Unveiling the Sengol: Understanding the Significance and Origin of the Danda Tradition in Indian Scriptures and History

The very same Sengol which was handed over to Jawaharlal Nehru to represent a transfer of power from the 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 to as Danda in Hindi although in its wider connotation, it means rule through righteousness and sovereignty. Dand is actually mentioned in Manusmriti, Mahabharat and other scriptures.

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 is a penalty to be used virtuously and without any ulterior motives with total knowledge of rules and regulations in order to protect them(Manusmriti chapter 7.15-20).

Mahabharata Shanti Parv 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, while 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 in 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. This is to save Dharma. So the tradition continues. the Sengol or Danda tradition was also practised during the period of the Chola Dynasty and other Kings.

This article was first published on AnshulSpritual.

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