Tejaji - Rajasthan’s Folk Deity
Tejaji, also known as Veer Taja is considered an incarnation of Lord ShivaShiva
Shiva is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindu Trinity that ... (one of the Supreme Gods of Hindus, also known as the Destroyer). He was a man of his words who could do anything to keep his honor, even if it meant dying in the process to uphold it. He is mostly worshipped in rural areas of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh because he is seen as a non-Brahmanic deity (Brahman is the upper most caste of Hindus, also known as the learned). Even today, anyone from agricultural or warrior clan can be made a priest of Tejaji’s temples.
Legend of Birth
Tejaji was born on 29th January 1074 in a Jatt family. (Jatt are the agricultural community of the Northern India). His father was a chieftain on Kharnal (Nagaur, Rajasthan). His name was Chaudhary Tahar and his wife was Sugna. It is believed that Sugna prayed to Naga-deity (snake God) in order to beget a son.
He lived in an era when the country was ruled by small republics and clashes between them was very common. Everyone was fighting for power and anyone could turn into foe. Two such enemies of Chaudhary Tahar were Meena sardar and Nagavanshi chieftain.
The Life of Tejati
On the request of his mother, TejajiTejaji
Tejaji, also known as Veer Taja is considered an incarnation of Lord Shiva... was doing the first ploughing of the field and was very tired from all the work. His sister-in-law was responsible of bringing food to him but she got late. Tejaji got angry and taunted her, to which she responded and told him to take this responsibility away from her and give it to his wife who is still sitting in her father’s house.
Tejaji was unaware of the fact that he was married in his childhood and had a wife named Pemal. But due to some unfortunate incidence, i.e., there grew enmity between Pemal’s uncle and Chaudhary Tahar, they fought and Pemal’s uncle died, she was not sent to her husband’s house.
He decided to bring his wife back. He mounted on his mare, Lilan and started his journey. When he reached her village, he saw his mother-in-law milking the cow. The cows were disturbed from the presence of a stranger and his mare and thus stopped giving milk. Irritated mother-in-law, unknown of the fact that he was her son-in-law, cursed him that he will die soon from a snake bite.
Tejaji decided to return back home empty handed but he met Pemal’s friend, Lachhan who helped him meet Pemal and bring them back together. While the couple was talking in a room, Lachhan knocked at the door and told Tejaji that thieves had taken away her cows. Tejaji wanted to help Lachhan for all that she had done for him. He promised her to bring back her cows.
While he was on his way, he saw a snake burning in the fire. He saved the snake but the snake got furious as it had to bite Tejaji, according to the curse. Tejaji promised the snake that he would come back again but first he had to bring the cows back and take Pemal to his house. He fulfilled both of his promises. While returning back to his own home, Tejaji and Pemal were attacked by his enemies whom they defeated and Tejaji went back to the snake to keep his promise. He was so wounded that the snake didn’t find any fresh place to bite him, thus Tejaji offered it his tongue and then died of the snake bite. But many people consider this a myth.
According to historical facts, Tejaji died while fighting with his enemies on 28 August 1103. Both his wife and his sister, Rajal then became SatiSati
The name Sati means true and justifying her name... (a ritual where a widow sits on her husband’s funeral pyre and gives away her life), but what Rajal did was a unique example of sisterly love.
Temple and Festival
A very famous Shri Veer Teja ji temple is built in Nagour, Rajasthan in his honor. People suffering from snake bites come here for treatment. Also, every year a cattle fair is organized where cattle is sold and purchased and people from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujrat and Madhya Pradesh come to participate.