me one incident where one of her related great grand father, Chul Vaitdyo of Kobāllyā gutthi fell unconscious in a Bhāt Dyā while he was supervising it. After enquiry it was found that he was a female in the previous life and his present wife was her husband. Her thirst was only for one piece of ‘Kat’ a rasin taken earlier in lieu of betel nut from the bark of a tree called ‘Battā’. After marriage she used to chew betel nut and pan. Her husband used to scold her for chwing it. So she changed it to ‘Ponjānghi seed’ instead of betel nut. Then also her husband used to scold her and she started chewing ‘Kat’. But her husband still scolded her and she had to give up chewing permanantly and the desire remained alive. He came to normalcy after getting a piece of ‘kat’.
At the afternoon when people start falling more in hyptonised mood and if it becomes uncontrolable due to lack of sufficient volunteers, the Lukthāks used to take food from the dishes meant for the dead people to make stale. By which they stop further falling and the Lurees also stops recitation. And thus the rite comes to conclusion. Afterward the symbolic funerals are burnt into ashes and the place becomes a burning place of dead and such a place is kept abandoned and never used for cultivation.
I have met one Shri Bijoy Singha Chakma at Agartala, Tripura who is said to have witnessed a Bhat Dya rite in East Pakistan in 1956.In the rite the boy who fell hypnotised is said have born to different family and demanded his properties which he left with his sons. The properties included one licenced gun, on big bronze dish and one Bhujhon Ber ( a brass structure on which a food dish is placed). It was confirmed from the sons of his previous life. They agreed to give the dish and the Bhujhon Ber but denied to give the gun. The hypnotised boy would not pardon without getting the gun and remained hyptonised. At last the committee forced the sons to give the the gun and the boy became normal.
At present it is not possible to arrange a Bhāt Dyā since the traditional monk, the Lurees are also extinct. Only one Luree at Chawilengta, Tripura is said to be living. Further the people are scattered in different places like Bangladesh, India and other foreign countries. In India also they are living in Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal, Assam and a few in West Bengal. Hence gathering of all people of a gutthi (gene) is quite impossible.