Tag: Ratha Saptami

Bed of Nails and Ratha Sapthami

Bhishma Ashtami and the Bed of Nails In this post I explore the connection between Bed of Nails and Bhishma Ashtami. Did the idea of the bed of nails originate from the time of Mahabharata? Bhishma lay on a bed of arrows. He waited for Ratha Saptami day in the month of Magh to pass. (Ratha refers to the Chariot of the Sun) The following day, namely, Ashtami, is still remembered by his name. Two popular images defined India as an exotic destination in the sixties. They were the nail of bed and snake charmers. The Nail of bed drew the attention of westerners, once again, a decade back, this time as a therapy. The New York Times ran an article about this trend in 2014. During the colonial era, Britishers living in India experienced thrill upon encountering an ascetic sitting on bed of nails. However, sitting on a nail of bed has never been a common custom among Indians.

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