Sengol or Raja Danda

The Sengol or Raja Danda that was handed over to India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharalal Nehru to represent transfer of power from British and will be displayed in the new Parliamentary complex to be inaugurated on 28 may. What is its significance and its origin? Sengol is referred as Raja Danda in Sanskrit and Hindi. It is not just a simple stick, it represents the exercise of sovereign power righteously raccording to Dharma. Dand is mentioned in several ancient scriptures like the Manusmriti, Mahabharata, Thirukural, Silapuadhikaram, etc.

Manusmriti 7.15-20 describes the origin of Danda. Manusmriti 7.15 says that Parmatma initially created Danda as his son. Afterwards it says Danda as a penalty to be used virtuously and without any ulterior motives with total knowledge of rules and regulations in order to protect the people (Manusmriti chapter 7.15-20).

Mahabharata Shanti Parva Chapter 122 describes Danda as that mode which protects the universe and keeps it safe by following rules and regulations as mentioned by Devi Saraswati in Danda neeti.

As for the origin of Danda as per Mahabharat, once Brahma Ji decided to conduct Yagya, he carried his womb on his forehead for thousand years. Once, when Brahma Ji sneezed the foetus on his forehead fell down. This child was named Kshup who later became the Purohit in Brahma’s Yagya.
Now since the Yagya became the prime Karma, Brahma’s Dand vanished. This resulted in lawlessness everywhere. So, Brahma went to Shiva. After a lot of thought Bhagwan Shiva himself turned into a Danda (Hence you can see Nandi on top of the Sengol as Nandi is also known as Shiva avatar as per Shiv Puran). Bhagwan Shiva divided the power of giving Danda by appointing the heads of different sections like Indra was appointed as the King of Devata.

On completion of Yagya, Bhagwan Shiva handed over the Danda to Bhagwan Vishnu who in turn gave it to Angira Who later gave it to Indra and Marichi. In the end the Danda landed in the hands of Manu. The Danda is meant for protection of Dharma. So, the same tradition continued in various ancient Indian empires- the Guptas, the Kushans, the Cholas etc. The Sengol given to Nehru at the time of independence and now installed in the new Parliament was gifted by the revered main priest of Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam, which has historically been the Raja Purohit of the Chola dynasty Kings.

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