Hindu devotees whose family member had died gather at Pashupatinath temple area where they perform various rituals. The festival begins by lighting ‘Mahadeep’ (lights) as they stay awake for the whole night on Mangsir Krishna Trayodashi, the eve of Bala Chaturdashi. And as dawn breaks in, they take a bath in the Bagmati River and walk the route around Pashupatinath temple area including Mirgasthali, Kailash, Gaurighat, Aryaghat among others and end their journey near the Bishwaroop temple, Pashupati. Upon reaching the idol of Lord Ganesh situated near Bishwaroop temple, devotees shake the idol of Lord Ganesh, scream and shout in the ear to wake him up who is believed to be deaf.
Meanwhile, they offer different types of grains, marigold, coin and jiggery at the idols of gods and goddesses on their way. Talking about the importance of the celebration it is believed that if the relatives of the dead offer satabij on Bala Chaturdashi, the departed ones will get a place in heaven. Moreover, this ritual helps the dead soul to find peace and solace in their afterlife.
In many places it is celebrated by gathering the members of Milah Guthi (a kind of social association) and banqueting together
Seeds are dropped in remembrance of dead beloved ones. It is believed by performing Bala Chaturdashi rituals we can secure a better place in heaven for the dead relatives. It is also believed that this helps settle the restless souls of departed ones who were not properly burnt. This is true that when thousands of people pray for the same consideration, that will be fulfilled. Slesmantak forest, where the satbij is dropped is mentioned in Shiva Puran Mirgasthali as the place where lord Shiva dwelled as Deer. This place is hence considered very sacred place and hence a drop of seed in this place is equal to a Ratti of gold (which is about 0.121 grams).
Story Behind Bala Chaturdashi
Bala Nanda, a trader, came to Arya Ghat (where people are cremated through burning), to attend funeral of one of his relatives. Bala Nanda sitting nearby and eating the ceremonial food, a small portion of the dead body popped out from the fire into his plate. He unknowingly swallowed flesh of dead body that fell into his plate. Soon he swallowed the flesh he transformed into a horrible demon having silver head. He became cannibal (man eating human meat). Bala Nanda suddenly grabbed out dead body from the fire and started eating it. People were terrified and ran away.
Then onwards he is called Balsur. Asur meaning Demon. (Bala+Asur=Balasur). Arya Ghat then became the favorite place for Balasur. People were scared to go to Arya Ghat to cremate dead relatives. People pleaded then king to solve the problem. King assigned Brisha Singh, very good friend of Balasur to kill him. Brisha manage to kill Balasur by betrayal. Brisha felt guilty to deceive Bala. He went to meditation in the Sleshmantak Ban (forest) and enchanted Om and prayed to Lord Shiva for the rescue of his friend Balasur. Lord Shiva was pleased by his sincere affection for his friend. Lord Shiva helped in salvation of Balasur. Lord Shiva also told Brisha to scatter sat bij, or seven varieties of grain, on the holy grounds of the Shlesmantak forest to cleanse the sin of Balasur and to erase his own guilt for killing a friend. From the day, the tradition of Dropping Seven Grains (Sat biu) started.